2015 F1 driver rankings #2: Hamilton

2015 F1 season review

Posted on

| Written by

Lewis Hamilton

Beat team mate in qualifying12/19
Beat team mate in race11/17
Races finished18/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate640/1071
Lewis Hamilton 2015 form guide

Lewis Hamilton crushed Nico Rosberg for much of the first half of the year, but over the final six races it was clear his team mate had become a much greater threat.

Did Hamilton back off once the championship was won, or did Rosberg find a way to access more performance from the W06 than Hamilton could access? The latter view seems more persuasive, though that’s not to say the former would merit him being ranked one place higher.

Hamilton began his championship defence in superb form. The foundation stone of his success was a turnaround in qualifying compared to last year, clinching pole position in 11 of the first 12 races. This virtually guaranteed Rosberg never got a look-in.

But tellingly, during this time Hamilton never managed to win more than two races in a row. Victories slipped through his fingers due to tactical errors in Malaysia and Monaco – the latter of which he had a share in the responsibility for – and the odd occasion when Rosberg snuck ahead, as in Spain and Austria.

Hamilton went into the summer break anxious to put a poor showing in Hungary behind him. He’d piled error upon error in what was by far his worst race of the year, but bounced back with wins at Spa and Monza.

Ironically it was only once Rosberg started regularly knocking him back to second on the grid that Hamilton managed to take a trio of consecutive wins. Adversity often brings out the best in Hamilton, and in Japan and the USA he dealt with his team mate ruthlessly at the start, setting him up for wins.

In between the two he picked up a fortunate victory in Russia when Rosberg was sidelined with a throttle problem. The distribution of technical problems fell less evenly at Mercedes than it did last year, which contributed to the championship being concluded earlier than it might have been.

Having beaten Rosberg 12-1 in qualifying over the first 13 races, Hamilton lost 6-0 over the final half-dozen. Although Hamilton himself has admitted his motivation waned once the title was won, it’s hard to accept the idea that he began ‘phoning it in’ well before then. Strikingly, this period closely coincides with the post-Spa restrictions on tyre pressures: the only time Hamilton was on pole after then was at Monza, where Rosberg was unable to run Mercedes’ upgraded engine.

Once Rosberg wised up to the fact that he had to keep Hamilton behind him at the start to convert poles into wins, the last three races all fell to him. Was Hamilton still giving his all? His relentless search for strategic alternatives, and his decision to turn up his engine against his team’s instructions in Abu Dhabi, indicates he was.

Hamilton usually seemed completely untroubled by Rosberg over the opening two-thirds of the season, and that was what won him the title. The late-season dip may prove a useful motivation over the winter as he prepares for another fight.

Go ad-free for just £1 per month

>> Find out more and sign up

View race-by-race notes on Lewis Hamilton

Australia – All weekend long Hamilton seemed to have a couple of tenths of a second in hand over Rosberg in the first sector. His first run in Q3 was good enough to take pole position by almost half a second, but he lowered his time on his second run anyway. A clean start and smooth restart meant he was untroubled by Rosberg at the start of the race, and despite misleading messages from his duel read-out he kept Rosberg back in the second stint.

Malaysia – Missed a significant chunk of Friday running due to a power unit inlet system problem. Nonetheless a rapid lap at the start of Q3 secured his second pole position of the year – neither he nor Rosberg beat the time as the track dried. He led at the start but pitting under the Safety Car dropped him back into the back and by the time he merged Vettel was ten second up the road, and after over 40 laps of chasing the gap was pretty much the same.

China – Fastest in every single session, except for Q1. Led all but three laps of the race en route to his second hat trick of the season. Able to control his pace and manage his tyres whilst never allowing his team mate to get within a second of his lead all race. Has now beaten his team mate to the chequered flag in all three races in 2015.

Bahrain – Claimed his fourth pole position in a row on Sunday by a healthier margin than he enjoyed in China and Malaysia. Hamilton rarely looked threatened in the race as his team mate scrapped with the Ferraris. A last-lap brake-by-wire glitch might have proved disastrous had it struck earlier, but it didn’t stop him from winning his third race this year.

