2015 F1 driver rankings #3: Sergio Perez

2015 F1 season review

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Sergio Perez

Beat team mate in qualifying8/19
Beat team mate in race6/13
Races finished18/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate341/898
Sergio Perez 2015 form guide

Sergio Perez stood out with some excellent performances after Force India introduced their upgraded VJM08 at the British Grand Prix. But he also put in some largely overlooked drives of true quality in the first half of the season.

On top of that he showed up well against a quality team mate and generally stayed out of trouble. The outcome was a season which compared very well against many of the top drivers.

Perez failed to shine in the first two races of the year, spinning while trying to pass Jenson Button in Australia and misjudging a battle with Romain Grosjean in Malaysia, tipping the Lotus driver into a spin. These race-day frustrations tended to have their root in sub-par qualifying performances which in turn were down to that 2014 bugbear – tyre preparation.

But Perez made rapid progress and in Bahrain he stunned the team by ekeing out his tyres to complete the race with just two pit stops, something they did not believe would be possible. His reward was a meagre eighth place, but it was as good as the car was capable of and his team mate was 25 seconds behind.

Monaco was another drive from the top drawer – starting and finishing seventh behind a full complement of Mercedes, Ferraris and Red Bulls was the limit of what the car could do.

The new car arrived soon afterwards and in Hungary despite a scare in practice – a suspension failure flipped the car over – Perez made a rapid start and was on course for the points again when he was knocked off the track by Pastor Maldonado.

According to Perez, the next race in Belgium produced a breakthrough for him during practice. He lined up fourth on the grid, passed two others at the start and got to Les Combes before anyone else – though with Lewis Hamilton on the inside of him he was never going to stay there. Inevitably the car could not sustain that kind of position, but fifth was still the team’s best so far – until Perez raised it further.

After solid points finishes in Italy and Singapore – and a nothing race in Japan where he was knocked off at the first corner – Perez exploited a Safety Car period in Russia to put his tyre-nursing skills to superb use. He kept Valtteri Bottas at bay until the penultimate lap, when the Williams driver used every drop of power to demote him, and Kimi Raikkonen followed him by. That wasn’t the end of the story, of course – the pair tangled on the final lap handing Perez a fortuitous but richly deserved podium finish.

Another strong fifth in America meant expectations were high ahead of his home race. Although he finished behind team mate Nico Hulkenberg Perez was probably the quicker of the two, and was poorly served by his strategy.

The final race of the year saw Perez put his Force India on the second row again, and finished behind two Mercedes and two Ferraris. Again, it was hard to see how he could have done much better. If third in the rankings seems high, it is because it was often hard to say the same of many of those behind him.

View race-by-race notes on Sergio Perez

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.

Belgium – Was extremely pleased with his car’s balance and qualified fifth which became fourth after Grosjean’s penalty – his best since Bahrain last year. It got even better at the start as he passed Bottas and Perez – and nearly took Hamilton too. Ricciardo jumped him at the first round of pit stops but Perez used his grip advantage to pass him shortly afterwards. However his car proved too hard on its tyres and he eventually lost places to Grosjean and Kvyat. Nonetheless fifth was Force India’s best result so far this year.

Italy – Briefly moved up to fifth at the start before Rosberg came past, then had to give up another position to Raikkonen who passed him easily in the DRS zone. Nonetheless collected a solid sixth place.

Singapore – Believed he could have made it into Q3 had it not been for the yellow flag caused by Sainz. He gained three places at the start, however, and profitted from the first Safety Car period to make up more places. He eventually finished seventh, holding off the fast-closing Toro Rossos in the closing stages.

Japan – Having qualified ninth he was unfortunate to be knocked off at the first corner while trying to avoid the Ricciardo/Massa mess. With no Safety Car appearing points were impossible, but he made it back up to 12th.

Russia – Running sixth after the start, Perez was well-placed to take advantage of the Safety Car period caused by Grosjean’s accident, and as in the past he proved a master at coaxing every last drop of life from his tyres. Even so his podium hopes seemed to be over when Bottas and Raikkonen passed him with DRS on the penultimate lap – only for the pair to collide on the next tour, restoring him to a well deserved third place.

United States – Out-qualified Hulkenberg and started fifth. That was where he finished too, though he probably should have been able to keep Verstappen behind.

Mexico – Force India expected better conditions at the end of Q3 and sent both drivers out then – only to discover the track had actually deteriorated. Perez narrowly won the intra-team contest this time. In the race he made two crowd-pleasing passes in the stadium (one aided by Sainz being told to let him past) but when the Safety Car came out Force India mistakenly believed they could gain him two places by not pitting. That didn’t pay off, but he held his position despite ending the race on 53-lap-old tyres.

