Which F1 driver was the best performer during the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend?
Review how each driver got on below and vote for who impressed you the most during the last race weekend.
Malaysian Grand Prix driver-by-driver
Lewis Hamilton – Missed a significant chunk of Friday running due to a power unit inlet system problem. Nonetheless a rapid lap at the start of Q3 secured his second pole position of the year – neither he nor Rosberg beat the time as the track dried. He led at the start but pitting under the Safety Car dropped him back into the back and by the time he merged Vettel was ten second up the road, and after over 40 laps of chasing the gap was pretty much the same.
Nico Rosberg – Was bumped back to third on the grid by Vettel despite having the advantage of being the last Mercedes driver to run on a drying track. Mercedes tend to carefully manage which driver has that benefit, so it was a surprise to see Rosberg dropping back behind Hamilton after they had taken to the track. He finished where he started after using a similar strategy to Hamilton, and gained on his team mate during the second half of the race.
Daniel Ricciardo – Fourth on the grid in a wet qualifying gave further cause to believe Red Bull’s shortcomings are in the chassis department rather than the engine. But in the race it was a problem with his brakes which held him back – a string of cars demoted Ricciardo’s RB11 leaving him last of the points-scorers.
Daniil Kvyat – Fared slightly better with Red Bull’s brake problems and finished ahead of Ricciardo despite being tipped into a spin by Perez at one stage. He felt this was the most they could take from a race in which both Red Bulls finished behind their Toro Rosso siblings.
Felipe Massa – Said the team is still lagging behind in wet conditions after qualifying. He lined up ahead of Bottas and make a good start to take fifth and would have finished there had he not lost out to his team mate at the end.
Valtteri Bottas – In contrast Bottas had a disastrous first lap, plummeting to 14th place. He was also one of several drivers who had to queue behind his team mate during the dash to the pits on lap four, but once back on track he quickly made up places and by lap 11 he was on Massa’s tail. Had an entertaining scrap with Verstappen, who he passed on the outside of turn five, and he later used the same move to claim fifth from Massa.
Sebastian Vettel – Exclaimed “not again” when he missed out on pole position to Hamilton by less than a tenth of a second, as he also had done last year. But he was clearly pleased with the Ferrari’s performance, and better was to come in the race. He rebuffed Rosberg at the start, inherited the lead during the Safety Car period when the Mercedes drivers pitted, but picked off both of them after his first pit stop. That put him in position to clinch his first victory for Ferrari at his second attempt.
Kimi Raikkonen – Missed the cut for Q3 after getting stuck behind Ericsson – “he was there trying to do his job”, Raikkonen conceded – and his weekend got worse when the race started. Nasr tagged the back of his Ferrari, puncturing a tyre, and after it was replaced Raikkonen had fallen to 18th place. The Safety Car played into his hands, however, and a three-stop strategy allowed him to spend more time on medium tyres so he could make up places. His recovery to a comfortable fourth underlined Ferrari’s pace.
Fernando Alonso – In his first race back after injury Alonso seemed to have a pace advantage over Button during practice, though he was pipped by his team mate in qualifying. Although an ERS failure ended his race well before the chequered flag, there was some consolation to be drawn from the fact he ran as high as eighth before then.
Jenson Button – Few of Alonso’s recent team mates have kept him in sight as successfully as Button did during the brief amount of time both were on track during the Malaysian Grand Prix. Like Alonso, Button also failed to finish, in his case due to a turbo failure.
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Nico Hulkenberg – Both Force India drivers were caught out by the rain in Q2 but Hulkenberg made amends on lap one. “Mega first lap!” he exclaimed on the radio after making up six places to gain seventh. That became second when the Safety Car came out, but after racing resumed Vettel left him behind at over two seconds per lap. As he came under increasing pressure from behind he tangled with Kvyat while under attack from both Red Bulls and was given a debatable ten-second penalty which scuppered his chance of points.
Sergio Perez – For the second weekend in a row Perez had a disappointing race. He lost a lot of ground after the Safety Car period as his medium tyres began to fade, then an unnecessary collision with Grosjean meant he also received a ten-second penalty.
