Which F1 driver was the best performer during the United States Grand Prix weekend?
Review how each driver got on below and vote for who impressed you the most during the last race weekend.
United States Grand Prix driver-by-driver
Lewis Hamilton – Brushed Rosberg aside at turn one but came under pressure from his team mate and the Red Bulls before switching to slick tyres. When the track dried he moved up to second but had dropped back from Rosberg when his team mate went off, handing him the lead and cementing his third world title.
Nico Rosberg – Has he regained his qualifying form of last year? This was his third pole position in a row, but he lost the initiative quickly to another robust move from his team mate. Got back past the Red Bulls into second, then fell behind Ricciardo, but regained the lead when the track dried. Was on course for a badly-needed win when the car cot away from his with eight laps to go.
Daniel Ricciardo – Vindicated Red Bull’s decision not to use the new Red Bull engine and avoid a grid penalty by qualifying third and passing the Mercedes drivers to lead. When the track dried Red Bull were vulnerable, but Ricciardo was unfortunate to be hit by both Hulkenberg and Sainz, leaving him tenth at the flag. Had it stayed wet a win was on.
Daniil Kvyat – Lined up alongside Ricciardo and got ahead of him at the start, but had a rough ride from there on. Went off trying to pass Rosberg, dropped back much more quickly than Ricciardo as the moisture dissipated, and eventually spun into a wall.
Felipe Massa – Incurred Alonso’s wrath by punting him into a spin at the start, and dropped out soon afterwards with a damper problem.
Valtteri Bottas – Was quick in the very wet final practice session, but Sunday was a wasted effort. Technical trouble in qualifying kept him out of the top ten, and another fault put him out of the race.
Sebastian Vettel – Relegated to 13th on the grid by an engine change penalty, Vettel started superbly to take seventh, then soon passed Hulkenberg. Made an early switch to slicks which got him ahead of Perez, motored past the Red Bulls with little difficulty, and initially gambled on a long final stint on medium tyres which could have worked out very well had there been no further Safety Cars. But there was, and although he took the opportunity to put new softs on later, he narrowly failed to demote Rosberg for second.
Kimi Raikkonen – Started further back than Vettel but after two laps there was just one car separating them. This was Verstappen, who Raikkonen complained about on the radio. He stayed out a lap longer than the Toro Rosso before switching to softs, but spun into a barrier one lap after pitting. Although he managed to drag his car back onto the track, a damaged brake duct forced him out.
Fernando Alonso – Running McLaren’s new engine, Alonso started ninth partly thanks to others’ penalties, but his race was ruined by Massa at the start. A long 30-lap run on softs at the end left him vulnerable to those who pitted but it was a developing problem with his engine which finally saw off his chance of points.
Jenson Button – McLaren went the other way with Button at the end of the race, giving him a new set of softs with a dozen laps to go. He made great use of them, overcoming the McLaren’s weaknesses with passes on Ricciardo and Sainz. The latter eventually got back ahead, but Button stayed close enough to be promoted up to sixth by Sainz’s five-second penalty.
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Nico Hulkenberg – Lost places early on when he ran wide in turns 16/17/18, but showed his usual excellent touch with slicks on a damp track to move ahead of his team mate and Sainz. However a front wing failure while trying to pass Ricciardo left him powerless to avoid contact, and the result was his third retirement in four races.
Sergio Perez – Out-qualified Hulkenberg and started fifth. That was where he finished too, though he probably should have been able to keep Verstappen behind.
Max Verstappen – Ran in the top ten for the entire race and got as high as third as he tried to coax a set of soft tyres throughout the entire second half of the race. He was aided by a spate of interruptions – just seven laps of green flag running between laps 27 and 46 – but nonetheless he held his own among some of F1’s biggest names.
Carlos Sainz Jnr – Crashed in qualifying but having started last he was tenth by lap two. Despite being delayed by a slow pit stop due to a wheel nut problem, and picking up a pit lane speeding penalty, he claimed points for seventh place. Moving across on Ricciardo in the braking zone for turn 12 was questionable, however.
Romain Grosjean – Another frustrating weekend in which he chalked up yet another qualifying win against his team mate but his race was ruined by a rival on the first lap.
Pastor Maldonado – Stayed out of trouble on his way to eighth place but was puzzled as to why he didn’t have better pace.
Marcus Ericsson – He was the first driver to switch to slicks and make it work, but Ericsson gained little from his gamble and retired shortly afterwards with duff electronics.
Felipe Nasr – Both Sauber drivers had a lot of work to do at an unfamiliar circuit, but despite taking points for ninth Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn was unhappy after Nasr hit Ericsson on lap one. “It is not an excuse that one driver did not know the track before and we were not able to run many laps here,” she said.
Will Stevens – Didn’t figure after being hit at the first corner, retiring with damage.
Alexander Rossi – Out-qualified Stevens, and problems for Sainz and Raikkonen elevated him to 17th on the grid. Ran ahead of Nasr until a Safety Car period allowed the Sauber to catch up, and was elevated to 12th by retirements, equalling Manor’s best result of the year.
Both Mercedes drivers slipped up during the race, so while they occupied the top two places on the road there were others who impressed me most.
Vettel did a particularly good job patiently working his way through the field from 13th, and was no less impressive for it being exactly what we’ve come to expect of him this year – he now has twelve podiums to his team mate’s two.
Much as in Hungary, Ricciardo drove brilliantly once he was given the chance to shine but was the victim of misfortune. Had the race conditions been more like practice and qualifying he surely would have won. Button also made the best of the opportunities he had and produced his best result of the year.
But the stand-out driver for me was Verstappen. He left his team mate behind in qualifying and fought with the front-runners in the race, once again showing maturity beyond his years.
Qualifying and race results summary
|Driver||Started||Gap to team mate (Q)||Laps leading team mate||Pitted||Finished||Gap to team mate (R)|
|Carlos Sainz Jnr||20th||2/56||3||6th||+3.26s|
Review the race data
- 2015 United States Grand Prix lap charts
- 2015 United States Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops
- 2015 United States 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 2015 United States Grand Prix weekend?
- Lewis Hamilton (12%)
- Nico Rosberg (1%)
- Daniel Ricciardo (3%)
- Daniil Kvyat (0%)
- Felipe Massa (0%)
- Valtteri Bottas (0%)
- Sebastian Vettel (27%)
- Kimi Raikkonen (0%)
- Fernando Alonso (1%)
- Jenson Button (10%)
- Nico Hulkenberg (0%)
- Sergio Perez (2%)
- Max Verstappen (38%)
- Carlos Sainz Jnr (3%)
- Romain Grosjean (0%)
- Pastor Maldonado (0%)
- Marcus Ericsson (0%)
- Felipe Nasr (0%)
- Will Stevens (0%)
- Alexander Rossi (1%)
Total Voters: 646
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2015 United States Grand Prix
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