Brazil – Said he wasn’t comfortable with the car all weekend, and admitted to an error on his last run in Q2 which cost him a place in the final ten. His difficulties continued into the race – unusually he pitted once more than his team mate and found himself passed by cars which were slower in a straight line as his tyres went off quickly.

Abu Dhabi – After his Brazil blip Perez was back at the strong level of performance which has characterised much of his second half of the year. He was third after the initial runs in Q3, but slipped to fourth when Raikkonen bettered his time. With Vettel making up for lost time in the race, fifth was likely the best result available.

Over to you

Normally a bit of an inconsistent driver with some flashes of brilliance and some mistakes. But this year he’s been on fire. In the A-version of the car he did a pretty solid job. But once the B-version was introduced he delivered some really great performances. Third at Sochi and fifth places at Austin and Abu Dhabi are the highlights of his season.

What’s your verdict on Sergio Perez’s 2015 season? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than? Have your say in the comments.

Add your views on the other drivers here:

2015 F1 season review

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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95 comments on “2015 F1 driver rankings #3: Sergio Perez”

  1. Scorchingly hot take…

    1. Agreed. Keith did an awesome job with this article. Well done. Congrats!! to Perez he deserves No.3 even tho the haters are gonna hate. Thats why he is the most underrated driver on the gird in my opinion.

      They say “The Devil is in the Details” Maybe Greatness is also in the Details. Refreshing to see an unbiased assessment of this driver.

  2. I was a little dubious about him being ranked so highly, but after reading that, clearly I had forgotten about the brilliant job he’s done this year.

    1. Exactly, he has been incredble this year.

    2. When you look back at some of the hate Perez was getting on this site in late 2012 and 2013, people’s opinion of him was once no better than Maldonado. Also, most expected Hulkenberg to crush him prior to 2014. It is amazing how he has been able to turn it around.

  3. If the argument for a driver is, he’s not able to push above his weight and just does what he can do being limited in extracting more out a car…it’s not the driver who got ranked, but VJM08 ‘B-spec’ name should be 3th ranked.

    Pérez was simply found too many times fighting on track with a Verstappen in a slower car in the second half of the season to have him ranked that high…next time driver performances should be rated instead of car improvement performance.

    1. Please don’t bring up Verstappen in every topic.

      1. Why ?

        In this case it’s justified because the argument being used for putting Pérez as high 3th above someone like Verstappen was nothing more as, “he did the job he was being paid for,” and that is, to take the car to places where it belongs without taking it any further, while at the same time there was driver who did more as that.

        So anyone still thinking about what the level of Pérez and Hulkenberg actually is, and if top teams are going to be interested in having them as a nr.1 driver, if a car is better as other cars, but at the same time you can see the drivers battling with drivers with slower cars, they aren’t really being rated that high by Team Principals.

        To bring up Verstappen is legit, because obviously Keith completely missed to look up on how Pérez did relative to Verstappen in terms of speed during the races.

        1. To bring up Verstappen is legit, because obviously Keith completely missed to look up on how Pérez did relative to Verstappen in terms of speed during the races.

          Keith does not have to look up on how Pérez did relative to Verstappen, he has to look up on how Pérez did relative to every other driver, including Verstappen. Don’t react like you are stung by a bee everytime someone favours a driver over Verstappen (regardless of how amazing Max was this year). Like I said, next to pure facts, the driver rankings are also subjective. Keith is really positive about Verstappen, does it really matter what ranking he eventually gets?

          1. I was tripping over the argumentation being used by Keith to put Pérez higher as other drivers. He basically says, I rank Pérez as high as that, because I don’t see any drivers doing anything special…and now let’s look into that…

            So a driver with a slower car is found many times battling in races with a driver with a faster car…now what does that mean ?…either one driver is underperforming or the other driver is “punching above his weight,” it’s only one or the other…

            …now Keith doesn’t seem to think the driver in the faster car was underperforming, or else he would not have put him so high up in the ranking (I agree with him, the driver deserves a reasonable high ranking), but that also automatically means the other driver was “punching above his weight,” which you could say is something pretty special for someone in just his second year of formula racing, and first year of F1.

            So apparently Keith thinks a driver “punching above his weight,” is nothing special, but a driver just doing the job which he is supposed to do is special…

            …now if you have such a controversial opinion, he would be better off in putting a disclaimer right away with it, because there are bound to be people tripping over that.

        2. To bring up Verstappen is legit, because obviously Keith completely missed to look up on how Perez did relative to Verstappen in terms of speed during the races.

          Not that I agree your Verstappen-centric approach is the correct one to take, nevertheless he is mentioned above.

