Rating the drivers for their performances during a spectacular German Grand Prix at Hockenheim
1 | Sebastian Vettel | Red Bull-Renault | Q: 6th | R: 4th | 9/10
Vettel appeared to be struggling with the handling of the RB10 throughout the weekend but he salvaged sixth in qualifying. Start collision benefited him as he moved up to third, from which he embarked on a race long battle with Alonso, once which he ultimately won. Fourth was probably the best possible result in the circumstances.
3 | Daniel Ricciardo | Red Bull-Renault | Q: 5th | R: 6th | 9/10
Ricciardo may not be a world champion yet, but he drove like one throughout the race. Having fallen to 15th after taking evasive action at the start, he sliced through the field and pulled off some brilliant moves, the highlight of which was a superb battle with Fernando Alonso, albeit one – on older tyres – he lost.
44 | Lewis Hamilton | Mercedes | Q: 20th | R: 3rd | 9/10
Hamilton’s qualifying session came to an abrupt end when a brake failure at turn 13 pitched him into the barriers – yet more misfortune for the Brit. A gearbox penalty dropped him to 20th but from there he drove like a man possessed, picking off rivals with ease. However, once he came up against Valtteri Bottas, the superior straight line speed of the Williams was a trumping factor. Third was still a top result.
6 | Nico Rosberg | Mercedes | Q: 1st| R: 1st | 9/10
Rosberg’s pace throughout practice was strong but, in the words of Hamilton, it was a gift to the home driver when the brakes on the #44 failed. He duly claimed pole position and consequently had an untroubled run to victory. Having married his childhood sweetheart, penned a contract extension and witnessed his team win the World Cup, it’s been a good couple of weeks for the German.
14 | Fernando Alonso | Ferrari | Q: 7th | R: 5th | 9/10
Alonso didn’t look comfortably with the F14T throughout Friday and Saturday and seventh on the grid was representative of the car’s woeful ability. But he made a typically good start to run in the top four before picking off Vettel and looking as if he had a shot at the podium. But Vettel eventually got ahead, as did a charging Hamilton, but battle with Ricciardo for fifth was brilliant.
7 | Kimi Räikkönen | Ferrari | Q: 12th| R: 11th | 6/10
Räikkönen failed to capitalise on his practice pace as a minor lock-up in Q2 left him knocked out and rooted in the midfield. He battled well early on but sustained damage after taking a couple of hits from rivals. It was only minor, but it was sufficient to cause him tyre woes, dropping him down to 11th.
8 | Romain Grosjean | Lotus-Renault | Q: 14th | R: Ret | 7/10
The E22 has been far from the best handling car all season but the removal of FRIC just made matters worse. Grosjean battled valiantly in the race but the car wasn’t a match for Lotus’s midfield rivals and his day came to a premature end when the E22 developed a mechanical problem before the halfway stage.
13 | Pastor Maldonado | Lotus-Renault | Q: 18th| R: 12th | 7/10
Maldonado was outqualified by Jules Bianchi but after qualifying came the news that the Venezuelan will stay on at Lotus for 2015. In the race he managed fairly consistent pace and was able to execute a two stop strategy and avoid the worst of tyre degradation. However, in his current car, it was good enough only for 12th.
22 | Jenson Button | McLaren-Mercedes | Q: 11th | R: 8th | 7/10
Button admitted to struggling with tyre wear after he was able to qualify in only 11th position. He made a good start and was running as high as sixth but again tyre wear became an issue. An early second stop, something which puzzled him, meant he had to stop for a third time, dropping him down to eighth.
20 | Kevin Magnussen | McLaren-Mercedes | Q: 4th| R: 9th | 7/10
Magnussen was the first to sample McLaren’s ‘crinkle cut’ rear wing and it appeared to work – the Dane was right in the mix and qualified in an excellent fourth place. The contact with Massa at the start was an unfortunate racing accident but it compromised his race and ninth place at the end wasn’t an accurate reflection of his weekend’s work.
