Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Hungaroring, 2015

2015 F1 driver rankings #1: Sebastian Vettel

2015 F1 season review

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Sebastian Vettel

Beat team mate in qualifying15/19
Beat team mate in race10/14
Races finished18/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate718/963
Points278
Sebastian Vettel 2015 form guide

Sebastian Vettel’s 2015 season was not the first time he proved his abilities in something less than the most competitive car in the field, but his efforts bear comparison with his most emphatic championship triumphs. He was fast out of the box, he was tenacious, and when Mercedes stumbled he pounced – not once, but thrice.

Of course it helped matters that this year’s Ferrari was much more capable than its predecessor. But still Vettel walked into a new team and blew the doors off the world champion in the other car.

Early in the season it seemed Kimi Raikkonen might have something for Vettel in terms of outright race pace – notably at Bahrain, where Vettel was scruffy, and China, where Raikkonen hunted him down. But these soon proved exceptions to the rule.

Right from the off at Melbourne Vettel was on the podium. It’s especially telling that on a total of nine occasions when both the Mercedes drivers were on the rostrum, Vettel was alongside them. But for a slow pit stop in Austria it would have been ten.

In Malaysia, improbably, he was ahead of both. Mercedes made the questionable decision to pit under the Safety Car, showing Vettel clear air into which he proceeded to sprint off. A pair of healthy Mercedes beaten on his second race weekend in red? Surely even the most optimistic Ferraristi couldn’t have dreamt of such an outcome.

He kept Lewis Hamilton bottled up for much of the way in Spain, until Mercedes were able to use an alternative strategy to jump him. But at Monaco Vettel was close enough to profit from another Mercedes mistake to split the pair.

Despite an MGU-H fault during qualifying in Canada Vettel came within a tenth of a second of getting his car into Q2. He then raced from the back of the field to finish on Raikkonen’s tail. It was one of several days when the four-times champion put his fellow champion team mate in the shade. At Silverstone when the rain fell Vettel simply drove past Raikkonen and motored on to the podium.

He went into the summer break on a high after a commanding win in Hungary as the Mercedes drivers self-destructed. That left him 21 points off Rosberg in the championship and 42 down on Hamilton – a strong performance given the relative strengths of their cars. It also explains partly why he was so livid about his tyre failure in Belgium – there went another podium finish and 15 points.

Singapore was his last realistic chance of winning a race and he was on a mission from the word go. A scintillating pole position lap put him on top by over half a second, and three-quarters of a second up on his team mate.

A mystifying performance in Mexico was the low point of his season. But in Brazil he was again close enough to Mercedes to keep them on their toes, and in Abu Dhabi he again bounced back from a Q1 exit to finish right behind Raikkonen.

Ferrari undoubtedly raised their game in 2015 but how much of that was down to one of their drivers? Raikkonen’s SF-15T only narrowly beat the Williams pair, but in Vettel’s it often matched the Mercedes – and sometimes beat them. That’s why he was the driver of the year.

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View race-by-race notes on Sebastian Vettel

Australia – Vettel’s first race for Ferrari went about as well as he could have hoped. After chiding himself for not taking third place on the grid when it was in the offing, he took it off Massa in the race by pitting three laps later than the Williams and dropping his lap time by around eight-tenths of a second despite the age of his tyres.

Malaysia – 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.

China – Three races, three podiums for Ferrari’s newest driver. Was consistently quicker than Raikkonen all weekend and ran third the entire race, behind the Mercedes. Tried to put Rosberg under pressure in the middle stint, but the way that Mercedes pulled away after the final stops suggested challenging for the win was never really a possibility for Vettel in China.

Bahrain – Showed his potential in final practice and delivered on it by splitting the two Mercedes in qualifying, lining up on the front row. However he wasn’t able to keep Rosberg behind in the race – being passed three times – and was forced to make an extra pit stop after going off and damaging his front wing. That dropped him behind Bottas, where he finished.

Spain – Took third on the grid in the upgraded Ferrari, albeit more than three-quarters of a second off Rosberg’s pole position time. Ran in front of Hamilton for the first half of the race but when Mercedes put their man on a three-stop strategy Ferrari stuck to their guns and Vettel, perhaps inevitably, lost his hold on second place.

Monaco – Quickest in final practice but when Mercedes got their act together in qualifying the full scale of Ferrari’s deficit to the silver cars at this track was revealed. Nonetheless he took third once again, and fought hard to try to separate the Mercedes drivers at the start. He had to settle for third, but stayed close enough to Rosberg to be able to take advantage when it all went wrong for Hamilton.

Canada – Power unit trouble was an inconvenience in practice – and a major problem in qualifying, where it put him out in Q1. Then it transpired he had overtaken Merhi under red flags in practice, incurring a five-place penalty which left him 18th. Made an early pit stop at the end of lap seven but a slow tyre change cost him more time, as did a contretemps with Alonso at the chicane. But he kept picking off his rivals and strong pace after his second pit stop brought him up to fifth place behind his team mate.

Austria – Quickest on Friday by little more than a hundredth of a second, but twice had to stop with transmission-related problems. Fastest again on Saturday morning, but didn’t have the one-lap pace to split the Mercedes, although he would have been quicker had he also not been unable to use DRS. Didn’t have the pace to attack Mercedes at the start of the race on super-softs, but was quicker on softs in the second half of the race. However by then a slow right-rear tyre change had dropped him to fourth behind Massa, where he finished.

Britain – Was held up by Massa during his final out-lap in Q3, which may have affected his tyre preparation, then had “a really bad start” from sixth on the grid. It got worse at the restart where he fell behind Perez, though he took that place back on lap nine. An early first pit stop got him in front of Kvyat and Hulkenberg, and when it started to rain he passed Raikkonen. Significantly quicker than the Williams drivers at this point, a well-timed pit stop got him ahead of them for a podium which had looked unlikely earlier in the race.

Hungary – Didn’t seem to quite have a match for Raikkonen’s pace in practice but led the way for the team in qualifying to take an increasingly familiar third place on the grid. A superb start put him in the lead from where he used Ferrari’s soft tyre pace to great effect – Raikkonen was ten seconds behind even when his car was still healthy. The Safety Car period was exactly what he didn’t need but his nearest rivals mostly took themselves out of contention as he grabbed his second victory of the season.

Belgium – Failed to improve on his Q2 time in the final session leaving him a sub-par eighth on the grid. However he started well and was up to fifth after passing Bottas on lap two. Staying out on medium tyres after making a single pit stop on lap 15 was undoubtedly a gamble, but one he might have expected would lead to a significant loss of pace at the end of the race, rather than an alarming high-speed tyre failure.

Italy – Was pipped to second on the grid by Raikkonen by a few hundredths of a second, but easily took the place at the start and ran there until the finish. He might have had a more difficult time had Rosberg’s engine not failed, however.

