Drivers end-of-season photograph, Yas Marina, 2015

Vote for your 2015 F1 Driver of the Year

2015 F1 season review

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Who was your top driver of 2015? Cast your vote below and explain your choice in the comments.

Who was the best F1 driver of 2015?

  • Alexander Rossi (0%)
  • Roberto Merhi (0%)
  • Will Stevens (0%)
  • Felipe Nasr (0%)
  • Marcus Ericsson (0%)
  • Pastor Maldonado (0%)
  • Romain Grosjean (3%)
  • Carlos Sainz Jnr (1%)
  • Max Verstappen (16%)
  • Sergio Perez (6%)
  • Nico Hulkenberg (0%)
  • Jenson Button (2%)
  • Fernando Alonso (1%)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (1%)
  • Sebastian Vettel (53%)
  • Valtteri Bottas (1%)
  • Felipe Massa (0%)
  • Daniil Kvyat (1%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (1%)
  • Nico Rosberg (1%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (15%)

Total Voters: 537

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Read the complete F1 Fanatic 2015 Driver Rankings

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Author information

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

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  • 111 comments on “Vote for your 2015 F1 Driver of the Year”

    1. Vettel. Not only for stunning performances after a low-key 2014, but also for giving fans a hope he can take the fight to Mercedes from time to time. It was a feat no other driver managed. He was an even better version of Ricciardo from last season. Combining his sense of humour with his enthusiasm in Ferrari, he is a completely different person to the one from Red Bull. It is even more stark when you were rooting for the red cars and seeing Sebastian stealing the title from Alonso’s grasp all the time.

      1. Very well said!

      2. I’m not really sure he was any different. Perhaps it’s just easier to notice when he isn’t winning.

    2. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
      18th December 2015, 13:15

      1 Vettel
      2 Ham
      3 Ros
      4 Vers
      5 Per
      The rest bored me.

      1. 1 Vers
        2 Vettel
        3 Per
        The rest bored me.

    3. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      18th December 2015, 13:17

      Inclined to agree with Keith. Much like Toothy lasy year, stealing 3 wins against the Merc machine is tougher acheivement than winning the tile with them.

    4. Sebastian Vettel. His performance this year was arguably as strong as his performance in any year to date. Mexico aside, he rarely put a foot wrong. And that was just on the track. He produced some absolutely incredible performances despite Mercedes’ massive advantage and even when he had a poor weekend, he usually delivered.

      His charisma, his attitude and the work he has put in off the track to return Ferrari to the top step has been nothing short of sensational and that is why he is my driver of the year.

    5. ILuvSoundtracks (@)
      18th December 2015, 13:33

      Guess Verstappen should have higher votes than Hamilton. But I actually voted Vettel.

      1. Sebastian Vettel was the best F1 driver of 2015. But I actually voted Verstappen .

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          18th December 2015, 15:44

          @iluvsoundtracks, you should not read too much into who comes ‘second’ in this poll.
          The question is to vote for your DOTY, not a ranking as such.
          Second could very well be the driver with the largest myopic fan base.

          1. Then it’s definitely gonna be Verstappen.

      2. I think it is interesting how much concensus there is on Vettel. If I remember the DOTW polls correctly, it took an exceptional performance to get 58%, with many winners below 50%.

      3. There’s only one driver making me shout multiple times at my screen. And it ain’t Vettel…

        1. Was it Nasr? :)

    6. Vettel for results and Verstappen for entertainment.

      1. Exactly my thoughts

      2. Mine as well

        1. Hear hear!

      3. Well, out of the car: Vettel for the entertainment as well!

      4. I’m happy!

    7. Sebastian Vettel. He show is a great champion. Only one bad race (Mexico) in the year.

      1. Bahrain.

        1. Yeah, it wasn’t his greatest performance in Bahrain, but nor was it disgraceful.

          1. Depends on the criteria applied. I’d rank it somewhere halfway between “not great” and “downright bad”.
            – he was overtaken no less than 3 times by Rosberg
            – he went off the track a few times, locking up his tyres quite often
            – he ruined his last stint by flatspotting his tyres, forcing him to pit immediately, losing P4 to Bottas
            – he finshed 43 seconds behind the lead, in a race that could’ve been won by a Ferrari

            P5 doesn’t look too bad, but one has to consider that behind Mercedes and Ferrari, there was a huge gap, at least most of the time. Thus, a Ferrari driver had to mess up quite badly before having to defend a Top 4 position.

            1. @nase I think you are a bit harsh. Being overtaken by Rosberg was only possible because he was ahead those times in the first place, and then again the Mercedes was still plenty faster. He didn’t lock his tyres that often to make a case about it, if you sit on the track you see a lot of drivers locking up but this just doesn’t come on TV. He ran wide once and that damaged his wing losing him P4, no? It’s quite normal that an extra pitstop loses you places, it was only really one place in this case and passing Bottas was never going to be easy with their top speed, one that Ferrari at that stage still could not match. Then to finish 43s behind the lead after making an extra stop and being stuck behind Bottas isn’t that unique for any (top)driver.

