At the front of the field we have two drivers whose cars are so quick they almost invariably occupy the front row. The team at the back are regularly whole seconds off the pace.
How to compare the efforts of two world champions at a team so far from the pace they’ve managed just four points scores between them? Or a pair of exciting young rookies whose cars seem to break down more often than not?
Rather than just pick a ‘top ten drivers of the year so far’, the F1 Fanatic Driver Rankings attempts to make sense of the complex game that is grand prix racing and filter out the top drivers from the top cars. The usual mass of data has been compiled, and in a first you can find detailed race-by-race notes on each driver in each of the three parts of the overall rankings.
But inevitably the data can only take us so far, and the final ranking is a large part down to my own interpretations and opinions. Whether you agree or disagree, share your views in the comments, and look out for the next two parts over the coming days.
20: Marcus Ericsson
|Beat team mate in qualifying||4/10|
|Beat team mate in race||2/8|
|Laps spent ahead of team mate||187/520|
In his final few races with Caterham last year Ericsson appeared to have raised his game, but so far this year he’s managed to aggravate Sauber’s stagnant development and frequent car problems with mistakes of his own. These have served to undermine what promise he has shown, notably in Malaysia where having reached Q3 he spun the car into a gravel bed on lap three.
Lately the C34 has dropped further from the pace, but Ericsson has tended to lag behind his less experienced team mate and continued to make things hard from himself, such as with his jump start at the Red Bull Ring and too-soon switch to intermediates at Silverstone. He’s managed to collect a few points, but so far the only memorable points of his campaign have been the mistakes.
19: Roberto Merhi
|Beat team mate in qualifying||3/8|
|Beat team mate in race||3/6|
|Laps spent ahead of team mate||144/418|
Merhi was dealt a tough hand with zero time in the car before Australia, no prior grand prix experience, a simultaneous Formula Renault 3.5 campaign, a very uncompetitive chassis and a considerable weight penalty compared to his team mate.
Perhaps inevitably, he lagged well off Stevens’ pace to begin with, and also struggled with some of the more complex aspects of the F1 rule book, particularly regarding Safety Cars. His rate of progress has been impressive, however, and of late has begun to put one over Stevens in qualifying and the race. It’s doubtful he’s going to be able to accomplish much more than that in a Manor, however.
18: Pastor Maldonado
|Beat team mate in qualifying||1/10|
|Beat team mate in race||1/3|
|Laps spent ahead of team mate||93/375|
With a competitive car underneath him for the first time since his breakthrough 2012 season, this should be the year that a mature Maldonado shrugged off his label as a crash-prone liability and started to deliver. Instead he’s continued to be the same exasperating mix of too-frequent incidents and too-rare glimpses of pace.
If anything the latter are now fewer and farther between than earlier in his career. He’s only out-qualified Grosjean once, in Monaco, and had the misfortune to be sidelined by a brake fault early in the race. He took a deserved seventh in Canada on a day when it was the other Lotus driver who messed up.
But far more often we have seen him get on the wrong side of officialdom (he has incurred almost twice as many penalties as any other driver) or get involved in the kind of needless incidents that might have been avoided with a little more circumspection. His contact with Nasr in Australia and Grosjean in Spain showed he still hasn’t learned the value of self-preservation over being uncompromising.
17: Will Stevens
|Beat team mate in qualifying||5/8|
|Beat team mate in race||3/6|
|Laps spent ahead of team mate||274/418|
Aside from his off-track excursion during the British Grand Prix, Stevens has usually been the safe pair of hands Manor badly needs. With only a single F1 race to his name before the season began, this is a respectable accomplishment.
He comfortably had the beating of Merhi to begin with, which was a surprise given their relative performances in Formula Renault 3.5 last year. However the pendulum has swung in recent races, which has taken the shine of Stevens’ start to the year.
16: Felipe Nasr
|Beat team mate in qualifying||6/10|
|Beat team mate in race||6/8|
|Laps spent ahead of team mate||333/520|
Nasr arrived at Melbourne, a totally new circuit to him, missed first practice due to Sauber’s legal wrangles with Giedo van der Garde, yet brought the car home in an excellent fifth place. Given Sauber’s lack of development since then, it’s not entirely surprising Nasr hasn’t come close to recapturing that high, though he was the highest-placed rookie in Monaco.