Singapore – This looked like 2011 or late-2013 era Vettel: car fully underneath him, he blitzed pole position by over half a second with a second run which he later admitted wasn’t really necessary. The parallels continued into the start of the race, where he immediately drew three seconds clear at the start. That performance advantage was clearly only temporary, however, but the two Safety Cars afforded him protection and gave him the chance to control the pace of the race, sparing his tyres.

Japan – Moved up from fourth to second at the start and probably had the pace to hold onto the position. Ferrari instructed him to keep Rosberg two seconds behind which he did, but the Mercedes driver was still able to jump ahead by pitting early.

Russia – Was clearly quicker than Raikkonen early in the race, and after getting past he jumped Bottas through the pit stops with little difficulty. He did his best to chase Hamilton, setting the fastest lap as he did, but his pursuit always looked to be in vain.

United States – 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.

Mexico – Was within two-tenths of Hamilton in qualifying and believed he could have been closer. His race was a nightmare, however: first-corner contact with Ricciardo gave him a puncture, after which he spun twice. “The last one obviously ended my race and I am not proud of it,” he confessed afterwards.

Brazil – Said there was only a few hundredths of a second left in his car after Q3, while the gap to Mercedes was a yawning half-second around one of the shortest tracks of the year. However in the race Vettel’s pace was more promising, particularly after he switched to a three-stop strategy to keep Mercedes under pressure.

Abu Dhabi – Failed to make it into Q2 when his team incorrectly assumed his position was safe. But having started 15th he made his way up to fourth with little drama: he ran long on soft tyres while most others used the super-softs, used the softer tyres to easily pass Ricciardo and Perez and coped with the heavy graining which followed. He also made way for Raikkonen when he needed to.

Over to you

Apart from one weak race he’s driven the maximum out of his Ferrari, thrashed his team mate and even beaten the Mercedes and, unlike them, has been able to demonstrate his overtaking skills.
@Glynh

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

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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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161 comments on “2015 F1 driver rankings #1: Sebastian Vettel”

  1. Yes, yes, and yes again!

    1. your comment is going unnoticed and it shouldn’t, don’t know if people got it ahah
      +1

  2. Hamilton is the new Vettel and Vettel is the new Alonso.

    1. And Alonso is the old Alonso

    2. hee hee, very true!

    3. And Button was better than Alonso…

      1. We all were worried sick about you, you hadn’t repeated that again in the last 2 hours or so…

      2. Leave it alone mate. ”Broken record” doesn’t come close to describing you.

    4. What a shock Keith would put Vettel as number 1.

      Oh wait, it isn’t at all, he remains an apologetic fanboy as ever.

      I cannot wait until Vettel has another competitive teammate, is once again crushed, and all you apologists will have to admit 2014 wasn’t simply an ‘off year.’

      1. This was the result as chosen by voters on this website.

      2. If you want to post garbage, at least bother to have an account on the site so it can be debated properly. Instead of the usual post and run.

  3. Brilliant brilliant season. Especially after the setback of 2014. And I loved how he ribbed the Mercedes drivers in every press conference. I haven’t seen a happier Ferrari team since the early 2000s

    1. I loved how he ribbed the Mercedes drivers in every press conference.

      No bonus points for that of course but I did enjoy it!

    2. Agreed!

      Great selection Keith!

    3. “I loved how he ribbed the Mercedes drivers in every press conference” and Keith Kollantine says “I (he) did enjoy-it”. hard to believe you Keith.

  4. Yeah fair play Seb was terrific this year. I so hope his car is up with the Mercs next season.

  5. It was a great season and a great drive from him this yeah. It was a pleasure to watch him race. Hope fwrari can build on this momentum next year for some interesting races

  6. I hope Ferrari’s chassis will match its number one driver performance for once. Also Vettel is a true Ferrari man.

  7. I have to admit that, when he won the second race of the year, I thought Seb could challenge for the WDC. It was so sad Ferrari was not at the same Merc level. But Vettel has proved that he didn’t luck into a good Newey car to get his 4 titles. Now he is getting the recognition he has long deserved, which is great, considering the boos he got just for winning.

    1. Well said. The only two great drivers that we have right now in the current field are Vettel and Alonso. The others are just there to make up the numbers sadly.

      1. Is not 3 drivers? Hamilton deserves credit too!

        1. He deserves nothing. I have never ever seen a driver making tons of excuses just because he’s not performing well not to mention the comments that him made about Schumacher and Vettel which are disgraceful.

          1. You’re doing just the same to Hamilton what you hated people did to Vettel? However you rank them F1 has three top dogs Alonso/Vettel/Hamilton, sadly their cars aren’t.

          2. I have never ever seen a driver making tons of excuses just because he’s not performing well

            It’s like you’ve never seen an interview with any driver aside from Hamilton.

    2. But didn’t he drive a Newey car in 2014? What was the outcome then?

      1. A Newey car that broke down even more than it usually does.

        1. Like the MP4-18? Or the MP4-20? He isn’t infallible.

    3. @omarr-pepper
      For 2000, my one wish would be that there is absolutely nothing to choose between Mercedes and Ferrari. As evenly matched as McLaren and Ferrari were in 2000. Then we will see a proper (fair) fight between Vet and Ham to decide who really is the best driver of their generation.

      1. For 2015, my one wish would be that there is absolutely nothing to choose between Mercedes and Ferrari.

        fixed

        1. 2016 @kingshark ? I fixed your fix

      2. i think this year showed that we need more variety in the calendar i.e. different tracks suiting some cars better than others. when conditions were abnormal like in malaysia or singapore, or even in the wet in austin, ferrari and red bull were able to challenge. when it’s 20-30 degrees and every track is similar, mercedes win.

      3. @kingshark – Let’s go a step further and pray for Honda recovery and we will see Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton fighting for the title. I am so excited just to think about that possibility. They are as different from each other as possible. Now that would be a battle to be the best of the generation :)

        1. @michal2009b ……..2010? (the cars were pretty close to even, if not in outright pace (the RB6 was not too much more reliable than the 2005 McLaren)…)

          1. @davidnotcoulthard – good reminder! Though I still think it was not a true three-way fight. Also Hamilton dropped back at the end and Vettel’s stacks were not as high as they are now. But anyway, I have nothing against deja vu (Ferrari in Red Bull role but without endless rows).

    4. @omarr-pepper, I think that the boos when Vettel won weren’t always directly just towards him just because he won, but also at the team he represented (Red Bull).

      As the public face of a team that became increasingly disliked, booing Vettel was a way of attacking the team and attacking the person who was perceived as benefiting the most from their politicking behind the scenes over the regulations in that era. At the very least, Kravitz stated that, when he asked some of those whom he saw booing Vettel why they did that, that was the response they got (i.e. it was the team they hated and, as Vettel was aggressively marketed as the face of Red Bull, he became the target of their ire).

    5. Now he is getting the recognition he has long deserved, which is great, considering the boos he got just for winning.

      Hear, hear.

      1. Agreed. Any doubts over his abilities should be long gone. Now its time to show his teamwork building skills and inspire italians.