        1. I wanted to bring Arjen Robben into the discussion too, but I will spare you that one. ;)

          1. lol, good one!
            It wasn’t penalty!

          2. Well, so we got an undeserved 3th because of that, we can call it even now…?

          3. Haha, we can call it even…
            Do not get me wrong, I really like max and I hope he delivers what everybody is expecting from him, I can’t wait for next season and hopefully STR and SFI have similar performance cars so we can truly compare both drivers

          4. …same here the other way around, I simply would have put Pérez probably one place behind Verstappen.

            I had such a big laugh because of Checo at the Canadian GP drivers conference when they brought up Verstappen/Massa, his grinning at the back (together with Pastor) was just priceless.

            It will be interesting to see how both are going to do next season. I think it will help them a lot by not being at such a big disadvantage on the straights, and we might see a tight battle in the midfield next season (I hope we do).

    2. I would have to agree with you. I agreed with Keith’s rankings up until the #11th spot. After that, I do not think I could disagree more.

      Sergio only really came alive in the last 6 to 7 races of the season. I thought he tangled a little too much with other drivers at the start of the season, and was just about as good as his teammate for most of the season. Yet, Hulkenberg is ranked at #9 and Perez at #3? I thought there wasn’t as vast a difference in their performances as mentioned, and it was Perez’s tyre conservation skills that again got him a couple of high finishes.

      Although Perez did have standout performances in Russia and US, his podium was something he lucked in to, as compared to previous seasons, where he has actually earned them.

      Honestly, I thought Grosjean was better than Perez this season.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        18th December 2015, 10:09

        @todfod – Yeah but you are judging the drivers on attributes that were relevant to old-F1. Driving the car fast, overtaking, pushing to the limits etc. These are old skills that aren’t really that important in modern day F1.

        Keeping the tyres at the “optimum temperature”, conserving fuel, following team instructions, obtaining sponsors, saying “for sure” in interviews…. This is the skillset you need these days and Sergio has shown that he is very good at it.

        If you took the drivers we have now and put them in a 90s F1 car, I think we’d have a completely different order to what we have now.

  4. Even ignoring the B spec car and the fact that he beat Hulk, one can see how he’s reached a new level of maturity and racecraft, just compare his driving in Canada 2014 (crashing with Massa) with Sochi 2015, in both occasions he was being overtaken for a podium and yet in Russia he knew when to back down and take the most of what was available, same for Brazil and that brilliant pass by Verstappen a 2011-13 Pérez would’ve made a mess of it I’m sure.

    And the way he handled the enormous pressure of his home race was truly remarkable, a small sign that if he’s ever in a position to win races or even fight for a championship he will keep his head down and perfom.

    All this comes with experience of course, after 5 seasons in F1 he knows exactly what he needs from the car to get the best result possible: one weekend could be outright pace, the other could be making the tyres last, etc and with the B spec version he was finally given the tools to achieve that.

    1. And had, say, Button and Alonso like Perez been given the tools to do the job? No way any of the drivers rated ahead of the McLaren duo are significantly better or did a better job to justify these rankings. They can only be taken as a bit of end-of-season fun. “Aaargh! GP2 engine! GP2 engine!”

  5. Lost qualifying battle, lost the race battle and only close to 1/3 of the laps lead does not sound like a #3 to me. Force India’s B spec was probably the 3rd best car on the grid by the end of the season, both drivers failed to capitalize on it enough.

    1. @rossotoro

      Force India’s B spec was probably the 3rd best car on the grid by the end of the season

      According to the data it was the third-quickest car in Abu Dhabi alone, behind the Mercedes and Ferraris.

      Perez qualified fourth, behind two Mercedes and a Ferrari, and finished fifth, behind the Mercedes and Ferraris.

      1. TRUE!

        Last Race, Force India Probably Future Posibilities on 2016!

  6. In my opinion you are not a worthy #3 driver of the year if you finish only 9th in the championship, just ahead of your teammate in a car that was pretty darn fast near the end of the season. Certainly not if that same team-mate had 5 retirements + 1 ‘did not start’ compared to Sergio’s 1 retirement.
    Also, his moment of glory, the podium, was effectively because 2 competitors in front of him collided at the very end of the race. A deserving podium, but this had nothing to do with Perez’ driving abilities this year = shouldn’t help the justification of his #3 in this list.

    Sorry, but I just don’t agree with this one

    1. Exactly. Let’s reward mediocrity or a ‘fortuitous’ finish. So what he punched above his weight at times? He came in NINTH and is THIRD on your list?

      And then Keith woke up.

      1. I think that argument is not the right one. It’d be better to show which races specifically you thought he didn’t get the most out of his car.

