Formula One 2015 Driver Ratings: Part Two

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Be sure to read part one of the Formula One 2015 driver ratings, which was posted yesterday.

From Albert Park to Abu Dhabi with everything in between, the Formula One season has come to a conclusion with a very similar result to last season with Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes taking the honours. Whilst some team mate battles were very one-sided, others ended up being much closer than expected and there was the odd surprise too. Here are my Formula One 2015 driver ratings and rankings. Disagree? Be sure to leave your comments below.

Formula One 2015 Driver Ratings

Mercedes AMG

Mercedes

No. 44 Lewis Hamilton
Position: 1st
Highest Grid Result: 1st
Highest Race Result: 1st

Lewis Hamilton’s third World Championship came in by far the most commanding fashion of all of his titles by edging his team mate Nico Rosberg in almost every area across the season. Whilst it became clear by the end of the year that he was cruising to the title, once he had achieved what he set out to do, he did not have any need to push too hard. The only slight weaknesses I found in his campaign were his starts, his banker laps in qualifying and perhaps trying too hard to take control of the race strategy on more than one occasion. Hamilton did not have too many stellar drives in the second half of the year to compliment the exceptional work he did in the first half, but he still amassed a number of race victories including wins at Russia, Italy and the United States – all races where his team mate hit trouble, as well as a 2014-esque victory at Japan.

Rating: 8/10

No. 6 Nico Rosberg
Position: 2nd
Highest Grid Result: 1st
Highest Race Result: 1st

By the end of the season, the man to beat was Nico Rosberg, who looked perhaps even stronger than the form he showed in 2014. He had a really poor first half of the season where he only toppled Hamilton on three occasions and a few reliability issues in the second half of the year such as Monza (where he had flames from his car twice) and at Russia when he retired whilst leading well and truly ended his title hopes early. However to claim that Rosberg was the better Mercedes driver would be a serious overstatement and the statistics support that. Hamilton simply was better more often than not.

Rating: 7.5/10

Ferrari

Ferrari

No. 5 Sebastian Vettel
Position: 3rd
Highest Grid Result: 1st
Highest Race Result: 1st

Mexico aside, Sebastian Vettel continued the second half of the season in the same manner in which he competed the first half of the season. The fact that he kept up with Rosberg for so long in the championship despite the car performance compared to the Mercedes just shows how strong Vettel’s first year at Ferrari has been. A shock win at Singapore was his strongest result in the second half of the year which sees him match his idol Michael Schumacher’s win tally from his first season at Ferrari, and Fernando Alonso’s 2012 season in terms of points, wins and podiums. His off-par performance at Mexico, his tyre failure at Belgium and a strategy error in qualifying at Abu Dhabi were the only times in the second half of the year where he failed to reach the podium. His team mate however…

Rating: 8.5/10

No. 7 Kimi Räikkönen
Position: 4th
Highest Grid Result: 2nd
Highest Race Result: 2nd

Whilst team mate Vettel amassed well over 100 points and a handful of podiums in the second half of the season, Räikkönen could only muster just over half of that and two trips to the rostrum. An on-track series of disagreements with fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas in which Räikkönen was at fault on each occasion has posed questions about the elder Finn’s racecraft. Ultimately, this season is the second in a row in which Räikkönen has been absolutely thwarted by his team mate and despite that, Ferrari are keeping him on for another season.

Rating: 5.5/10

Williams-Mercedes

Williams

No. 19 Felipe Massa
Position: 6th
Highest Grid Result: 3rd
Highest Race Result: 3rd

For much of the season, Felipe Massa has been back to his very best. He matched his superb podium at Austria earlier in the year by matching the result at Italy, just holding off his team mate. A few collisions in which Massa was not at fault as well as a disqualification at his home race hindered his points tally somewhat. It has been very tough to pick between the two Williams at a number of times this season.