        1. I’m sorry, but I disagree.

          Vettel is a great driver for sure, but coming third in the third best car on the grid is no more amazing or proof of any skill than Hamilton coming first in the best car on the grid.

          I’m sorry, but I don’t get it. Hamilton cops it left and right for winning in a dominant car, yet Vettel gets plaudits for coming third in the third best car?? Really?

          Yes, they beat their team mates but I would hardly call beating Raikkonen any sort of achievement considering his form the last few years and Rosberg has been neutered since Spa 2014.

          Give Vettel a decent team mate and then we’ll see. He’s only been up against 1 team mate who could really challenge him and that was last year. We all know how that went.

          1. @nick101

            I’m not a fan of Vettel, yet I think he did an awesome job this year. The fact that he was the only other driver that threatened the Mercs all season long, and also the only driver to take 3 very convincing wins has got to put him at #1. Honestly, if Hamilton didn’t slack in the last 6 races of the season it would be really close between them.

            I don’t believe Vettel in 2015 was still anywhere close to Alonso in 2012, but he did quite an awesome job nonetheless.

          2. @nick101

            He’s only been up against 1 team mate who could really challenge him

            All teammates can “challenge” each other. It’s about going out and beating them to the fullest extent possible, which Vettel & Hamilton did.

  8. It’s easy to be dramatic when commenting on sport, but Vettel really was reborn this season. He looked fresh and hungry in pre-season testing, he won races convincingly when he had a sniff of victory and with all his attempts to make press conferences with the Mercedes drivers interesting he came across as a more likeable human being than ever. Easily the best driver in the field this season.

  9. For me, Hamilton and Vettel were pretty much a match this year on the track (I don’t buy he whole comparison with teammate argument…Raikkonen is past it and I believe Hamilton would beat him with similar ease).

    But for me, Vettel takes it purely for his press conference antics!!

  10. A sublime season from Vettel. Even Alonso’s most committed fans, who have wistfully imagined what he could have achieved in the SF15-T will struggle to convincingly suggest he could have done any better, because bar scruffy races in Bahrain and Mexico, Vettel has amassed virtually every point available to him.

    Yes, without a teammate pushing him all the way, you could argue that it has been rather easy for Vettel to fall in the enormous gap between leaders Mercedes and Ferrari’s chasers Williams/Red Bull. But Vettel has tended to be much closer to the Mercedes than to his chasers, so much so that had Mercedes not entered the championship this year, Vettel would have wrapped up the title at Suzuka.

    He has silenced the critics of last year, and he has silenced those that waffled on about winning with only one team and the “Newey-effect”. Fortunately now those critics are having to come to terms with the fact that this young man will go down in history as one of the greats of our sport.

    1. if you want to bring in an alonso comparison you could say Alonso nearly won a title in a lot lot slower car! Though his consistency which is the mark of his game was stood him way above anyone that year. Never has a title been more deserved.

      I think you said right in that alonso at his peak wouldn’t of had those scruffy days. Certainly 2011-13 where he was incredible. i think he has lost his edge now, but probably still well in the mix with the other 2.

      Vettel has had a great year, but his team mate is probably the luckiest man in F1 to have a job.

  11. Vettel in 2015 is a curious case. His personality hasn’t changed but more people like him now. It makes me wonder if the dislike aimed at him was more aimed at Red Bull’s arrogance, which also must have effected Vettel in 2014 when things were going wrong.
    For all we can decry Vettel winning his championships in a superior car, it’s always been apparent his has natural skill (which the superior car made difficult to truly place). Ferrari’s renewed enthusiasm seems to have re-ignited him and we may yet see some classic races between him and Hamilton in future.

    1. Hamilton wouldn’t keep up with Vettel if they are in identical cars that’s for sure.

      1. Sorry but I think he would.

      2. Like when they were both in F3?

      3. If Ricardo did why couldn’t Lewis Hamilton.

        1. Let’s see if this gets edited out: DR only ‘could’ because of Seb’s lousy reliability and the fact that he had one foot out the door all year. Nothing more.

      4. You’re underestimating the triple world champion Equinox.

    2. I think his personality has changed this year. During his stint as WC at Red Bull, he would talk until we couldn’t stand to hear his voice any more. He would yammer on and on and on. We would pass on watching the podium presentations just because we couldn’t take hearing him accept his trophy and be interviewed! This year he is succinct, playful, and I’m not sure how but every ounce of him is a Ferrari man, just like Michael Schumacher was and really always will be. Don’t get me wrong, he was a Red Bull man when he was at that team, but this year is different. I think he was meant to be with Ferrari. His heart and soul are fully engaged and it’s showing in the results. It also shows in his attitude, his bearing, his over all personality. I can’t wait to see what the team can do next year. I’m just thrilled that Ferrari is finally on its way back to the top. Let’s hope Kimi can get himself together and the two of them can restore Ferrari to its former glory.

  12. Sebastian Vettel show with his performance this year why he is the best formula 1 driver after Michael Schumacher in the last two decades. A great four times champion!

  13. Vettel “scruffy” in Bahrain? He was as he is often when he’s desperate. For some reason however desperation is excused in everyone but drivers who’s name begin with Ham and end in ton. Bahrain, Monza and Mexico, three races where Vettel showed just how ordinary he can be when he’s under pressure. Bahrain and Mexico, in particular he was embarrassing. Coupled with a team mate who’s performance has long passed the freshness date… let’s just say you flatter him with this ranking.

    Hamilton clearly did not deserve a number 1 ranking this year because of the way he ended the season but Vettel’s successes came only when Mercedes faltered, unlike Ricciardo last year when he was able to beat the Silver arrows on driving merit at least once. Where Red Bull, Williams & McLaren more competitive there would not have been the steady stream of Vettel podiums. Grosjean and Perez both saw the third step, let’s put it in to perspective.

    1. To be fair, Perez finished 3rd because Bottas and Kimi crashed and Grosjean finished 3rd because Seb’s tyre blew…

      1. but Vettel’s successes came only when Mercedes faltered, unlike Ricciardo last year when he was able to beat the Silver arrows on driving merit at least once.

        You have seen different F1 seasons than the rest of the world

    2. but Vettel’s successes came only when Mercedes faltered, unlike Ricciardo last year when he was able to beat the Silver arrows on driving merit at least once.

      You have seen different F1 seasons than the rest of the world

    3. but Vettel’s successes came only when Mercedes faltered, unlike Ricciardo last year when he was able to beat the Silver arrows on driving merit at least once.

      The best joke of the year. It’s funny how it’s almost exactly the other way around…

    4. but Vettel’s successes came only when Mercedes faltered, unlike Ricciardo last year when he was able to beat the Silver arrows on driving merit at least once.

      You clearly didn’t watch Malaysia and Singapore where two healthy Mercedes were shown a clean pair of heels by Vettel’s Ferrari.

    5. All Ricciardos wins were due to Merc issues all Vettels wins this year were on merit no technical issues for Merc. Wrong way round.

