We take a look at the highs and lows from another exciting season of F1
AUSTRALIAN GP 15/03/15
Off-track dramas dominated the agenda in the run-up to the Australian GP, to the point where the race came close to starting with more than a quarter of the field missing. Former Caterham driver Giedo van der Garde took Sauber to court over their decision to run Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson, claiming that he had a valid contract to race for the team. Swiss and Australian courts ruled in van der Garde’s favour, dismissing an appeal by Sauber, and the team missed the first track session as the row escalated to a point where their assets were on the verge of being seized. Van der Garde eventually settled out of court.
Kevin Magnussen substituted for Fernando Alonso, who had suffered a concussion in a crash in winter testing, but his Mclaren broke down as he drove to the grid. So, too, did Daniil Kvyat’s Red Bull, while only one Williams started because Valtteri Bottas had been ruled out by a back injury. Manor Marussia didn’t run at all, owing to software problems, leaving just 15 cars on the grid. And then neither Lotus made it to the end of the first lap, owing to a no-fault collision involving Pastor Maldonado and a power-unit failure for Romain Grosjean.
Just 11 cars finished the race, making this an unpromising start to the season for all but eventual winner Lewis Hamilton, although Sebastian Vettel’s third place sparked hopes that Ferrari might be able to take the fight to Mercedes this year.
Such was the superiority of Lewis Hamilton in 2015, he rendered the rest of the F1 field mere support to his starring role. But the ensemble
cast still managed to put on a darn’ good show….
MALAYSIAN GP 29/03/15
In the aftermath of the Australian Grand Prix, where it became clear that Renault had not made enough of a competitive leap during the off-season, Red Bull made what would be the first of many threats to quit the sport. Their motorsport advisor, Helmut Marko, claimed that Red Bull’s star technician, Adrian Newey, had been “castrated by this engine formula”. Team principal Christian Horner also publicly lambasted Renault, who fired right back by accusing the team of “lying”.
Off-track manoeuvrings continued as the German GP was struck from the calendar. Pirelli, meanwhile, signalled disquiet over the sport’s future technical rules, pointing out that since the tyre contract for 2017 and beyond was up for tender later this season, they would like F1’s other stakeholders to reach firm agreement on all the proposed radical changes so that they would know what they were signing up to when entering the tender process.
On track, Manor Marussia finally stuttered into life, securing permission to start both their drivers in spite of them being outside the 107 per cent cut-off in practice, although Will Stevens was withdrawn on the morning of the race. Further up the grid, Vettel took advantage of Ferrari’s apparent strength in hot conditions to smash the Mercedes hegemony, only just losing out to Hamilton in qualifying and then using a two-stop strategy to his advantage in the race.
CHINESE GP 12/04/15
Not for the last time this season, security came under scrutiny after a spectator crossed the track on the main straight during practice.
Mercedes sought to prove that the Malaysian result was just a blip as Hamilton won from his third consecutive pole position, ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg. Vettel finished third, ahead of the second Ferrari of Kimi Räikkönen, to render the podium identical to Melbourne’s.
But, as was often the case in the previous season, there was evidence of tension within the Mercedes camp as Rosberg complained over the radio that Hamilton wasn’t pushing hard enough, leaving him vulnerable to the pursuing Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel. He repeated the complaint during the post-race conference, adding a degree of spice to what is often an occasion for platitudinous waffle.
Just three grands prix into the season, it was becoming clear that Mercedes and Ferrari were some way clear of their rivals on race pace. This race finished under yellow-flag conditions (owing to Max Verstappen’s smoky retirement in an inconvenient spot), disguising in the final results the size of the gap from Räikkönen to the Williams pair of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas. Red Bull, renewed threats to quit by no less a figure than Dietrich Mateschitz echoing in their ears, were out of contention again; Kvyat was an early retirement and Daniel Ricciardo couldn’t summon the pace to escape the midfield after a bad start. Reverting to the 2014 brake spec pre-weekend suggested that the team’s problems weren’t confined to the engine bay…
BAHRAIN GP 19/04/15
Bernie Ecclestone chose the beginning of the Bahrain weekend, and an interview with the influential and widely quoted Italian paper Gazzetta dello Sport to roll a political grenade under the door. Blaming the hybrid engine regulations for declining TV viewing figures, he called for the sport to return to V8 engines with simple KERS, modified to produce more power – namely 1,000bhp. Following a meeting with Ecclestone, Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff spoke for the manufacturers, saying V6s would remain, although they would explore ways of making them louder and more powerful ahead of the new formula in 2017.