Spain – Spun in final practice after touching the artificial grass in turn three, and from then on seemed to lose the initiative to his team mate, who beat him to pole position. A poor start cost him one place to Vettel and almost another to Bottas. Unable to pass Vettel on the track, he tried to undercut the Ferrari at the first pit stop but was thwarted by a slow left-rear tyre change. A switch to a three-stop strategy got him ahead, but by the time he’d made his extra pit stop Rosberg was too far ahead to be caught.

Monaco – Led both practice sessions on Thursday. Didn’t seem as settled on Saturday, including in qualifying where he was kept from the top spot in Q1 and Q2. He recovered well, however, chose to be the first Mercedes in the queue following last year’s controversy, and took his first Monaco Grand Prix pole position at his ninth attempt. Led comfortably from the start and was over 19 seconds ahead of Rosberg when the Safety Car came out. Didn’t expect to lose the lead by pitting, but he did, and finished a very frustrated third.

Canada – Despite topping both sessions on Friday he had a scruffy start to the weekend – a spin in first practice, a bizarre crash in the second, and in the third he was last after failing to get a clean lap in before the red flags started to fly. Rosberg ran him close in qualifying but Hamilton prevailed by a comfortable margin. He pulled clear in the first stint but Rosberg kept him honest after they switched to softs, the gap rarely more than two seconds. Even so, a fourth win for Hamilton never really looked in doubt.

Austria – Half a second off the pace on Friday and didn’t seem to be much closer to his team mate as the track dried in qualifying. Then it all seemed to click when it mattered: suddenly Hamilton found his missing chunk of time in the middle sector and claimed pole position, despite spinning at the beginning of his final lap. However his start was tardy – Hamilton later said he wasn’t satisfied with recent changes Mercedes have made to their clutch – and he spent much of the race chasing Rosberg. Then made life more difficult for himself by straying across the pit lane exit line and collecting a five-second time penalty, so had to accept second.

Britain – Looked genuinely uncomfortable in the warmer conditions on Friday, but overnight changes seemed to result in a car he was much happier with. He duly took his eighth pole position of the year – as in Austria his first lap was good enough and neither Mercedes driver improved on their second runs. Having reverted to an old clutch set-up for his start he blamed a lack of grip on his grid position for a sluggish getaway which allowed both Williams drivers past. He briefly got back in front of Bottas only to lose the position again while attacking Massa. He told the team he couldn’t pass Bottas, but his lap 19 pit stop and a flying out lap ensured he jumped both the FW37s. He had a brief off at Copse when the rain arrived, and after the track dried he began to struggle with his front tyres. However his decision to pit on lap 43 for intermediates just as the rain was returning was inspired, and won him the race.

Hungary – Swept all three practice sessions with little drama besides the occasional lock-up, and continued his domination into qualifying where he headed all three parts and sealed his ninth pole position of the year. But his domination of the weekend ended within seconds of the start: relegated to fourth in the first few corners, he then went off at turn six, slipping to tenth (and somewhat unfairly blaming his team mate for the error). He’d fought his way back to fourth when he came under attack from Ricciardo and thumped into the Red Bull, necessitating a front wing change and earning a drive-through penalty. Nonetheless he recovered to sixth at the chequered flag and edged further ahead of Rosberg in the championship.

Belgium – It felt like Hamilton was toying with Rosberg in qualifying – the pair looked closely-matched in Q1 and Q2, but come the pole position shoot out Hamilton suddenly produced the best part of half a second’s advantage, most of it found in the middle sector. After a clean start – his first in four races – Hamilton fended off a brief challenge from Perez which constituted the greatest threat he faced all race.

Italy – Every session at Monza ended with Hamilton’s name on top of the times sheets. Some were closer than others: Ferrari turned the wick up for qualifying and were a genuine threat, but he delivered his 11th pole position of the season and converted it into his seventh win.