He has made mistakes of his own, however, such as tangling with Raikkonen in Malaysia. There have been some races where he never seemed to get on top of the car, notably in Canada, where he suffered a bizarre crash in after opening his DRS while warming his tyres during practice. Sauber’s unreliability hasn’t helped: Brake problems blunted his progress in Monaco and Austria.
Hungary might have afforded another Melbourne-like opportunity, but unusually Nasr found himself out-paced by Ericsson, who he has usually shaded so far.
15: Sergio Perez
|Beat team mate in qualifying||2/10|
|Beat team mate in race||4/8|
|Laps spent ahead of team mate||192/551|
If Perez produced more drives of the quality he showed at Monaco he would be a lot further up this list. Seventh on the grid and seventh in the race was undoubtedly the limit of what the Force India was capable of at that point. He impressed in Bahrain too, defying the team’s belief that they couldn’t make a two-stop strategy work, and recovered to ninth in Austria after being knocked out in Q1.
However team mate Nico Hulkenberg has tended to show him the way this year, particularly in qualifying. Perez has also made life difficult for himself with some unnecessary errors – colliding with Grosjean in Malaysia and passing Ericsson under the Safety Car in Australia – but has usually been dependable enough and has contributed a substantial chunk of Force India’s points tally.
14: Kimi Raikkonen
|Beat team mate in qualifying||2/10|
|Beat team mate in race||2/7|
|Laps spent ahead of team mate||150/529|
Last year Raikkonen’s difficulties at Ferrari were explained away by him being unhappy with the car. That’s no longer the case, but repeated technical niggles have taken their toll, never more clearly than in the most recent race where he suffered a breakdown on each of the three days of running.
Notwithstanding this and other mitigating factors – dodgy pit stops in Australia, being hit by Nasr in Malaysia, using old-specification bodywork in Spain – it’s clear he is being out-paced by new team mate Sebastian Vettel. Raikkonen has only qualified ahead twice, and one of those times was due to Vettel having a problem with his car. This has usually left him playing catch-up in the races, and while he has done so successfully on some occasions – notably Bahrain, his best drive of the year – on others he has disappointed – such as his podium-losing spin in Canada and lap one crash in Austria.
He let himself down badly at Silverstone as well, where Vettel blew him away once the rain fell, leaving Raikkonen to make a hasty switch to intermediate tyres which ruined his race. Now with less than half of Vettel’s points tally, Ferrari have all the reason they need to look elsewhere next year.
13: Jenson Button
|Beat team mate in qualifying||4/8|
|Beat team mate in race||0/1|
|Laps spent ahead of team mate||46/180|
Despite his solid 2014 campaign McLaren dithered over whether to keep Button on board. He avoided the axe, but his reward was half a season in arguably the worst car to carry the designation ‘MP4’.
Button’s done what he can with the slow and unreliable Honda-powered machine, which included the team’s first points of the season with eighth in Monaco. Indeed, he probably would have got the car in Q3 had Nico Rosberg not brought out the yellow flags. But he made a very un-Button-like error in China, tangling with Maldonado, and of the two McLaren drivers it’s usually Button who is most at odds with the car’s handling.
Extended notes on each driver
Click below to read more about each driver’s performance in every round so far this year:
Australia – Took the first points of his career on a difficult weekend for Sauber as neither driver was able to run in first practice due to their ongoing legal problems. However he was unhappy with his car’s braking and consequently rarely looked like the more experienced Sauber driver. It was Ericsson who failed to get through Q1, and at the end of the race he was over a minute behind Nasr.
Malaysia – 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.
China – Decent qualifying performance saw him into Q3 and ultimately line up tenth – just less than a tenth of a second off his team mate. Spent a lot of the race battling for position but was passed more often than he passed others. Struggled with front tyre wear and inherited the last points position after Verstappen’s late retirement.
Bahrain – Gained four places on the first lap to run ninth but his progress was stymied by a problem with his front left wheel nut which dropped him back to 17th and ended his pursuit of a points finish.
Spain – Raffaele Marciello drove his car in the first practice session, and his lack of running perhaps told in Q1 where he failed to make the cut. He struggled to make progress in the race and was unimpressed at being held up by his team mate at one stage.
Monaco – An ERS problem confined him to the garage during second practice, but rain meant he wouldn’t have run much anyway. Dropped out in Q1 with his worst qualifying result yet, and made little impression in the race.
Canada – Sauber did not have the benefit of Ferrari’s engine upgrade in Canada. Ericsson blamed traffic for not qualifying better but still came out ahead of his team mate. He ran to a lowly 14th, then had to park up immediately after the chequered flag with a fuel system problem.