Manor Marussia claimed that they would have their 2015 car ready by August. Their close rivals at the back of the grid – Mclaren – faced yet another weekend in which technical problems meant limited running in practice, crippling both their efforts to find qualifying and race pace and to learn enough about the MP4-30 to develop it. An energy-recovery system failure forced Jenson Button to withdraw before the start, having failed to set a time in qualifying.
Hamilton won from pole, but Ferrari’s pace on the soft tyre was impressive and Vettel would have finished much higher than fifth but for two mistakes, one of which damaged his front wing. Kimi Räikkönen was more clinical this weekend, mugging Rosberg for second when both Mercedes suffered brake problems.
During the three-week gap between races – and perhaps more important politically, ahead of an important F1 Strategy Group meeting in early May – former FIA president Max Mosley reappeared on the scene, giving an interview in which he called for significant changes in the sport. He would repeat several of his ideas (such as the principle of giving teams more design freedoms in exchange for them signing up to a budget cap) in a joint TV interview with Ecclestone later in the year.
Meanwhile, the promoters of the Australian Grand Prix sprang a surprise on everyone by announcing a 3 April slot for their 2016 event, suggesting an even more compressed calendar with additional double-header events.
As usual, many of the teams introduced major technical updates to their cars for this first race of the European season. Mclaren also changed their livery, dropping the chrome effect. But Force India admitted that their B-spec car would be delayed, owing to the knock-on effects of winter financial shortfalls.
Behind the scenes, Renault and Honda continued to push for drivers to be allowed five power units each rather than four, and the driver ‘silly season’ got under way early as rumours circulated that Ferrari were courting Valtteri Bottas for 2016. The FIA also wrote to the teams outlining further procedures to police the use of ‘accumulators’ to flout the fuel-flow regulations.
Rosberg won from pole as Hamilton spent much of the race trying to unseat Vettel from second place, having lost ground at the start.
MONACO GP 24/05/15
Between races, the Strategy Group met at FOM’S Biggin Hill facility and agreed a series of measures to improve the spectacle of Formula 1 from 2017 onwards, from reintroducing refuelling and making the cars look more aggressive to slashing lap times by as much as five seconds through aerodynamic changes.
It was subsequently rumoured that costsaving proposals had been vetoed in favour of the privileged ‘Constructors’ Championship Bonus Teams’ (Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari and Mclaren) running third cars, or supplying independent teams with ‘customer’ cars. Crucially, though, the Strategy Group has no executive power, and these measures remained subject to ratification from bodies higher up.
At Monaco Pirelli demonstrated a set of 18inch tyres on a GP2 car, while in the run-up to the race Bernie Ecclestone poured scorn on the detail of Michelin’s pitch for the F1 tyre-supply contract, saying that nothing needed to change.
Lewis Hamilton announced a new threeyear contract with Mercedes – which he had negotiated himself – but it was speedy teenager Max Verstappen who stole the limelight out on track, going second fastest in first practice and then showing a brisk turn of speed during the race – until clumsily striking the back of Romain Grosjean’s Lotus. That incident would have a profound impact on the outcome of the race, tactically wrongfooting Mercedes, costing Hamilton what had promised to be a dominant win – and leading to allegations of favouritism as Rosberg inherited the victory.
CANADIAN GP 07/06/15
An enduring off-track image from the Canadian Grand Prix was the sight of senior figures from Mclaren, Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull meeting behind closed doors but, unfortunately for them (this being a temporary circuit with temporary hospitality suites), not closed windows. This helped fuel concerns from the independent teams that the ‘gang of four’ were conspiring to exercise more control over the sport. The power games continued as Bernie Ecclestone added his weight to criticism of the F1 Strategy Group, building on comments in Monaco from Force India’s Bob Fernley that the group was “not fit for purpose”. Meanwhile, one of the Strategy Group’s proposals for 2017 – that refuelling be introduced – was unanimously rejected by team managers in a meeting with the FIA’S Charlie Whiting.
The FIA also flexed its muscles, issuing a rules clarification regarding front-wing deflection ahead of the grand prix, and drawing oil samples from Hamilton and Vettel’s cars afterwards to check for performance-enhancing additives. Nothing was found.