    2. You do know these rankings are based on how well the driver did with the equipment they had available, and not on championship position, right?

      1. Pointing out the obvious, yet again? You like to hear yourself talk – I get it.

    3. Paul Villanueva
      17th December 2015, 16:26

      Lucky podium? There’s not such thing..
      To take advantage of Valteri and Kimi’s incident, he had to be fifth, position he had almos the hole race, and fifht in a force india, with at least 8 cars better than yours. So explain to me, why Verstappen or Hulk didnt have that luck?

      1. 8 cars better? enlighten me, please. In terms of performance (based on an earlier article about car performance) they were the 4th best car in Russia, behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Williams. they started 6th and 7th
        Hamilton, Vettel, Bottas and Raikkonen were ahead, Rosberg and Hulkenberg were out. So Massa was the only car behind him which performed better in that race and he started frickin’ 15th on the grid!

        You must be joking right?

    4. @gdewilde So who would you have placed in front of him?

      1. @keithcollantine
        1) Verstappen – For having an immediate impact as a rookie and for scoring some great results as a rookie in a car, which was -based on the car performance list you posted – about the same quality as the Force India when they got their second chassis (and boy, that Renault engine was still soooo bad)
        2) Rosberg – For pulling himself out of a slump and finishing the season beating Hamilton over and over and over (Ok, the championship was finished, but Hamilton was pushing for the win in everyone of those races, Rosberg was just better in the end).

        About the same ranking:
        3)+4) Bottas and Massa: Very similair season, the car was better than the Force India, but they scored a lot more points and both had a pair of 3th places + 3x a forth place.

        It’s a matter of opinion, I guess ;-)

  7. You summ it up niceley with “nothing he could have done better”

    But hard to judge. And he was behind teammate who is way down the order. I think Perez skills give him ability to extract lucky podiums maybe even a win for SFI.

    He is a bit of a rainmaker, kind of like Vettel, but with car he had.. Nowhere near victory. #4 would be more appropriate but #3 is just fine.

    1. Paul Villanueva
      17th December 2015, 15:54

      Explain to me how a Podium in a force India is a matter of luck please. How is ti that Hulk had never had that luck???

      1. Well, that’s easy. Go and look at those races, it just so happens that when the car and opportunity were both up for it, Perez had the better race. Whether that was him being faster or misfortune or mistakes for Hulkenburg depends on the race.

  8. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    17th December 2015, 13:50

    I think Perez should thank McLaren for firing him. He has gained experience and has also kept delivering podiums, even if this last one was more luck than punching through the field.

    1. Being sacked by McLaren was the best thing that happened to him. He quit Sauber before they started going downhill and moved to a better team by going from McLaren to Force India.

  9. Considering your ranking of him in the first half of the season, your headline is hilarious.

    1. @hahostolze, I hadn’t thought of that, but you are right. The expression you are only as good as your last race seem to be applied here, rather than a full-season ranking.

  10. ‘I think Perez skills give him ability to extract lucky podiums maybe even a win for SFI.’

    So his skills make him lucky = his skills make him achieve very good results, might as well say every great driver in history was lucky they only won because they had the skills.

    1. Paul Villanueva
      17th December 2015, 16:29


    2. Who are you quoting there?

  11. Good year for Perez in 2015, but I did not rate him as a Rosberg-killer, Ricciardo-killer, or Verstappen-killer on my list.
    And I’m not inclined to change that after reading the above review of his performance!

    1. Agree that Perez had a great year. His best year. But he really wasn’t substantially better than Hulk. They are very evenly matched. A couple of drive which gave Perez huge points in comparison to Hulk should not mislead the audience. Frankly, Hulk was better over the first half of the season, and Perez was better over the second half.

      Hulk stupidly threw away good results like Malaysia when he was ahead, Canada when he was ahead, Singapore when he was ahead, and Russia when he could perhaps have taken that podium himself, and was plain unlucky with USA and Hungary. He also couldn’t start in Belgium. Perez was unlucky with Mexico when he was ahead and Japan in the first corner.

      Off the top of my head, Hulk was vastly quicker in Austria and Brazil, Perez in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.

  12. ILuvSoundtracks (@)
    17th December 2015, 15:32

    Whoa man. Who would believe that?

  13. I still don’t understand, @keithcollantine.

    The review highlights Bahrain and Monaco from his first half to vindicate his ranking, yet it was only the Sakhir race and two qualis where he had better raw pace than Hulkenberg in the entire first half of the season (mirrored by Hulkenberg having the upper hand speed-wise in Austin and Interlagos in the second half). In Monaco, Hulkenberg actually showed better race pace than him with a damaged car after being tapped into a spin on lap 1 by Alonso (both he and Perez had clean air for large portions of the race). His combined sectors that weekend were also better on Saturday – he just made a mistake, hence his midfield scrap. Mistake-wise, Perez messed up quali in Barcelona, Spielberg and Silverstone added up to his early season mishaps (mirroring Hulkenberg errors in Singapore, Sochi and Austin in the second half). Results, of course, vary, but mostly due to outside circumstances.