Austria – Failed to make the cut in Q2, where Nasr beat him by over seven tenths of a second. Jumped the start, collecting a penalty, and was further hampered by intermittent power cut-outs on his car.
Britain – Missed first practice as Raffaele Marciello was in his car. Got through into Q2 but only ended up one place in front of his team mate, suggesting this was the Sauber’s level. Points were possible in the race but he got his tyre strategy badly wrong when the rain fell: pitting too soon for intermediates then compounding his error by switching to slicks just before the rain returned.
Hungary – Both Sauber drivers received the confidence-boosting news that they’d been retained for 2016 ahead of the race weekend. Ericsson out-qualified his team mate but the pair had only the Manors behind them. A race of attrition presented the opportunity to pick up a point and Ericsson was the one who capitalised, leading Nasr home.
Malaysia – 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.
China – Went into qualifying on the back foot after electrical problems in final practice kept him from doing a run on the soft tyres. Passed Stevens at the start, but was re-passed during the opening stint. Ran last for the vast majority of the race and was around 15 seconds behind his team mate at the time of the Safety Car, later receiving a five second time penalty after failing to adhere to the Safety Car time delta.
Bahrain – Slipped up at turn four on his final run in qualifying and ended up over a second off his team mate as a result. He got ahead of Stevens at the start but felt he took too much out of his tyres trying to keep his team mate behind at the start.
Spain – Merhi is 12 kilos heavier than his team mate, which goes some way towards explaining the performance gap between them. He was unable to do his second run in qualifying when his car developed an ERS fault after he’d been called to the weigh bridge, and in the race he finished a good 40 seconds behind his team mate. It remains to be seen if he’ll be in the car for the next race.
Monaco – Crashed during practice but brought his car home ahead of his team mate for the first time, while avoiding a penalty for crossing the pit lane exit line.
Canada – Beat Stevens in qualifying for the first time this year by little more than two-hundredths of a second, and was on course to lead him home in the race until a driveshaft fault put him out.
Austria – Technical trouble limited his running on Friday but despite that and not having run the super-soft tyre he comfortably beat his team mate – and was faster through sector one than Raikkonen’s Ferrari! Unsurprisingly he was the last driver running at the flag, though 14th is Manor’s best result so far.
Britain – Had a spin at Luffield during second practice but managed to get going again just as the red flags came out. Was one of many drivers to have a time deleted in qualifying, but even so was a long was off his team mate’s pace. Nonetheless he avoided the major pitfalls in the race to take a best-yet finish of 12th.
Hungary – Having already raced at the Hungaroring this year, Merhi sat out the first practice session while Fabio Leimer had his first run in the car. Nonetheless he out-qualified Stevens and briefly got ahead of the Saubers at the start, but had to pit to have a loose headrest seen to. He was running ahead of Stevens when his team mate dropped out.
Australia – Had he given Nasr’s Sauber a little more room in turn two, a top five finish would have been possible. “It’s disappointing because it was a great chance for us to have a great race,” he said.
Malaysia – 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.
China – Missed out on Q3 by three hundredths of a second. Blamed a braking issue for his pit entry lock-up, had no one else to blame for his spin a few laps later but was blameless in the collision with Button that forced him into retirement for the third consecutive race.
Bahrain – In Q1 his front brakes were continuing to apply pressure even when he wasn’t using them, causing a loss of a straightline speed, meaning he was unable to progress to the next stage. He also picked up a five-second penalty for failing to take his place properly on the grid. But with plenty of soft tyres he was able to make rapid progress on a three-stop strategy and probably would have finished in the points had his engine not stopped during his final pit stop.
Spain – Gearbox trouble limited his running in first practice. Having qualified behind Grosjean he passed his team mate early in the race but picked up rear wing damage as he did, which cost him time at his first pit stop as the broken end plate was removed. This put him back down the order, and the team later decided the limited potential for points scoring was not worth the risk of incurring further damage.
Monaco – Produced his best qualifying performance so far at a track where he usually excels, but retired early on with a braking problem.
Canada – Backed up Grosjean in sixth despite a spin early in qualifying. Having lost a place to Hulkenberg at the start he pitted early and ran the longest stint of any driver – 53 laps on the soft rubber – to take his first points of the season for seventh.