  14. I am sure many german fans would disagree, but how hard is it to beat a Kimi who is on his way out the door of F1? Seb had a good season, however, it isn’t better than Alonso last year. If he beat Rosberg on the points, then I would probably agree that he deserves the No.1 status. Having compare to how Hamilton performed over the season, it is a lot harder for him to beat his own team mate who is at the same age with the same car and know him inside out. Remember there wasn’t even once that Rosberg was asked to move aside for Hamilton, but they did so for Hamilton who refused and also robbed his victory with the stupid pit stop at Monaco. So having considering all that, Hamilton still managed to win the championship with a few races to spare, how can anyone not agree that Hamilton deserves the No.1 Statues.

    1. Because Hamilton has already said winning the title in the fastest car is easy. He said it about Vettel when him and Alonso were trying to belittle Seb’s consecutive Championships.

      Red Bull never had the advantage Mercedes had.

      1. It dosn’t matter if your car is faster by 1 minute or 10 minutes, if its faster, its faster. When Vettel extracted the maximum out of his Redbull, no one was going to beat him. The margin of the win is irrelevent.

        1. Of course it matters how big the margin is; if you need to ‘extract the maximum’ the danger of making mistakes or the equipment failing is much higher than when you’re able to cruise around comfortably within the margins of the car. Why do you think Mercedes went on for ages before switching to Engine #2 this year? They were under no pressure to ‘extract the maximum’, so enormous was their advantage.

    2. Raikkonnen had more knowledge of Ferrari than Vettel. I don’t think I will remember Hamilton or Rosberg’s wins bar USA and Monaco more for the laughs!! However Hungary and Malaysia will live long in the memory. Just like Alonso’s wins in 2012 & some of them in 2010 and Schumacher’s in 96 & 97, because you are not supposed to beat superior cars driven by elite drivers.

  15. Im a British McLaren/Hamilton fan but i finish this season a Vettel fan. Enough said!

    He is everything I wish Hamilton still was. If he’s won a race, he pushes for the fastest lap. If he spins off, he fights his way back. If he wins the title before the last race, he pushes for the record points scored. Hamilton just gives up.

    You can see that Vettel absolutely loves F1 – I cant say the same for Lewis.

    1. I’d honestly never thought about it like that before, but as soon as I read your comment, it makes complete sense – Vettel won the championship and continued to win races whereas Lewis got too pre-occupied with the partying and lost focus at the end of the season

      1. Especially Hamilton’s “I wish the season was over” comment felt wrong. How can you prefer partying to driving the fastest car in the world?

      2. The notion that Vettel always drives at maximum is contradicted by those who claim that, in his last year at Red Bull when he was comprehensively beaten by Riccardo, he was on his way to Ferrari and therefore wasn’t as committed.

        So which was it? Was Vettel earning his paycheck in 2014 and giving Red Bull his all while being out driven by his team mate, or was he cruising along counting the days?

        Why does Hamilton get criticized for stating the obvious, that the championship was wrapped up, and Vettel get a pass for 2014? Even if Hamilton eased off after Austin, he did no harm to himself or his employer, as both championships had been won.

        1. I don’t know about being less committed, but his form dipped in 2014 (exascerbated by massive misfortune). So did Lewis’ in 2011.

    2. You can see that Vettel absolutely loves F1 – I cant say the same for Lewis.

      @petebaldwin @clare-m95 If that’s ever proven (of the beyond reasonable doubt kind) true I don’t think that should be put against HAM though – I think he probably loves F1 more than John Surtees did anyway.

      although if you want to focus not entirely on F1 I’d say Eddie Irvine would be a much better example to follow than HAM. He got not too far from winning a title, too.

      HAM is much better for Bernie though.

      1. @davidnotcoulthard – He’s free to do what he likes and whatever he chooses to do, he’s one of the best f1 drivers ever. No one can take that away from him. On his day, he is unbeatable.

        In terms of a role model though – someone I’d want my kids to look up to – it’s Vettel over Hamilton every time!

        1. “(Hamilton) is one of the best f1 drivers ever”

          That depends on how long you make the list and how you measure. Let’s limit it to the top twenty of all time – and forget about number of wins etc as they have twice as many races these days. (Not to mention that none of today’s drivers have the balls of steel required of the 1950-80 F1 drivers.)

          1-10 in no particular order except era: Fangio, Ascari, Clark, G Hill, Stewart, Fittipaldi, Lauda, Prost, Senna and Schumacher.

          11-20 Farina, von Trips, Moss, Brabham, Hulme, Rindt, Peterson, Mansell, Alonso, Vettel

          Oh dear, Hamilton does not even make Top 20 and is he really better than Hawthorn, Brooks, Surtees, McLaren, Hunt, Scheckter, Gilles Villeneuve, Piquet or Mika Häkkinen who also didn’t make Top 20…

          1. Hamilton doesn’t even make top 30 of all time let alone top 20.

          2. “Hamilton doesn’t even make top 30 of all time let alone top 20.”

            hahah

            Nico, is that you?

          3. 1-10 in no particular order except era: Fangio, Ascari, Clark, G Hill, Stewart, Fittipaldi, Lauda, Prost, Senna and Schumacher.

            Vettel and Hamilton have already surpassed G Hill, Lauda and Fittipaldi. They have already achieved far more (statistically) than either Hill or Fittipaldi did in F1. Likewise, Lauda got bested by too many teammates.

          4. Kingshark, I already said “forget about number of wins etc as they have twice as many races these days”, yet you cannot resist invoking stale and non-weighed statistics… If you do so, look at MEANINGFUL statistics such wins-to-starts ratio or (weighed) points-per-race keeping the fact in mind that to begin with, only 9 (nine) points were awarded for a win and only 6 (six) drivers were awarded points. Right now, Hamilton “only” has 43 wins from 167 starts with no less than 21 wins from 38 starts with Rosberg being the only realistic competitor (unlike when Prost and Senna faced each other at McLaren in ’88 and ’89) against the 91 from 309 starts of Schumacher which is the statistic he (as well as Alonso and Vettel) has to measure up against and not the 13 wins of Ascari from a mere 32 starts. (Also, don’t forget that Schumacher’s stats are sullied by his comeback years at an uncompetitive Mercedes which if excluded means he had 91 wins from 251 starts.)

          5. Since you seemingly put so much emphasis on % of wins per start:

            G Hill – 7.95%
            Fittipaldi – 9.72%
            Lauda – 14.62%

            Vettel – 26.58%
            Hamilton – 25.75%

            So what exactly is your justification for putting Hill, Fittipaldi and Lauda ahead of Hamilton and Vettel again?

            Only Fangio, Ascari, Clark, Schumacher and Steward have a higher % wins to race starts ratio. Senna and Prost are lower, Lauda doesn’t even come close.

