Carlos Sainz Jnr, Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, Jerez, 2015

Who will win the battle of the team mates in 2015?

2015 F1 season preview

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Four teams have kept the same driver line-ups for 2015, but three of the others have new occupants in both cockpits for the year ahead.

But from the front of the grid to the back, every driver starts with the same goal: To beat the guy in the other car.

Who will achieve that goal this year? Give your verdict on who will win the battle of the team mates.

Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton vs Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuito de Jerez, 2015Last year the drivers’ championship fight was an all-Mercedes affair. Hamilton decisively won the most races – eleven to Rosberg’s five – but the scoring system kept Rosberg in the hunt until the final round.

Rosberg never managed to beat Hamilton over a season when they were in the same karting team, and although he took the most pole positions last year he seldom had an answer for Hamilton on Sundays. Does he have something up his sleeve for 2015?

Which Mercedes driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Lewis Hamilton (76%)
  • Nico Rosberg (24%)

Total Voters: 543

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Red Bull: Daniel Ricciardo vs Daniil Kvyat

Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015Against expectations, Ricciardo walked into Red Bull last year and humbled four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel. So he would be forgiven for having concerns Kvyat might do the same to him this year.

But Red Bull’s newest driver arrives with a lot less experience than Ricciardo had when he moved up last year. Coming off the back of his breakthrough season, Ricciardo will surely be eyeing more wins this year, and a title shot if the RB11 is up to it.

Which Red Bull driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Daniel Ricciardo (95%)
  • Daniil Kvyat (5%)

Total Voters: 540

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Williams: Felipe Massa vs Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa, Williams FW37, JerezBottas has beaten both his team mates in F1 so far. Can he keep up the trend for a third season in a row?

He will have to fend off a rejuvenated Massa who enjoyed a strong conclusion to his 2014 campaign. Williams may find themselves having to cope with more on-track confrontations between their drivers – such as the testy encounter between the pair at Sepang last year.

Which Williams driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Felipe Massa (17%)
  • Valtteri Bottas (83%)

Total Voters: 542

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Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel vs Kimi Raikkonen

Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, Red Bull Ring, 2014The first of two all-champion pairings in the field, these two endured bruising 2014 campaigns.

Raikkonen has the benefit of continuity within the Ferrari environment, and as the team has had over 12 months to develop this car to his liking there should be no reason why he might be as far off the car’s potential as he was last year.

Will Vettel take as long to settle in at Ferrari as Raikkonen did on his return last year? That may be the key to how this battle unfolds.

Which Ferrari driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Sebastian Vettel (65%)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (35%)

Total Voters: 539

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McLaren: Fernando Alonso vs Jenson Button

Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button, McLaren, 2015Alonso is already on the back foot on his return to McLaren as the concussion he suffered in a testing accident will keep him out of the cockpit for the first race. He expects to be back in the car in Malaysia.

However with McLaren endeavouring to solve the myriad problems with their new Honda-powered car, even when Alonso returns we may not get a very clear impression of how he stacks up against Button in equal machinery. Reliability is likely to be a major factor in this fight.

Which McLaren driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Fernando Alonso (66%)
  • Jenson Button (34%)

Total Voters: 543

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Force India: Nico Hulkenberg vs Sergio Perez

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015Hulkenberg and Perez complemented each other very well at Force India last year. Hulkenberg scored the bulk of the team’s points, while Perez took their only podium finish, in Bahrain. Perez seemed to thrive on stop-start, high-traction circuits, while Hulkenberg was at his best on more flowing courses.

The pair are likely to be in the thick of the midfield fight this year, and we can expect to see Force India splitting their strategies to get the best from their drivers’ differing styles.

Which Force India driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Nico Hulkenberg (83%)
  • Sergio Perez (17%)

Total Voters: 539

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Toro Rosso: Max Verstappen vs Carlos Sainz Jnr

Carlos Sainz Jnr, Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, Jerez, 2015Toro Rosso’s line-up of promises to be a tasty encounter for many reasons. Not only do they have two rookies in their cars, but this is also the youngest pair of team mates ever seen in F1.

Then factor in that long time junior team member Sainz was initially passed over for a place on the team in favour of newcomer Verstappen, giving each a huge incentive to put one over the other. Add the possibility that whichever driver comes out on top could be fast-tracked into a Red Bull seat, and we have a recipe for a very spicy intra-team contest.

Which Toro Rosso driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Max Verstappen (62%)
  • Carlos Sainz Jnr (38%)

Total Voters: 534

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Lotus: Romain Grosjean vs Pastor Maldonado

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Yas Marina, 2014The two Lotus drivers were more concerned about their performance of their own machine rather than the other car last year. That should be different with the much more promising Mercedes-engined E23.

Both have shown tremendous speed, and both have had reputations for recklessness. Grosjean has gone some way towards shaking his off, but Maldonado crunched his car into several walls and competitors last year, indicating his racing aptitude is still not what it might be.