Austria – Demonstrated Lotus’s potential with the fourth-fastest time on Friday, ahead of Hamilton, but blamed traffic for failing to accompany his team mate into Q3. He seemed to be distracted by Ericsson’s jump start and lost two places on the first lap, but recovered to finish seventh. On his way he jumped past Perez in the pits, and held on to some increasingly lurid slides as he found a way past Verstappen.
Britain – Like Grosjean, Maldonado also dropped out in Q2, and was also eliminated in the first-lap collision at Village.
Hungary – Lotus missed the beginning of final practice as Pirelli had withheld their tyres due to a payment dispute. The timing of the red flag in Q2 was unfortunate for him, though it was for several other drivers too, and he ended up missing the cut. His race was a depressing litany of mistakes which a driver in his fifth year of F1 should not be making: contact with Perez, speeding in the pits and overtaking under the Safety Car. And yet somehow his penalty points total only increased by two.
Malaysia – Only participated in practice as a fuel system problem kept him from qualifying or starting the race.
China – Out-qualified Merhi in his first qualifying run of the season. Was finally able to take to the start of a race this season but was passed by his team mate on the opening lap. Stevens overtook Merhi on lap nine and then concentrated on reaching the chequered flag, which he ultimately did, two laps down in 15th.
Bahrain – Was compromised at the start by Pastor Maldonado lining up in the wrong grid position, which meant he fell behind Merhi for the first five laps. After finding a way by he led his team mate home and his better race pace meant he was lapped once fewer.
Spain – Came out on top of the two Manor drivers as usual, despite falling behind Merhi at the start of the race.
Monaco – Damaged his car at the start and had to cope with it until the end. Fell behind Merhi and couldn’t get back ahead.
Canada – Said he was a little less comfortable with his car than usual after being pipped by Merhi in qualifying. Was running behind his team mate at the time of his collision with Grosjean. “I left him so much room,” said Stevens. “It was an unnecessary accident.”
Austria – Spun in qualifying and was over a second slower than his team mate, though he said traffic was to blame. His race was over quickly after debris damaged his radiator on the first lap.
Britain – Was more comfortable with the car balance on Friday as the pair evaluated the team’s upgrade package. He out-qualified Merhi by a whopping two seconds but lost time in the pits when his team weren’t ready for him. An early switch to intermediates also made life difficult – he spun off on worn tyres late in the race, losing his front wing.
Hungary – Admitted to a mistake on his first qualifying run, then struggled to improve on it on his second. Scrapped with Merhi over the final two places before retiring with a vibration.
Australia – Given that he hadn’t driven around the Albert Park circuit before, that Sauber don’t have a simulator for him to use and the team didn’t run in first practice, Nasr did a first-rate job to get his car into Q3 and bring it home in fifth place. He navigated the turn one trouble spot well and withstood race-long pressure from Ricciardo.
Malaysia – 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.
China – Performed well in qualifying to secure his best grid slot of the season so far with ninth. Passed by Verstappen in the first stint and then struggled to catch the Toro Rosso back in the final section of the race. Gained eighth from Verstappen after the Toro Rosso stopped, but will likely be satisfied with his afternoon’s work.
Bahrain – Qualified ahead of Ericsson but fell behind him at the start. A problem with his power unit meant he was out-gunned on the straights, and he finished the race stuck behind Alonso’s McLaren.
Spain – Blamed the Sauber’s lack of downforce for an inability to get the most from either the medium or the hard tyre, and said his finishing position of 12th was the best his car was capable of.
Monaco – Having also gone out in Q1, Nasr did well to salvage points in a car which plainly lacks downforce and development.
Canada – A nasty-looking crash in final practice was blamed on Nasr hitting the DRS button while he was weaving to warm his tyres up. Mercifully only his pride and car were damaged. Suffered a lack of power from the start of the race and had to cope with overheating brakes as well.
Austria – Fifth-quickest in first practice and was satisfied to reach Q3, although he was another driver who was hampered by the yellow flags Mercedes caused. Might have been able to hang on for the final point had his brakes not overheated – a problem which delayed him in Canada as well.
Britain – Didn’t get his tyres in the right temperature range in Q1 and was eliminated. A gearbox fault on his reconnaissance lap meant he was a non-starter.
Hungary – Struggled with overheating tyres in qualifying and lined up 18th. An anonymous weekend continued into the race, where he complained of being stuck in traffic and was 11th behind Ericsson at the flag.