Singapore – It seemed like business as usual for Mercedes in first practice, but when the serious business began and the track rubbered in they found themselves grappling with deep set-up problems. Hamilton described the problem as a sheer lack of grip, and it appeared to affect both drivers equally – Hamilton had his usual margin in hand over Rosberg in qualifying. A switch to soft tyres during the first Safety Car period could have set him up for an interesting run to the flag, but a power unit problem forced him out before then.

Japan – It was nip-and-tuck between Hamilton and Rosberg on their first runs in Q3, and if Hamilton’s effort had been tidier he might have taken pole position. Soon after the start of the race that became irrelevant, however: Hamilton got down the inside of Rosberg at the first corner and exploited that advantage to its fullest. “I had my corner and so we were very, very close but I was basically understeering, I was running out of grip,” Hamilton explained. “I imagine Nico was running out of road, but that’s what happens when you’re on the outside.” From then on his victory looked assured, despite a mid-race lock-up which left him with a flat-spotted tyre. Once it was replaced a rapid out-lap after underline how much pace he had in hand.

Russia – In a repeat of Japan, with minimal set-up time Hamilton wasn’t able to keep Rosberg from pole position, and he went off on his second run in Q3 as he tried to. The opening moments of the race promised an exciting scrap between the pair, but it all came to naught when Rosberg dropped out. Not threatened from behind, Hamilton only had to worry about his tyres cooling off behind the Safety Car and a minor problem with his rear wing in the closing stages.

United States – Brushed Rosberg aside at turn one but came under pressure from his team mate and the Red Bulls before switching to slick tyres. When the track dried he moved up to second but had dropped back from Rosberg when his team mate went off, handing him the lead and cementing his third world title.

Mexico – Rosberg had the edge on him in qualifying for the fourth race in a row, but Hamilton indicated his set-up was more race-orientated. However being snookered behind Rosberg from the start gave him little opportunity to demonstrate whether that was the case. He told his team the decision to bring him in for his final pit stop was “wrong”, believing the tyres would last, but deciding against disobeying his team and putting his theory to the test.

Brazil – “I really need to improve my grid position this time because that can heavily influence the race,” said Hamilton on Friday. He didn’t – Rosberg pipped him for the fifth race running after Hamilton’s final practice preparations were disrupted by a technical problem and a spin. He threw everything at his team mate in the second stint but was never able to force Rosberg onto the defensive, and with no strategic alternative being offered he was destined for second.

Abu Dhabi – Made a lot of changes to the car in pursuit of a better set-up, but ended up over a third of a second off his team mate in qualifying. Dropped back quickly at the start on super-softs but was stronger on the harder tyres. But despite extending his middle strategy to shorten his final run, he couldn’t chase down his team mate.

Over to you

Very dominant in the early and mid-season, pretty much faultless. However, his form started to deteriorate as the season went on. Partly because Rosberg had upped his game, but also because Hamilton just didn’t seem able to pull it together on Saturdays.

What’s your verdict on Lewis Hamilton’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

Browse all 2015 F1 season review articles

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

58 comments on “2015 F1 driver rankings #2: Hamilton”

  1. How can this guy be 2nd? He is flattered by that monstrous car that he has otherwise he wouldn’t be anywhere near the front.

    1. Go back 3 years, and people said the same about Vettel, while Hamilton was the great one who needed a better car. Now Vettel is suddenly great, when I’ve said that all along. Hamilton is still great too, and deserving of top 3 last year and top 2 this year, no question.

      1. Agreed, if you remove Mercedes from the championship Vettel would now be the one as he suggest “is flattered by that monstrous car that he has otherwise he wouldn’t be anywhere near the front”.

        1. Some of you need to go and watch Hamilton’s pole laps and you’ll see how utterly mediocre they are, missing apexes left, right and centre, locking up and other countless mistakes. The incredible thing is that he has the guts to tell Vettel on how to make a lap around a circuit lol.

          1. All that mediocrity, and he still beat the other guy with an equally quick car 12-7 in qualifying.

            Not too shabby, if you ask me.