The race itself seemed uneventful as Hamilton won from pole position ahead of Rosberg, with Valtteri Bottas 40s adrift. Comments from the midfielders, however, revealed torment: Daniel Ricciardo described Red Bull as ‘lost’ after a batch of technical upgrades appeared to yield little effect, while Fernando Alonso responded angrily to a mid-race instruction to save fuel: “I don’t want to! Already I have big problems. Driving like this, looking like an amateur…”
AUSTRIAN GP 21/06/15
Michelin confirmed their entry into the tender process for the next Formula 1 tyre-supply contract, but, crucially, their proposal hinged on driving through a series of technical changes – chief among which was a move to 18-inch wheels – before reaching a commercial settlement. Their pitch received the FIA’S blessing, but would founder later when it reached the desk of Bernie Ecclestone.
Red Bull magnate Dietrich Mateschitz used the platform afforded by his home grand prix to fire another shot at Renault: “Besides taking our time and money they have destroyed our enjoyment and motivation.” Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat, already on their fourth engines of the season, incurred ten-place grid penalties in Austria when they were forced to use fifth units; Mclaren were also in grid-drop hell over enginecomponent changes (Alonso 20; Button 25).
Sensing blood in the water, perhaps, Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne floated the notion of supplying Red Bull with engines; behind the scenes, unknown at this time, Red Bull were also talking to Mercedes via Niki Lauda.
Williams brought an upgrade package to Austria but while Felipe Massa finished third behind the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, he lacked pace to challenge for outright honours as he had at this circuit last season. Valtteri Bottas finished fifth, hobbling to the flag after cooking his brakes running in the wake of Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg, who had leapfrogged him during the pitstop phase.
BRITISH GP 05/07/15
Jean Todt has chosen to keep a lower profile in F1 than his predecessor, Max Mosley, so many took it as a sign of increasing intensity in the backstage power struggles when he popped his head above the parapet to defend the current 1.6-litre hybrid engine formula from its critics (led by Bernie Ecclestone, with cheerleading from Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, who had called for a return to V8s). Todt also suggested that the race weekend format could be radically overhauled, and threatened to take action over the cost to customers of the current engines, a notion scorned by Mercedes’ Toto Wolff, who said cost controls would cause his company to suffer a huge loss.
CVC chairman Donald Mackenzie also tends to be a rare sight in the Formula 1 paddock, perhaps out of dread of an encounter with fearless F1 Racing columnist Dieter Rencken. However, he appeared at Silverstone to deny that the sport was up for sale after rumours emerged that a Us/qatari investment consortium was interested in purchasing CVC’S stake.
On track, Ferrari introduced a new wheelnut system after the pitstop delay that cost Sebastian Vettel a podium finish in the Austrian Grand Prix, but it was Williams who looked most likely to upset the balance of power at the front, seizing the lead early on. Rain nixed their hopes and restored the Mercedes balance of power.
Lotus faced a winding-up order on the Monday after the grand prix as their various creditors began clamouring for payment.
HUNGARIAN GP 26/07/15
Between races, the FIA World Motor Sport Council ratified the simplification of the engine and gearbox restrictions, eliminating the unloved in-race sanctions against those who had incurred greater grid penalties than there were available slots. They also announced a 21-race calendar for 2016, which was immediately the subject of complaints, and amended the points system for superlicence qualification.
Jules Bianchi’s death in hospital, where he had remained in a coma since his crash in the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, inevitably cast a shadow over proceedings. Nerves were jangled still further when a wishbone failure caused Sergio Pérez’s Force India to roll during practice. Amid all this, almost unnoticed, 2013 GP2 champion Fabio Leimer made his practice debut for Manor Marussia.
Valtteri Bottas said he was going to wait to announce his future as rumours continued to link him with Ferrari. His current employers, Williams, introduced a new front wing in the hope of closing the gap to Ferrari and Mercedes.
Vettel won the grand prix – later declaring it “game on” in the title race – after Hamilton briefly went off on the first lap, damaging his front wing, with Rosberg fluffing his opportunity to capitalise. But an MGU-K failure for Räikkönen denied the team their first one-two since Germany 2010. Daniil Kvyat was the beneficiary, boosting his morale after a troubled season by recording his best finish yet.
BELGIAN GP 23/08/15
Those pining for a shake-up in the competitive order pinned their hopes on the FIA’S new restrictions governing the starting procedure, specifically the ban on drivers being coached by their engineers on clutch settings. The governing body also published a prescriptive list of topics that would be permitted in driverpit radio communications during 2016.
