Which F1 driver was the best performer during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend?
Review how each driver got on below and vote for who impressed you the most during the last race weekend.
Belgian Grand Prix driver-by-driver
Lewis Hamilton – It felt like Hamilton was toying with Rosberg in qualifying – the pair looked closely-matched in Q1 and Q2, but come the pole position shoot out Hamilton suddenly produced the best part of half a second’s advantage, most of it found in the middle sector. After a clean start – his first in four races – Hamilton fended off a brief challenge from Perez which constituted the greatest threat he faced all race.
Nico Rosberg – Rosberg didn’t get the rub of the green on Friday: a power unit problem hampered his run in the first session and then, much more seriously, a tyre blow-out pitched him into a 300kph spin in the second. Nonetheless he was quicker than Hamilton in both sessions. But the positions were reversed on Saturday, and in the race he lost three places at the start which left him on the back foot. Despite passing Bottas and jumping ahead of Ricciardo and Perez, he had to settle for second again.
Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull said they wouldn’t be as quick on Saturday as they looked on Friday, and so it proved. Ricciardo was the only one of the pair to reach Q3, where he was the quickest non-Mercedes driver, starting a strong fifth. He started well, passing Bottas and Rosberg, and an early pit stop briefly got him in front of Perez. Having switched to the medium he was potentially in a strong position for the second half of the race, but a power unit problem forced him out on the 20th lap.
Daniil Kvyat – Was given a reprimand after cutting up Nasr in the pit lane during practice. Q2 was very tight and Kvyat missed the cut for the top ten by less than two-tenths of a second. But he made steady progress at the start and was third by lap three, then overhauled Massa. Like Ricciardo an early pit stop helped him continue his progress, and he was fifth at half-distance. After pitting for soft tyres he made his way back to the same position – taking Verstappen, Raikkonen, Massa and Perez – and gained another place when Vettel dropped out.
Felipe Massa – After a minor technical problem delayed his start to Q1, a poor final sector in Q3 left him sixth on the grid, promoted one place by Grosjean’s penalty. He lost three places at the start and was passed by Kvyat shortly afterwards as he struggled on the soft tyres initially. Lacking the expected performance on the straights, Massa was also passed by Kvyat before the end of the race and finished where he started.
Valtteri Bottas – Never higher than ninth in practice, Bottas brought it all together when it counted to take third on the grid. However Perez and Ricciardo beat him away at the start, then Rosberg and Vettel came past at the start of lap two. His race was effectively ruined when the team fitted a medium compound tyre to his car by mistake along with three softs, which earned him a drive-through penalty. He still came away with points for ninth.
Sebastian Vettel – Failed to improve on his Q2 time in the final session leaving him a sub-par eighth on the grid. However he started well and was up to fifth after passing Bottas on lap two. Staying out on medium tyres after making a single pit stop on lap 15 was undoubtedly a gamble, but one he might have expected would lead to a significant loss of pace at the end of the race, rather than an alarming high-speed tyre failure.
Kimi Raikkonen – Earned his second reprimand of the season after backing off on the racing line to perform a constant-speed aero test while Grosjean was close behind. In qualifying a power unit problem in Q2 left him 14th, which became 16th after a gearbox change penalty. He rose to seventh at the flag in unobtrusive fashion, fending off a late attack from Verstappen.
Fernando Alonso – Having missed almost all of final practice due to yet more technical problems, Alonso lined up behind his team mate. He made the most of the start – rising from last to 14th – and kept in touch with the Saubers for the first half of the race before dropping back, finishing 13th.
Jenson Button – This was always going to be a weak track for McLaren and with little gain being realised from Honda’s revised power unit so far Button could do no better than 17th, one second off the next car, despite producing a lap he was proud of. However his ERS only worked intermittently during the race, periodically leaving him without full power, and after a lonely run he took the chequered flag in 14th.
