2015: LEWIS HAMILTON

Models produced by: Minichamps (Paul’s Model Art)

Year: 2015
Driver: Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain)
Team: Mercedes
Car: Mercedes W06 Hybrid
Results: 10 wins, 16 podiums, 11 poles, 9 fastest laps

Sebastian Vettel left Red Bull after 4 championships and dismal 2014 season to join Ferrari after they too suffered one of the worst seasons in their history. Fernando Alonso left Ferrari and joined McLaren, who started engine partnership with Honda. Daniil Kvyat moved from Toro Rosso to Red Bull. Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso’s new driver) became the youngest F1 driver with 17 years and 166 days at his debut.

Mercedes started the 2015 season like they finished the previous one – in dominant fashion – which they already showed at pre-season testing. However, surprise came as early as on the 2nd race of the season. In hot conditions of Malaysia Ferrari surprised Mercedes and the F1 world – Vettel won his 2nd race for Ferrari with better tyre life and one pit stop less then faster Mercedes. Season resumed with normal service as Mercedes easily kept winning pole positions and won the next 7 races, with Lewis Hamilton usually faster than Nico Rosberg in both – qualifying and the race.

In Hungary, the 10th race of the season, Mercedes drivers again locked out the front row, but Ferraris had the better start, with Vettel taking the lead into first corner. He controlled the race to the finish line and won. Vettel’s third win came in Singapore, the night race where he usually excels. Mercedes strangely lacked pace, so he took the first and only non-Mercedes pole position of the season, dominated the race from the start to finish.

In all other races Mercedes and especially Lewis Hamilton were untouchable. The team won a 12 one-two race finishes, which is a new record, as its 703 points (86% of all available points scored by the team in a season), the 15 front row lock outs and the 32 podiums.

Hamilton drove arguably his best season of his career – winning 10 races and 11 pole positions. Rosberg didn’t find the answer for dominant and very consistent team mate for most of the season and Hamilton clinched his 3rd world title at 16th race of the season (out of 19) in Austin, Texas. However, Rosberg came back to form in the last part of the season winning  last 6 pole positions and last 3 races. He finished the season with 6 wins and 7 pole position.

McLaren team and their two world champion drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button had an embarrassing season. Honda engine was so underpowered and unreliable they struggled to get in the points. Alonso’s 5th place in Hungary was the team’s best finishing position.

Red Bull was unsatisfied with unreliable and underpowered Renault engine, which actually went backwards from 2014 when new-era hybrid engines were introduced. Their best finishing positions and the only podiums came on slow tracks of Hungary and Singapore. Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Riccardo were 2nd and 3rd in Hungary, while Ricciardo also finished 2nd in Singapore.

Toro Rosso’s two rookies – Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. both showed great race craft and world championship potential, qualifying well and regularly finishing in the points.

See the FIA Gala season review.

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