The parlous financial state of some F1 teams made the agenda once again as Lotus, having begun to pay off creditors and having entered negotiations with Renault for a buy-out, faced fresh legal action. Former test driver Charles Pic took the team to court over the amount of running he had in 2014 and, for a time, it looked as if the team’s equipment (such as was left after Pastor Maldonado had a 17G impact with a kerb during the race) might be impounded.
Ferrari re-signed Kimi Räikkönen, removing one fulcrum from the ‘silly season’, and leaving the new Haas team as the focus of speculation. Red Bull, meanwhile, had a potential vacancy behind the cockpit as news emerged that they were considering an early termination of their Renault contract.
Engines remained a sore topic at Mclaren, who had to change so many power unit components that their drivers took a combined grid penalty of 105 places. Pirelli also received unwelcome attention as Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel suffered blow-outs.
ITALIAN GP 06/O9/15
Pirelli announced new minimum tyre pressures after a post-spa investigation revealed “a significant number of cuts” in their tyres. But they were irked by Vettel’s criticism after the Belgian GP, pointing out that his one-stop strategy had been risky. Bernie Ecclestone supported his allies in old-school style, summoning the drivers for a dressing down and telling them to stop criticising Pirelli.
Mercedes brought a new engine spec that rivals described as “scary”, even though Rosberg had to revert to an older unit (which blew up during the race) after a leak contaminated his new one. At the other end of the power and reliability scale, relations between Honda and Mclaren reached a nadir when engine boss Yasuhisa Arai was brutally tag-teamed by Fleet Street during Mclaren’s press conference. His F1 future floating in the ether, Jenson Button remained unconfirmed for 2016 as the team dithered over exercising an option to keep him.
Beleaguered Lotus had to borrow tyre blankets from rivals after overnight rain damaged theirs, and with the future of the Italian GP once more under threat, Sebastian Vettel made an emotional appeal for Monza to remain on the calendar. Runaway winner Hamilton later escaped sanction after his tyre pressures were measured below the mandatory limits on the grid. A day later, and having served notice on Renault, Red Bull learned that Mercedes had ruled out supplying them with engines in 2016.
All in all, this was not a weekend in which the sport covered itself in glory.
SINGAPORE GP 20/09/15
Fears that this race would be disrupted by smog caused by Indonesian forest fires came to nothing, but what arboreal clearance failed to bring about was achieved by a man who took a short cut across the track during the race. The British national was later jailed for six weeks.
Roberto Mehri arrived to learn his place at Manor Marussia would be taken for five of the remaining races – including this one – by Alexander Rossi. His was not the only unpleasant surprise, for the Mercedes team endured a stinker when they couldn’t get their tyres to work and were at a loss to explain it. Sebastian Vettel benefitted from their slump, and while Daniel Ricciardo closed in at the end of each stint, two Safety Car periods frustrated his challenge.
It emerged over the course of the weekend that the much-maligned F1 Strategy Group had agreed a cost cap for engines (£8.5million a year, where teams are believed to be spending up to £14.2m), as well as a ban on windtunnel testing. These would then be advanced to the FIA World Motor Sport Council for ratification. Seasoned Strategy Group watchers agreed that they would believe it if and when they saw it.
RUSSIAN GP 11/10/15
Ahead of the Russian Grand Prix, the FIA released a substantially rejigged version of the 2016 calendar, moving the early grands prix forward to make the schedule less compressed, but positioning the new European Grand Prix at Baku on the same weekend as the Le Mans 24 Hours. The governing body also announced new exhaust regulations, with a view to making the cars louder, and a clarification on track limits – but there was nothing about engine cost caps or windtunnel bans. Jean Todt later accused Ferrari of exercising their veto to kill the former concept.
Sochi’s organisers announced that the race would take place in the evening, under artificial lights, from 2017. F1’s participants simply hoped for an increase in organisational efficiency – first practice was delayed after a track-cleaning vehicle leaked diesel over the circuit.
As the sport turned its collective eyes towards 2016, Jenson Button finally announced a year’s extension to his Mclaren deal, while Manor Marussia formalised an engine-supply arrangement with Mercedes and a gearbox deal with Williams. But attention quickly returned to the here-and-now when a brake failure pitched Carlos Sainz into a 46G impact with a Tecpro barrier, a stark reminder that for all the talk of business, the sport cannot afford to become complacent about safety.
