LEWIS RULES BUT MAGIC MAX IS CATCHING UP FAST
Lewis Hamilton has won the World Championship in 2015 but here Sportsmail’s JONATHAN McEVOY gives his alternative awards for the season…
HIT OR MISS?
A one-man, half-a-team show for too long. With Ferrari too far back to challenge the Mercedes super-cars, it needed Nico Rosberg to take the fight to Lewis Hamilton, but the watching world was snoring by the time he found his feet. Next year, more competition, please.
MOST WANTED DRIVER
Max Verstappen. Only 18 yet a hearty overtaker.
Sergio Perez. Splendid second half of the season.
DRIVER OF THE YEAR
Hamilton. He faded away after winning the title, but he delivered par excellence when it mattered most.
BEST OF THE REST
Sebastian Vettel. Revitalised at Ferrari.
BANG FOR YOUR BUCK TEAM
Force India. On half Red Bull’s budget, they finished one place behind them in the constructors’ table. Credit goes to the leadership of Otmar Szafnauer and Bob Fernley.
COCK-UP OF THE YEAR
Mercedes’s decision to pit Hamilton for a superfluous tyre change in Monaco. It lost him the race and embarrassed the team.
RACE OF THE YEAR
It rained solidly for days in Austin. Qualifying was delayed until Sunday. Finally, the action started. The pivotal moment was Rosberg skewing off the track late on. Hamilton (right) was through. Still it was not certain he had done enough to take the title. Could Rosberg pass Vettel to delay the party? No, just. Hamilton was world champion for the third time.
MYSTERY OF THE YEAR
What was Hamilton doing in his car at 3.30am, other than crashing it? Formerly abstemious, he now claims to be hitting the bottle hard. It all sounds a bit 16-year-old-ish to me. He blamed his accident on being tired from over-partying. The Monaco police said he was not full of alcohol.
Pat Symonds (Crashgate mastermind) is back in a senior position at Williams. So was Mike Coughlan (Spygate collaborator). Returning next year as Manor’s racing director is Dave Ryan, who left McLaren in 2009 after prompting Hamilton to fabricate evidence in front of the stewards (Liegate). Who says F1 is full of knaves and cheats?
FLOP OF THE YEAR
Honda over-promised and under-delivered. Is the clock ticking for the man most responsible for the mess, Yasuhisa Arai?
QUOTE OF THE YEAR
‘I don’t think (Sepp) Blatter should ever step down,’ Bernie Ecclestone expostulated. ‘If these people allegedly have been corrupted to make things happen in their country, it’s good. It’s a tax football had to pay.’ Ecclestone, 85, makes the, er, moral case for Blatter, 79.
LEST WE FORGET
The agonising news in July that Jules Bianchi had died at 25 from the head injuries he suffered at the Japanese Grand Prix nine months earlier. Some who hardly knew the Frenchman paraded their grief. My heart instead bled for the Bianchis, who said: ‘The pain we feel is immense and indescribable.’