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Nico Hulkenberg – Although he had the benefit of having raced at Spa in the World Endurance Championship earlier this year, Hulkenberg missed out on Q3 by less than six-hundredths of a second, making him the only Mercedes-powered driver outside the ten top in qualifying. “On my final lap in Q2 I made a small mistake going into turn one – I just locked the tyres and missed the apex,” he explained. “On top of that we had a small issue with the turbo, which cost us some speed and time down the straights.” His problems weren’t solved in time for the race – his car failed on the grid and he failed to start.
Sergio Perez – Was extremely pleased with his car’s balance and qualified fifth which became fourth after Grosjean’s penalty – his best since Bahrain last year. It got even better at the start as he passed Bottas and Perez – and nearly took Hamilton too. Ricciardo jumped him at the first round of pit stops but Perez used his grip advantage to pass him shortly afterwards. However his car proved too hard on its tyres and he eventually lost places to Grosjean and Kvyat. Nonetheless fifth was Force India’s best result so far this year.
Max Verstappen – Intended to drop out in Q2 due to his impending engine change penalty, but then suffered a power unit problem which forced him out anyway. Gained six places at the start and used a three-stop strategy to maximise his time on the faster soft tyres. That put him in a strong position at the end of the race: he managed to pass Bottas but a last-lap move on Raikkonen didn’t work out, and he finished eighth.
Carlos Sainz Jnr – Very pleased with his qualifying effort after sneaking the Toro Rosso into Q3. But for the fourth race in a row his car let him down, and after spending half the race toiling around at the back the team elected to retire him to save engine mileage.
Romain Grosjean – His near-miss with Raikkonen in final practice compromised his flying lap, so his eventual speed in qualifying came as something of a surprise. Unfortunately for Grosjean a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change dropped him from the second row to ninth. He started well and came good in the middle stint, passing Ricciardo and Perez, which put him in contention for a podium place. He was gearing up to take a shot at Vettel in the final laps when the Ferrari driver’s tyre failed, handing him third.
Pastor Maldonado – Crashed on the approach to Pouhon during practice, much as he did last year, but made it into Q3 and eventually lined up seventh. However two laps into the race his car shut down – the team suspect it was triggered when Maldonado hit a kerb too hard.
Marcus Ericsson – Had a substantial crash at Pouhon during second practice after losing control mid-corner, but rebounded on Saturday and beat Nasr into Q2. The pair ran in that order for most of the race, but were unable to make an impression on the rest of the midfield pack. Vettel’s retirement promoted Ericsson to the final points place.
Felipe Nasr – Looked quick in practice but was knocked out in Q3. Not for the first time this year he had braking problems in the race, and a slow puncture in the final stint delayed him further.
Will Stevens – Prevailed in the battle of the Manors in qualifying by little more than a tenth of a second. However contact at the start dropped him behind Merhi, where he finished.
Roberto Merhi – Another driver who raced at Spa earlier this year – in Formula Renault 3.5 – Merhi lost time in final practice due to a hydraulic problem and qualified behind his team mate. However he came out on top in the race, thanks in part to the team managing his strategy to limit the amount of time he spent letting the leaders past.
Driver of the Weekend: My choice
I had several drivers on my shortlist this weekend. First among which was Hamilton, who was peerless in the weekend’s competitive sessions, and once again left me wishing he had more serious opposition from his rivals.
Both Toro Rosso drivers could have had impressive weekends had they not been hampered by technical problems – Verstappen in qualifying, Sainz yet again in the race. Verstappen did well to salvage points from his starting position, depite a last-lap error.
And Perez was in excellent form for Force India, producing a superb qualifying effort and excellent start before tyre problems dropped him back.
However my pick of the drivers this weekend is Grosjean. The Lotus clearly needed a bit of sorting in practice, but his qualifying performance was excellent. He was unfazed by his gearbox change penalty and made the most of running a new set of soft tyres in the middle stint. Yes he inherited third place, but he might have taken it off Vettel anyway. This was top-drawer stuff on a weekend when Lotus badly needed a result.