Australia – Interestingly, when the FIA discovered Perez had overtaken Ericsson under the Safety Car they chose to tell him to hand the position back instead of dishing out a penalty as they did to Heikki Kovalainen in similar circumstances three years ago. He had to let Button past while doing that, and later spun while trying to pass the McLaren. He got past in the end, however, and collected the final point.
Malaysia – 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.
China – The first car to be eliminated in Q2, Perez was one of the few drivers to opt for an aggressive three stop strategy to try and make places through the field. Was catching Ericsson’s tenth placed Sauber in the final stint, but was unlikely to have ever challenged him even without the Safety Car.
Bahrain – Force India’s simulations showed the downforce deficient VJM08 would not be able to use the same two-stop strategy as many of the team’s rivals. But Perez made it work and brought the car home in eighth place, a result the four-time podium finisher called “one of my best races”.
Spain – A long final stint on medium tyres allowed him to hold off Ericsson for 13th place, but any repeat of his Bahrain heroics was out of the question on a track where the VJM08’s shortcomings were so clearly exposed.
Monaco – It’s hard to see how he might have improved on seventh in qualifying and the race given that he had three pairs of faster cars – Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull – ahead of him each time.
Canada – If he’d been able to replicate his Q2 lap time in Q3 he’d have started eighth on the grid behind his team mate, but struggled to generate tyre temperature on his out lap. Tyre, brake and fuel-saving was the story of the latter part of Perez’s race. He finished eleventh, and Force India’s effort to get another penalty for Grosjean so their man would inherit tenth came to naught.
Austria – Stuck behind Alonso in Q1, with Raikkonen close behind, and failed to make the cut on the drying track. However he started well, despite being on the harder tyres, and nabbed a place off Grosjean at the restart. After switching to super-softs for the second stint, he was able to pass Kvyat and Nasr for ninth place.
Britain – Narrowly missed out on joining his team mate in the top ten shoot-out but said the updated VJM08 still has much untapped potential. Scrapped with both the Ferrari drivers during the race but finished behind both of them, saying he waited too long to put on intermediates at the end.
Hungary – A right-rear suspension failure cause a substantial crash in first practice, and Perez admitted afterwards he’d been scared when his car flipped over. He bounced back to take 13th on the grid and mimicked his team mate by making up five places at the start. However he was turfed off the track by Maldonado while passing the Lotus, and with a damaged car and a lengthening brake pedal Force India later opted to retire him.
Australia – Narrowly out-qualified by Vettel, Raikkonen was squeezed by his team mate in the first corner, then hit from behind by Sainz. That knocked the car into anti-stall mode and dropped him back to eighth. He later passed Sainz but a slow first pit stop dropped him further back, and more problems at the second stop forced him out. A luckless start to 2015, but there was much comfort to be drawn from his and the team’s promising performance.
Malaysia – 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.
China – Failed to beat the Williams in qualifying after complaining of balance problems during his final run. Leapt into fourth at the start with an aggressive move on Bottas into Turn Three and spent the first two stints behind Vettel. Had an opportunity to challenge for the podium with fresher tyres in the last stint, but the late Safety Car robbed him of a chance to challenge.
Bahrain – Despite being out-qualified by his team mate again it was Raikkonen who took the fight to Mercedes in the race by running an alternative strategy, saving his soft tyres for the final stint. He was catching the Mercedes at over a second per lap in the closing stages, and he was poised to strike at Rosberg when the Mercedes’ braking problem handed him second place.
Spain – Mystified by his car’s handling on Friday and repeatedly complained about a lack of grip during the afternoon session. For Saturday the decision was taken for Raikkonen not to use all of the team’s newest parts, and having been compromised further by an unusual problem with a tyre warmer he could only manage seventh on the grid. A combative first lap got him past both the Toro Rossos, but the extra step needed to get him ahead of Bottas wasn’t there – he spent the last ten laps pressuring the Williams driver.
Monaco – Hit the barrier in practice, then had another sub-par qualifying session and lined up sixth behind the two Red Bulls. He jumped Ricciardo at the pit stops but was passed by the Red bull after the restart – a move he took serious exception to.
Canada – With Vettel sidelined, Ferrari needed Raikkonen to deliver in qualifying and this time he did, netting a useful third. However a spin after his pit stop allowed Bottas to jump him for third place, and after aggressively spinning his tyres up he had to pit for a new set. Fortunately no one else was close enough to take advantage. He pitted for a fresh set of tyres but couldn’t catch the Williams – afterwards Maurizio Arrivabene suggested Raikkonen was managing some other problem at this stage.
