As another season dominated by Mercedes comes to an end, however, even though there was a clear winner, there was plenty of action going on.
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 30, 2015
Mercedes continued to show they were top dogs among the constructors as they finished the season on an impressive 703 points, 275 points ahead of second place finishers, Ferrari. They won 16 of 19 Grand Prixes, accumulating more points than in the previous season, a feat made even more impressive by the fact that there were no double point Grand Prixes up for grabs this year. The only thing Toto Wolf, director of Mercedes, had to complain about was “the more points you have makes next year’s entrance fee higher”, but he can be far from upset as Mercedes have now put together two very impressive back to back seasons.
Hamilton versus Rosberg
Following the tight rivalry within the Mercedes camp that was formed during the 2014 season, fans were expecting this rivalry to live up to some of the greats, such as Niki Lauda versus James Hunt in the 1970s. However, Hamilton showed his skill as he won three of the first four races and did enough to have his third world championship under his belt with three races to spare, preventing the title from going down to the wire. He may have dominated the first two thirds of the season, but Rosberg picked up the pace towards the tail end of things, getting pole position in the last six races and showed his class at defending his lead when he held Hamilton off for a hat trick of wins to finish the season. We can only imagine what could have been had both drivers been on top form throughout the season, but one things for certain, with the confidence that he can beat Hamilton, and having fallen short twice in two years, Rosberg is going to give everything he can next season.
Following a relatively poor season in 2014 with the team only gaining one podium, new arrival,Sebastian Vettel, was able to revive the team, winning three Grand Prixes. This made him the only driver not in a Mercedes car to do so this year. With the pair of former world champions in Vettel and Raikkonen and some much needed improvements to the car, Ferrari were a regular sight on the podium and finished second in the Constructors Championship. However, even with the improvements from 2014 they still struggled to truly challenge Mercedes, even if they stayed close enough to ensure Mercedes were never further enough ahead to have a pit stop to spare like they regularly did in 2014.
When Max Verstappen signed with Toro Rosso at the start of the season, he became the youngest driver to make their F1 debut at 17 years old. Throughout the season, the Flying Dutchman showed that he has the knowledge and decision making to race in F1, finishing the season with 9 top 10 finishes with an impressive best finish of 4th. He has quickly become renowned for finding space to overtake in sections of the track that no one else would contemplate, making his season particularly exhilarating to watch and certainly will have many more eyes on him going into 2016, shown by him gaining over 50% of the vote to be this years Star Driver:
— Formula 1 (@F1) December 1, 2015
Maldonado’s season finished early during the first corner of Abu Dhabi when Alonso swiped into him forcing him off the track. This has become a rather familiar fate for Maldonado, although more often than not he is the one that is doing the swiping, all in all, this resulted with him failing to finishing 9 races this season, something not too many people would be surprised by.
Drivers Perez and Hulkenberg continued to show their partnership is working, as they managed to gain 136 points for the team, enough for 5th in the Constructors Championship. Along with Perez’s 3rd place podium finish in Russia, it was enough to make the 2015 season the most successful season the team has ever had and is looking promising for next year.
Looking ahead to next season, it’s hard not to see Mercedes once again coming out on top. Between Hamilton and Rosberg I am expecting a lot closer a rivalry and I think if Rosberg can continue where he finished off he might just beat Hamilton to be World Champion. Even if Mercedes are going to win, I definitely don’t think it will be as easy as it has been, with Ferrari improving all the time, Vettel and Raikkonen both could finish in pole position several times throughout the season if things go well for the team. But with plenty of unknown factors such as how teams use the off season and the new entrants, the American Haas F1 team, next season will definitely be entertaining.