2015 F1 Rookie Watch – Great Britain


Rookie of the Race

#55 – Carlos Sainz Jr – Spain – Scuderia Toro Rosso

The Spanish driver had a good weekend in front of the British fans on a track he admits to enjoying racing on, but ultimately a car failure denied him the opportunity to score points on Sunday.

Sainz Jr was inside the top ten in all both practice sessions on Friday and again on Saturday morning, before out-qualifying team-mate Max Verstappen for the sixth time in nine races in qualifying, making it through to the top ten shootout to qualify eighth, just a tenth shy of Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari.

A poor start was quickly remedied, and he was battling Sergio Perez for ninth when his car inexplicably turned itself off heading into Club Corner that caused the arrival of Formula 1’s first real Virtual Safety Car.

His performance throughout the weekend at Silverstone deserved points, but ultimately Sainz left the British track empty handed. But the pace of the Toro Rosso could bode well for the rest of the season.


The weekend started well but ended badly for Verstappen (Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd)
The weekend started well but ended badly for Verstappen (Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd)

#33 – Max Verstappen – Netherlands – Scuderia Toro Rosso

The young and highly rated teenager had a good set of practice results at Silverstone, but his weekend began to unravel in qualifying on Saturday, before a mistake saw him become an early retirement on Sunday.

Such was the pace shown on Friday, Verstappen believed Toro Rosso were well set for a strong weekend, but an issue during qualifying saw him qualify a lowly thirteenth, with a power delivery problem with his Renault engine being blamed.

He made a poor getaway and was fortunate not to be involved in the incident that eliminated both Lotus drivers and Jenson Button, but on the restart following the safety car, he spun into the gravel trap at Farm and was unable to get going again.

From a weekend that started so promisingly, the conclusion was not a happy one for Verstappen or for Toro Rosso.


Roberto Merhi finished P12 for Manor's best result of the season so far (Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd)
Roberto Merhi finished P12 for Manor’s best result of the season so far (Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd)

#98 – Roberto Merhi – Spain – Manor F1 Team

On record, it will show that the Spaniard finished ahead of team-mate Will Stevens at Silverstone, but looking deeper, Merhi was not at his team-mates pace for much of the weekend.

The Manor F1 Team brought a handful of updates to the track for the first time in 2015, but during practice and then qualifying, Merhi found himself more than two seconds adrift of Stevens after having his best lap time deleted following a track limits issue.

In the race, the Spaniard was behind the Briton throughout, until a late race spin for Stevens (on worn intermediates) saw Merhi finish ahead. There is no doubt Merhi is talented, but Silverstone showed he still has work to do.


Felipe Nasr's race was over with gearbox problems before the race begun (Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd)
Felipe Nasr’s race was over with gearbox problems before the race begun (Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd)

#12 – Felipe Nasr – Brazil – Sauber F1 Team

It is hard to judge Nasr’s Silverstone weekend, with the young Brazilian having one of his quietest weekends of the season and a race that ended before it even begun.

Such has been Sauber’s decline in recent races, both Nasr and team-mate Marcus Ericsson were generally fighting the McLaren’s at Silverstone, and although Nasr was able to out-qualify both Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, Ericsson got ahead of the Brazilian to knock him out of qualifying at the first hurdle.

Nasr was hoping to make amends in the race, but a gearbox glitch on the way to the grid on the reconnaissance lap ended his race before the start.

Rookie of the Race Winners:

4 – Carlos Sainz

3 – Max Verstappen

2 – Felipe Nasr

0 – Roberto Merhi