Qualifying and race results summary
|Driver||Started||Gap to team mate (Q)||Laps leading team mate||Pitted||Finished||Gap to team mate (R)|
|Sebastian Vettel||8th||-0.024s||41/42||1||12th||Not on same lap|
|Kimi Raikkonen||16th||+0.024s||1/42||2||7th||Not on same lap|
|Carlos Sainz Jnr||10th||-0.722s||0/32||2|
Review the race data
- 2015 Belgian Grand Prix lap charts
- 2015 Belgian Grand Prix lap times and fastest laps
- 2015 Belgian Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops
Vote for your driver of the weekend
Which driver do you think did the best job this weekend?
Cast your vote below and explain your choice in the comments.
Who was the best driver of the 2015 Belgian Grand Prix weekend?
- Roberto Merhi (0%)
- Will Stevens (0%)
- Felipe Nasr (0%)
- Marcus Ericsson (1%)
- Pastor Maldonado (0%)
- Romain Grosjean (52%)
- Carlos Sainz Jnr (0%)
- Max Verstappen (14%)
- Sergio Perez (7%)
- Nico Hulkenberg (0%)
- Jenson Button (0%)
- Fernando Alonso (1%)
- Kimi Raikkonen (1%)
- Sebastian Vettel (7%)
- Valtteri Bottas (0%)
- Felipe Massa (0%)
- Daniil Kvyat (3%)
- Daniel Ricciardo (1%)
- Nico Rosberg (0%)
- Lewis Hamilton (13%)
Total Voters: 638
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When this poll is closed the result will be displayed instead of the voting form.
2015 Belgian Grand Prix
- How a secret Mercedes engine mode helped pressure Vettel into a race-ending puncture
- “If drivers respect track limits there’s no problem” – Spa responds to Pirelli over ‘debris’
- Tyres should be able to cope with debris – Massa
- Pirelli urge better track cleaning after Spa blow-outs
- Podium earns Grosjean Driver of the Weekend win
Debates and polls
- Will Daniel Ricciardo be racing in Formula 1 in 2024?
- Massa wants “justice” over Crashgate. But what penalty did it deserve?
- Should the stewards have taken action over Russell-Verstappen collision?
- After 25 grands prix, has F1’s ground effect revolution improved racing?
- Do late-race standing restarts belong in F1?
104 comments on “Vote for your 2015 Belgian GP Driver of the Weekend”
24th August 2015, 12:13
Grosjean: Qualified 4th, Started 9th, Finished 3rd.
Couldn’t have qualified higher, couldn’t have finished higher. Drove a clean race, had a brillant strategy. 10/10 for the Lotus driver.
24th August 2015, 12:23
“Couldn’t have qualified higher”, sure of that? I don’t think Williams was faster than Lotus. It looked like Lotus was the second fastest car this weekend. Though very good weekend for Grosjean…
24th August 2015, 12:18
Grosjean. Literally nothing he could’ve done better, phenomenal weekend.
Credit to Hamilton, Ricciardo and Perez too.
24th August 2015, 14:45
Whenever Grosjean, Raikkonen, Massa or Bottas get a good result, I always suspect what would have happened if another driver was in their seats….
24th August 2015, 16:07
Did Grosjean get help from VSC by the way? I cannot remember how he pitted?
Stan Aashe (@stan-aashe)
24th August 2015, 17:00
He pitted during the VSC, was already 3rd when he did.
24th August 2015, 12:32
I would vote for Fernando Alonso. I have a big fandom of him and I can’t say anything more than that.
24th August 2015, 13:09
I am an Alonso fan, and I really hope you were sarcastic.
24th August 2015, 13:46
Fernando Alonso said this: “I finished the race 40 seconds ahead of my teammate, almost a second faster per lap with the same equipment, when he won here a few years ago. The car performed well. It’s my best race at Spa.”
24th August 2015, 15:47
The decadence of an ex world champion. Sad indeed.
Jules Winfield (@jules-winfield)
24th August 2015, 13:54
So being a fan trumps his actual performance on the day?
Would you still vote for him if he qualified last, nineteen seconds behind everyone else, and crashed into the pitwall two seconds after the start, taking out his team mate in the process?