Which Lotus driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Romain Grosjean (96%)
  • Pastor Maldonado (4%)

Total Voters: 541

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Sauber: Marcus Ericsson vs Felipe Nasr

Felipe Nasr, Sauber, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015Sauber have cleared house for 2015, promoting Ericsson from Sauber and bringing in GP2 driver Nasr. On the face of it, you’d expect the driver with (almost) a year’s F1 experience under his belt to lead the way.

That won’t necessarily be the case, however. Nasr has a reasonable amount of recent F1 experience thanks to his outings for Williams last year. And Nasr had the beating of Ericsson in their last GP2 season together two years ago, despite Ericsson having considerably more experience at that level.

Which Sauber driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Marcus Ericsson (26%)
  • Felipe Nasr (74%)

Total Voters: 529

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Manor: Will Stevens vs Roberto Merhi

Roberto Merhi, Zeta Corse, Formula Renault 3.5, Nurburgring, 2014The Manor duo have a mountain to climb in a team whose entry was only confirmed at the very last minute, driving a slightly updated version of last year’s car with a 2014 Ferrari power unit.

The pair raced each other last year in Formula Renault 3.5: Merhi won three races to Stevens’ two, but Merhi scored much more consistently and stayed in the hunt for the title until the final round.

However this may prove a short-lived contest as Merhi has only been confirmed to drive for the team in the “opening rounds” of the season.

Which Manor driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Will Stevens (46%)
  • Roberto Merhi (54%)

Total Voters: 514

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Who won last year?

Revisit how the team mate battles unfolded in 2014:

2015 F1 season

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93 comments on “Who will win the battle of the team mates in 2015?”

  1. I wnet pretty manstream except for Max vs. Sainz. I think Sainz is going to do better overall.

    1. This is one of the battles that I’m most looking forward to this year and I can’t wait to see if Verstappen can live up to the hype.

      I think both will impress and I couldn’t call it either way!

    2. @xtwl I completely agree, Sainz’s quality has been lost amid the “marvel of Max” coverage. Whilst Verstappen could have probably used a season in FR3.5 or GP2, Sainz is completely ready for F1. His first ever test in an F1 car, in the STR8 on the opening day of the 2013 Silverstone test, instantly grabbed the attention of the team, as did his performance in the RB9, and he certainly outshone fellow F1 test debutante Daniil Kvyat that day. In 2013 he only fell behind Kvyat in the final three rounds of GP3 (with the gap between them largely owed to crashes and spins for Sainz whilst Kvyat was winning), and in FR3.5 he was peerless. This is a man that he been deemed as better than Jean Eric-Vergne, otherwise he wouldn’t have been given the seat. Perhaps a year from now a more experienced Verstappen may prove too much for Carlos, but for now I would consider it as encouraging for Max if he can consistently qualify within two tenths of Sainz.

      1. Sainz certainly has talent but Verstappen has had an amazing win % in the junior formulas. I think he should have been given a year in Renault 3.5 or GP2 before F1 but it’s clear that he has speed and I’m not sure that Sainz will be able to match him.

        1. @hic142 One season of car racing is not a sufficient basis to suggest that winning percentage would continue. Do you think, had he been placed in GP2, that Verstappen would have managed a championship assault? With Vandoorne, Gasly, Lynn, Marciello, Rossi, Evans and possibly even Ocon in GP2 in 2015, I think he would have struggled to score any victories let alone be in the championship fight. Also Verstappen’s reputation mainly derives from his incomparable record in karting, but the fact that he won races in his first season of car racing is immaterial. Sainz and Frijns won race/s in Formula BMW Europe in their first season, and Vandoorne and Hulkenberg even took titles. Yes, the size of the stage, FIA European F3, is some of the substance of Max’s achievement, but last year’s F3 line-up was somewhat unimpressive versus this year’s, and versus the litany of F1 names Sainz/Frijns/Kvyat were fighting in their first seasons. I remain unconvinced that 2015 represents greatly more than a learning year for Verstappen.

        2. @hic142 That’s why I said overall. I think Verstappen will be faster in qualy but I think over the longer disatances with fuel/tyres Sainz will have the edge ever so slightly.

          1. Yes, he has more racing experience that Verstappen so you are probably right. I think Verstappen will improve throughout the course of 2015 though and push Sainz hard near the end of the season.

      2. Valid and solid reasoning, and yet I think you’ll be surprised. Verstappen will win that battle hands down. His raw pace (albeit in simulators at Red Bull) so far has outstripped even Vettel and Ricciardo. He seems capable of adapting quickly, has great race craft, very consistent. Sainz is a hot or cold driver, which was very evident last year. When he is hot, I can see him perhaps matching Verstappen, but when he’s not, he will be markedly second best.

  2. Mercedes: Hamilton
    Red Bull: Ricciardo
    Williams: Bottas
    Ferrari: Vettel
    McLaren: Alonso
    Force India: Hulkenberg
    Toro Rosso: Verstappen
    Lotus: Grosjean
    Manor: Merhi (assuming he makes more than one race)
    Sauber: Ericsson

    1. exactly the same choices for mee too. Although its possible that Mehri won’t be in the car for the whole year (doing FR 3.5?)