          2. We get it. You love love love Vettel. Enough already.

          3. Where does that leave Rosberg?

        2. Bjornar Simonsen
          18th December 2015, 18:41

          We all want to believe in our heroes. The less exciting truth is that most of the F1 drivers are good enough to be champions if they had the car to do it. The drivers are all so good that they are able to extract close 100% of what the car can do, leaving the only statistically representative difference with the car. We want to worship heroes, it’s only human, but in F1 nowadays, you’re only as good as the car.

    2. I am sure that Hamilton would be at the right even if he had a Ferrari.

    3. Have you watched F1 or troubled to read about it prior to 2014?

  2. Up until Japan, he was joint #1 with Vettel for me, but then it all went downhill.

    His form declined after Suzuka was clear to see that he lost his speed advantage over Rosberg. In Russia, he got tonked in qualifying and got a very lucky/fluke win thanks to his teammate’s throttle pedal failure in the race. I honestly doubt Sochi would have gone any different from Austria, or the final 3 races of the season, had Mercedes stayed reliable.

    His win in USA was probably the least impressive win of his entire career. He lacked pace relative to Rosberg in both qualifying and in the race. Was hopelessly slow on slick tyres on a damp circuit and made several slip-ups. Was very lucky with the timing of the safety cars (which perfectly suited his strategy) and profited from his teammates’ mistake.

    Those 3 consecutive races at the end of the season weren’t at all surprising tbh. It was already obvious that he had lost his speed advantage before that. I think that Rosberg’s mechanical failure in USA and him bottling it in Austin (along with the SC) really masked just how much Hamilton really declined in the final quarter of the season. If Rosberg had 5 consecutive poles translated into 5 consecutive victories, the alarm bells would have gone off.

    I don’t know whether it was the car which no longer suited him, or he lost focus, or if Rosberg just raised his game; but Hamilton’s end to the season was really disappointing compared to say, Vettel in 2011 and 2013 (who kept getting stronger even after he won the WDC).

    With that being said, it was still undoubtedly a deserving WDC as he clearly outperformed his teammate throughout 70% of the season.

    1. I agree to what you wrote to a certain extend. I really hope that, he wants to keep his card to himself right after he wont the championship, as we all know Mercedes likes to share his driving data to the rest of the team including Rosberg. Perhaps, thats the reason? I dont know. I dont have proof, but I can feel that he isn’t trying as hard, there is no way that Hamilton cannot pass his Rosberg in the last couple of races. I think he chose not to for some reason. He is now a very calculated racer, since he won his 2nd title. He knows thats what brought him the 2nd title, and it’s working. He doesn’t take any unnecessary risk.

      1. there is no way that Hamilton cannot pass his Rosberg in the last couple of races

        Not sure if serious.

        They are driving the same car, Hamilton wasn’t any faster than Rosberg in the latter stages of the season, and the dirty air effect is quite powerful in 2015. How on earth you came to the conclusion that there’s “no way” Rosberg can keep Hamilton behind him is beyond me.

    2. @kingshark – I agree with pretty much everything you’ve included. But I want to make one addition. Without the late season reliability issues and retirements, the final points gap would show how close it really was. Depending on what you assume, it would have been single digit points difference or low-double digit.

      I am aware that’s now how it works and you take what you get and everything else. And I’m not anti-HAM or pro-ROS. But eliminating the retirements for both sides shows that even with HAM’s performance in the early and mid-season, it all could have hung on a poor Hungarian GP. Hoping they both perform at their best next season and we get to see a real fight.

      Re: Alpha’s comments.. I think radio comments prove that “there is no way Hamilton cannot pass Rosberg” is a biased opinion and not true.