24th August 2015, 20:53
Well if he came to a halt ahead of his team-mate and was classified ahead…
24th August 2015, 12:34
Grosjean. He must’ve been thirsting for his first podium in what feels like ages after his supposed break-through in 2013. He was helped by Vettel’s timely puncture, as we cannot know if he would’ve caught the Ferrari in the two remaining laps, but we’ve seen less deserving drivers finish on the podium. Flawless race by the Lotus driver, I was happy for him.
24th August 2015, 13:48
“as we cannot know if he would’ve caught the Ferrari in the two remaining laps”
He was behind him for laps. If anything, it looked like he was falling behind out of DRS. Still dunno how Vettel does that.
24th August 2015, 17:03
Lap 38: 0.81
Lap 39: 0.59
Lap 40: 0.56
Lap 41: 0.75
Not really a sign of falling out of DRS range, even though his gap did spike just before the incident, but that was probably the consequence of a small mistake in the final chicane. Grosjean’s last lap in clean air had been a 1:54.8, while Vettel was lapping in the high 1:55s/low 1:56s.
Yes, Grosjean hadn’t really threatened Vettel in the 3 laps after getting into DRS range, but Grosjean knew Vettel was on very old tyres, and it’s possible that he was not yet attacking 100%.
Vettel was defending well, but Grosjean still had a chance. That’s why I said “we can’t know”.
24th August 2015, 12:35
I voted for Perez, one of his best weekends this year. As much as I love Hulk, I had to give it to Perez.
24th August 2015, 12:38
I chose Grosjean, but yeah Perez really had a lovely weekend, and to some extent Verstappen, maybe Kvyat too. Well and Hamilton did a very solid one off course
24th August 2015, 18:27
Yes Perez for me too, I’m surprised he has so few votes. Grosjean was more or less matched by Maldonado until he retired which would suggest Lotus were much quicker than expected at this track. Considering how he spent most of the race defending I would say Perez outqualified the car’s potential significantly, then held onto what places he could.
24th August 2015, 12:35
Grojean for me, he had a bit of luck but despite a penalty he still managed to drive a great race and put his car much higher than anyone expected.
There were alot of good drives this week.
24th August 2015, 14:34
Why is it “much higher than anyone expected” though? I don’t get this. It’s like people think Mercedes is the fastest in each circuit, Ferrari is the second fastest, Williams is the third fastest, Red Bull is the fourth fastest and so on. I mean he did a stellar job. But I wouldn’t say “unexpected”.
24th August 2015, 17:47
Did you predict 3rd for him? ;)
Being serious though it was the first podium in 2 years for Lotus so I would class it as unexpected. Even Grojean didn’t think he would be on the podium. Third is like first this days for most teams…
24th August 2015, 18:03
If you bothered reading any articles on the affair, you would know the team was expecting 5th to be the absolute best the machinery was capable of. Getting a podium is certainly higher than expected.
25th August 2015, 9:41
@bforth and the teams are usually pretty optimistic in their expectations too, there are quite a few teams who would have expected to finish comfortably in front of the Lotuses.
24th August 2015, 12:38
Grosjean for me. Never figured I’d see a Lotus driver on the podium this weekend. Great drive.
24th August 2015, 12:39
Between Mad Max and Grojean for me, but the overtakes of Verstappen have to earn him DOTW – loved it. Well done Romain though, favorite podium for me for a long time :)
24th August 2015, 14:47
Imo Kvyat was better than Verstappen. His overtakes were more exciting and he actually managed to keep the car on track. Especially the one on Massa, I let out a little scream when I thought he was about to rear-end him at such a high speed.
24th August 2015, 16:35
I agree on that overtake by Kvyatt over Massa, I did find myself cheering him on too! Nice to have a race with so many doing such great stuff
25th August 2015, 9:56
You think the overtakes from Kvyat were better then Verstappen’s? Wow…i mean, you are telling us that you love DRS overtakes more then overtakes that require some real skill and intelligence?
Verstappen overtook Alonso and Nasr on Blanchimont….and i dont see any other driver in the field who has the same size of … or racecraft this boy has.