Rating: 7/10

No. 77 Valtteri Bottas
Position: 5th
Highest Grid Result: 3rd
Highest Race Result: 3rd

Valtteri Bottas has been a little bit disappointing at times this season. His season has come together a little bit towards the end of the year with a podium at Mexico. He has edged his team mates more often than not this year, but to be honest I was expecting a little bit more. In wheel-to-wheel battles, Bottas has seemed a little bit too complacent at times, although he did make a forceful move on Räikkönen at Mexico, in which the latter came off much worse.

Rating: 7/10

Red Bull-Renault

Red Bull

No. 3 Daniel Ricciardo
Position: 8th
Highest Grid Result: 2nd
Highest Race Result: 2nd

The second half of the season has been a pretty mixed bag for without doubt last year’s best driver Daniel Ricciardo. He had an incredibly strong run at Singapore, splitting the Ferraris in both qualifying and in the race to take a fine second place but a few issues outside of his control cost him dear in the points battle against his team mate, who really found his feet in the second half of the season. A puncture at Japan, a suspension failure at Russia whilst on course for a podium and a collision with Nico Hülkenberg after leading in the United States left him with just one point from those three rounds. He has however been the clear winner in a lot of areas, albeit not by as much as many expected. Amazingly, he has finished behind his team mate(s) in three of his five seasons in Formula One, and the only one to not finish ahead of him has been Sebastian Vettel, and that includes Narain Karthikeyan!

Rating: 7/10

No. 26 Daniil Kvyat
Position: 7th
Highest Grid Result: 4th
Highest Race Result: 2nd

Young Daniil Kvyat took his time to find his feet at Red Bull, even getting the hurry up from Helmut Marko for what appeared to be no real apparent reason. However in the second half of the year, he has been more than a match for Daniel Ricciardo and on occasion we have seen flashes of absolute brilliance from the Russian. However a few unforced errors such as at Japan and again at the United States did not help him at all. Without a doubt however, Kvyat’s strongest run was at the Mexican Grand Prix, where he was on course for a podium in the unfancied Red Bull until a late safety car left him vulnerable to the incredible top speed of the Mercedes-powered Williams. However I feel that he cost himself a few points unnecessarily hence the lower rating than his team mate.

Rating: 6.5/10

Force India-Mercedes

Force India

No. 11 Sergio Perez
Position: 9th
Highest Grid Result: 4th
Highest Race Result: 3rd

Sergio Perez is a driver who I have been highly critical of in the past for his inconsistent performances and his crashes, but in 2015 he really came on strong, especially in the second half of the season. He finished each of the races in the second half of the year, once on the podium and was outside of the top eight just twice. His qualifying also saw some significant improvement, equalling his best grid slot not once, but twice. Perez has been the most improved driver from 2014 to 2015 I feel, with Kvyat close behind in that department.

Rating: 7.5/10

No. 27 Nico Hulkenberg
Position: 10th
Highest Grid Result: 5th
Highest Race Result: 5th

The second half of the year for the Le Mans winner was very mixed. A non-start at Spa, collisions at Singapore, Russia and Austin (the latter being down to a front wing failure) mixed in with three sevenths and two sixths. He finished with fewer points than his team mate for the first time since his rookie campaign. The usually very consistent Hülkenberg almost seemed a bit rattled by the sudden form which his team mate found, but his strong first half of the year keeps his rating quite high.

Rating: 7/10

Rankings:
1. Sebastian Vettel
2. Lewis Hamilton
3. Romain Grosjean
4. Sergio Perez
5. Nico Rosberg
6. Valtteri Bottas
7. Felipe Massa
8. Daniel Ricciardo
9. Nico Hülkenberg
10. Max Verstappen
11. Daniil Kvyat
12. Carlos Sainz
13. Fernando Alonso
14. Jenson Button
15. Kimi Räikkönen
16. Pastor Maldonado
17. Felipe Nasr
18. Marcus Ericsson
19. Alexander Rossi
20. Will Stevens
21. Roberto Merhi
22. Kevin Magnussen