      1. Hamilton had reliability issues all season last year, yet he won the champs despite his teammate also run into him… he had to make up a lot of grounds! People keep saying Ham is moaning a lot, but I see Ros moan every single race nearly, and sulking most of the times… The reason he sux probably to do with the women pad he is wearing on his forehead :)

    3. Nah…… His Monaco win was without doubt the worst of his career! and Luckiest!

  3. We’re lucky really that the fastest guy in the fastest car also happens to be such a magnet for drama.

    1. What fastest are you talking about?

  4. For me Hamilton blew away the assumption that Rosberg is the more astute driver mentally a long time ago; playing his team against his teammate last year in Spa was a more vicious move than Multi21 in my eyes. This year Rosberg had his chances but blew them away.
    My point about Hamilton being the more mentally fit between the two Mercedes drivers is he knows which tracks to take pole and which not to, Austin being a prime example, and obviously understanding how the race is unfolding

    1. @mim5

      he knows which tracks to take pole and which not to

      I don’t buy that, first of all because I think he would rather have pole position in all 19 races.

      And even if we were to grant your premise, the one track above all others where pole position could be more of a disadvantage is Spa – where Hamilton was on pole.

  5. My main takeaway from the rivalry is that Nico was indeed closer to LH than it appeared and some of his downfall was due to the difficulty, as highlighted when the roles were reversed in the last handful of races, when one is in the dirty air of the other. Nico and his side of the garage correctly thought they should spend the last off-season concentrating less on poles but it turns out this was the wrong season for that as dirty air seemed more damaging this year than last.

    Nico is closer to LH than it appeared in that first two thirds of the season so I hope he can and will come out swinging at the start of next year.

  6. It seemed to me that, after Monza, the car wouldn’t response to Hamilton as well as it did earlier in the season. He’s the type of driver who can drive around a less them favourable car, but it was enough to let Rosberg get a look in who seemed to be far more comfortable.

  7. 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. @alphaa

      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?

      There’s beating someone by 1 point, then there’s beating them by over 100 as Vettel and Alonso did, which is very hard. Just as beating Kovalainen wasn’t hard in 2008, but doing so by over 4 wins worth of points was.

      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.

      That was 2014 Hungary, when they were on different strategies. They didn’t ask him to pull over at Monaco as a team order. Hamilton & the team assumed they had enough time in hand to make a pitstop and still retain the lead.

    2. it isn’t better than Alonso last year

      To be clear, I didn’t say it was.

      1. but it probably was! ;)

  8. i thought hamilton had an outstanding year but there were a few instances where luck went his way: the main ones coming to my mind are silverstone and austin (where, very unusually, rosberg had him beaten for pace on a damp/changeable track) and to a lesser extent russia too (i think that race would have turned into another mexico). in some cases he was fortunate that his blunders didn’t lead to worse outcomes (hungary) but this counts against his rivals (rosberg really) more than anything.

    he has the best car but he’s winning and winning comfortably. monza was one of the most consummate victories i’ve seen. he’s had a great year.

    1. @frood19 You can’t put Silverstone down to luck, that was a great call and he made it himself.

      1. Actually I never rated that as a great call – I thought his hand was forced as he’d taken the life out of his tyres and he rolled the dice on changing the tyres earlier than he would have wished

        1. it was only a great call because of the timing of the rain i.e. luck. there’s no question that rosberg was flying at that point and hamilton was desperate to get some new tyres.

          1. frood19…At Silverstone on lap 43, Lewis did a !:41.160 right before he pitted. Rosberg on the same lap did a !:41.838, which was 0.678 sec. slower than Hamilton. While Lewis was pitting. Nico did a 1:53.679 on the following lap, which was 11.841 sec. slower than his previous lap, and right before he pitted. It doesn’t look to me as if Nico was flying as you claim.

          2. @samouri

            Rosberg was flying up until lap 43 – he was catching Hamilton at a vast rate of knots (don’t just look at one lap, but multiple laps before lap 43). Hamilton needed to pit then. The question was to go to Inters or not. He chose Inters.

            Rosbergs next lap was destroyed because the rain came. Had both stayed out on lap 43, Rosberg would have passed Hamilton, come in on lap 44 ahead of Hamilton would have lost even more time.

            So the great call was going on the Inters, not pitting.