            2. one has to consider that behind Mercedes and Ferrari, there was a huge gap

              That’s not true at all. There was a huge gap between Mercedes and everybody else. The FW06 was typically three quarters of a second quicker then any other car in qualifying. There wasn’t much of a gap between Ferrari and the rest, and what gap there was was almost entirely attributable to Vettel’s performances.

              It’s true that if you simply look at points scored by driver you could easily assume that the Ferrari was much quicker than the non-Merc’s and nearly equal to the Merc’s. Vettel richly deserves his No 1 ranking for creating that optical illusion.

            3. i agree, Bahrain was sloppy. maybe worst than Mexico. He should have had the pace to push the Mercs, but on that day Kimi was above him, so i think he over drove the car. Hence the errors.

            4. I think in Bahrain Vettel/Ferrari didn’t have the pace to stay with the Mercedes and pushed the limit of what the car could do. Finding himself in front of a Merc 3 times? It probably says more about Rosberg’s early form than a negative against Vettel. Many drivers run wide as well, it was unfortunate Vettel broke his wing coming back on the track.

              An argument could be made that it would have been better for him to drive a bit more conservatively to prevent those errors. But here’s the thing, victory was only on offer because the Mercs had brake issues later in the race. Vettel could race to stay close and pick up the pieces of any mistakes/issues in front of him. But that’s not his mentality. Hamilton is the same way too – races to win, not to play the long game hoping for something to happen.

              Now Alonso tends to play the long game, stay close and hope for your competitors to take themselves out. Perhaps that’s the only opportunity he’s had for many years. It worked great for him in 2012.

              I think Bahrain was the one race in 2015 that if Alonso was driving the Ferrari, he may have stole a victory. The question is whether that’s an interesting style of racing? I’m personally not a fan of that. Rosberg tends to do the same.

              Re Mexico – I wouldn’t actually hold it against him. Folks tend to forget what was at stake in that race – P2 in the WDC. Once Ricciardo gave him that puncture at T1, it was really an all or nothing race for Vettel. The best he could hope for was an early SC (ironically the SC he needed was the one he caused lol). So he DNF’d pushing the car beyond it’s limits? He didn’t lose anything he had gained during the season (P3 in the WDC).

              Folks too easily miss the context of the races. That’s why Rosberg’s late surge, while great to see, loses it’s meaning a bit due to the context (it was too late to really matter). One great example of this was listening to Sky towards the end of the race in Abu Dhabi. Hamilton’s ahead but has one more stop. Rosberg had already made his 2nd stop and would take over the lead when Hamilton pits. That was his strategy for victory. Brundle, Croft and Kravitz, all spent the better part of a few minutes discussing whether Mercedes would also bring Rosberg in for one more stop as a precaution to ensure his tires made it to the end and stayed ahead of Vettel. What the ….??? Talk about losing the plot. I’d expect Ted of all folks to say “hold on, that would me Rosberg would lose the race – I don’t think Mercedes would do that.”

              So in Bahrain and Mexico, Vettel is driving to win or beat one of the Mercedes that literally are just plain faster. He’s not racing for P3. He made a couple of errors in those races, yes, but he drove the exact same way in 17 other races without error.

              And if you compare Bahrain to Hamilton in Hungary (or even Austria), Vettel was much cleaner and had fewer mistakes. Hamilton did have the luck of the green this year. His one DNF came when he was probably going to finish 5th or 6th at best and his teammate/closest competitor the same, and his worst race performance (Hungary) he still scored more points than Rosberg who drove a much cleaner race.

              ‘ol Seb, he did alright lol.

    8. Simple answer, the guy who successfully defended his title breaking countless records along the way. But given who that person is, the majority will give the nod to Seb. But awe well still can’t change the fact that Lewis topped every official category this season and defended his crown.

      1. You have to give a consideration to the machinery, this is F1 not sprinting. It’s still just an opinion but I totally understand those who believe Vettel did a better job relative to his car than Hamilton.

        1. I would rather have the Championship….Viewers polls … not so much.

      2. What “countless records” did Hamilton break this season? You must be counting records of the “Most wins …. for a British driver” sort, because considering he was driving a car more dominant than the 1988 McLaren it seems noteworthy that he did not even mount a serious challenge on the records for most poles or most wins or most fastest laps or most hat-tricks in a season.

        1. true, especially considering he was the luckiest guy out there reliability-wise.
          but he beat that smug/asking-to-be-punched face Rosberg and these years that was all someone needed to do to get a WDC.

        2. Only driver to win 10+ races in back to back seasons

          Stewart’s record for the most consecutive laps lead in a Grand Prix

          Etc… You can look up the rest if you like

          1. had a more dominant car than vettel and can’t win 13 races in a year or get 15 poles, there’s the main records he failed to break, sebastian vettel’s two years in a less dominant car than hamiltons 24 wins, 24 poles. Hamilton, 21 wins, 18 poles. yet lewis was acting as if he would do better back in 2013 #goodlewis and that’s why he’s not the driver of the year

            1. Excellent.

              (Waiting eagerly for Kgn11’s pro-HAM reply)

            2. Hamilton had a more competitive teammate relative to his ability, there is your offset.

            3. @J
              Not enough of an offset vs. having the more dominant car and being beaten by the teammate far more often.