27 | Nico Hülkenberg | Force India-Mercedes | Q: 9th | R: 7th | 8/10
Yet again Force India managed their trick of being fairly anonymous yet methodically impressive in qualifying as Hülkenberg lined up in ninth. He profited at the start but cooler track conditions hurt the front tyres, and engine problems mid-race complicated matters. In the circumstances, seventh was a good result.
11 | Sergio Pérez | Force India-Mercedes | Q: 10th | R: 10th | 6/10
Pérez managed to make it through to Q3 after an impressive effort by his mechanics to repair a problem which afflicted his VJM07 in Q2. Pérez was afflicted by front tyre wear issues in the race, which compromised his balance, and also meant that he was unable to exploit his key asset of prolonging stints.
99 | Adrian Sutil | Sauber-Ferrari | Q: 15th | R: Ret | 5/10
Sutil’s practice pace on Friday indicated an upturn in fortunes but a technical problem in FP3 put him on the back foot and he was knocked out in Q1. He raced with typical vim but points were always about as close as a distant horizon and his spin - triggered by an engine problem - duly brought a close to proceedings.
21 | Esteban Gutiérrez | Sauber-Ferrari | Q: 16th| R: 14th | 6/10
Sutil’s spin, however, raised another point. Safety in Formula 1 has come on leaps and bounds but making three marshals sprint across an active circuit – on the exit of a blind corner – was staggering. Why was the Safety Car not deployed, but perhaps more pertinently, why did the marshals on the inside of the corner not get the nod?
25 | Jean-Éric Vergne | Toro Rosso-Renault | Q: 13th | R: 13th | 6/10
Vergne was battling at the tail end of the top 10 but he exceeded track limits while battling with Grosjean and as a result copped a five second stop and go penalty. That fed him back out into traffic, which damaged his tyres and left him needing to stop again. A missed opportunity.
26 | Daniil Kvyat | Toro Rosso-Renault | Q: 8th | R: Ret | 5/10
Kvyat seemed to regularly use the run-off to his advantage during qualifying but it was sufficient for him to make Q3. In the race he battled with Pérez for seventh but cut in front of his rival and was pitched into a spin. He then battled on the fringes of the top 10 before his car caught fire in spectacular fashion, although fortunately he quickly escaped.
19 | Felipe Massa | Williams-Mercedes | Q: 3rd | R: Ret | 5/10
Third on the grid was another fine result for Massa but he admitted to not feeling 100% at ease with the handling of the car. At the start he was caught out by Bottas’s slow getaway and as he entered the first corner he discovered Magnussen was there. He was flipped but luckily escaped injury.
77 | Valtteri Bottas | Williams-Mercedes | Q: 2nd | R: 2nd | 10/10
The Finn was rapid throughout qualifying and pumped in a super-quick second sector time to miss out on pole by just two-tenths of a second. He made a poor start but managed to hold on to second place and from there he maintained a strong pace and defended brilliantly against a charging Hamilton to claim his third podium in a row.
17 | Jules Bianchi | Marussia-Ferrari | Q: 17th | R: 15th | 7/10
Bianchi proved his practice three pace was no fluke as he managed to get ahead of Maldonado’s Lotus in Q1. He slipped to the back of the field at the start following an issue but quickly moved ahead of his rivals, although Sauber remained elusively out of reach.
4 | Max Chilton | Marussia-Ferrari | Q: 21st | R: 17th | 6/10
Chilton was unable to beat Kobayashi in qualifying although missing a lot of FP3 accounts for that. He made a good start and picked up some positions but a slow stop left him behind Kobayashi and from there his race was ultimately compromised.
10 | Kamui Kobayashi | Caterham-Renault | Q: 19th | R: 16th | 7/10
Kobayashi’s weekend was again challenging as he lost a heap of time on Friday when his car decided to grill itself. He nonetheless fared well in qualifying and in the race he kept up a good performance to beat Chilton to 16th place.
9 | Marcus Ericsson | Caterham-Renault | Q: PL | R: 16th | 6/10
Ericsson was unable to take part in qualifying due to a hydraulics leak and matters got worse when Caterham failed to adhere to Parc Ferme conditions, meaning he was to start from the pits and return there for a stop and go penalty within three laps. From there, 18th was the best he could manage.