The 2015 Formula One season made its way to a sterling finish and closed its veil with splendour after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The season was neither the most pleasant one nor was it at all a boring one as we saw many ups and downs on and off track.
The drama behind the scenes and within the pit crew was rather intense this season, adding a little flair to the race. Many incidents happened within one year and it was definitely worth watching. However, there was also a minuscule of unfavourable events on track which could have been prevented and would have made a big difference to the constructor and drivers’ standings. Despite that, the season depicted a lot of great moments and was much better compared to last year.
Nonetheless, we took the liberty to present to you the top 5 favourable moments that occurred in the 2015 Formula One season.
5. JULES BIANCHI’S TRIBUTE
Two words to describe this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix: Beautiful and melancholic.
Not the ideal Sunday afternoon for racers with a soft heart as a tribute was organized for Marussia’s pride and joy Jules Bianchi.
Bianchi scored Marussia’s first ever points after finishing ninth in Monaco during 2013 and days before his accident, he dreamt of driving for Scuderia Ferrari with Fernando Alonso.
Bianchi took his last breath on July 17, just nine days before the Hungarian GP. The 26 year-old Frenchman battled with a coma after his crash in the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka.
Friends of Bianchi were indeed shaken by the news, including Fernando Alonso, Max Verstappen, Roberto Merhi, Carlos Sainz Jr and former team-mate Max Chilton. Even Lewis Hamilton claimed to be deeply affected by the news and stated he had not slept properly and his mood was “all over the place”.
The race day in Hungaroring was painted with sorrow as the drivers stood and paid their respect in a moving tribute for Bianchi. All drivers linked arms around their 20 helmets on the tarmac just 15 minutes before the main race. Viewers too fell silent and some even shed tears.
It was indeed an emotional Hungarian GP this year as Forza Jules became RIP Jules.
4. MCLAREN’S FRUSTRATING SEASON
McLaren, McLaren. A constructor with the second most championships won in history, two drivers that were world champions but the season took a big blow for the both parties.
McLaren and new partner Honda were seen struggling since the very start of the season and everyone were stuck with confusion over the poor performance. Many were rooting for the team and still believed in the team and drivers. We hoped for a breakthrough despite the constant shortfalls, and McLaren did manage to light a smile to all faces even if it was for a moment.
Fernando Alonso managed to cap the points finish after being the tenth car to pass the chequered flag in Silverstone, giving McLaren a reason to celebrate the magic of the historical British Grand Prix.
The Honda power units also pulled off a great upset in the following race in Hungary as both drivers managed to finish with points. The Spaniard was the fifth driver to end the race, giving the team a reason to enjoy their Sunday. Things took a bigger leap when Jenson Button came in ninth, the team and Ron Dennis was as happy as ever. Fans of the team also cheered in glee and celebratory posts flooded the internet.
McLaren managed to end the season standing at no.9 of the constructors’ standings with 27 points, ahead of Marussia, which didn’t manage to crack the nil this year.
3. MAX VERSTAPPEN’S IMPRESSIVE DEBUT SEASON
He’s 18 year-old but his skills are outstanding. Torro Rosso’s Verstappen successfully launched a ‘Max-Attack’ the moment he started performing excellent overtaking manoeuvres during his debut season this year.
He successfully passed 49 cars (an average of three moves per race) and earned himself the ‘FIA Rookie of the Year’ accolade alongside the ‘FIA Action of the Year’ award for his move on Sauber’s Felipe Nasr at the particularly difficult Blanchimont corner in the Belgian Grand Prix. The Dutchman is also nominated for the Laureus Breakthrough Award.
Verstappen attributes his impressive moves to the team’s under-powered engine, claiming that the engine was not good enough to pass other driver’s on the straights, hence it resulted him to focus more on the corners.
Team mate Carlos Sainz Jr trailed second for the most overtakes of the year with 45. This year’s 19-race season saw a total of 509 overtakes, a 10 per cent reduction compared to last year’s record of 639.
If Verstappen continues to drive with the same pattern, he’d definitely managed to make it to the podiums, especially on tracks with sharp turns, such as Jerez.
2. VETTEL’S FERRARI DEBUT
Verstappen was not the only driver to shine bright during his debut season. Sebastian Vettel made a great first impression during his first season with Scuderia Ferrari.
The German, whom scored four consecutive wins in 2010-2014 with Red Bull, switched to driving for the Italian marque in 2015 and proved that no matter what car he drives, his skills is not at all diminished.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton capped the the opening Grand Prix (Australian GP) with a grand triumph, followed by team-mate Nico Rosberg and Vettel. Many were astonished by a podium win from the 28 year-old on his first race but there were still doubts on his consistency.
However, Vettel managed to prove himself worthy of a great driver by clinching the second race in Malaysia. Vettel made his way to the centre of the podium, sandwiched between the Mercedes’ drivers. It was a wonderful day Ferrari finally ended their one-year drought of wins.
Just when we thought Vettel couldn’t get any more impressive, Vettel continued to flaunt his magic by achieving all points finish throughout the whole year, except for in Belgium and Mexico. Throughout 19 races, Vettel scored 14 podium wins out of the 18 races he finished. He also nailed first place in Hungary and Singapore, granting him third place in the overall drivers’ standings with 278 points, just behind Hamilton and Rosberg.
1. THIRD TIME LUCKY FOR HAMILTON
The top most favourable moment of the year would definitely be one of the best events of the year- the crowning of the 2015 Formula One Season Champion.
It took Lewis Hamilton just another year to claim his third win of the drivers’ championship. Hamilton, champion in 2008, 2014 and now 2015, was crowned champion just after winning the US Grand Prix. He claimed his win in Austin, just three races before the final race.
Hamilton finally leveled with his all-time idol Ayrton Senna with three wins and also managed to oust Sebastian Vettel’s pole position record, with the Briton claiming 49 overall, three ahead of Vettel, whom currently has 46. Also, Hamilton set a new record for being the driver with the third most pole positions in formula one history, trailing behind Michael Schumacher (68) and Ayrton Senna (65).
In a paradox, three seems like a lucky number for Hamilton this year.
Oh, did we mention he just turned thirty this year?
Keep it up Hamilton!
2015 has been a joyful year with a perfect ending in Abu Dhabi. Next year sees the start of a lot of new things: new rules, new teams and new faces.