            Also, don’t forget that Schumacher’s stats are sullied by his comeback years at an uncompetitive Mercedes which if excluded means he had 91 wins from 251 starts

            If you want to play that game (exclude the seasons with noncompetitive cars), we can exclude the first 1.5 years of Vettel’s career, which makes his win ratio 41 wins/132 starts = 31.1%

            It doesn’t work like that, you can’t pick and choose the years you want for an ideal statistic.

          6. “So what exactly is your justification for putting Hill, Fittipaldi and Lauda ahead of Hamilton and Vettel again?”

            Hamilton and Vettel race in carbon-fibre, computer-calculated safety boxes on ultra-safe Tilke-dromes with Safer(TM)-barriers. Graham Hill, Fittipaldi and Lauda raced in an era of cars built from steel or aluminium tubing with aluminium or glass fibre outer skins with circuits enclosed by ditches and banks or fenced in by decapitating Armco (Cevert & Koinigg), surrounded by killing trees (von Tripps, Clark, Bonnier) in cars that would roast their drivers alive (Bandini, Williamson and damned near Lauda). Also, they and Vettel had serious competition for race wins and not only from their team mates but other drivers from other teams. If you look at Hammy during his McLaren years, a picture of a rather average driver emerges, one not better than Button.

    3. Here here… Agree fully, Ham would be so much better if it was more like Vettel.

    4. Vettel was good this year, and a lot more easy to watch off track, but I think people are over-egging it. When was he under any sustained pressure over the course of the season? I agree that his attitude helped him stay relaxed, enjoy the season and drive well. But that’s not the same as a scrap with someone in the same car to win the championship.

      That said, though, Hamilton’s decline in form over the final batch of races really is enough to make him a bit undeserving of top spot, despite the excellence of this first half of the season. So Vettel first seems right.

    5. so what happened to vettel in 2014 then?

      1. @supremef1
        A dip year, which happens with everyone.

  16. I can’t argue about Vettel being put on nr.1. Every top driver has from time to time a few bad races (2-4 each season) because they are still humans…we all have days when things simply don’t seem to go or way. Most race weekends he got the absolute maximum out of his car, more so as Hamilton and the rest of the grid, so nr. 1 is fully deserved.

    1. Every top driver has from time to time a few bad races

      *Except for Michael in 2002.

      1. I was talking about humans. :)

      2. @faulty

        *Except for Michael in 2002.

        Schumacher crashed into Montoya in Malaysia. Had Barrichello, Coulthard and Raikkonen not all blown up their engines when running 2nd, 3rd, and 4th respectively, he wouldn’t have finished anywhere near the podium.

        His 2000 season was overall better, all things considered.

  17. I’m really REALLY happy to see that Vettel finally got what he deserves. I have respect for every driver, but I saw the diffrence between Vettel and Hamilton and not only in F1. Vettel his personallity is totally diffrent from Hamilton. They remind me so much of the movie “Rush” that I saw. Ofcourse Rush was only a hype. Perhaps the 2 personallity’s of Lauda and Hunt were diffrently in real life, but in the movie, they aren’t so diffrent from the personality’s of Vettel and Hamilton. Vettel being concentrated and Hamilton being into fashion and singing and partying…

  18. P1 for Vettel is definitely a justifiable choice. But I wouldn’t call that a revelation or anything of the like. His time to shine came with a thoroughly revised Ferrari PU that propelled the Prancing Horse within racing distance to the Mercs on quite a few circuits, and even a small step ahead of them in a couple of races. He did his best to capitalise on the Mercs’ shortcomings, and was there to punish them whenever they ran into trouble of some sort. However, his season was not perfect, and memories of 2014 shone through in Bahrain (where Rosberg overtook him no less than 3 times, and multiple errors ultimately cost him a place in the Top 4 in a race that he could’ve won on sheer pace) and in Mexico (where he struggled to put a foot right all race long before crashing out).
    One is left wondering how much of his apparent glamour is owed to his team mate’s abysmal performance:
    For the second year in a row, Räikkönen showed very few flashes of competitiveness between races that were compromised by a lack of pace (MCO, HN, SGP, JPN, BRA), numerous blunders (AUS, CDN, AUT, ITA, RUS, USA, MEX), his inability to adapt to changing climatic conditions (AUT, GBR, USA), first lap incidents (AUS, MAL), and a pair of uncontrollable technical failures (HUN, BEL). He won only two of the qualifying battles in which Vettel wasn’t sidelined by a technical issue (CDN) or a failed strategic gamble (UAE), losing almost half a second per qualifying, scoring roughly half as many points as Vettel, whose points alone would’ve sufficed to secure P2 in the Constructors’ Championship.

    And here’s how all this gets relevant: By comparison, his 2014 season looked even worse, with Alonso outscoring him almost 3:1, out-qualifying him 16-3 (with only one qualifying decided in Räikkönen’s favour on sheer pace) and beating him in all races but one (Spa, where he was plagued by an unholy combination of ERS-H trouble, a drive-through and an overzealous K-Mag).
    So what do we make of this? Can we safely assume that Räikkönen was much stronger than last year, so that Vettel’s effort can be considered the cream of the crop? After all, Alonso’s eclipsing of Räikkönen in 2014 ‘only’ saw him come second in the 2014 edition of this ranking …

    I can see why he finished in the top spot. After all, he did leave a very good impression.
    However, it is far from certain that he would’ve shone as much alongside a team mate that was adequate to the task. How would he’ve stood up against Alonso? Now, that would’ve been interesting to see. Can we be sure that a Ferrari driver named Ricciardo would not have hurt him the same way he did in the 2014 Red Bull?
    In my opinion, this kind of critical questioning is missing in this ranking, leading to a result that can best be characterised as ‘Yes, but …”.

    1. In my opinion, this kind of critical questioning is missing in this ranking, leading to a result that can best be characterised as ‘Yes, but …”.

      Even if him did the same with Alonso or Ricciardo you would find anything to dismiss Vettel.

    2. Agreed.i also have the same doubts.

    3. How would he’ve stood up against Alonso? Now, that would’ve been interesting to see. Can we be sure that a Ferrari driver named Ricciardo would not have hurt him the same way he did in the 2014 Red Bull?

      As long as we’re asking completely unanswerable questions, how would Alonso have stood up against Ricciardo in the same car? Can we be sure that Ricciardo would have impressed at Ferrari if he’d had the same history of car malfunctions and general bad luck which Vettel experienced in 2014? How many titles would Alonso have if not for the mass damper?

      1. How would Ricciardo stand up against Vergne or Kyvatt….oh yes he lost. Ricciardo is a one season wonder and has been mediocre in his other 3 years. Ricciardo would have been thrashed at Ferrari this year he took advantage last year of a great taking a breather from 4 straight titles then having a poor car. Cannot compare a 4 time champion to a 3 time race winner who has lost to his team mates in half the years he has been in F1.

    4. Actually Bahrain and Mexico weren’t as bad as they appeared.

      In Bahrain, Vettel was overtaken by Rosberg 3 times. Three times! When Rosberg should have been well ahead and shadowing Lewis and not ever needing to pass Vettel once.