    So why on Earth is Perez #3 and Hulkenberg #9. Please refute my arguments and present yours.

    1. Paul Villanueva
      17th December 2015, 16:14

      Performance in any sport are mesured by results, not by what could had happened.
      Its all about results, is it so hard to understand? Making solid races but failing completing them, means and values Nothing. Nothing for the championship, nothing for the teams.

    2. In Monaco, Hulkenberg actually showed better race pace than him with a damaged car

      That’s completely fair but just because I can’t give Hulkenberg credit for a drive he wasn’t able to do doesn’t mean I should refrain from praising Perez for a job well done. And you can’t ignore the fact that Hulkenberg was in a position where Alonso could hit him because he qualified four places behind Perez.

      1. Of course not, he made about as much mistakes early season as Perez – once again something they have been level on.

        In fact the Hulkenberg article is pretty well-balanced in alluding to the above and also noting that the Hulk did have about as many excellent drives during the first half of the season as Perez during the second – I wonder if we asked someone, who is without prior knowledge of the rankings themselves, to read the two articles about the Force India drivers and rank them, would he rank them this far apart?

        Make no mistake, I also consider Perez’s season to be better – even considering the further qualifying mishaps I mentioned earlier, he seemed to make less high-profile errors in general and delivered under bigger pressure when there were more points on the table than when Hulkenberg shone. I’d put about one or two drivers between them (compared to the none I first indicated on the forums, you won me over by that much).

    3. In Monaco, Perez qualified six places ahead of Hulkenberg and in the race was mainly trying to save his tyres as he didn’t need to push. You mentioned that he made a mistake in quali in Spain, but why did you not mention that Perez finished a long way up the road in the race.

  14. Amazing season for Peréz, proving to be an excellent driver within th most discussed scenarios among fans: dominating a bad car and taking advantage of a capable car and put in the shade a very very competitive teammate, ranked as a top driver by almost everyone

    Well deserved, and looking forward for an even better 2016 for him.

  15. Perez deserves to be ranked third. His performances in the second half of the season in particular were nothing short of stunning. Qualifying and race at Spa, Sochi podium (pulling a classic Perez and nursing his tyres but not driving at a Manor-like pace), keeping his nose clean in a chaotic Austin for P5 and extracting the maximum out of his car at Abu Dhabi. He has matured a lot this year. I think the 2013-14 Perez would have tangled in the dying stages in Sochi (a la Canada 2014) and perhaps with Verstappen in Brazil.

    He scored 20 more points than Hulkenberg and finished P9 (his best) in the championship, in the 5th best car. Let’s hope he can take more steps in 2016.

  16. I’ve been on this site since 2007 and every year the journalistic standards are dropping. This ranking is a new low. Keith has completed his transformation from an open minded enthusiastic young writer to a close minded opinionated old man who clings on stubbornly to ridiculous beliefs.

    1. I’ve given my reasons why I believe Perez deserves praise. I don’t see how that constitutes closed-mindedness – if anything I would suggest ranking a driver who I have previously rated lower than this is the opposite.

      You in return have not said why you do not feel Perez deserves this praise, nor why any of his rivals should be thought of more highly, nor offered the name of a single driver who you thought did better.

      But nevertheless, thanks for posting what appears to be your first ever comment in what you claim is an eight-year spell of reading F1 Fanatic, merely to tell me what a bad job I’m doing. Season of goodwill and all that.

      1. Why doesn’t everybody just give him a break, it is a very good ranking in my opinion and it’s just a bit of fun too.

    2. You do realize this website is a blog right.

  17. I still don’t have enough F1 knowledge to make such a good arguments like most of you do, however, I’ve been following Checo since his move to McLaren and all I can say is that he has matured a lot and now I see a more humble, focused driver, enjoying his time in F1 and I can also see his talents growing stronger.

    I don’t know if 3rd is right or not, and honestly I do not care, I’m thrilled to see how much he was able to change everybody’s mind since McLaren’s fiasco, because nobody here can argue that he is at his best right now.

    I’m really looking forward to see how far can he go and how much better can he get, and hopefully he can get one day a seat in a top team (a real one)

  18. Whether or not he’s deserved the third spot here is just subjective, by the way he did all he can to prove it.

    Perez is still young and has the experience of a top team, he once was a Ferrari protege too, but the way he dealt with pressure at his home race is another exemple of his maturity.