25th August 2015, 9:57
I mean Merabella ffcourse ;)
24th August 2015, 17:03
Max Verstappen. His last stint was faster than anybody else bar Mercedes. On lap 33-42 he was only 0.22 second off Lewis pace in average.
Bonus point for all his exiting overtakes.
24th August 2015, 22:06
Everything you said
25th August 2015, 19:57
Very nice video (exciting overtakes), thanks!
24th August 2015, 12:41
It has to be Vettel. The man was so fast he blew his tyres off
24th August 2015, 14:35
Apparently he’s so good that he drives just as fast after the cliff as well. lmao
24th August 2015, 12:41
While it was sad enough for a Williams driver to be overtaken by a storming Red Bull on a power circuit, Massa was spared the humiliation of being overtaken by Räikkönen. They did swap positions early in the race, but that was due to Massa’s pitting.
Keith Campbell (@keithedin)
24th August 2015, 12:50
Clearly Alonso. Went from 75th to 12th on the first lap. Amazing.
Keith Campbell (@keithedin)
24th August 2015, 12:52
Sorry, only 14th. Still pretty decent ;)
Uzair Syed (@ultimateuzair)
24th August 2015, 12:54
For me, obviously Romain Grosjean. He once again outqualified his teammate, and unfortunately had to serve a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change. That didn’t affect him though! He drove a superb race, making his way up to 4th, all over the back of Vettel until his tyre exploded. He deserved 3rd more than anyone else IMO, including Vettel. If it wasn’t for the penalty, Vettel would be nowhere near Grosjean. Honorable mentions to Hamilton, the two Red Bulls and Perez.
24th August 2015, 14:37
“If it wasn’t for penalty, Vettel would be nowhere near Grosjean.”
How do you figure that? Did you run the race with Grosjean starting 4th. LOL. People love going overboard with their praise.
25th August 2015, 11:48
He deserved 3rd more than Vettel? Really? Vettel was disadvantaged by VSC. He lost a chunk of time because of that. Watch more carefully.
24th August 2015, 12:58
A lot of truly stand out performances This weekend. I could honestly have voted for Hamilton, Vettel, Grosjean, Perez or Verstappen.
In the end the sheer gap Hamilton achieved in qualifying and the measured way he won the race by only as much as he needed to on during a weekend where tyres were a concern and his engine is probably nearing it’s end of life. The performance couldn’t have been any better.
Fikri Harish (@)
24th August 2015, 13:06
Grosjean, Perez and Verstappen did great all weekend.
Had a feeling Grosjean’s going to take the lion’s share of the vote, deservedly so, so I voted for Verstappen.
Given the cards he was dealt with, I was anxious to see whether he’d pull of another bold move to grab some points, which he duly did on the Sauber on Blanchimont of all places.
Experience and foresight would’ve probably helped when he overtook Raikkonen but was caught out by Massa being so close but that was a forgivable mistake in an otherwise exciting performance.
Props for Kvyat and Vettel. Both had great races but those qualifying mistakes cost them brownie points on my book.
Fikri Harish (@)
24th August 2015, 13:07
Ah right, I forgot Hamilton was on the race as well.
He did great too.
24th August 2015, 14:39
Is he still racing? lol
24th August 2015, 21:01
he would be if he had someone to race with! lol. We could be forgiven,however, for thinking it is more like a stroll in the park for him.
24th August 2015, 13:08
Has to be Grosjean, great weekend from him. You could say he lucked into third but who knows if he would have made the pass. Even without that, still a stellar weekend especially when you consider he missed FP1.
24th August 2015, 19:48
And let’s not forget he unlucked down to 9th from the gearbox change. Let’s say it evens it out :)
I picked Hamilton myself, but it could just as easily have been Grosjean, he drove exceptionally, and such a contrast to the low point of his career at Spa in 2012.
(One could hope that he would be able to get his team mate on the right track as well, but somehow I don’t think Maldonado will listen to anyone)
24th August 2015, 13:18
Got the most out of the car in qualifying, got the best out of it in the race. Admittedly close call between him and Grosjean, but personally I prefer Perez. So I voted for him.