      1. @craig-o @bascb Same here – I think Merhi will be in front even with only 5 races, unless there is a crazy multi-car pile up in one of the later races.

      2. ColdFly F1 (@)
        10th March 2015, 20:45

        @bascb, forgot about Merhi only being confirmed for “the opening rounds” .

    2. I made exact same choices except for Ericsson. He has failed to perform in the junior formulas and was imo the worst driver on the f1 grid last year whereas Nasr did well in GP2 last year, taking 4 wins and 3rd place in the championship.

  3. I think the following will likely be the case:

    Too close to call (ie: a few points here or there decide it):
    McLaren
    Toro Rosso
    Williams
    Force India

    One driver clearly edging the other, but not in an embarrassing way:
    Mercedes (Hamilton)
    Ferrari (Vettel)
    Red Bull (Ricciardo)

    Absolute trouncing:
    Lotus (Grosjean)
    Manor (Mehri)
    Sauber (Nasr)

    1. I like this categorising, mine:
      1: (to these I have to add that I think it will really be close, but likely their teammates will beat them, they’re rather my wishes here – in the other categories what I think are really realistic)
      Mercedes (Rosberg)
      McLaren (Button)
      Ferrari (Räikkönen)
      2:
      Force India (Hülkenberg)
      Red Bull (Ricciardo)
      Lotus (Grosjean)
      Manor (Merhi)
      Williams (Bottas)
      3:
      Toro Rosso (Verstappen)
      Sauber (Nasr)

    2. Close call:
      Hamilton (Mercedes)
      Grosjean (Lotus)
      Merhi (Manor)

      Clear edge:
      Vettel (Ferrari)
      Alonso (McLaren)
      Hulkenberg (Force India)
      Nasr (Sauber)

      Domination:
      Bottas (Williams)
      Ricciardo (Red Bull)
      Verstappen (Toro Rosso)

    3. I really like this fashion of dividing the various team battles. However, I’m surprised you all rate Nasr so highly over Ericsson. Ericsson does have (almost) a year of F1 experience, he was more or less on par with Nasr in GP2 with a slight edge to the Brazilian. Ericsson also outpaced the less heavy Kobayashi from the middle to the end of the 2014 season once the brake-by-wire setup was to his liking.

      1. Still, allow me!!!

        Close call:
        Rosberg (Mercedes)
        Räikkönen (Ferrari)
        Ericsson (Sauber)
        Alonso (McLaren)

        Clear edge:
        Bottas (Williams)
        Hülkenberg (Force India)
        Grosjean (Lotus)
        Merhi (Manor) (if he stays in the series)
        Verstappen (Toro Rosso)

        Domination:
        Ricciardo (Red Bull)

    4. I’m surprised there’s so much difference between Grosjean and Maldonado in the poll (97-3 atm), I had to think hard about that one. If they had a good car I’d give it to Grosjean, but in a midfield battle I’m not so sure.

      1. @george I had to think too – in my opinion they are very similar on speed, but Maldonado is less consistent throughout a season and that’s why Grosjean can get more points from more occasions, even though their best results should be similar.

  4. IMO:

    Trouncing: Grosjean, Ricciardo

    Decisive: Nasr, Mehri(in the races he gets), Hamilton, Hulkenberg, Alonso, Bottas

    Very close, may go the other way by a slim margin: Raikkonen, Sainz

    1. How can you have Alonso in the ‘Decisive’ category and then put Raikkonen in the ‘Very close’ category? That’s a contradiction.

      1. Sorry, senior moment there! I’m out by a year!! please disregard.

  5. I reckon the Verstappen and Sainz battle will be similar to Maldonado and Senna of 2012.

    1. I read that as Maldonado vs Ayrton Senna LOL

    2. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
      10th March 2015, 15:06

      Refresh my memory? Do you mean that when they both finish they are quite evenly matched, but more often than not one of them retires or crashes out?

    3. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
      10th March 2015, 15:07

      Or: Sainz wins one race but fails to score for the rest of the season, while Vertsappen will be more consistent?
      I can’t help but feel that there is not one clear story of Williams ’12 that you refer to.

  6. I went with the mainstream except for Button and Ericsson.

    1. I was sooo close to choosing Button as well, but it seemed a bit daring. I really hope it will be a tight battle. I always thought Buttons speed was very underrated. He is often ultra conservative during races, but he can be a flamboyant risk taking driver, when he wants to. Looking forward to another Button/Magnussen battle too :)

  7. I have a feeling that many are underestimating Kimi with respect to Vettel. He might be marginally ahead of Vettel.

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      10th March 2015, 13:05

      I think the Allison car will suit him better than SV, but whilst I expect Raikkonen to have a much better year than last, I still think Vettel will edge him out.

    2. One season is enough to clear the board, it seems. Kimi who?
      Yet if one looks at his 2012 and 2013 seasons, he achieved more than other much better rated drivers, in an arguably modest car.
      I hope he will be the relative black horse of 2015, provided Ferrari develops nicely throughout the year.