          3. Nico was cathing Ham due to following some cars prior! let me explain:
            Under normal circumstances, following a car has a negative effect of overheating tyres and getting off the cliff quicker! But under rain/cold, it is actually advantageous! Look at the cars that Nico was overtaking? They were driving alone, hence cold tyres slowing the car down where as Ros was getting the hot air from the front car! keeping the tyres warm enough… after he overtook all but hamilton, he seemed to be going faster while everyone was getting slower! however, if you look at the time before Ham, pitted, he slowed down considerably already, and actually he was slower on that lap before Ham pitted! On the lap after Ham pitted, Ros was 11-12 secs slower compared to previous one! That says enough about luck! Get a grip and stop hating and spreading non sense :)

          4. @mysticus
            I might have believed you, if it was not for the fact that a few months later in Austin, in very similar conditions (slick tyres on a damp circuit) Rosberg was once again absolutely owning Hamilton on pure pace. Lewis pitted on the ideal lap, but his sector 3 time on his outlap was even slower than Button (ffs) who pitted on the same lap. Rosberg came out just ahead, then cleared the Red Bulls much quicker than Lewis did and set off in the sunset. He’d build an 11 second lead before the SC.

      2. I don’t think that’s a great call, plain luck IMHO. His pace was absolutely awful compared to Rosberg in the two laps before pitting. Hamilton pitted because he had to, not because he chose to do so.

        Doesn’t take away his fantastic driving in the rest of the race though.

  9. Anybody seen vettel’s Baharain and Mexico.Nothing to say.Hamilton’s worse performance was at Hungary.But still better than vettel.World champion before 3 races to spare.11 poles out of first 12.Hamilton delivered when it matters.If Fernando Alonso was at second Ferrari he would’ve comfortably outscored vettel.

    1. @manas

      Hamilton’s worse performance was at Hungary.But still better than vettel.

      Not when he was 6th in the fastest car, whereas Vettel was 5th in the 2nd fastest car.

      If Fernando Alonso was at second Ferrari he would’ve comfortably outscored vettel.

      Just stop with the nonsense. Alonso never scored more than 278 points/13 podiums in a Ferrari.

      1. Vettel cant even think of replicating Alonso ‘s 2012 and 2010.Alonso dragged that Ferrari untill final race in championship contention.Fernando Alonso is a great driver who should have won more than two wc.

        1. @manas

          Vettel cant even think of replicating Alonso ‘s 2012 and 2010.Alonso dragged that Ferrari untill final race in championship contention.

          2010: Bahrain & Korea he needed Vettel’s car to break down to win and make up points. He also benefited in Spain from Vettel’s brake issues & Hamilton’s tyre failure. Alonso meanwhile made as many, if not more mistakes than Vettel did. Lap 1 incident (AUS), jump start (CHI), pre-qualifying crash (MON), track limits (GBR), in-race crash (BEL), beaten by a certain Petrov (ABU)…
          2012: drove brilliantly, made less mistakes than 2010. Unfortunately for him, so did Vettel. Alonso finished 2nd in a car that his teammate finished 7th. Vettel finished 1st in a car that a similar level teammate (WEB wasn’t as good in 2011-13 as he was from 2006-10 IMO) finished 6th.

          Fernando Alonso is a great driver who should have won more than two wc.

          You’re right. He shouldn’t have deliberately blocked Hamilton in the pitlane in Hungary 2007. Avoids penalty, takes pole, wins race, wards off Kimi’s late season charge.

          1. @david-a – It is a disgrace for Alonso to say Vettel drove just as well in 2012. Seb often was struggling to beat his team-mate in the first part of the year and made a lot of mistakes. Just think speeding under yellows (Spain), overtaking off the track (Germany) and pushing Alonso onto the garss (Italy). Only when Red Bull hit a rich vein of form at two-thirds point of the season, Vettel was driving at Alonso’s season-long level. Abu Dhabi and Brazil were great recovery drives from Seb though. But Alonso was much better IMO. The comparison between Massa and Webber is misleading as Mark had almost twice as many points and unlike Massa, he had some back luck.

