Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Driver ratings

By on Monday, November 30, 2015

The 2015 season drew to a close with Formula 1's twilight race around the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi; F1Zone.net presents its driver rating.

44 | Lewis Hamilton | Mercedes | G: 2nd | R: 2nd | 8/10

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Hamilton briefly threatened pole position but was ultimately cast adrift by Rosberg’s stellar pole lap. Hamilton drifted back in the first stint before charging up to the back of Rosberg before the second round of stops. Hamilton extending his stint, but his attempt at a different approach was ultimately futile.

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

Rosberg doesn’t usually express such emotions after a qualifying lap but his elation proved just how good his final flyer was. He surged away at the start and despite pressure from Hamilton at the end of the second stint he kept to his strategy and was in control en-route to a sixth 2015 triumph.

3 | Daniel Ricciardo | Red Bull | G: 5th | R: 6th | 8/10

Christian Horner hailed Ricciardo’s qualifying attempt as one of the laps of the campaign as he secured a strong starting position. He maintained it in the race but was demoted by a charging Sebastian Vettel and was unable to find a way past Sergio Pérez.

26 | Daniil Kvyat | Red Bull | G: 9th | R: 10th | 7/10

Kvyat displayed pace on Friday but an electrical problem in the final session meant he entered qualifying on the back foot. Such glitches returned in race-trim and Kvyat had to conserve his RB11 amid overheating, losing positions as a result.

19 | Felipe Massa | Williams | G: 8th | R: 8th | 6/10

Williams Martini Racing

Williams Martini Racing

Williams was slower than anticipated and Massa could manage only eighth on the grid, a position which he converted in the race amid a lack of pace, confirming a disappointing end to the campaign.

77 | Valtteri Bottas | Williams | G: 6th | R: 13th | 5/10

Bottas slipped back at the start but was picking his way back through the top end of the midfield when he clipped Jenson Button in the pits. It scuppered his race but fortunately this was an event in which Williams was rarely a factor.

5 | Sebastian Vettel | Ferrari | G: 15th | R: 4th | 8/10

Not for the first time a Ferrari misjudgement scuppered its qualifying effort as the outfit underestimated improvements rivals could make on Option tyres and Vettel exited Q1. Vettel picked off rivals on Prime tyres before easily passing Ricciardo and Sergio Pérez once on Options at the end.

7 | Kimi Räikkönen | Ferrari | G: 3rd | R: 3rd | 8/10

Räikkönen’s path was cleared by Vettel’s Q1 dramas but he still had to repel a threat from behind to secure third. His race was a lonely affair as the SF15-T lacked pace to compete with the Mercedes – though Räikkönen hung on for a comparatively long time.

14 | Fernando Alonso | McLaren | G: 16th | R: 17th | 5/10

McLaren Honda

McLaren Honda

Alonso was on course for a strong Q1 lap but cruelly his MP4-30 suffered a puncture and he had to limp back to the pits. He stumbled into Felipe Nasr and Pastor Maldonado at the start and suggested retiring, ending his limp 2015 on a flat note.

22 | Jenson Button | McLaren | G: 12th | R: 12th | 8/10

Button declared his race as probably his best of 2015 and claiming 12th when 19 cars finished was encouraging, considering the two long straights which demonstrated Honda’s lack of power. This was achieved despite sustaining minor damage when hit by Bottas, which in turn scuppered his strategy.

27 | Nico Hülkenberg | Force India | G: 7th | R: 7th | 6/10

Hülkenberg was adrift of Sergio Pérez throughout the weekend as he struggled with understeer in the VJM08. Hülkenberg was only a couple of positions behind his team-mate but the gap between them was considerable by the end of the race.

11 | Sergio Pérez | Force India | G: 4th | R: 5th | 9/10

Pérez was electric throughout the weekend and built on his strong practice pace with a qualifying display which netted him fourth on the grid. His form continued in race trim and he held off Ricciardo at the flag to finish his best year on a high note.

33 | Max Verstappen | Toro Rosso | G: 11th | R: 16th | 4/10

Red Bull/Getty Images

Red Bull/Getty Images

This was an unusually poor showing from Verstappen, whose race started to unravel due to a lock-up into Turn 8. The error required an extra stop and he dropped behind Jenson Button, getting back ahead of the Briton by running off at Turn 9. That gave him a penalty, as did his decision to ignore blue flags, ending his season on a low note.

55 | Carlos Sainz | Toro Rosso | G: 10th | R: 11th | 7/10

Sainz Jr. recovered from a mechanical problem in qualifying to lead the Toro Rosso charge across one-lap and secure a Q3 place. He made one of the starts of the season, looping around the Williams drivers at Turn 3 before out-foxing Daniil Kvyat at Turn 4. A slow stop scuppered his progress and the chance of points went begging.

8 | Romain Grosjean | Lotus | G: 18th | R: 9th | 8/10

Grosjean had hoped for a positive end to his Lotus career but a gearbox failure denied him the chance to prove his worth over one lap. He nonetheless recovered with aplomb and his Prime/Prime/Option strategy netted him ninth as he bid ‘au revoir’ to Lotus.

13 | Pastor Maldonado | Lotus | G: 13th | R: Ret | 5/10

Few were surprised that Maldonado was involved in a Turn 1 pile-up but he was completely blameless as Alonso wiped him out. Suspension damage was quickly diagnosed and he ended his year on the side lines.

28 | Will Stevens | Manor Marussia | G: 19th | R: 18th | 6/10

Manor Marussia F1 Team

Manor Marussia F1 Team

Stevens was comfortably on top throughout the weekend and had a clear path through to 18th due to Roberto Merhi’s woes. It wasn’t his finest performance but he ended the year with another finish.

98| Roberto Merhi | Manor Marussia | G: Pits | R: 19th | 4/10

Merhi was cut adrift of Stevens all weekend and had to start from the pit lane after a mechanical set-up change in parc ferme conditions. That left him on the back foot while flat-spotting his tyres and encountering brake issues hindered him further.

9 | Marcus Ericsson | Sauber | G: 17th | R: 14th | 5/10

Ericsson struggled for pace in the C34 but his position in Q1 was accentuated by an unidentified problem in his car which forced him to pit. Ericsson tried a different strategy but the car was adrift in no man’s land and points were never a serious consideration.

12 | Felipe Nasr | Sauber | G: 14th | R: 15th | 6/10

Nasr was upbeat over Sauber’s progress from practice to qualifying but rued an error at Turn 1 which cost him lap time. The same corner proved to be his undoing in the race as Alonso left him with front wing damage, which compromised his strategy.

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