      1. lol a modest car? Haha, the car Gro was the only one who could live with the RBulls in Suzuka? That car was very good also great on tyres. Kimi was not bad he was awful so many feel he as lost it a little bit which is no shame as he is not young now. Great drvier but not great no.

      2. @floring Don’t get me wrong, Kimi’s performances in 2012 and 2013 were very impressive, but I wouldn’t call Kimi’s 2012 and 2013 cars modest. The Lotus cars of 2012 and 2013 were actually really good racing cars, and the Lotus was likely the second-best car for the latter half of 2013. Not so great in qualifying, but they had extremely good tyre conservation which gave them great race pace, plus they were very reliable. A complete contrast to the McLaren of 2012 and Mercedes of 2013.

        The 2012 McLaren was very quick in qualifying but also very unreliable, costing its drivers a huge amount of points, particularly Hamilton who lost 2 likely victories to unreliability (plus more to McLaren’s constant pit failures).

        The 2013 Mercedes was also very quick in qualifying, but had such bad tyre conservation that it fell back dramatically in the races. At Spain (where Mercedes locked out the front row in qualifying) during the race they were running slower than the Williams at one point and Hamilton dropped back from 2nd to 12th just due to the horrible race pace. In Bahrain Rosberg dropped back from pole to 9th. They only won in Monaco by holding everyone up at a snail’s pace after taking pole because overtaking is impossible at Monaco. The tyre conservation situation slightly improved later on, but the car’s speed fell back a bit as Mercedes focused their efforts onto 2014.

        1. That said, I do think that Kimi is likely to at least match Vettel, in fact I expect him to have an edge over him this season if the car truly does suit him better than the F14 T. Let me explain:

          In 2014, Raikkonen’s problem was mainly just having a unresponsive front end, which should be fixed with the new car. The conservative tyres were arguably a factor as well (just as they were in the second half of 2013), but his biggest issue is likely to be fixed. As you say, we shouldn’t forget his 2012 & 2013 seasons – Kimi is a real force when on form.

          By contrast, Vettel problems were allegedly more complicated, and are more a result of the fundamental characteristics of the current cars (not least of which is the dramatically reduced rear downforce). I think Vettel at top form (e.g. 2011/2013) would likely edge out Raikkonen on top form, but I don’t think that Vettel will be at top form until the cars recover some of that lost rear downforce, so not for another season or two (perhaps the 2017 rule changes?).

    3. @kiransripathy In F1 you as good as your last race, but since Kimi’s last races have been highly lackluster his stock has fallen away profoundly. However this is a man that can run rings around the entire grid when the planets align, so will 2015 herald a return to form for F1’s most frustrating champion? For me, the signs are good for the Iceman to have the upper hand at Ferrari in 2015:

      He is an experienced Ferrari man – Vettel has switched teams just twice in ten years of being involved with F1, and the most recent was 2009, his inexperience of a procedural/organizational culture that is different to Red Bull’s is zero. Equally though, the team has undergone such a comprehensive restructure this may be immaterial since the entire team is starting from a fresh place.

      Fernando is gone – Alonso is a dominant force in an F1 team, and his highly specific requirements of the car, requirements that he can eloquently communicate, have the potential to handicap his teammate. Whilst Fernando prefers a slow steering rack, for better slow speed precision, and an aero balance biased towards the rear, Kimi finds understeer intolerable. So does Vettel, and this uniformity in stylistic preference can allow Ferrari direction in their development, and it won’t necessarily handicap Kimi if he is not as verbal as Seb in his developmental preferences.

      The balance is back – The SF-15T appears not to have inherited the crippling understeer of its predecessor (this understeer was an inherent problem, not a result of Alonso’s balance preference), and this is immediately perceivable from Kimi’s form in pre-season testing. He has been faster than Vettel in both qualifying and race runs, and even though some of this margin will be owed of Vettel easing himself into the team, it is encouraging for Raikkonen that the root of this performance has some tangible root: an increased level of front grip. Since Raikkonen’s style is quite Button-esque (albeit they diverge crucially in that Button finds oversteer difficult to manage, whereas Kimi has no such issue) in that it is classically correct and always in accordance to the geometrically optimal line, the precision he style demands necessitates good feedback from the front of the car.

      Since the Ferrari is performing well and since Raikkonen has so often been tremendous at Melbourne, I think a Raikkonen podium is a distinct possibility. That said, his younger compatriot may have something to say about that.

      1. @countrygent Alonso doesn’t need a car to suit his style to do well unlike Button, Vettel , Raikkonen and Maldonado.

        1. @mashiat That’s true, but it doesn’t mean he wasn’t also trying to see the car develop to his liking. In fact if Fernando is extracting the points from the car regardless of its balance, the logical step is to back him developmentally.

  8. Couple of these will be trouncings. Grosjean. Verstappen. Hulkenburg. Nasr. Bottas. The rest will be very close. Also interested to see who will be Manor’s number two long term, because whoever he is, if he isn’t a paydriver he’ll absolutely destroy Stevens.