            And regarding qualifying for the 2007 Hungarian GP, I seriously doubt Alonso would have beat Hamilton had he not blocked it.

          2. @michal2009b
            I said Vettel also drove brilliantly. That’s not the same as saying Vettel drove as well as X or Y. In addition, of the 5 races Webber was classified ahead of Vettel in the first 10, 2 of them were Valencia (alternator), and Malaysia (Karthikeyan causing a collision).

            Webber was 57 points ahead of Massa (179-122)- 46 of those earned over Felipe by being consistently 4th in the first 4 races while Massa tootled around in midfield. In that time, we had 4 teams win those 4 races. Don’t get me wrong, the Ferrari wasn’t the best car of 2012, and Alonso was superb, but from Spain onwards the F2012 wasn’t that shabby either.

            If Alonso qualified and finished 2nd in Hungary ’07 (assuming Hamilton set a faster lap afterwards), that’s 3 extra points, enough for that title.

          3. @david-a – I disagree Vettel drove brilliantly, that was his worst WDC season in my opinion. I can agree he was fantastic in the latter third, but not until Monza. Webber was matching him way too often (especially in qualifying) and we both agree on the fact Mark wasn’t that fast since 2011. Also Webber lost potential podiums at Suzuka and Austin through no fault of his own. Massa have had virtually zero bad luck. Now compare it to Alonso who was shattering Felipe (anti-Ferrari fans were slaming Massa all the time trying to make Alonso look less brilliant) and was always on top of his game.

            Yes, F2012 was much more competitive since Spain yet Red Bull and McLaren were generally faster than them. If you look at qualifyings when Massa did beat Alonso it was always by very tiny margin. That suggest Felipe was extracting everything from the car not Fernando underperforming.

            But then again, dirty-side starter Heidfeld lost second to Raikkonen at the start. We don’t know whether Alonso would have stayed second off the line. It is an endless discussion.

        2. So to go back to the original point, I don’t see how Alonso would have “easily outscored Vettel”.

        3. In fact Alonso 2010 season was basically unworthy to be compared with this 2012 and Vettel 2015 season

    2. You also forgot Lewis’ awful driving at Singapore before retiring.

      1. “Awful driving at Singapore”… What are you talking about??

      2. What…. He started 5 or 6th and was 4th when he retired

    3. Hungary was like the summation of Bahrain and Mexico tbh. If he also finished out of points or DNF’d, not much would be different… But then again, he’s driving the fastest car and there was SC in Hungary unlike Bahrain or Mexico, so he did finish 6th.

  10. Pretty much #2 in my books. Fully agree here, his conflicting personality and overall “poor” sportsmanship lead to a decline in by the end of the season.

    Great driver, great result, but poor final races and drama.

    1. @jureo Keith (@keithcollantine) said nothing of the drama (neither should he have).

  11. Seb and Lewis, I love both of ’em. They are in their own league when driving in wet, absolutely amazing. Kudos!

  12. No One Better (@)
    20th December 2015, 7:34

    Who are we kidding, this is a popularity contest not who the best driver was. There’s something about those red overalls :). Vettel is getting the Alonso treatment. He deserves credit for what he has achieved at Ferrari. Winning those three races and energizing the team are all good things. Moral and energy are very important for success. Let’s see what happens next year when the honeymoon is over.

    For me the driver of the year is Hamilton. He beat his teammate who is just as strong and talented and won the title with races to spare. Anyone looking to write off that amazing season just because Rosberg won three races(when they did not matter) is just looking for excuses to ding Hamilton. Why do people grade differently when it gets to Hamilton? I wish people would stop moving the goal posts to undermine the guys achievements. With Button it was the infamous 3 years cumulative points tally. With Rosberg it was because Rosberg won three hollow victories despite the fact that Hamilton applied pressure in all instances. It wasn’t like Rosberg dominated him the way Hamilton dominated Rosberg earlier in the season. He’s expected to win every race, anything short of victory is deemed a failure. Oh, and he didn’t win more than 2 races in a row….you gotta be kidding me! It’s amazing how far people will reach to discredit the guy. You can tell people are not being fair to him when they start talking about his personality. As if that matters in driver ranking. Despite throwing away a victory in Monaco, Hamilton still finished the season with 11 poles and 10 victories. That is 4 more wins than Rosberg and nearly twice as many pole positions.

