Who Were The Year’s Top 5 Performers On The Track?

It wasn’t exactly a vintage year as one team continued it’s dominance, but the 2015 season did have its standout performers. There were overtaking moves to admire and mistakes to be punished. In a season where passing was troublesome, some men made it work better than others. As the calender turns to begin considering the next campaign, it is worth looking at who impressed over the course of 2015.

 

  1. Lewis Hamilton

Continuing from where he left off, Lewis Hamilton stamped his authority on another year as he marched to a third world championship title. More often than not, if a Mercedes won it was Hamilton who was victorious.  Eleven poles allied with ten wins gave the British driver the stranglehold he needed over his team-mate, his only real rival. It wasn’t all perfect, as a missed win at Monaco and a damp end to the season can testify, but by then Hamilton had already sealed his third title as he became the most successful English driver in Formula One history.

2. Sebastian Vettel

Coming into 2015, Sebastian Vettel had a bit to prove in his first year with Ferrari. Despite being a four-time world champion, he had suffered a dismal previous year as he was roundly demolished by his new Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, a driver highly-rated but who had yet to stand on the podium before the year began. Vettel’s first season as a Ferrari driver could have gone little better, as against an omnipresent Mercedes, the German took the crumbs that he could and won when the others could not. The only non-Mercedes to win a race, doing so three times, left everyone in no doubt that Vettel is back.

3. Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen showed up all his naysayers by daring to do as few others did in an electrifying first year in the sport. Arriving as a 17 year-old, he made those critical of his age eat their words with a series of fine overtakes and strong drives. Not one to bow down, the Dutchman came under fire for some of his incidents but Verstappen, under the wing of his former F1 driver father, did not back down and continued to make the same moves. They were not always a success as a heavy crash at Monaco showed, but Verstappen displayed a high talent to warrant the praise he had received before his first race. The youngest driver to start a Grand Prix was close to a podium in Hungary and will be looking for more in a much-anticipated second season in 2016.

4. Carlos Sainz Jnr

Scuderia Toro Rosso was the home of the prodigal sons as Carlos Sainz Jnr, son of former rallying great Carlos Sainz, made his debut with Max Verstappen, also the son of another former motorsport driver. Sainz came into the sport with expectation not far from that of his team-mate, and delivered when the car allowed him to. Seven points finishes gave the Spaniard a good first campaign, though a smoother driving style meant less fireworks than for his team-mate and was overshadowed at times by Verstappen’s imposing performances. A poor reliabilty record with seven retirements left Sainz with more to give. Perhaps he will give more in the next twelve months.

5. Sergio Perez

A home Grand Prix was no doubt one of the events of the year for Sergio Perez, but the Mexican was one of the unexpected stars as his gentle manner of tyre preservation matched with his speed. A seventh at Monaco was the best finish for Perez up until Force India brought out their new B-spec chassis for Silverstone. From the British Grand Prix onwards, the Force India driver was one of the most consistent drivers on the grid, out-scoring team-mate Nico Hulkenberg and was one of the highest-scoring from the mid-way point in the season. Seven top-ten finishes in the last nine races of the season, including an eighth-placed finish at his home race has made Perez back into a force to be reckoned with.

 

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