Max Verstappen – Despite having little experience of how an F1 car handles in the wet, Verstappen took a fine sixth on the grid. He looked cautious at the start, however, and by lap two had fallen to tenth, one place ahead of his team mate. Toro Rosso split their strategies when the Safety Car came out: Verstappen pitted and so by the end of the race he was battling Sainz for position. He prevailed, and seventh place made him F1’s youngest ever points-scorer.
Carlos Sainz Jnr – Admitted he was at fault for not reaching Q3 but went on the attack at the start, making up four places. Ran fourth after the Safety Car period but was never going to keep the likes of the Mercedes drivers behind him. But he made his two-stop strategy work – he was the only two-stopper to score points besides Vettel.
Romain Grosjean – Q3 was the first time he’d driven the new Lotus in the rain which explains why the team chose to begin the session on full wet weather tyres. However they did not get their timings right and Grosjean missed out on setting a quick lap on intermediate tyres at the end. He was also penalised ten places by the stewards for skipping the pit exit queue in Q2. Another driver who didn’t pit during the Safety Car period, Grosjean climbed to third but was passed with ease by the Mercedes. He was later knocked into a spin by Perez which cost him the chance of a points finish.
Pastor Maldonado – Was near the end of the queue in Q2 and missed the cut for the top ten. In the race he suffered and puncture at the start and was penalised for driving too quickly during the Safety Car period, then retired with a brake problem while running behind Grosjean.
Marcus Ericsson – Made it into Q3 at Raikkonen’s expense but threw away a chance of another points finish by spinning into the gravel on lap three.
Felipe Nasr – Never looked happy with his car’s set-up all weekend, though missing the first practice session while Raffaele Marciello drove didn’t help. Damaged his front wing in contact with Raikkonen at the end of lap one and so made the first of four pit stops on lap two. He did set the fourth-fastest lap of the race, however.
Will Stevens – Only participated in practice as a fuel system problem kept him from qualifying or starting the race.
Roberto Merhi – Did 23 laps in practice – three fewer than Stevens – and his best lap in third practice was 6.98% slower than than fastest time. He wasn’t able to get within the 107% mark in qualifying but the stewards allowed him to start on the strength of his practice performance. Surprisingly the car ran reliably to the end, and Merhi finished a thrice-lapped 15th, albeit after holding up Button due to his hesitation behind the Safety Car.
Qualifying and race results summary
|Driver||Started||Gap to team mate (Q)||Laps leading team mate||Pitted||Finished||Gap to team mate (R)|
|Max Verstappen||6th||-2.271s||29/55||3||7th||Not on same lap|
|Carlos Sainz Jnr||15th||+2.271s||26/55||2||8th||Not on same lap|
Review the race data
- 2015 Malaysian Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops
- 2015 Malaysian Grand Prix lap charts
- 2015 Malaysian Grand Prix lap times and fastest laps
Vote for your driver of the weekend
Which driver do you think did the best job this weekend?
Cast your vote below and explain your choice in the comments.
Who was the best driver of the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend?
- Lewis Hamilton (2%)
- Nico Rosberg (0%)
- Daniel Ricciardo (0%)
- Daniil Kvyat (0%)
- Felipe Massa (0%)
- Valtteri Bottas (1%)
- Sebastian Vettel (66%)
- Kimi Raikkonen (18%)
- Fernando Alonso (1%)
- Jenson Button (0%)
- Nico Hulkenberg (0%)
- Sergio Perez (0%)
- Max Verstappen (9%)
- Carlos Sainz Jnr (1%)
- Romain Grosjean (0%)
- Pastor Maldonado (0%)
- Marcus Ericsson (0%)
- Felipe Nasr (0%)
- Will Stevens (0%)
- Roberto Merhi (1%)
Total Voters: 880
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2015 Malaysian Grand Prix
- Perez apologised for Sepang collision – Grosjean
- Emphatic Driver of the Weekend win for Vettel
- F1 bounces back with lively Malaysian Grand Prix
- Could Ferrari have won without the Safety Car?
- Power unit problem delayed Grosjean in Malaysia
Debates and polls
- Did Verstappen get the right penalty for “brake test” on Hamilton?
- Should Formula 1 have the same stewards at every race?
- Did the stewards take the correct decision over Hamilton and Verstappen at turn four?
- Should Ricciardo have been penalised for first-lap collision with Bottas?
- Should Formula 1 add a third race in the USA?