US GP 25/10/15
It seemed that the outcome of the US GP would be a foregone conclusion, as Ferrari opted to give new engines to both their drivers and swallow the subsequent penalty. Renault also announced that they had spent development ‘tokens’ on a new power unit specification that would be available from Austin onwards, although both Red Bull and Toro Rosso gave a lukewarm response. Honda, too, had made changes, placing a ‘phase four’ engine at Fernando Alonso’s disposal.
Freak weather battered the Circuit of The Americas, forcing second practice to be cancelled and qualifying to be postponed until Sunday morning. There were signs of storms off-track, too, as Bernie Ecclestone dropped spoilers to the press concerning the FIA’S plans to open a tender process for a low-cost engine – all part of the greater wranglings between the governing body, the commercial rights holder, and the increasingly powerful engine manufacturers.
Had the track remained wet Daniel Ricciardo – still uncertain as to whether his team would participate in Formula 1 next year – could have sprung an upset, but on slick tyres Lewis Hamilton regained the initiative – and, having already disposed of his team-mate, claimed his third world championship.
MEXICAN GP 01/11/15
Mexico City’s return to the F1 calendar after a 23-year absence met with great excitement, but the slippery track surface – caused by late application of the asphalt, owing to poor weather – proved a hindrance throughout the weekend.
Off-track, the sport’s stakeholders digested the FIA’S dual bombshell in which the governing body announced the tender for a low-cost engine from 2017 and pointed the finger at Ferrari for shooting down cost-cap proposals. Mercedes revealed what had scuppered their talks with Red Bull: namely the need for agreement with Renault, owing to road-car partnerships between the two, and Red Bull’s inertia when invited to suggest joint marketing initiatives that might offset any loss Mercedes’ F1 team might suffer through supplying a strong rival. This left Red Bull with just two options to continue in the sport: kiss and make up with Renault, or arm-wrestle with Ron Dennis over Honda.
Three key figures in the Manor Marussia organisation – technical consultant Bob Bell, team principal John Booth and sporting director Graeme Lowdon – all handed in their resignations. Bell had only joined in June. Rumours suggested a disagreement with owner Stephen Fitzpatrick over the team’s direction.
The Haas team finally confirmed F1’s worstkept secret, announcing Esteban Gutiérrez as their second driver for 2016.
BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX 15/11/15
Staff changes at Manor Marussia continued as former Mclaren sporting director Dave Ryan (who departed amid the fallout from ‘Lie-gate’ in 2009) joined the team as racing director. Tavo Hellmund, the businessman who was one of the prime movers behind the construction of the Circuit of The Americas, revealed himself as part of a consortium interested in buying the team.
COTA itself suffered another blow – on top of the storm damage that occurred in the week following its grand prix – when the state of Texas reduced its annual funding for the facility. Lewis Hamilton was also in the wars, claiming to be suffering from a fever, and arriving late at Interlagos after enforced bed rest following a minor car accident in Monaco.
The tragic events in Paris on Friday inevitably had an impact, but when FIA president Todt refused to budge on the issue of a minute’s silence – there was already going to be one for the victims of road accidents as part of Todt’s global road-safety drive – the result was an unseemly fudge. Romain Grosjean pointedly held a French flag during the silence.
After a largely uneventful grand prix, many drivers lamented the lack of overtaking in modern F1. They should perhaps watch a replay of Max Verstappen’s race…
ABU DHABI GP 29/11/15
Between races, Williams dropped their appeal against Felipe Massa’s exclusion from the Brazilian Grand Prix on account of it having no bearing on their finishing position in the constructors’ championship. Fighting the case would, they said, be an unnecessary expense.
Costs, not for the first or last time this season, came to the forefront once more as it emerged that both Manor Marussia and Sauber had sought advances on their share of F1’s commercial revenues. Embattled Lotus, meanwhile, found themselves caught in the horse-trading between putative new owners Renault and F1’s commercial rights holders, having to wait once more while their equipment was held at the airport awaiting payment of an overdue bill.
Not everyone was on the same page regarding cost controls, though; the F1 Commission voted against the FIA’S proposed ‘budget engine’. The governing body did manage to assert its authority elsewhere, though, clamping down on loopholes in the aerodynamic rules that might enable the larger teams to use partner teams to aid their own aero development.
