2015 F1 Season Driver Ratings and Reviews

That’s it the final chequered flag of the season has fallen, calling an end to the 2015 season. I will now rate each driver out of ten for the season followed by a short paragraph, these will be organised in the order of the drivers championship standings. 

Lewis Hamilton: 9.5

Fantastic season from Hamilton. He started the season completely in tune with the car and the team, weekend after weekend he pumped in the quickest times in qualifying and lead lap after lap when it came to the Sunday.  Hamilton was precise and measured in his approach to each race, he knew what he needed to do in each session to give him the best chance of winning and more often than not it worked a treat. He was also ferocious in his execution of Rosberg’s title hopes leaving the German very little if any chance of securing his first World Title.

Nico Rosberg: 8

Nico started the season slow and he never really seemed to get his act together until Mexico, but by that point it was too late as the Championship had been decided and some would say Hamilton was no longer trying to win. Nico had several glimmers of hope and he even managed to get back to back victories in Spain and Monaco but none of those wins managed to give him the spring-board to mount a title challenge or seemed to fill him with confidence. Most of the season he looked and acted like the shadow of the driver that ran Hamilton so close in 2014, the jokes and banter he had used as weapons the season before had been replaced by cold stares jaded jibes. As soon as the fun and joking Rosberg returned so did his form, something he may want to look into for the 2016 season. 

Sebastian Vettel: 9

Finishing third in the Drivers Championship may not be a success in the eyes of Sebastian Vettel but he had a superb season, especially following the teams disastrous 2014 season. He was the only driver to keep the Mercedes boys honest resulting in three victories and regular podium visits, he always got maximum performance from the power unit often pushing the car beyond expectations. Not only did he manage to get the best out of the car, he also got the best out of the team. Ferrari in 2014 looked miserable and out of sorts following several years of disappointment but when Vettel arrived he seemed to revitalise the team, he gave them belief and brought the whole team closer together, his jokey but hard-working attitude made him an instant hit with the team and it is no exaggeration to say without him behind the wheel they would have finished behind Williams in the constructors table.  

Kimi Raikonen: 7

The unflappable Fin was certainly flapping at stages this season. It was a less than impressive season from Kimi who made several amateurish mistakes, from driving into the side of his fellow Countrymen Bottas to tank slapping  into Fernando Alonso it was certainly a season to forget. Kimi eventually finished 128 points behind his team-mate and just 14 points ahead of Bottas. 

Valtteri Bottas: 7.5

Bottas was tipped to replace Kimi at Ferrari for the 2016 season after impressive and consistent performances at the start 2015 following on from his impressive 2014 season but Ferrari decided to stay with the latter and after that decision Valtteri’s form dipped. His form did reappear and he finished well but had he stayed focused and hungry all season long he could have and many think should have finished above Kimi in the drivers standings. 

Felipe Massa: 7

Felipe Massa was very consistent this season if not electric. He was never really involved in any memorable scraps or racing incidents but his constant point scoring lead to a Williams third place finish for the second season in a row. 

Daniil Kyvat: 8

I was extremely impressed with Kyvat this season, he came into a Red Bull team as the replacement for Sebastian Vettel which are no small boots to fill but he settled straight in like he had been there for years. Red Bull’s engine woes this season were clear to all but Kyvat never let that be an excuse, he pushed every race and more often than not he outperformed the cars capabilities.

Daniel Ricciardo: 7

Following on from a fantastic 2014 season it was fully expected Daniel Ricciardo would take on the role of number one driver at Red Bull and excel. Unfortunately for the smiling Aussie constant engine performance and reliability issues meant he never really had a run of races where he wasn’t penalised in some way on another meaning he could never really get any kind of flow. 

Sergio Perez: 8

One of my drivers of the season Sergio Perez is like a new man, after his disappointing spell at McLaren Perez struggled with his performances, well until this season. He surpassed all expectations and after the summer break you’ll find it hard to find another driver on the grid that outperformed Sergio Perez. He finished in the points on a consistent basis to lead Force India to their first ever firth place finish and he outscored his highly rated team-mate by 20 points. 

Nico Hulkenberg: 7

An uninspiring but never the less successful season for Hulkenberg who should really be in one of the top three teams despite his topsy-turvy 2015 season. Off the back of a fantastic season least year I expected Hulkenberg to really outshine his team-mate but that never materialised and he was instead left to wonder what might have been.  

Romain Grosjean: 7.5

Great final season at Lotus for Grosjean who almost single-handedly lead the team to sixth place in the constructor’s championship by scoring more than double his team-mates points. Whilst Lotus were struggling on and off the track Grosjean dragged them over the line with his eagerness to perform and his fantastic attitude. Had the team had the funds available to develop it would have led to many points and maybe even a podium for Grosjean.

Max Verstappen: 8.5

My driver of the season Max Verstappen proved age is just a number in Motorsport and its your ability that counts when he became the youngest driver in Formula One history. He wasted no time settling in, scoring points in just his second race with a seventh place finish and a majestic performance in Malaysia. If it wasn’t for the Renault power unit issues the team faced he may well have outscored one of the Red Bull’s this year but he still impressively finished 30 points ahead of his more experienced team-mate.

Felipe Nasr: 6.5

Certainly a season to build on from Nasr, he impressed despite being in an underpowered car he managed to outscore seasoned veterans Maldonado, Button and Alonso as well as blitzing his team-mate Erricsson. A guaranteed drive for Sauber again next season with an improved engine I am expecting big things for the young Brazilian to come. 

Pastor Maldonado: 5

Pastor Maldonado was the only driver with a Mercedes powered car that managed to under-perform. He had various collisions with fellow drivers, struggled to make any gains in Qualifying and he regularly failed to finish a race. He may have been part of a team struggling financially but with Mercedes power and the results his team-mate managed to achieve he is by far the most disappointing driver of the season,

Carlos Sainz: 6.5

Sainz performed well when given the chance by the car but thanks to horrendous luck with the reliability of his power units his often ended up starting from the back or retiring from the race. Had Sainz had better luck he would have finished far closer to his rookie team-mate Verstappen in the standings.  

Jenson Button: 7

Despite McLaren’s woes for the whole of this season Jenson Button stayed positive and committed to the program at some points even displaying some of his fantastic wheel to wheel racing skills before the car he was battling with put their foot down. It is hard to judge either McLaren driver as they did less laps throughout the season than any other team. 

Fernando Alonso: 7

It may not have been the Fernando Alonso we are used to seeing at the front of the field but as an entertainer he was one of the most entertaining drivers of the 2015 season and when he had a chance to impress in the car he did just that often managing to get far more performance from the sad Honda motor than should have been possible. 

Marcus Erricsson: 6

A season to forget for Marcus Erricsson, various incidents and an inability to string any kind of form together meant he was left to pick up the odd point here and there when more were on offer. He can take comfort knowing his drive for next season is sorted and hopefully he performs far better. 

Roberto Mehri: 5 | Alexander Rossi: 5 | Will Stevens: 5

I grouped these three drivers together and gave them all the same rating as you cannot really judge either of these drivers on the season we have just seen, they drove a car that on average was over three seconds a lap slower than the rest of the field so to judge their skills seems unfair. 

By: Chris Laker
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