    1. if he isn’t a paydriver he’ll absolutely destroy Stevens.

      There is such a thing as a paydriver that also has talent. Look at Niki Lauda. ;)

      1. True. But I can’t see any of the GP2 or FR3.5 hopefuls being the next Lauda ;-)

    2. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
      10th March 2015, 15:10

      I agree with most of your trouncing predictions. But why Bottas? Last year Bottas and Massa were quite evenly matched, taking into account that Massa was bumped out by others in some occasions, or hit (engine) trouble more often than Bottas.

      Massa-Bottas is definitely on my watch-list, a battle that I am really looking forward to.

      1. Bottas has more potential for improvement than Massa.

      2. Think that Massa is on a steady decline, but Bottas is still improving. Was better last year already, think it will be a bigger difference this year.

  9. Hamilton – Rosberg
    Ricciardo – Kvyat
    Massa – Bottas
    Vettel – Raikkonen
    Alonso – Button
    Hulkenberg – Perez
    Verstappen – Sainz Jr
    Grosjean – Maldonado
    Ericsson – Nasr
    Stevens – Merhi

    1. @philereid – Seconded.
      My only qualms are with Vettel and Alonso. My head says they will have the upper hand but my heart really wants me to nominate Raikkonen and Button. I think we would see very different lists if the question was “Who would you like to win the battle of the team mates in 2015?”

  10. Mercedes – Hamilton
    Red Bull – Ricciardo
    Williams – Bottas
    Ferrari – Vettel
    McLaren – Alonso
    Force India – Hulkenberg
    Toro Rosso – Verstappen
    Sauber – Ericsson
    Manor Marussia – Mehri (if he stays for the entire season)

    1. Lotus – Grosjean

  11. On the subject of team-mates, I’m getting truly fed up with journalists lazily comparing every competitive driver pairing to Senna and Prost. It’s particularly the BBC starring as the guilty party and they’ve come up trumps again with this article about Alonso and Button: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/31733519

    I’ve lost count of the number of times they bring it up for new team-mates: Alonso and Hamilton, Hamilton and Button, Hamilton and Rosberg, Alonso and Raikkonen, Alonso and Button, Vettel and Raikkonen… it’s constant and frankly ridiculous to attempt to shoe-horn these individual personalities into two set roles.

    Alonso is Alonso, Rosberg is Rosberg, Hamilton is Hamilton (no matter how much he himself wants to be Senna…!), Button is Button. Let them be and get excited about the prospect of the upcoming season without constantly referring to history.

    1. Stevens reminds me of Nico Prost, and Merhi could be the new Bruno Senna.

      1. Poking the bear? LOL

        1. @ben-n I don’t know where you get this idea from that HAM wants to be Senna. No he doesn’t. He wants to emulate him by winning the same number of titles. Vast difference. He himself just last week said even if he achieved 3 titles he could never be in the same class as Senna and Fangio. From his own mouth. He was his idol growing up that’s all. So this myth that he wants to be regarded as Senna is quite astounding. But then again it’s Hamilton, why am I always surprised by the amount of misconceptions about him?

  12. Out of pure favouritsm I’ve voted for Lewis in the Mercedes battle. But I don’t think Rosberg will be steamrollered in the way Webber was by Vettel, this year will be closer than last year. And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Nico took the title at the end.

    Otherwise I seem to have voted the same as everyone else for the other teams, except Manor where I went for Stevens. But that is simply because nobody knows how long Mehri is going to race for them.

  13. My votes:
    Hamilton – Rosberg
    Ricciardo – Kvyat
    Massa – Bottas
    Vettel – Raikkonen
    Alonso – Button
    Hulkenberg – Perez
    Verstappen – Sainz Jr
    Grosjean – Maldonado
    Ericsson – Nasr
    Stevens – Merhi

    I have some doubts:
    – Is Fernando really OK and in top form?
    – Verstappen can surprise me so that one might be closer or end up differently than what I think right now.
    – Not sure about Sauber but Nasr does seem to be be better. Will Ericsson stay until the end (for sure we can compare right up until they stop being team-mates)?
    – For Manor will any of these 2, or the team, stay until the end? Regardless, there will be a winner because they will at least participate in a GP together, and even if they don’t race we can see who does better in the Practice (assuming they will run in Practice).

    1. @bakano – sadly for McLaren, Alonso could take quite a few races off and it wouldn’t affect the points scored. Nearer the end of the season when they really get to grips with the car we might see some good point scoring for McLaren. That’s when Alonso’s relentless tenacity should favour his points tally. If the car is well balanced, maybe Button will rise to the occasion. There’s always hope.

      1. @tribaltalker I agre with what you say but the poll here is not who will score more points but who will win the battle of team mates. In this case regardless of the points scored, and even regardless of the DNFs one driver will be ranked higher than the other in the finishing position of the races and in the championship table. In normal conditions Alonso should beat Button on a regular basis (but not demolish him) BUT if he is not OK then Button will for sure gain the upper hand.
        Even if both have a misearble year, which could well be the case.

