Spanish Grand Prix: Driver ratings

By on Monday, May 11, 2015

Nico Rosberg turned the tables on Lewis Hamilton to claim victory, while Sebastian Vettel took another podium for Ferrari. Here, F1Zone.net rates the drivers for their performance at the Spanish Grand Prix.

44 | Lewis Hamilton | Mercedes | G: 2nd | R: 2nd | 7/10

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Hamilton didn’t appear totally comfortable on Saturday as he spun in final practice before conceding that he simply lacked pace in qualifying. A poor start relegated him to third and while his strategy enabled him to move back into second, this was one of those rare off-colour weekends for the World Champion.

6 | Nico Rosberg | Mercedes | G: 1st | R: 1st | 10/10

Rosberg returned to the top in qualifying as he ended Hamilton’s pole streak with two laps good enough for pole position. In the race he had his easiest task since Germany last year as Hamilton getting stuck behind Sebastian Vettel opened the path for Rosberg to cruise to a well-deserved win.

3 | Daniel Ricciardo | Red Bull | G: 10th | R: 7th | 7/10

Ricciardo endured a disrupted Friday and the knock on effect was a lack of set-up work, hindering his progress and leaving him all over the place in sector three on his qualifying lap. He had to make progress in the race and he did so early on, but once into seventh further positions were always going to be tricky to find.

26 | Daniil Kvyat | Red Bull | G: 8th | R: 10th | 6/10

Problems also struck the Red Bull of Kvyat in practice as a water leak restricted the Russian to just a few laps in FP3, though he responded well by out-qualifying Ricciardo. However, that advantage immediately disappeared when he made a poor start and while he recovered to claim a point, it meant his troublesome start to the season continues.

19 | Felipe Massa | Williams | G: 9th | R: 6th | 6/10

Williams Martini Racing

Williams Martini Racing

Massa accepted that his qualifying effort was messy as an extra Q2 lap left him with just a shot at glory in Q3, in which he duly went wide and cost himself ‘eight tenths’. He made a good start but was edged wide through the first sequence of corners, undoing all of his good work. From there, sixth was as good as it was going to get.

77 | Valtteri Bottas | Williams | G: 4th | R: 4th | 9/10

Somewhat aided by problems for Kimi Räikkönen, Bottas nonetheless profited from his compatriot’s misfortune to halt the Mercedes/Ferrari duopoly of the first two rows. He had a look at Hamilton at the start but after that he settled into a rhythm, eventually holding off Räikkönen across the final stint as he managed an unexpected two stop strategy to perfection.

5 | Sebastian Vettel | Ferrari | G: 3rd | R: 3rd | 9/10

Once again Vettel was the quickest non-Mercedes pilot in qualifying and he occupied the same position in the race. In getting ahead of Hamilton he scuppered any hope of a battle between the Mercedes drivers up front. He stayed ahead for longer than he should have done, though higher than third place was always unlikely.

7 | Kimi Räikkönen | Ferrari | G: 7th | R: 5th | 7/10

Räikkönen was off-colour throughout practice and matters weren’t aided when a set of his tyres were burned in a freak accident with the tyre blanket – this put him on the back foot in qualifying. He quickly got by both Toro Rosso drivers in the race but his strategy didn’t enable him to get ahead of Bottas.

14 | Fernando Alonso | McLaren | G: 13th| R: Ret | 7/10

McLaren Honda

McLaren Honda

The Spanish Grand Prix marked two years since Alonso claimed his most recent race victory and McLaren looked a country mile away from getting near the front in Spain. A Q2 exit was followed by a lowly race performance before brake failure put him out of his home event.

22 | Jenson Button | McLaren | G: 14th | R: 16th | 6/10

Button had demonstrated McLaren’s progress in practice but new brakes in qualifying left him struggling, after which he could manage only 14th. Worse was to come in the race as he labelled his McLaren ‘scary’ to drive as he was adrift of the midfield pack.

27 | Nico Hülkenberg | Force India | G: 17th | R: 15th | 6/10

Fresh from his exploits in the WEC, Hülkenberg returned to Formula 1 to find Force India’s lack of development horribly exposed at the high-downforce Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. He ran an aggressive three stop strategy in the race but traffic stymied his hopes of significant progress.

11 | Sergio Pérez | Force India | G: 18th | R: 13th | 7/10

This was one of those weekends where Pérez was completely anonymous, but the young Mexican did a fine job in the circumstances. He typically managed his tyres well and completed a lengthy final stint on Mediums to keep the theoretically faster Ericsson in check.

33 | Max Verstappen | Toro Rosso | G: 6th | R: 11th | 7/10

Red Bull/Getty Images

Red Bull/Getty Images

Despite setting the sixth quickest time in qualifying, Verstappen admitted that he wasn’t completely overjoyed with his lap. He slipped back in the race but was hanging onto 10th position until he locked up at the chicane and handed a golden opportunity to team-mate Carlos Sainz.

55 | Carlos Sainz | Toro Rosso | G: 5th | R: 9th | 8/10

Sainz was a top 10 contender all weekend and he did a stellar job to claim fifth position on the grid for his home race. The Toro Rosso wasn’t strong in race trim but he fought back at the end, firstly taking advantage of Verstappen’s error before putting a robust move on Kvyat to claim a credible ninth.

8 | Romain Grosjean | Lotus | G: 11th | R: 8th | 7/10

Lotus had appeared to struggle in the final practice session but the squad found improvements and Grosjean very nearly edged into the top 10 shootout. He soon found himself in the hunt for points in the race but his progressed was scuppered by clipping a mechanic at his pit stop and losing fourth gear.

13 | Pastor Maldonado | Lotus | G: 12th | R: Ret | 7/10

Maldonado made progress from his mid-pack grid slot and looked on course for his first points of the year. Unfortunately his rear wing decided to shed parts, sending him off track and resulting in an unscheduled stop. Lotus eventually retired the car once a top 10 finish was firmly out of sight.

28 | Will Stevens | Manor Marussia | G: 19th | R: 17th | 7/10

Manor Marussia

Manor Marussia

Stevens slipped behind team-mate Roberto Merhi at the start but after a few laps their usual positions were assumed. Stevens duly went on to take 17th place, happier with the set-up of the car and also its balance.

98 | Roberto Merhi | Manor Marussia | G: 20th | R: 16th | 6/10

Merhi’s weight disadvantage in the Manor car was once again shown as he finished eight-tenths adrift of Stevens in the other machine. He made a good start, but after that he fell behind Stevens and came home in last place.

9 | Marcus Ericsson | Sauber | G: 16th | R: 14th | 6/10

Ericsson had believed that Sauber would maintain its position as an almost-Q3 entrant but he was eliminated at the first hurdle on Saturday. In the race, Sauber’s lack of downforce was exposed and his progress was not aided by a slow pit stop.

12 | Felipe Nasr | Sauber | G: 15th | R: 12th | 7/10

Nasr conceded that a lack of downforce was hurting Sauber’s tyre situation and he duly dropped out of contention as the slowest Q2 runner. He nonetheless made progress in the race with a two stop strategy, but 12th was as good as it was going to get.

 


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