  19. It is subjective weather he ranks top 3 or top 5, but overall top driver there about.

  20. I’m pretty sure there is a FIA season review title that fits what I think of Perez after this season.

    1. @xtwl Lighting Up The Tarmac and all that, yeah. :D

  21. Sorry but this is the worst subjective rating I have seen on this blog, also maybe the only one. How can be Perez ranked third while his team mate is ranked ninth? His team mate has beaten Perez on pole positions, races and laps being lead! Only in points was Hulkenberg beaten by Perez and that is largely to the podium Perez got in Russia. I think is too far fetched considering that team mate is the most accurate measure stick that can be used in such cases.

    1. There’s very little in driver quality separating third from ninth, or even third from twelfth. So you can make a decent argument for any of these drivers being given a different ranking. It’s just people giving their opinions at the end of the day.

    2. huh? Hulkenburg got a pole position? Can’t remember HUL leading any laps this year either…. Both news to me….
      Are you looking at overall F1 driver career stats to compare a single season of racing each other?????

      1. I am sorry my english confuses you, my bad. When I meant pole positions I was talking about qualifying positions between the two team mates, and laps lead between the two, not races lead.

  22. I agree with your ranking so far, I think it was Checo’s strongest season, even compared with the season he got a couple of podium finishes with Sauber.

  23. Kudos to Checo!

  24. Wow people take these rankings too seriously haha, well at least real F1 Fanatics visit this site! :)

    1. Expeliamus!!!!!!!!!! Expeto Petronum!!!!!!!! Haaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!

  25. I have to agree with the majority of people here that Perez probably does not deserve the nr 3 spot. Not in a season ranking. In a “2nd half of the season” he might deserve 4th – with VET/ROS/HAM in front.

    Perez has been driving well, but his team-mate’s bad luck ultimately made him look better.
    He has a couple of 5th positions, as well as his somewhat lucky podium spot. I think Verstappen deserves to be in front of Perez on the merit that he has two 4th places in his rookie season with a under-powered car.

    Personally I would also put Grosjean in front of Perez – Grosjean has been in the shadows but has had a stunning season, thoroughly beating his team mate.

  26. Nah. He’s not to be under-estimated, but nah, just nah.
    He deserves credit, and a lot of it, for beating Hülkenberg, but the points standings were decided during a string of very bad races for the German (from Hungary to the U.S. GP), which was, probably coincidentally, also the team’s strongest part of the season, performance-wise.
    -Hungary: Hülkenberg’s front wing fails while running in P7 (3 drivers that were ahead of him – BOT, RAI, ROS – would later drop back)
    – Belgium: Hülkenberg has to retire the car before the start.
    – Italy: Nico’s weekend is spoiled by floor damage, as the team find out after the race – although it has to be said that finishing slightly ahead of Pérez, and just maybe ahead of Räikkönen on P5 would’ve been the maximum.
    – Singapore: Nico crashes with Massa – his fault. He was ahead of Pérez, who finished 7th.
    – Japan: The only trouble-free race during that part of the season. He takes 8 points from Pérez, whose ambitions are ruined by an unlucky first-lap incident.
    – Russia: Nico spins from P6 – just ahead of Pérez, who went on to take a lucky podium – in turn one.
    – USA: Nico crashes out of the race as his front wing lets him down – again – while fighting for P5 (ahead of Pérez, bien sûr).

    That’s 6 more or less rotten races out of 7:
    – Two of those were his own fault (nevertheless, the potential for quite a few points was there);
    – 3 were caused by technical issues (potentially costing him lots of points in races with high attrition);
    – one (Monza) was somewhat affected, costing him between 0 and up to 6 points.

    At the same time, Pérez only lost points in Hungary (he had been some 7 points behind Nico in the first stint, so it’s really hard to tell where he could’ve finished) and in Japan (up to 8).

    Before this string of (for different reasons) one-sided races, Hülkenberg had been leading Pérez 24-15, and afterwards, Pérez had reversed the standing to 38-64, gaining 35 points in the battle against his team mate. From then on, Nico was able to reduce the gap by just 6 points. Is it conceivable that Hülkenberg could’ve scored 35 to 50 points more during that time, had he not lost them due to reliability issues and driver errors?
    Yes, maybe.

    The team battle was decided almost exclusively during a string of 7 races, during which Pérez was able to capitalize on a massively improved car, while Hülkenberg was plagued by costly DNFs. Pérez’s driving was definitely impressive at that time, but he had been eclipsed in the opening stages of the season, when there weren’t too many points to be gained, and he didn’t outpace Hülkenberg on a regular basis. His most impressive showing was his podium in Russia, but let’s not forget that he would’ve finished 5th, had Räikkönen not gone bananas on Bottas on the final lap.