        1. @bakano – Of course, you’re right. When we’re talking about two World Champion drivers and McLaren, we shouldn’t have to worry too much about non-scoring rounds… but times have changed and you are correct that we will have to look at performances well out of the top ten. Sad times.

  14. My prediction
    Mercedes : Hamilton (close)
    Red Bull : Ricciardo (dominant)
    Williams : Bottas (close)
    Ferrari : Vettel (close)
    McLaren : Alonso (close)
    Force India : Hulkenberg (dominant)
    Toro Rosso : Sainz (dominant)
    Lotus : Grosjean (dominant)
    Sauber : Ericsson (close)
    Manor : Stevens (close)

  15. Interesting. I went against the grain with some of my choices. I have a feeling Massa will do very well this year and beat Bottas. No particular reason, just that I think the scoreline flattered Bottas a bit last year and if Massa stays out of trouble he could have a very good season. I also think Sainz will beat Verstappen and that Raikkonen will have a slight edge over Vettel. It all depends on how well Vettel settles in at the new team, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Vettel finishes ahead. Verstappen? Its a lot of pressure for a 17 year old kid to be thrown into F1. Sainz is hardly a veteran either so we’ll have to wait and see.

    Hamilton, Ricciardo, Massa, Raikkonen, Alonso, Hulkenberg, Sainz, Grosjean, Nasr. I don’t think Manor will finish the season so I didn’t pick one of their drivers.

  16. Personally went with the following:

    Hamilton
    While Mercedes probably has improved their reliability, I imagine some problems will affect Hamilton in and outside the car. However, of his car holds up better than last year, I doubt Rosberg will be as much of a problem as he was last year. They will still be pretty close, but I personally think Hamilton’s the better.

    Ricciardo
    I don’t want to underestimate Kvyat, but Ricciardo had more experience as he beat Vettel and Vettel had his problems with the car. They will probably be close, but Daniel has shown some impressive racecraft last year, while Kvyat was a little inconsistent (as is to be expected from a rookie).

    Bottas
    Bottas is a star of the future, even with a resurgent Massa, I expect Bottas to be the star of Williams’ season, as he has been thus far in his career.

    Raikkonen
    This is my only ‘bet’, as my mind knows Vettel is at a better stage of his career, I’d like Raikkonen to at least get something from his second stint at Ferrari.

    Alonso
    Fernando might miss out on the first race, his consistency and ability will probably not falter him with McLaren. Again I do not want to underestimate Button, but he has had periods of underperforming in recent seasons, and with McLaren Honda looking at some problems, that might be the difference between finishing in and outside the points.

    Hulkenberg
    Long story short: I think Perez is better at pulling amazing performances from his hat, while Hulkenberg is more consistent. The difference won’t be that large, as I expect them to have trouble scoring points until the European season.

    Sainz
    As far as talent goes, I think Verstappen might have Sainz beat. But with some of Verstappen’s moves in F3 made me think that he needs more experience before he can translate the speed to consistent results. That, and Sainz is pretty good himself.

    Grosjean
    Maldonado is a race winner and had a decent 2014, Grosjean seems to be more consistent and, given the right car, his first win is long overdue.

    Nasr
    Did pretty well in GP2, Ericsson is very average.

    Merhi
    Merhi seems talented at least, Stevens again, average.

  17. wonder what the reaction will be if k-mag beats button this week-end in straight fight, should be fun :)

    1. …70% vs 30% of the points and 15 vs 3 in races…. There is no way to spin around straight facts… even if Button does not get off the grid and Mag goes on to win the race… A race doesnt rewrite a whole season.

  18. Marcus Ericsson v Felipe Nasr winner will be…Giedo van der Garde :D

  19. Not much love for Massa it seems. I guess I don’t rate Bottas as highly as others do.

    1. @debaser91 – I think people like Massa… and he’s very quick on occasion, it’s just the frequency that he gets tangled up in incidents which seem to be rarely his fault. At least, incidents which he attests are caused by others.
      On the other side of the garage, Bottas seems fast, tough, no-nonsense and a relatively safe pair of hands. He seems like a better bet, over a season.
      Also the vote percentage is a measure of the proportion of F1 Fanatics who have made a choice. It doesn’t reflect how easy or hard that choice was to make.

  20. Raikkonen Rosberg will beat their team mates this season

  21. Ooooh, you are such a tease Keith. There is one significant variable to consider. Which driver will the team favour, because we all know, whatever is said, there will always be a clear “favourite” which will skew these results..

  22. Hamilton – Rosberg
    Ricciardo – Kvyat
    Massa – Bottas
    Vettel – Raikkonen
    Alonso – Button
    Hulkenberg – Perez
    Verstappen – Sainz Jr
    Grosjean – Maldonado
    Ericsson – Nasr
    Stevens – Merhi

  23. Hamilton, Ricciardo, Bottas, Räikkönen, Alonso, Perez, Sainz jnr., Grosjean, Nasr, Merhi.

  24. I chose the top ranker in all the cases, except choosing Button.
    I think the McLaren pair will be close all year, but Alonso’s abscence (and maybe some later effects on his driving style) can favour the outcome for Jenson.

