2015 Formula 1 season review
Even before the start of the 2015 Formula 1 season, it was known that Mercedes will be way superior compared to the rest of the grid, but at the end, the difference was so huge that the whole season could only be characterized as boring. But Mercedes’ supremacy wasn’t the only thing that described the 2015 season as monotonous. Rules set by FIA and abysmal grid penalties made this season tragic and comic in many occasions.
Video : Watch championship highlights of the 2015 F1 season
Hamilton was never really challenged throughout the F1 season
Lewis Hamilton defended his title, winning 10 of 19 races, finishing ahead of his teammate by a large margin: a 59 points lead to Nico Rosberg. Dominance of Mercedes’ drivers could best be seen in numbers, as they won 16 races and 18 pole positions – 11 by Hamilton and seven by Rosberg. The British driver won three out of four races at the start of the season, making himself an early favorite for the championship title (Australia, China, Bahrain), while Sebastian Vettel in Ferrari won the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Nico Rosberg was the winner in Spain and Monaco, but after that, he only won the Austrian GP, leaving doors opened to Hamilton. Briton was the winner in Canada, UK, Belgium and Italy. Finally, after winning three consecutive races in Japan, Russia and USA, Hamilton could afford himself an easy finish of the season, hence Rosberg won the last three races – in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.
Ferrari missed Kimi
After the race at Sepang, one could expect a more exciting season, but Ferrari couldn’t withstand the long battle. After Malaysia, they scored only two more victories in Hungary and Singapore, both by Vettel, which is all but shameful for a team with a reputation like Ferrari. Results of their second driver Kimi Raikkonen were pointed out as underachievement by many, despite the Finn finishing fourth in Drivers’ championship. However, he had only three podium appearances in 2015, and that is definitely a bad result for the experienced driver.
Williams and Red Bull too far from top level
Williams team had a solid season, despite having some ups and downs. They finished third in Teams’ championship, while their drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were fifth and sixth respectively, both with two podium finishes in the season. Red Bull’s season was marked by a dispute with Renault, their engine supplier. At the end, Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo must be happy with their results, especially the young Russian driver who was second at Hungaroring, which has been the best result in his career to that point. Interestingly, Ricciardo had three fastest laps during the season in Monaco, Hungaroring, Singapore, and only Hamilton with 8 and Rosberg with 5 had more than the Australian.
Solid standings for the Formula 1 underdogs
Force India and Lotus also showed that something good could be done without a big budget. Lotus had huge financial troubles, but they had a valuable driver in Romain Grosjean as he scored points in 10 races and had one podium at the Belgian GP, while Pastor Maldonado again couldn’t confirm that he deserves a place in Formula 1. Force India was especially good in the second half of the season. Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg are both solid drivers and they maximized everything they got from the car and the team. In particular, the Mexican driver was impressive in a number of races and he probably deserved more than just one podium finish at the Russian GP.
Verstappen has potential to become a future star
One guy has shown his huge potential during the 2015 Formula 1 season. Toro Rosso driver Max Verstappen spiced up this year as we had an opportunity to watch raw talent, without fear and too much respect to the others. This 17-year-old Dutchman, son of the former F1 driver Jos Verstappen, already established himself as a kind of a rebel, so we expect to see more from this future star of the sport, just as from his team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr.
Disastrous results for former champions
The biggest disappointment of this F1 season was definitely McLaren. Having probably most experienced pair of drivers, with former champions Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, they suffered throughout the whole season, mainly because of Honda’s engines. Only 27 points scored in this year left the team and drivers frustrated, but agonizingly ready to improve in 2016.
Sauber and Manor Marussia race toward order changes in 2016
With two young drivers, Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson, Sauber did exactly what they could. They were consistent, but not good enough for any bigger achievements, and they had to settle with the fact that they scored more points than McLaren. At the end, Manor Marussia team was the only one who failed to pick a single point, but that was expected as they had an outdated car. Early predictions are saying that we could expect much more from the Banbury-based team in 2016.