    Is it really justified to rank Pérez, who had been outscored consistently in the half of the season, 3rd? Well, errm, maybe. Possibly. I don’t know.

    Was he really stronger than Rosberg, whose gap to Hamilton had (almost) never been more than a couple of seconds, before turning the tables in the last few races? I really don’t think so.

    Was he stronger than both Williams drivers? Maybe, just maybe.

    Was he strong enough to justify being ranked a full 6 places ahead of his team mate? Heck, no!

    In my opinion, Pérez and Hülkenberg were very closely tied. Hülkenberg had a stronger start into the season, before the aformentioned string of bad results, and Pérez had a stronger end of the season. Taking Hülkenberg’s unforced errors into account may justify classifying Pérez a place or two ahead of him, but 6? No, just no.

    In my opinion, the Force India drivers were about as competitive as the Williams duo. Soildly strong, but not without shortcomings.

    1. dayuumm son, am i supposed to read this?
      sorry, couldn’t resist ;)

      1. @antoine-de-paris
        That’s up to you. Although I must admit that I’d be very interested in your feedback.

    2. @nase good analyze, totally agree with you

      1. Thank you, kind sir.

  27. Divebomber extraordinaire Pérez in the top 10? Beats me!

    1. I’d rank Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, Button, Verstappen, Sainz, Bottas, Ricciardo, Kivyat, Hulkenberg, Nasr and Grosjean (no particular order) easily above Pérez this year. And Massa, maybe. Making him 13th-14th in my list. The one trick Pérez is good at is making his Pirellis last longer than anyone else’s, and sometimes it has served him well. Besides that, no racecraft whatsoever.

      1. Why Alonso in front of Button in your ranking? Not being rude, just curious that’s all.

        1. I wrote “no particular order” so I didn’t really put Alonso ahead of Button. But I put the drivers roughly in my particular ranking order so you may have a point.

          I find hard to choose between both, Button got a few more points but maybe Alonso was a bit less lucky. Anyway I’d rank them both ahead of Hamilton (but not of Vettel).

          BTW I notice now that Rosberg didn’t make my list, just forgot about him, I find Hamilton and Rosberg very hard to rank this year. The Merc was vastly superior all year except maybe in Singapore, so even a pretty poor racecraft would be enough for P2 (even for P1, just by doing a little better that the other guy). I’d surely put them both somewhere between 5th and 10th, so Pérez and Massa would get demoted to 14th-15th.

      2. I don’t agree with him being 3rd (Would probably have him anywhere between 5th-7th) but out of the top 10? This is the person who outscored Hülkenberg, and we all know how good he is (2013 anyone). Nasr? Bottas? They don’t have to deal with such a quality teammate. Plus, that ‘one trick’ is what makes him achieve what he has achieved this season, no? Why don’t the other drivers have that ‘one trick’ then? Then again, I remember you as the person who put Vettel all the way down in 16th last year out of sheer dislike and worse still, had no qualms about Guardian ranking Chilton ahead of Alonso in 2014 claiming it’s their opinion, so expecting well-formed opinions from you may be too much to ask for :/ Yes, opinions are subjective but they must not be poorly formed.

        1. Sheer dislike? I may like the guy or not, bur Vettel had a very poor 2014 by any standards. I still dislike him, but rank him #1 this year all the same (for the first time in his career anyway, 4 WDC years included). And why should I care about the Guardian’s opinion?. I ranked Alonso vastly above Chilton in 2014, but I agree to disagree. Life’s to short to try to make everyone change their mind.

          So if you rank Pérez 5th -7th that’s perfectly fine with me, but seriously, don’t try to tell me that your opinion is more well-formed than mine.

          And BTW check Nasr, I think he’s one of the unsung heroes of 2014, he seriously outperformed his Sauber.

          1. Oh by the way I just checked the f1metrics 2015 rankings… and Pérez is 11th. Somewhat better than I gave him, but still out of the top 10 And these are quite objective, 100% free of like/dislike bias.

            Also, Verstappen and Sainz are unranked in the model as no cross-reference exists for them, so Pérez could be 12th or 13th in the model depending where you fit them.

          2. Of course you would rank Alonso vastly ahead of Chilton, for obvious reasons. To do otherwise would be to have a (really) poorly formed opinion. I don’t mind agreeing to disagree, provided there isn’t cherry-picking and having good reasoning, in other words a well-formed opinion (Which Keith usually, if not always has, and it doesn’t necessarily mean I agree with his rankings). In this case, putting Hulkenberg ahead of Perez when the former has been comfortably outscored and involved in a lot more accidents is pretty poorly-formed… and I say this as a fan of Hulkenberg who desperately wanted him in a top team for quite some time already. Similar to last year when you put Ricciardo ahead of Bottas (Fair enough) yet ranked Massa ahead of Vettel when they’ve been outperformed by their teammates by similar margins, which is not exactly a well-formed opinion.