Austria – Wasn’t able to do a long run on the super-soft tyres on Friday after locking up and damaging them. Dropped out in Q1, blaming the team for not getting him out in time to do three flying laps, though his team mate didn’t need that many to get the job done. Crashed out on the first lap of the race, taking Alonso with him, and couldn’t explain why afterwards. Not his best weekend.
Britain – Looked quick from the word go in practice and deserved to line up in front of Vettel. He was passed by Hulkenberg at the start, but pit strategy got him back ahead. But it all went wrong when the rain arrived and Vettel shot past him. Raikkonen made the call for intermediates but sooner regretted it as the track started to dry, ruining his tyres. He spun, made another stop for fresh rubber and was lapped before finishing eighth.
Hungary – The Hungarian Grand Prix was a depressing litany of misfortune for Raikkonen. First his front wing failed on Friday, then a water leak sidelined him on Saturday. The latter kept him from doing a run on the soft tyres ahead of qualifying, and he ended up fifth on the grid. He followed Vettel through at the start, passing Rosberg for second in turn two, and though he didn’t have his team mate’s pace he was on for a solid second place when his MGU-K packed up. Even then a points finish might have been possible had the Safety Car not wiped out the buffer he’d built over his pursuers.
Australia – Got within a five-hundredths of a second of Ericsson’s Sauber in qualifying. Using conservative engine settings he got the McLaren to the end of the race, and even managed a brief scrap with Perez. He found quite a bit more pace on his final lap too.
Malaysia – 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.
China – An encouraging tenth in second practice, but the pace was not there for the team in qualifying and 17th on the grid was likely the best he could achieve. Button lost out to Alonso at the start and ran the Medium tyre in his last stint. Button admitted the collision with Pastor Maldonado was a misjudgement and he received a five second time penalty and points on his superlicense as a result.
Bahrain – A wasted weekend – electrical problems kept him from setting a lap in qualifying and despite being given a dispensation to start the race he was unable to do that either due to further technical trouble.
Spain – Set the eighth-quickest time on Friday and accompanied Alonso into Q2 – a first for the team this year. However he was disturbed by his car’s handling in the first half of the race, and though it improved later on he could only manage 16th in front of the two Manors.
Monaco – Was certain he would have reached Q3 had he not lost time due to yellow flags brought out by Rosberg spinning. He inherited two places to start tenth, and capitalised on retirements ahead of him to finish eighth and deliver McLaren’s first points of the season.
Canada – A power unit failure at the end of final practice meant Button was a spectator in qualifying, much as he was in Bahrain. He also had to serve a drive-through penalty after changing power unit components, and just as he was relishing the prospect of bolting on super-softs for a late push, his car broke down too. An abject weekend for McLaren.
Austria – Eliminated in Q1 having been one of the first drivers across the line after the chequered flag came out on a drying track. That meant his 25-place penalty became a stop-and-go penalty for the race. Button was all in favour of getting his mandatory pit stop out of the way behind the Safety Car, meaning he could run to the end of the race after taking his penalty. But we’ll never know how that would have worked out, as his car developed a problem and his team elected to stop rather than risk losing another power unit.
Britain – Sounded very unhappy with his car’s balance throughout practice, so it was no surprise to see him line up with just the Manors in his mirrors. The melee at turn one brought an early end to his 16th home race.
Hungary – Baffled by his car’s behaviour in final practice, but would have made the cut for Q2 had it not been for a power unit problem which robbed him of ERS delivery on the straight. Unlike Alonso, Button did not pit to change tyres under the Safety Car, and he was powerless to prevent his rivals demoting him to ninth. Nonetheless, this was McLaren’s first double points score of 2015.
How the rankings are produced
Among the data referred to in producing the ranks are notes on each driver’s performance at each race weekend, direct comparisons between team mates and each driver’s form guide.
Over to you
How do you think these eight drivers have performed so far in 2015?
Have your say in the comments.
2015 F1 season
- How a secret Mercedes engine mode helped pressure Vettel into a race-ending puncture
- Over 100 driver penalties issued in record-breaking 2015
- Part-time racer? The facts of Hamilton’s ‘jet-set lifestyle’
- A unique atmosphere: Going to the Italian Grand Prix at Monza
- The Complete F1 Fanatic 2015 season review