    9. 1 Vet
      2 Ham
      3 Ver
      4 Ros
      5 No idea, they’re all more or less the same to me.

      This was a season of largely similar performances barring a few standout drivers.

    10. I should add that my driver of the year is Verstappen, but Vettel was the best. Verstappen for being so young, for outperforming his car, for being an absolute star as a rookie. But he wasn’t the ‘best’. A difference.

    11. I love how everyone is all of a sudden so pro-Vettel, he hasn’t changed at all, just the color of his racing suit.

      1. His relationship with Kimi is a lot better than what he had with Webber. That would have definitely polarised some opinions. Not to mention the cocky attitude of the RBR management.

        Mercedes although look like dufus are actually more likeable despite them winning everything in sight.

        Vettel didn’t win many fans with the Malaysia incident and his comments post that. And Webber took every opportunity to show that RBR weren’t acting fair (whether it is true or not is another topic).

        Consolidate all this and you know why he is more likeable to people these days.

        Finally, a person at 22 and the same person at 26 will have a little change in personality (for the good). If one is the same, then he hasn’t progressed.

        1. Good god @evered7. He grew from 22-25 the same way any red-blooded human naturally does. He’s put on the same driving clinic year after year.

          It’s just too many of you thought it was ‘newey’s doing’ or ‘he can only win from the front’ or ‘Red Bull are giving him all the go-fast parts’ bla bla bla.

          Welcome to finally getting what many of us have seen all along.

          1. @johanness Did I even comment about his driving? He has showed he can win with a non Newey designed car but each driver has his preferences which he would want in a car to drive it as fast as possible. Vettel has his, so did Alonso and others. It is plenty clear now.

            All I mentioned was the way he is shown to the world, to the rest of us who can’t see the personal side of him or shake hands with him & share a laugh or a pic. It is different from his RBR days.

            When you get what I said in the first post and this, take the congrats that is seen below.


      2. He may not have changed, but the way he conducts himself in the paddock and press room certainly has; last year we had Mr Grumpy, this year Mr Happy :)

      3. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        18th December 2015, 16:06

        @xtwl You can’t not like Vettel if you’ve had the pleasure of meeting him. He’s such a lovely young chap.

      4. Guilty as charged… He annoyed me at Red Bull.. But it seems like this year he pulled a 180. It all started last year with admiting Riciardo beat him on merit. Something Hamiltons and Alonsos would never admit.

        He is now a grown up sportsman, pasionate and professional. Before he was really ugly at times, especially to Webber, now he moves over for Kimi if its good for the team. Much more a team player.

        He has a new lease on life. And does not complain in public about slow car the way Alonso did last few years.

        Driver of the year then. Not world champion or runner up… Just driver of the year and race winner.

    12. Vettel… other than Bahrain (uninspiring) and Mexico (horrendous), virtually flawless.

    13. Voted for Grosjean, absolutely trashed Maldonado this year

      1. Same here. More points than Verstappen, a superb podium. Brillant driving and Great pace

    14. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      18th December 2015, 15:23

      For the very fact that he somehow managed to remarkably competitive at just seventeen years of age and with just eighteen months of car racing experience, it ought to be miraculous Max, but for so emphatically silencing those hyperbolic, doubting, didactic critics of his, it has to be Sebastian Vettel.

    15. ColdFly F1 (@)
      18th December 2015, 15:49

      Verstappen surprised/excited me most, and outperformed any expectations I had.

      But that does not make him DOTY (yet).

      I voted for Vettel (consistency, least mistakes; taking his car the furthest beyond its technical capabilities).
      And as I said in the ranking piece before: “Mexico showed how good his rest-of-season was!”

    16. Vettel was the best non-Mercedes driver 13 times in 19 races. At least three more times (Austria, Belgium, Abu Dhabi) he would most probably have finished on the podium without issues that were out of his control. Without Mercedes, Vettel would have been crowned world champion at the Japanese Grand Prix, with five races to go. Mercedes are now often blamed for making F1 boring but Vettel dominated the rest of the field even more in 2015. That is why he is my driver of the year.

      1. Vettel dominated the rest of the field even more in 2015

        @girts Love your comment.

    17. Much of this list seems to be a ranking of the cars more than the drivers but ti is good to see Vettel being recognized for dragging that non competitive Ferrari up the rankings and onto the podium including the top step. Good job Sebastian!

      This is my ranking for 2015, and this is being very generous to the Mercedes drivers as we really don’t know where they stand due to their car essentially being in a higher formula.


    18. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
      18th December 2015, 18:03

      It’s got to be Max Chilton’s year…. oh wait he wasn’t racing in 2015̷