  28. Can’t really compare cars but if we compared for how long each driver was on top of their car, Perez would not be 3rd. Ham, Vet, Ver, Ric, and maybe Alo were more consistent, that said Perez was terrific.

  29. I agree that Perez had a brilliant season and drove the wheels off his car in many races but I am not sure if he should be top 3 of the season. Very very generous ranking compared to his racing. He is very consistent and delivered what the team needed. Nothing spectacular or special. I would rate him 6-8 of the season or a maximum 5th not in top 3.

  30. After seeing so many people disaggreeing with the rankings (not just this one, also a few rankings before this one were criticised heavily), I feel the need to talk about an aspect that not many are considering. I also disagree with some of the rankings, but I can understand Keith. I tried to rank drivers myself, but it is not easy, mainly because we didn’t have many drivers shine through the whole year; almost everyone had their ups and downs including even the champion. Only Vettel has been near flawless and he will probably get the top spot in these rankings.

    Now, back to point that not many drivers had outstanding seasons. Who could we possibly have at 3rd place?
    Rosberg – had an even more miserable first half than Perez, not just first half, 2/3rd of the season he spent constantly behind Hamilton.
    Ricciardo – nowhere near good as last year, even outscored by his teammate, albeit due to various issues. Didn’t shine.
    Kvyat – outscored teammate, but usually had slower pace.
    Massa – had a mediocre season.
    Bottas – only just beat Massa, who had a mediocre season. Didn’t really shine as well.
    Verstappen – this one is a bit tougher, but let’s be honest, he didn’t really outpace Sainz, even got outqualified. And that pints difference is mainly unreliability for Sainz, and a bit luck for Max.

    Overall, I think this season did a lot of damage to a number of drivers’ reputations, mainly Bottas, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, and good old Raikkonen.

    1. You’re wrong about the points difference between Verstappen and Sainz being mainly down due to only Sainz having mechanical problems. Verstappen even had more mechanical problems during the season, but they were in practice and also a lot in qualifying, both lost a lot of points that way (the points gap would even be bigger if both of them wouldn’t had so many mechanical problems).

      Actually, the big points gap is more down to how the F1 scoring system works. 9th or 10th place only gives one or two points, and Verstappen could be found more times at places which gives several times more points. And the same as the total points tally of both of them got screwed by the mechanical problems, they also did with the qualifying score.

  31. Great job by Checo this year! Some brilliant results!
    He has really matured this season and if he can continue this kind of form next season, he will be at the top end of the field again!

    I’d say next year Checo will get two podiums and a much much better result at his home race.
    He will finish next season in 7th overall. That’s my prediction

  32. What a hogwash “ranking”!
    Re-read your own words:

    failed to shine/spinning while trying to pass/misjudging a battle with Romain Grosjean/race-day frustrations/sub-par qualifying performances/ekeing out his tyres tp just two pit stops/starting and finishing seven/a nothing race in Japan/exploited a Safety Car period in Russia with his tyre-nursing skills/ expectations were high /finished behind team mate

    All of the above describe a lucky loser, not the 3d of the best F1 driver
    And Checo gets 3d ranking!?
    C’mon, comparing to aMax, Daniil, Dany, Valteri and even Carlos are deserved the ranking higher than Checo!
    In some races Hulk proved that FI machinery was capable to push RB but kanikaze driving drom Checo was and is still his trademark.
    Please place that bandido about a ten places lower!

    1. RonniePeterson
      19th December 2015, 2:56

      Tyre nursing skill alone is a sign of greats. Alain Prost being the master of this one. Put Perez in an Adrain Newey inspired Toro Rosso and it may have been 3 podiums. All the FI car has is a good engine these races are won in the corners. Remember when ground effects were introduced in the late 70’s.

  33. Modern master of tyre nursing is Jenson Button and he is a great racer.
    Ricciardo and some others showed the same or evan better skills throughout 2015 season.
    Checo had saved his rubber in a couple of races but does that place him among the greats?
    C’mon, Prost and many others great champions won their titles not because they were the best tyre savers but because they were driving on the edge not thinking will their tyres last or not.
    That is the spirit of the pure racing – blasting the car into Eau Rouge at Spa, Parabolica or Variante Ascari at Monza, Degner or 130R at Suzuka, Maggotts/Beckets at Silverstone or S do Senna at Interlagos – not calculating how many mediocre laps the tyres will last.

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