Mercedes ended the year in a position of dominance as Nico Rosberg led another one-two ahead of a frustrated Lewis Hamilton, and all eyes quickly turned to 2016 as a 12-hour tyre test got under way on the Tuesday following the grand prix. Pirelli’s capacity to engineer more unpredictability could be the key to other teams building a more regular challenge to Mercedes over the coming season.
Max Verstappen (above) impressed on his debut, aged 17 and Formula 1’s youngest race entrant to date. He looked set for a points finish with Toro Rosso, following a mature drive, but engine gremlins put paid to his hopes
AUSTRALIA PODIUM 1. Lewis Hamilton 2. Nico Rosberg 3. Sebastian Vettel
Tension simmered at the post-race press conference (above). Rosberg accused Lewis of compromising his race by only thinking about himself. Lewis replied: “If Nico wanted to get by he could have tried – but he didn’t”
Strong in Saturday qualifying, Seb surprised everyone by splitting up the Mercs and taking the win – Ferrari’s first since the Spanish Grand Prix in May 2013, 35 races previously
1. Sebastian Vettel 2. Lewis Hamilton 3. Nico Rosberg
1. Lewis Hamilton 2. Nico Rosberg 3. Sebastian Vettel
An ERS failure forced Jenson Button to withdraw without setting a qualifying time in Bahrain (above left) and despite their shiny new livery (above right), introduced in Spain, Mclaren’s woes continued
1. Lewis Hamilton 2. Kimi Räikkönen 3. Nico Rosberg
1. Nico Rosberg 2. Lewis Hamilton 3. Sebastian Vettel
The reintroduction of refuelling (left) had been proposed by the F1 Strategy Group for 2017, but this was roundly rejected by team mangers in a meeting with FIA race director, Charlie Whiting
Verstappen’s collision with Grosjean in Monaco brought out the Safety Car, resulting in Lewis being brought in for an unnecessary pitstop that handed his certain victory to Nico Rosberg
1. Nico Rosberg 2. Sebastian Vettel 3. Lewis Hamilton
1. Lewis Hamilton 2. Nico Rosberg 3. Valtteri Bottas
Red Bull had already used up their entire season’s supply of Renault power units by the eighth race of the year in Austria following a series of failures, including Ricciardo’s spectacular blow-out metres from the finish line in Bahrain (below)
The future of Lotus (above) in F1 seemed uncertain after the British Grand Prix, when the debt-ridden team were faced with a winding-up order on the Monday
1. Lewis Hamilton 2. Nico Rosberg 3. Sebastian Vettel
1. Nico Rosberg 2. Lewis Hamilton 3. Felipe Massa
Vettel takes the win in Hungary (above) while in Belgium, Ferrari finally confirmed that Kimi Räikkönen (top) would be kept on for 2016
1. Lewis Hamilton 2. Nico Rosberg 3. Romain Grosjean
1. Sebastian Vettel 2. Daniil Kvyat 3. Daniel Ricciardo
Relations between Mclaren and Honda become even more strained, as Honda chief Yasuhisa Arai (pictured above with Mclaren’s Ron Dennis) endured a bruising encounter with the press in Monza
An intruder (above) walked out onto the track at Marina Bay and darted in front of Sebastian Vettel, bringing out the Safety Car
1. Lewis Hamilton 2 Sebastian Vettel 3. Felipe Massa
1. Sebastian Vettel 2. Daniel Ricciardo 3. Kimi Räikkönen
Great Brits: Jenson Button (below) ends speculation by confirming he will stay at Mclaren for 2016; and in Austin (right) Lewis Hamilton takes his third F1 world championship
1. Lewis Hamilton 2. Nico Rosberg 3. Sebastian Vettel
1. Lewis Hamilton 2. Sebastian Vettel 3. Sergio Pérez
A minute’s silence in Brazil (above) for the victims of road accidents was revised to also honour the victims of the Paris terror attacks; in the race, Max Verstappen proved overtaking hadn’t gone out of fashion (right)
1. Nico Rosberg 2. Lewis Hamilton 3. Valtteri Bottas
1. Nico Rosberg 2. Lewis Hamilton 3. Sebastian Vettel
Floundering Manor and Sauber both sought advances on their 2015 constructors’ prize money Nico Rosberg took a third consecutive victory in Abu Dhabi. Title-wise will it be third time lucky for him in 2016?
ABU DHABI PODIUM
Nico Rosberg 2. Lewis Hamilton 3. Kimi Räikkönen