24th August 2015, 13:25
Grosjean, Perez, Hamilton and Verstappen all did great – I think Ricciardo also did very well, but he couldn’t prove it due to car trouble; Kvyat showed a great race, but missed out a bit on Saturday. I’d give it to Grosjean – but voted for Perez because I think he deserves to have more votes than Verstappen, as he didn’t seem to put a foot wrong, and Grosjean has a healthy lead already.
24th August 2015, 13:36
Grosjean – drove like his late 2013 performance. Really up on his game through out the weekend.
Honorable mentions to Perez, Verstappen, Kvyat and Hamilton.
24th August 2015, 13:49
For me its Vettel, the way the way he drove in that old tyre and also keeping Grosjean at bay at the sametime is champion stuff.
25th August 2015, 10:56
William Jones (@williamjones)
24th August 2015, 13:53
I was trying to figure out if it was Perez or Grosjean I would give it to, then I realised, if not for his tyre failure, Vettel had a spectacular weekend – I don’t think Grosjean would have overtaken. And if his tyre failure was caused by the long stint, well, he questioned that decision earlier than anyone else. I’m giving it to him.
24th August 2015, 14:10
He was childishly driving on the racing line in everyones way after that though which puts a sour point on his weekend for me…
24th August 2015, 18:31
@tdm what a stupid comment
24th August 2015, 20:46
Ugh… How? Down the Kemmel straight he was off line, which was fine. However, he then did a series of corners with a puncture on the racing line with cars travelling at racing speeds racing each other diving left and right to avoid him. It was petulant and dangerous. I can only imagine it was because he was angry his race was ruined and wasn’t thinking straight.
If you saw differently, fine. But it was also called out by Coulthard during the race.
24th August 2015, 23:22
at no point did DC say anything like ‘Vettel was driving childishly’. I watched the exact same broadcast, and they merely commented on how hard it was for him to get out of the way, given the tight turns. In fact, SV’s dash across the track between cars to get out of the racing line showed true profesionalism – not anything close to what you’re inferring.
25th August 2015, 7:40
I suggest you watch it again. He didn’t say childish but he did comment on the fact that Vettel wasn’t making it easy for other people and could have done more.
Obviously, we have differing opinions. The comments section is for opinions. No point in arguing about it.
25th August 2015, 15:54
@tdm Also, have you ever driven a car on three wheels? I have and they’re no easy to keep in a straight line especially when there are plenty of cars trying to pass you on a not so wide part of the track.
25th August 2015, 16:03
As I say, I agreed with Coulthard, he could have done more and I’ve called it as I saw it. I would say that he is not without expertise in this area…
I have driven on three wheels but I’m not sure that it even remotely compares to an F1 car in any way as the suspension design is completely different. But yeah, I’m sure it’s extremely difficult. Doesn’t change what I saw or how Coulthard saw it.
24th August 2015, 14:40
24th August 2015, 18:33
“Spectacular weekend” lol
Abel Archundia (@aquataz68)
24th August 2015, 14:09
Did not put a foot wrong, addressed FP1 to FP2 set up, did a very strong Quali in all sessions -great lap in Q2, started superbly, raced clean and brought it home in P5 (holding Massa back) – He got the most of the new-spec VJ and delivered. Not sure whether the VSC helped or hindered his cause, but gave excitement to the ‘best of the rest’ contest.
Grosjean did a fantastic job as well.
24th August 2015, 14:27
Really this race was a case for ferrari to see where the talent lays today. Grosjean was fast and hungry, Bottas had a good quali and finished not far from Kimi dispite winning the trophy of “man most likely to yell at a co-worker tonight” and this being a Kimi friendly track. Perez showed why he was a McLaren pilot once. That’s not even talking about the TR boys or the RB boys.
As for the topic, Grosjean obviously.
24th August 2015, 14:28
Grosjean was fast this weekend but did he really drove the wheels of the car? We’ve seen performances like this before where everything goes right as both Ricciardo and Vettel ahead of him were gone before he actually had to overtake them. The fact he could not take down Vettel on much older tyres whilst having a higher top speed made me not vote for him. Had he overtaken the Ferrari before his e