      There was no way for Vettel to know both Mercs would experience brake problems. It’s not in his mentality to mark time until the car in front breaks (Hamilton and Vettel are very similar this way, and it’s probably the one negative I’d have against Alonso, who does). So he was pushing the car to its limit and beyond trying to stay in front of a car much faster than his. What cost him though was a freak break of his front wing coming back on the track just as he passed the pit lane. The error was compounded tremendously by that.

      With regards to Mexico, I think Vettel was doing the same – trying to drive beyond the limits of the car after Ricciardo’s ill-advised dive in to a corner he was never going to make. At that point, what does Vettel have to lose? It’s the last chance to stay within a shout of P2 in the WDC. If he fails, what of it? He’s already confirmed for P3 in the WDC.

      The impact of Vettel was most obvious, imho, in Brazil. He put in massive qualifying lap that was more than could be expected from that Ferrari (similar to Singapore where Brundle was saying no one would be able to go under 1’34 (iirc) and then Vettel smashed that – Brundle was amazed). But in the race, Vettel’s pace and moving to a 3-stopper caused Mercedes to change their strategy. Imagine that – the Mercedes with the advantage they have needing to respond to the Ferrari of Vettel. Near the end, if there was a lap more, Vettel may have actually overtaken Hamilton.

      Hamilton and Vettel put in some sublime performances this year, and heads and shoulders above the field. Vettel stayed more consistent than Hamilton as Keith said.
      It’s easy to find reasons to tear down drivers we don’t like.

  19. Fully deserved the top spot! All season long kept Mercedes on their toes!
    Awesome recovery by both him and the team since last year!
    #Bring on 2016!

  20. Put a better driver in that second Ferrari we will know how good vettel is.Ricardo,Button,Verstappen,Bottas or even Rosberg.After that compare him to Hamilton and Alonso.Never been at their level .vettel just lucked by dominant car with favouritism and sub par team mates apart from Ricardo.

    1. @manas
      You’re writing off Raikkonen, yet he did to him exactly what Alonso did. But lol, he’s “never been at their level”. I can tell you’ve got to lower your salt intake.

      1. I didn’t questioned raikonen’s legacy he was good but not great he lost his prime but vettel in his prime was overshadowed by Daniel Ricardo it something like this never happened to Hamilton or Alonso in their career.Jenson button outscored Hamilton but it was not like Ricardo crushed vettel.Hamilton still managed to win races in 2011 not been dominated.I have respect for vettel as he is a 4time Wc.but he didn’t tested with a good team mate apart from Ricardo.Vettel is a good driver no doubt but is he at the same level of Alonso or Hamilton?

        1. Vettel is a good driver no doubt but is he at the same level of Alonso or Hamilton?

          According to the team principals yes. But even if he wins all the races with a teammate like HAM, RIC or ALo people like you still would dismiss him.

        2. @manas

          First I agree Ricciardo did beat Vettel in 2014. But I don’t think the gap was as big as it looked. Daniel had retirements in Australia, Malaysia and Brazil- 2 races where SV was ahead, and one where Vettel also retired and had also had an engine issue in qualifying. Vettel also had 3 retirements- Australia as I mentioned, Monaco, where he was ahead, and Austria where his car literally died on lap 2. Vettel also had issues in qualifying out of his control- gearbox failures (Bahrain & Spain), grid penalty (USA). Compounding that were stuff out of his control in races- like slow stops in Britain & Canada, losing him track position to Ricciardo, and the timing of the safety car in Hungary (Vet & the other frontrunners had already passed the pit entry, going from podium places to the midfield, Ricciardo gained many places form midfield to lead). Without these, Seb would have finished behind Daniel (who I also rate highly), but by far less than 71 points.

          Is he on the same level as Alonso or Hamilton? The best way to judge would be if they were teammates, but looking at Vettel & Alonso and their respective performances at Ferrari against Raikkonen, they did a similar job. Also Vettel finished 103 points off champion Hamilton. That’s closer than Alonso/Hamilton/Button/Rosberg got to Vettel’s dominant Red Bull in 2011 or 2013. I struggle to see how anyone could have done much better.

    2. I think this year proves he is on Alonso’s level, maybe slightly higher based on Alonso’s age and car. And I say this as a huge Alonso fan. Begs the question how good, Riccardio, Kyvaat and Verstappen are? Not sure it is as clear cut as Vettel/Hamilton/Alonso and then the rest.

      1. Ricciardo is midfield he to include him on that list you should include Vergne who beat Ricciardo as well as Kyvatt. Ricciardo is a 1 season wonder.

        1. Ricciardo is better than both IMO. He beat Vergne in 2013, and had more mechanical issues in both 2012 and 2015 than him and Kyvat, which cost him the inter-team points battles.

    3. vettel just lucked by dominant car

      It wasn’t a dominant car. You want to see what a dominant car looks like, check out the 2014 and 2015 Mercedes.

      1. There’s 2014-2015.

        But that’s nothing like 1954-1955…though still dominant, fair enough.

  21. This ranking is fairly close with Hamilton, but ultimately deserved. He finished closer to the champion than we’ve seen in other recent years with a “dominant car”, and achieved more:
    2011 Button: 122 points behind, 3 wins, 12 podiums
    2013 Alonso: 155 points behind, 2 wins, 9 podiums
    2014 Ricciardo: 133 ponts behind*, 3 wins, 8 podiums
    2015 Vettel: 103 points behind, 3 wins, 13 podiums

    *double points removed, 146 points otherwise

    1. Aye, this just explains so much.

    2. That is because the wins were split between Mercedes team mates. Also Ferrari was clearly the 2nd best car whereas other seasons it was less clear cut.
      Regardless I agree with Vettel being the no 1 driver this year.

    3. new rules in F1…loose more than 100 points to the leader and you are the winner…

  22. We all wanted to know how would Vettel race in a non front running car…

    And oh boy did he deliver. While mercedes were running on petronas black magic, Vettel was pouring in the spirit of Michael Schumacher. It was ozzing with passion and childhood dreams. I have not seen a driver this strong mentaly and team uplifting since forever.

    Results were pretty much telling. Normal podium this year was Merc + Vettel. And then there was everyone else. His victories were generaly earnee not lucked in.

    And finaly he was in Contention for WDC like 4-5 races longer than any other nonmercedes driver.

    All that in a car that was as far behind Mercedes as last years Ferrari.

    One can only hope next year he will be this good and car 0.9s closer to Merc.

  23. I find it seriously amusing what some people here say. Last year, when Alonso obliterated Raikonnen, everyone was saying how he’s the best! Now that Vettel does absolutely the same thing, Raikonnen is “Way past his prime”, “On his way out the door”. Seriously, Vettel and Alonso are superb drivers, and both of them deserve credit for destroying Kimi’s legacy in F1. We do not need to lower one driver to put the other up the other. I’m a Vettel fan, but I regard Alonso as the best driver of his generation, and he truly is outstanding. But he has flaws, like Hamilton or Vettel, or every champion F1 has ever seen. I jus’t don’t find it just to belittle a drivers season, in this case, Vettel, by saying Raikonnen is bad. He is, indeed, very bad at the moment, but he was just as bad last year in the same scenario. So if you classify Vettel’s season as ordinary, you would have to classify Alonso’s 2014 season just as ordinary, wich surely it wasn’t.