  25. Mercedes: Hamilton (60% of team’s points)
    Red Bull: Kvyat (51%)
    Williams: Bottas (55%)
    Ferrari: Vettel (65%)
    Mclaren: Alonso (60%)
    Force India: Perez (55%)
    Toro Rosso: Verstappen (51%)
    Lotus: Grosjean (55%)
    Sauber: Ericsson (60%)
    Manor: Hard to say since we don’t know whether Merhi is going to drive the whole season or not, but I do expect him to be better than Stevens.

  26. a rejuvenated Massa who enjoyed a strong conclusion to his 2015 campaign.

    Should have been the 2014 campaign!

  27. To sum it up: I think Rosberg will beat Hamilton (In some statements, he seems a bit down – I think Rosberg is mentally much stronger), Vettel will marginally beat Raikkonen but only just, and that Massa will beat Bottas because I think Massa is fundamentally quicker and has the car to start at the front and therefor wont be in trouble as much as when he starts in the middle of the grid.

    1. I’d love to know why some people think Nico has great mental strength, or at least superior mental strength to Hamilton. I really don’t agree. Lewis was under a lot more pressure last season and dealt with it admirably. Reliability problems, the expectation that he would beat Nico from day 1 in a title winning car, Nico hitting him in Spa, the Monaco qualifying controversy, he overcame it all to win the title. Whereas when the heat was truly on for Nico after Spa, he went into his shell and got dominated by Lewis in the back end of the season.

      1. @debaser91, I see your point, and you make a good argument. Still I think Rosberg is more stable, and therefor mentally stronger. Hamilton’s mood can change quickly and varies from race to race, or even session to session. Sometimes it seems as he feels it is him against the world, putting too much blame on himself. Sometimes he blames others when he himself is to blame. He made some silly mistakes last year, pushing too hard. Qualifying in Bahrain and Austria, and in the race in Brasil. On the other hand, Nico showed great humility in last years final race, and got over his defeat pretty quickly and shifted focus on 2015. Im not saying my argument is stronger then yours, but it’s mine, therefor I stand by it. But it’s debatable, and I can see your point.

        1. Hamilton is a more volatile character than Rosberg, on that I agree and his mood as shown by his interviews with the media can fluctuate. But I see no reason why he won’t pick up where he left off at the end of last year. This year he has the chance to equal his greatest hero in Senna in terms of three world titles, I am sure that will focus his mind on the occasions where his emotions get the better of him.

          I don’t really buy the humility thing in Abu Dhabi, I said so at the time that its easy to be the bigger man where there’s nothing at stake. His behaviour throughout the season spoke more to me about his character than what he did at Abu Dhabi.

          1. Yes, I think if Hamilton wins in Australia (unlike last year), he will be off and Rosberg will not catch him and go into early meltdown.

  28. Hamilton
    Ricciardo
    Bottas
    Vettel
    Alonso
    Hulkenberg
    Verstappen
    Grosjean
    Nasr
    Mehri

    Most of them were fairly easy.

  29. It will be razor thing between Hamilton and Rosberg. Rosberg has the speed, but Hamilton knows how to manage the fuel and the recovery better, and thus often walked away in the race. I think Rosberg can learn this skill but Hamilton can’t really get more raw pace, so It may be even closer this year between them.

  30. My view…..
    Mercedes. Hamilton. Probably.
    Red Bull. Ricciardo. Definitely.
    McLaren. Button. Possibly.
    Williams. Bottas. Likely.
    Force India. Hulkenburg. Surely.
    Torro Rosso. Sainz Jr. Perhaps.
    Lotus. Grosjean. Odds-on.
    Sauber. Nasr. Maybe.
    Manor. Stevens. Just.

    1. Ooops. I forgot the Scuderia.
      Vettel. No question.

  31. Mercedes – Hamilton def. Rosberg
    Red Bull – Ricciardo def. Kvyat
    Williams – #HashtagBottas def. Massa
    Ferrari – Vettel retires Kimi
    McLaren – Alonso def. Button
    Force India – HULKAMANIA def. Perez
    Toro Rosso – Max the Bandit def. 5ainz
    Lotus – Grosjean def. Maldonado
    Sauber – The other Felipe def. Ericsson
    Manor – Merhi de la Frijns van der Garde von Vandoorne of the Rossi Per-Magnussen def. Stevens

  32. I went mainstream except Ericsson – I reckon Nazr will be a bit wild. I’d love to see Kimi beat Seb, but so far I don’t get that feeling.

    Some wishful thinking over Rosberg, I can’t help thinking. I give him 3 wins, Lewis 16 (or whatever balance we end up with).