    Vettel wasn’t racing for the title, so right off the bat he has very little pressure to deal with. Fighting for the Championship is totally different from fighting for good results. His teammate puts no pressure on him and the 3rd fastest team(Williams) is too far behind and inconsistent to pressure him. He’s in a sweet spot of just finishing third and collecting the odd victories. Singapore, no one knows why Mercedes suddenly lost pace and FOM blacks them out from race coverage. Malaysia, same thing with strange excessive tire wear. Turkey, Bad race for both Merc drivers. Hamilton managed to extend his championship points lead after that race. But that wasn’t the takeway. The focus was on his mistakes. Which seems to be the case when comparing Hamilton’s and Vettel’s season. The comparison of their season is so obviously biased. Lewis’s is all about his mistakes, while Vettel’s is all about his accomplishments and praise. But I get it. Ferrari fans are in love with their new driver…so I’ll let them have their day in the sun.

    The double standards when it comes to Hamilton get’s frustrating at times. If Hamilton went to Ferrari and finished off his career by beating Vettel, people would still try and find ways to discredit him. That is of course if Vettel does not veto the move :). Just remember Hamilton is the only driver that has had the toughest teammates on the grid. His teammates are ex champions and his three titles come from two teams. No other driver on the grid can say that!

    How dominant the Mercedes compared to X dominant chassis of the past is irrelevant. When comparing drivers, what matters is how strong your teammate is. The question mark still remains. How strong is Vettel if his teammates are so weak. Rosberg is not weak. Button is not weak. Alonso is certainly not weak. Kimi? Ok I’ll be nice….He is not weak, but his pace and motivation is not what it used to be.

    1. @noonebetter

      this is a popularity contest

      Obviously it isn’t, not least because it isn’t the result of a poll, this is just how I rank the drivers.

    2. @noonebetter

      How dominant the Mercedes compared to X dominant chassis of the past is irrelevant. When comparing drivers, what matters is how strong your teammate is.

      Of course the chassis dominance matters. That’s how you attempt to compare between different teams. Unless you just want to go by the championship standings. Which makes “weak” Raikkonen the 4th best driver.

      1. No One Better (@)
        21st December 2015, 20:55

        When comparing drivers, what matters is how strong your teammate is.

        I don’t think I can be any clearer. Mercedes obviously out performed Ferrari for the past two years. This a ranking of drivers. Objectively, Hamilton was the driver of the year. That’s not only because he won the championship. Vettel didn’t do anything we did not expect. However, he is in red, the team with the largest global fan base and he gave fans the hope of beating Mercedes. So its understandable why fans are throwing their support behind him. But he was not the driver of the year by any measureable metric.

        1. @noonebetter
          Yes, Hamilton won most of the “measurable metrics”. Hamilton indeed won the title, and the most wins, poles and fastest laps. But those are car related. That’s what I meant by attempting to compare different teams (I should have said “compare between drivers of different teams”. The measurable metrics that aren’t down to the car, would be records against teammates, in which case, Vettel beat Raikkonen by a greater extent than Hamilton beat Rosberg. Whether that “extent” is fully offset by Raikkonen being possibly weaker than Rosberg will come down to opinion, and plays a large role in who a person will consider driver of the year. I do not believe it to be a “popularity contest”.

          And I’ll also add that yes, Rosberg’s 3 wins/6 poles at the end didn’t matter for the championship. But a driver ranking like this one is for the whole season.

  13. Lewis killed it this year, made everyone look average. Dominant until he won the championship, then took the foot off the peddle and went out socialising. Great stuff

Comments are closed.