    1. When we grade Vettels performance we should grade him against Mercedes boys, since he was mostly competing with them.

      You are right, no need to belitle anyone. Because otherwhise what? Button won against Hamilton and Alonso, so must be best driver in F1 today ..

  24. I think Vettel answered in style two major criticism directed at him: he is not able to win without Newey and he can’t win without clearly fastest car (somehow those critics allocated the win with Torro Rosso in Monza 2008 as pure luck).

    However, unlike Riccardio’s wins last season that came about when Mercedes cars were seriously compromised, Vettel wins were on pace (well admittedly in tracks that for some reason Mercedes was not dominant). As article mentioned when he didn’t win, whenever the pace of the car allowed he kept Mercs honest. People like to disparage Kimi, but in my opinion he is still able to win or score a podium with a good car as two season with Lotus showed. To have that margin of superiority, is a clear signal that he was extracting more of the car, something often attributed to Alonso.

    I think over all it was a fair assessment of the best driver. In equal breath I guess that in 2012 (more) and 2014 (less) despite Vettel winning the championship it was Alonso who should get laurels for the best driver.

  25. Vettel deserved to “win” this contest. Even F1 metrics agrees with his ranking.

    1. The model is hilarious, and taking into account comments like “The analysis also shows a large relative time advantage to Alonso over Vettel, if we take Raikkonen’s performance level to be relatively consistent across these two consecutive years. ” it can’t be taken seriously

      1. I like the model as it tracks driver performance over multiple seasons (and driver performance will be roughly the same from season to season), so actually it may be quite good. There are a few problems:
        – Age-related decline (and inexperience) is not taken into account
        – Driver performance may be influenced by the team or the rules (for example, Räikkönen seemingly being much better at McLaren than at Ferrari, while the opposite may be true for Alonso; Schumacher’s 2005 slump)
        – Measurement errors in one teammate comparison will permanently distort all rankings
        – The model does not take into account that nowadays the performance is much more down to the car rather than the driver than in the past, although that may also be because the drivers are more closely matched nowadays
        But for the moment I think this is the best way to objectively rank the drivers. I like this site’s more pace-dependent approach, though.

        1. Sorry, a model that says that Alonso should have won from 2008 to 2014, both included, is rubbish.

          1. I guess it’s hard to argue against emotions.
            As I said, the model is not perfect, but it’s probably the most objective way to rank the drivers.

          2. As I said, the model is not perfect, but it’s probably the most objective way to rank the drivers.

            Sorry, no, as I said, a model that say that Alonso with the Renault should be the winner of the 2008 and 2009 seasons and should be the winner of the 2013 season is an objectively bad model. This has nothing to do with emotions

    2. I quite like his model but it has some major flaws. It rates Alonso second! Clearly because it overrates him based on previous seasons. So this years list is kind of bad and does not represent what actually happened. But that’s Just my opinion…

  26. Glad to see him finally getting the recognition he deserves – he was in many ways overshadowed by the car he had at Red Bull. Here’s hoping that the Ferrari is even closer to the Mercs next year, and he can take the fight to them each weekend.

  27. wow, I think I can say that no one disputes Keith’s choice for #1. last year it was a blood bath…

  28. Some people here act about VET’s #1 like he only deserves #1 when he’s as perfect as a Fallout synth can be.

    Of course replacing VET with any driver and 1 with any high-ranking number gets that kind of people as well…..

  29. At least number 1 is well deserved.

  30. It was one of the greatest performance by a driver over the course of the season. Probably second only to Alonso’s 2012 campaign. Although equal on points and podiums, Alonso’s 2012 season was better than Vettel’s 2015 for obvious reasons.

    1. Hamilton in 07 has them both beat by a long way, a rookie remember vs 2xWC. Ham and Alo have had by far the most toughest teammates too

      1. Arguably tougher, but not “by far”. Ham/Alo were only teammates for one season. Massa, Piquet Jr, Trulli, etc weren’t “tougher” than Vettel’s teammates. Button looks tougher than Webber now because Hamilton didn’t put him to the sword as he was expected to, while Vettel did with his teammate. Go back to 2009/10, and there wasn’t considered to be much difference between Web/But.

        1. tbf button was a wdc when he beat lewis in 2011.lewis has had 2 wdc teammates in their primes.vettel has had 1 wdc teamate,who’s past it.and alonso has had 2 wdc teamates,and imo both button and kimi are past their primes.

          1. @supremef1
            Again, Button wasn’t rated higher than Webber at the time, despite his championship. Especially considering their careers before getting good cars in 2009.

      2. Hamilton 07 was a super effort but considering the Mp4-22 was the class of the field, Hamilton was only able to score 4 wins and 12 podiums which though great but falls short of Vettel 2015 and Alonso 2012 performances in a car which was far from best.

        1. the ferrari won more races in 07 and 08.so to say the mclaren was the class of the field is wrong.

          1. @supremef1
            The Mclarens and Ferraris were clearly the class of the field. In 07 it was 9-8, and in 08 it was 8-6, with Kovalainen bogging down Mclaren. Only 4/35 races weren’t won by the two teams.

        2. yeah i know.i was just pointing out mclaren were not the class of the field,ferrari were right up there too.both seasons were close.

  31. Of course he’s driver of the year.

  32. I wonder, when person who wrote this “driver review” saw someone taking title with an inferior car for the last 50 years?
    well, maybe Rosberg sr. once, but why Vettel is N1 driver is beyond any imagination, xpt. huge favoritism from a fan? For someone who is “n1” in the list he should be fighting like madman, but we never saw it in 2015, yes he won once or twice, but were those wins “hard fought”? nope, deserved? well, maybe in Malaysia, but not in Hungary, where Mercedes guts simply ….ed up everything, nor in Singapore, where it was kindly orchestrated after Monza humiliation….
    So without those wins, is his score any better than Riccardo in 2014 or Alonso in 2013? nope…
    best of the rest, not a good cause for being n1 in any list…

    1. nor in Singapore, where it was kindly orchestrated after Monza humiliation….

      That says all that has to be said about all of your post, just a poor attempt at starting a flame war without any support in reality

      1. don`t you believe, that Mercedes cars, so dominant whole year, were THAT BAD on that single day?
        remember details on “Monzageit”, Ferrari humiliated on their own track, tires-pressure scandal etc…and suddenly Ferrari wins next event with advantage of 3 seconds in quali and 25 in race… while last year on same track, on not so different car Mercs were quantum leap ahead of others…

        1. And Repitilians rule the world and men didn’t landed in the Moon.

          Really, some of you are pretty hilarious with all the conspiracies that bring without any base

    2. @blakk76

      So without those wins, is his score any better than Riccardo in 2014 or Alonso in 2013? nope…

      Without their points, were they any better than Max Chilton? Nope.