  33. I’m just looking forward to seeing the cars running. It’s Hamiltons to lose, I’d like to see Seb closest, or better, never been a Vettel fan, despite admiring what he’s acheived. He has a point to prove though, and doing it in a red car would be amazing.

  34. I have a doubt about Stevens´s car number. 28 or 46 which he used in his debut race ?

  35. I always get these right so I’m writing it down, again for posterity. Last year I got Maldonado wrong but I bet on him again.

    Ham
    Ric
    Bot
    Rai
    Alo
    Hul
    Vrs
    GARDE
    Mer (even for just 2 or 3 race)

  36. Only two clear winners for me here:
    Hamilton to show up Rosberg this year, no contest. Last year was the closest Rosberg will ever be to Hamilton.
    Dan Ricciardo to do the same to Kvyat, by possibly a larger margin! I see Ricciardo mounting a serious challenge to beat Rosberg to 2nd place in WDC this year.

    My upset of the year:
    Raikkonen to win at least one race and finish ahead of Vettel more often than not in an Allison designed Ferrari.

  37. Rosberg will be annihilating this season
    Riccardo will destroy Kvyat
    Raikkonen has no excuse
    I hop force india is sandbagging
    maldonado will crash

  38. Merc-Hamilton
    Mclaren-Alonso
    Redbull-Ricardo
    Ferrari -Raikkonen
    Williams -Bottas

  39. People often use stats to ‘prove’ all kind of opinions so here goes:

    Last year only two drivers got more wins than their team mate. Ricciardo got 3 more than his team mate, but Hamilton got 6 more than his team mate. So that means he twice as more good than his team mate as Ricciardo is.

    And even Alonso didn’t get more wins than Kimi so why don’t people say Hamilton is the bestest of the drivers?

  40. Here are my predictions on who will come out on top in the team mate battles in 2015.

    Mercedes

    Judging from pre-season testing the winner of this inter-team battle will end up as the World Champion just as last year and I think the result will be similar to last year as well with Hamilton winning.

    If both drivers are fully focused, on form and don’t have reliability problems I think Hamilton would beat Rosberg 8 times out of 10 and so would come out on top over the course of the season.

    The potential problems I see for Hamilton will be if has more reliability problems or if he lets all the added commitments that come with been the reigning champion or any issues in his private life distract him.

    Although Rosberg won the pole battle in 2014, you could argue that on quite a few occasions it was because Hamilton made a mistake in qualifying, but on Sundays he did not make many errors and performed much better than Rosberg in the races.

    Even if Hamilton managed to cut those errors and dominated his Rosberg more, if Mercedes have the car advantage it seems to then even if Hamilton has the perfect weekend Rosberg should still finish second and so the championship could still be tight until the final few races.

    Red Bull

    Although it was a big shock that Ricciardo outperformed Vettel so much last year I don’t think a similar story is on the cards again at Red Bull in 2015, I think Ricciardo should comfortably finish ahead of Kvyat in the championship.

    Williams

    I think Bottas should comfortably be the lead driver again this season but Massa still has enough to keep him honest.

    Ferrari

    After their performances in 2014 both drivers have a lot to prove in 2015. It seems that the new car is more to Raikkonen’s liking this year so he should have a better year but I think Vettel will come out on top over the course of the season.

    McLaren

    It has been a bad pre-season for McLaren and Honda, and although they have said the other teams had the same problems last year with the new engines, the other engine makers all supplied at least three teams last year which meant at least three times the running and three times the amount of data.

    As it currently stands I don’t think anyone would be that surprised if a McLaren did not even finish a race until they are back in Europe.

    Assuming Alonso comes back with no problems I think he should finish ahead of Button in the championship unless McLaren’s problems continue for most of the season so that the drivers finishing order is determined by who has the better reliability.

    Force India

    I think it will be fairly close at Force India but overall I think Hulkenberg will finish ahead of Perez,

    Toro Rosso

    Considering that Verstappen was selected ahead of Sainz by the Red Bull/Toro Rosso management and was only picked when Kvyat was unexpectedly promoted to Red Bull, I expect Verstappen to come out on top.

    Lotus

    I expect Lotus to have a better year than in 2014 and could even achieve a podium or two. On the driver side I think Grosjean should comfortably beat Maldonado.

    To me Grosjean has seemed to improve and mature since he had gained a bad reputation but I just haven’t seen any sign of that with Maldonado. So although Maldonado has proved he is a race winner if he hooks it all up it is outweighed by all his mistakes.

    Sauber

    Assuming that the two Sauber drivers are Ericcson and Nasr, I think it will be close but maybe Nasr will edge it.

    Manor

    I don’t follow junior formula, so really only using the information in this article I think Merhi will come out on top if both drivers have a full season.

    Generally I think the further down the grid you go there is more chance that your final championship position can be determined by one freak result, say in a rain affected race a driver who has been consistently outperformed by his team mate may be able to crawl round and finish the race when half the grid has crash out.

    So I wouldn’t be surprised if by the end of the season a driver may have finished higher in the championship than his team mate even though the general consensus was he was not the best of the two.

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