From autumn in the southern hemisphere (or comfortable late spring in Europe) to a warm early winter under the sun of Abu Dhabi, the 2015 F1® season was long and hot! And not just in terms of the weather. Here’s how it unfolded, race by race.
Discover all of the infographics here
MELBOURNE (15 March) – Australia, for the first race of the season. Medium and soft tyres. Hamilton won with just one pit stop to change from soft to medium tyres after 25 laps. His teammate, Rosberg, adopted the same strategy to take second place, as did the next five placings behind them. Racing was influenced by cool temperatures and a new safety car designed to protect tyres.
SEPANG (29 March) – As expected, with Malaysia came the heat. Racing started at a track temperature of 56°C, but even these extreme conditions were no match for the Pirelli tyres that took Sebastian Vettel to his first win with Ferrari. This time, two pit stops was the winning strategy, first on the medium compound and then a tyre change on the 17th lap, but sticking with mediums, before the final push on hard-compound tyres from lap 37.
SHANGHAI (12 April) – It was medium and soft again in China, where Hamilton returned to the top step of the rostrum. His strategy was to go with soft tyres from the start and staying with soft after 14 laps before switching to medium on lap 33. It was a great battle of strategies between Mercedes and Ferrari as temperatures fell. Although failing to take the win, Ferrari proved very fast on softer tyres.
MANAMA (19 April) – In Bahrain, racing began in the late afternoon and ended after sunset, and so was marked by rapidly falling temperatures, making tyre strategy particularly difficult to establish. Hamilton took the win again, stopping twice for tyre changes: soft from the start; soft again after 15 laps; medium from lap 33 to the finish. Raikkonen, too, came in twice to take second ahead of Rosberg in the other Mercedes, but unlike Hamilton, Raikkonen took his turn on medium tyres through the middle of the race before switching back to soft for the finish.
BARCELONA (10 May) – The Spanish GP again went to Mercedes on one of the most punishing tracks for tyres. This time it was Rosberg with the win after two pit stops: medium at the start; medium again after 15 laps, and hard after 44. Hamilton came in three times, going medium-medium-hard-medium. Two days of on-track tests followed the race on Tuesday and Wednesday.
MONTE CARLO (24 May) – A circuit with an irregular surface and low grip, underscored by cool temperatures through Saturday. Under such particular conditions, Rosberg took the win for the third year in a row with the help of a one-stop strategy (after lap 37 at about the midway point) and a switch from supersoft to soft tyres. Racing featured a wide range of strategies, with some drivers making two and even three stops.
MONTREAL (7 June) – Just one stop was needed again in Canada, where the track on Notre Dame Island lightens the burden on tyres. Hamilton took the win, starting out on supersoft tyres and switching to soft after 32 laps. Rosberg and Bottas followed the same strategy to take second and third. Raikkonen (supersoft-soft-supersoft) in fourth was the first of those who made two stops.
SPIELBERG (21 June) – Again in Austria a safety car shortly after the start enabled drivers to save their tyres on the way to another Mercedes one-two, with Rosberg ahead of Hamilton and both adopting a supersoft-soft strategy. Race temperatures were cool under a threat of rain that would ultimately hold off until Tuesday, the first day of the year’s final session of testing.
SILVERSTONE (5 July) – The British GP looked to be all Williams at the start, but Hamilton overtook them both by taking an early first pit, which he followed with the win after a total of just two stops, the first after 19 laps to switch from medium to hard and the second on lap 43 for the intermediate tyres he would need for a downpour towards the end of the race.
BUDAPEST (26 July) – The Hungary GP was made more exciting by a number of accidents and a lengthy period under the safety car. It was Vettel who took full advantage in his Ferrari, taking the lead and keeping it right to the chequered flag. Race strategies varied widely, with the winner making two pit stops and going soft-soft-medium.
SPA (23 August) – It was medium and soft tyres for the Belgium GP on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, the longest, most captivating of the entire championship, and another one-two for Hamilton and Roseberg. Unfortunately, of racing in Belgium Pirelli would mostly recall the Vettel tyre failure at the end as he was fighting for third place. Blame was placed on all the debris on the track, given the incredibly high number of punctures throughout the weekend, including the one responsible for another tyre failure, this time for Rosberg on Friday.
MONZA (6 September) – Pirelli took on the Italian GP, the fastest of the season, on medium and soft tyres. Hamilton won again with just one pit stop (soft from the start, followed by medium from lap 26), a strategy also adopted by the next nine drivers behind him. At the start of the race, Hamilton’s Mercedes was found to have a tyre slightly below the required pressure, but no penalty was assessed.
SINGAPORE (20 September) – Third win of the season for Vettel on the circuit through the streets of Singapore. Vettel made two slightly early stops in his Ferrari (supersoft-supersoft-soft) after two safety cars affected the pace of racing. Most other drivers also came to pit lane twice.
SUZUKA (27 September) – Eighth one-two of the season for Mercedes in Japan as Hamilton took full advantage of his medium-medium-hard strategy, beating out his teammate, Rosberg, who took second at the flag, having gone with a medium-hard-hard combination. Race strategy varied widely as many drivers made three stops.
SOCHI (11 October) – The second time for F1® on the low grip of the Sochi circuit in Russia. Hamilton took just one stop to win the race, staying on supersoft tyres longer (32 laps) than on soft thanks to low levels of wear and tear. During the weekend, Pirelli finalised an agreement to continue providing tyres to F1® through 2019.
AUSTIN (25 October) – The rain came down hard throughout the weekend in Texas, where Hamilton took yet another win to clinch the 2015 overall title and the third world championship of his career. Most drivers made two or three stops, setting out on intermediate tyres before switching to soft slicks for the second half of racing as the track dried out.
MEXICO CITY (1 November) – F1® came back to Mexico for the first time in 22 years to a track that alternates between fast sections (with Vettel hitting 366 km/h at the end of the main straight!) and slow, leading up to pit lane. Rosberg took the win on two stops, soft from the start followed by medium after laps 26 and 46, a move made necessary by higher-than-expected temperatures on race day.
SÃO PAULO (15 November) – Soft and medium again in Brazil, where Rosberg took the win with a perfect, three-stop strategy: soft from the start; medium after laps 14, 34 and 49 of a total of 71 scheduled. Many completed the race on just two stops, taking advantage of long, fast stints on medium-compound tyres.
ABU DHABI (29 November) - Here it was supersoft-soft for the sixth time this season. Virtually the entire field took two pit stops on they way to a third consecutive victory for Rosberg, who set out on supersofts before switching to soft tyres on laps 10 and 31. A slightly different strategy (soft-soft-supersoft) enabled Vettel to make a thrilling comeback from the back of the pack to fourth place at the flag.