  33. He was fantastic on and off the track. Truly put any doubt about him to bed this year, made Ferrari his team and finished his transformation into shumy mark 2, a high compliment. I only hope that Hamilton can make Mercedes his team in the same way and that Ferrari can match Mercedes. The two top drivers in the two top cars, Britain vs Germany, silver vs red, as F1 should be.

  34. There’s only 2 drivers to consider for the number one spot that said in my view there’s a “décalage” for number 1. Hamilton was so comfortable, even when things didn’t go exactly right he was so in sync that everything did eventually fall into place. It’s true that by the end of the season Rosberg finally found the right set-up but I wouldn’t judge the merc teammates especially after the championship was clinched, I’m sure Merc tried to make up for Nico. Vettel was Vettel again, yet despite the Ferrari not being the top car, the Ferrari was comfortably 2nd, the times Kimi, (who’s been down-rated) was on pace with Vettel actually downplay his season, not to mention the 2 bad races he produced, great if compared to the rest of the grid but Hamilton.

    1. @peartree

      Vettel’s two bad races? How about Hamilton’s bad races – Hungary and Austria? We could even toss in Monaco as an example of how badly Hamilton is able to read a race from inside the car, i.e. “I looked at one of the big screens and thought Vettel and Rosberg had pitted…” and then proceeded to beg to be brought in not once, but twice. Of course, he didn’t learn and we saw in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi wanting to stay out on tires that wouldn’t last.

      Contrast Vettel’s bad races – in Mexico he was given a puncture by Ricciardo who made a clumsy move that was never going to work on lap 1. Vettel was pushing beyond the limits of the car at that point, because whether he finished 4th or last didn’t matter – he was going to be P3 in the WDC regardless – he was fighting insurmountable odds for an outside chance at P2. In Bahrain he was trying to stay in front of a faster car (Rosberg had to pass him 3 times). A freak accident after running wide scuppered his race. Similar to Rosberg’s puncture in Hungary. (Interesting that Ricciardo punctured the tires of two front runners in the WDC causing each massive points – but hey, he’s the honey badger and self proclaimed future WDC).

      As Keith pointed out, while Hamilton had 11 of 12 poles in the first part of the season, he never won more than two straight races in a row during that time. In a car with close to a one second advantage.

      Vettel is being judged by what he did in comparison to the Mercs not his teammate. That alone puts him in the top spot. That even when he comes in 3rd, like Brazil, his driving caused Mercedes to change their race strategy, and he still came within seconds of nipping Hamilton for P2. It’s easy to judge Alonso last year against Kimi, but the quality of his driving came through in where he was putting the Ferrari, the company he was keeping. It’s not hard to double your teammates points in the mid-field. You get double the points from 8th (4) to 9th (2) and 9th (2) to 10th (1). The same way that you get triple the points from 7th (6) to 9th (2). But to almost double your teammates points when you finish 3rd and 4th respectively in the WDC? Vettel alone had enough points to secure P2 in the WCC for Ferrari.

      Vettel had a great, but not perfect year.
      Hamilton had a great, but not perfect year.

      1. @uan I considered Ham’s championship flawless because his bad race Hungary, meant nothing. Again I refuse to compare drivers on different teams. I just limit myself to judge how good of a job they made.

        1. There you have it. Every championship winning campaign in F1 history was flawless, as their mistakes in those seasons meant nothing.

  35. Vettel deserves No.1 for 3 reasons –

    1. His continuous needling of the Mercedes boys in press conference after press conference.

    2. The quip of the year – at the end of Brundle’s podium interview in Monaco, Brundle said “no one’s happy” to which Vettel reached in and remarked “I am!”

    3. A masterful win in Hungary and then the post-race comment of the year, dedicating the victory to Jules “who would have been driving for Ferrari … ”

    A true champion is about timing, and that one was perfect.

    1. Agreed on all 3 accounts… Vettel had #1 licked on the press conferences.

      If one judged by those.. It wqs obvious Mercedes were strugling while Vet enjoyed an awesome year.

  36. Lol gotta love that bias. Up until Monza where the tyre rules were changed, no one had anything on Hamilton. Hamilton labeled the changes as disastrous, and no wonder his season took a turn for the worse afterwards.

    1. Yap, a turn so disastrous that he was able to win 3 in a row, something he didn’t do before in that season

  37. This is the first time in almost a decade somebody performed better than Alonso over a course of a season. It was Lewis Hamilton in 2007 who performed marginally better than Alonso. Coincidentally, at both times Alonso was racing at Mclaren :)

  38. vettel had a weak teammate,kimi has been past it since last season,so beating him isnt a great achievement.keith is slightly biased against lewis,so im not suprised by his number 1 ranking for vettel.doesnt matter tho,im pretty sure a 3rd wdc means more than a KC number 1 ranking.

    1. @supremef1
      Yes, if someone disagrees with you, they are biased.

      1. no,ive always thought keith was biased against lewis.i think lots of people are.thats why the praise and criticism drivers get to others is unbalanced.i think seb did well,but i think he is overatting seb.i mean nico imo is a stronger teammate than kimi.kimi has been awful since last season,so beating him isnt special.i think lewis winning a 3rd wdc which a british driver hadnt done in 42 years?deserves more praise.the fact he was so dominant up until he won the wdc is something he also deserves credit for aswell.plus he won the wdc,and broke some records.

        1. i mean nico imo is a stronger teammate than kimi.kimi has been awful since last season,so beating him isnt special

          Perhaps, but there’s the margin of victory which you left out. Take a scenario where Hamilton had the “weaker” teammate. Raikkonen was stronger than Kovalainen in 08. But Hamilton beat his teammate by double the margin Massa managed, and I’m sure you’ll agree that Lewis was the stronger driver that year.

  39. This guy made more mistakes than Hamilton not to mention he was the defacto lead driver at Ferrari too, and he is ranked number 1?

    1. @david-beau
      Hungary, Austria vs Bahrain, Mexico, plus Hamilton getting beaten more times in qualifying & race by his teammate.

  40. Vettel is clued up and knows what’s going on around him. He’s a shrewd operator off track. I’m putting it out there he rigged 2014 (he will say he just got beat until he retires before the truth comes out) to get out of that contract as he knew from late 2013 Renault had ballsed up and the team was going to implode.
    Ricciardo hasn’t taken anyone to the cleaners in F1 yet did it to a 4x champ? 2014 was a perfect storm of on form motivated driver with something to prove against Champ who would be dethroned and the team move to back a new era. Lines to the Spanish press that they back him more than his team (at Spa)

    As for this year, was he better than LH??? 50-50 call. Both had great seasons, both had an off day or two but SV beat KR even more convincingly than LH beat NR, that’ll do for me as they’re both similarly rated

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