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…

Daily Mail - - Rugby Union -

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.

MOST IM­PROVED

Ser­gio Perez. Splen­did sec­ond half of the sea­son.

FOR­MULA ONE

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.

SCAN­DAL OF

THE YEAR

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.’

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