F1 2015 Driver Review: Sebastian Vettel

© Getty Images

Sebastian Vettel

Team: Scuderia Ferrari
Car No.: 5
Races: 19
Wins: 3
Podiums (excluding wins): 10
Pole Positions: 1
Fastest Laps: 1
Points: 322
Laps Led: 176
Championship Position: 3rd

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Sebastian Vettel’s reputation took a big hit in 2014 during a difficult season with Red Bull that saw the four-time world champion be reduced to number two driver status behind Daniel Ricciardo. His move to Ferrari was a gamble, given the struggles that the Scuderia faced last year, but both parties have come out of 2015 looking stronger than ever.

The big worry for Vettel was that he would have another year like 2014, yet from the start of the season in Australia, he looked to be at ease with the car. Victory in Malaysia underpinned this as he perfected his strategy and pace, and he even gave Lewis Hamilton trouble in Spain in the early stages.

This was the year that Vettel proved his greatness. In a season dominated by Mercedes, Vettel pushed them far closer than any other driver, and – unlike Ricciardo’s wins in 2014 – even outclassed them on occasion. To say that his success at Red Bull was only down to the car greatly underestimates the talent and skill of Vettel.

What made him so good this year – and in his championship seasons – was how flawless Vettel was. His only truly terrible race was Mexico when he even apologized himself to the team, and there were mistakes in Bahrain and Canada that were costly. Throughout the year, Vettel was the most consistent and bulletproof racer on the grid.

Vettel also gave a sense of reality to F1 this year. He was the naughty school kid in the press conferences with Rosberg and Hamilton, cutting the tension with wry humor he is known for, yet perhaps hasn’t been able to display before.

It was a big year for Vettel, but 2016 could be better still.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Chalk up 2014 as a mulligan, and reborn, and renewed in the new environment of Scuderia Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel thrived in 2015. Those who have been regular readers of this site over three years know I’ve occasionally been critical of Vettel, or certainly made the mistake of not fully appreciating him. This year, I came to appreciate what a treasure Vettel is in the sport, and it took him leaving Red Bull to do so.

In a year dominated by the Mercedes W06 chassis, and when it was a question of whether Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg would fully control the day, Vettel was this year’s desperately needed thorn in the side. The fact Vettel won second time out in his new environment, at Malaysia, was a dream result that few would predicted. Further wins at Hungary and Singapore, both of which were well judged, meant Vettel matched his hero Michael Schumacher in winning three times in his first season.

But more than the results, it was the human side of Vettel that I fully began to appreciate, which is something those closer inside the sport have known existed for years. Within the Red Bull garage, Vettel was the driver most inextricably linked with the team’s dominance, but perhaps not fully appreciated for his own ability due to the caliber of design from Adrian Newey. It was always a “Vettel-Newey” combination, rather than just Vettel… even though he took Mark Webber to the cleaners in all five seasons as teammates.

Whether it was poking fun at the Mercedes duo in press conferences, or offering refreshing candor in nearly any media session, Vettel almost went full Daniel Ricciardo this year in fully enjoying his season while also being motivated to succeed, comfortable in his own skin outside his comfort zone.

IndyCar results, points after Detroit Grand Prix


DETROIT — Alex Palou topped the results of an NTT IndyCar Series race for the second time this season, extending his championship points lead with his victory in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver, who also won the GMR Grand Prix (and the Indy 500 pole position) last month, holds a 51-point lead over teammate Marcus Ericsson (ninth at Detroit) through seven of 17 races this season.

Ganassi, which placed all four of its drivers in the top 10 at Detroit, has three of the top four in the championship standings with Scott Dixon ranked fourth after a fourth at Detroit.

FLAVOR FLAV POWERS UP: Iconic rapper hangs out with Team Penske

Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden is third in the standings after taking a 10th at Detroit. Pato O’Ward slipped to fifth in the points after crashing and finishing 26th

Here are the IndyCar results and points standings after the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix:


Click here for the official box score from the 100-lap race on a nine-turn, 1.645-mile street course in downtown Detroit.

Lap leader summary

Full lap chart

Best section times

Full section data

Event summary

Pit stop summary

Here is the finishing order in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix with starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (1) Alex Palou, Honda, 100, Running
2. (7) Will Power, Chevrolet, 100, Running
3. (9) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 100, Running
4. (4) Scott Dixon, Honda, 100, Running
5. (13) Alexander Rossi, Chevrolet, 100, Running
6. (12) Kyle Kirkwood, Honda, 100, Running
7. (2) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 100, Running
8. (11) Marcus Armstrong, Honda, 100, Running
9. (6) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 100, Running
10. (5) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 100, Running
11. (24) Colton Herta, Honda, 100, Running
12. (17) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 100, Running
13. (8) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 100, Running
14. (20) Agustin Canapino, Chevrolet, 100, Running
15. (15) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 100, Running
16. (18) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 100, Running
17. (25) Jack Harvey, Honda, 100, Running
18. (14) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 100, Running
19. (23) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 100, Running
20. (19) Benjamin Pedersen, Chevrolet, 97, Running
21. (22) Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 97, Running
22. (26) Sting Ray Robb, Honda, 97, Running
23. (21) David Malukas, Honda, 85, Contact
24. (3) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 80, Contact
25. (27) Graham Rahal, Honda, 50, Contact
26. (10) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 41, Contact
27. (16) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 1, Contact

Winner’s average speed: 80.922 mph; Time of Race: 02:01:58.1171; Margin of victory: 1.1843 seconds; Cautions: 7 for 32 laps; Lead changes: 10 among seven drivers. Lap Leaders: Palou 1-28; Power 29-33; O’Ward 34; Palou 35-55; Power 56-64; Palou 65; Rossi 66; Newgarden 67-68; Kirkwood 69; Ericsson 70-76; Palou 77-100.


Click here for the points tally in the race.

Here are the points standings after the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix:



Engine manufacturers

Pit stop performance

Top 10 in points: Palou 273, Ericsson 222, Newgarden 203, Dixon 194, O’Ward 191, Rossi 176, McLaughlin 175, Power 172, Herta 149, Rosenqvist 148.

Rest of the standings: Grosjean 145, Kirkwood 142, Lundgaard 136, Ilott 116, VeeKay 108, Ferrucci 105, Armstrong 101, Rahal 99, Malukas 91, Daly 88, DeFrancesco 81, Castroneves 80, Harvey 78, Canapino 77, Pagenaud 72, Pedersen 61, Robb 55, Takuma Sato 37, Ed Carpenter 27, Ryan Hunter-Reay 20, Tony Kanaan 18, Marco Andretti 13, RC Enerson 5, Katherine Legge 5.

Next race: IndyCar will head to Road America for the Sonsio Grand Prix, which will take place June 18 with coverage starting at 1 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock.