Ranking F1’s Rookies


Will Stevens brings up the rear in the mid-season rookie rankings while Toro Rosso lead the way – but which of the two is in front…

5 Will Stevens
Coming in fifth isn't necessarily a bad thing but when there are only five it means you're last and that's where Will Stevens is in the mid-season rookie rankings.

It is not easy to mark someone running at the back of the field especially when the driver is a lap or two (at times even three) down on the race winner.

Stevens, though, has not exactly shone this season in his MR03.

He held the advantage over Roberto Merhi in the opening races but has subsequently fallen behind his team-mate. His P13 is his best result of the championship but it is one position short of being Manor's best.

There is a lot of work that needs to be done in the second half of 2015 if the Brit's wants to extend his Formula 1 stay.

4 Roberto Merhi
Entering Formula 1 on the back of a third-place in Formula Renault 3.5 series, not much was really known – or expected – from Roberto Merhi. But he has surprised, as much as one can do at the back of the field.

Although when Manor finally got out on track he had a slow start to his F1 career, he has come into his own in recent races.

He has outqualified Will Stevens in three of the last four GP Saturdays while in the last two races that both finished he was P12 and 15 to Stevens' 13 and 16.

His P12 at Silverstone is also Manor's best race result of this season.

It may be by the slimmest of margins given that Stevens had the edge at the start but Merhi now tops his team-mate in the rookie rankings.

3 Felipe Nasr
Felipe Nasr is the only rookie up against a team-mate with experience and he's pretty much whooping his butt. Not only does the Brazilian have 16 points to Marcus Ericsson's six but he's also leading the qualifying stats. And the finishing stats.

And when compared to his fellow rookies he's having a good season.

Mistakes have been few and far between as Nasr has completed all the races he has started – he didn't start at Silverstone as his C34 broke down on the way to the grid. In fact the only real mistake that comes to mind, and it was a clanger, was in practice in Montreal when he "pressed the DRS" and smacked the wall.

2 Max Verstappen
He's 17 years old and will spend his summer break taking driving lessons in order to obtain his road licence. He's 17 years old!

It really cannot be said enough when one considers his age and his lack of single-seater experience. Last year Verstappen was racing in Formula 3, this season he's garnering a whole host of plaudits for his on-track performances in Formula 1.

Verstappen is leading the rookies when it comes to points as he has managed three top-ten results. The last in Hungary saw him finish fourth, his best result of this season as he kept it clean and took advantage of the chaos up ahead.

Like his Toro Rosso team-mate Carlos Sainz, Verstappen has a few retirements to his name this season. However, unlike his team-mate two of those were his own doing, Monaco and Great Britain. Thus Max ranked second on our list.

1 Carlos Sainz
Although Carlos Sainz is only third on the rookies' points table, the Spaniard has quietly worked his way up to being PlanetF1's top ranked rookie.

The Spaniard may be lagging behind Verstappen (and even Nasr) in terms of points – and also when it comes to headlines – but it is Sainz who has had the better time at Toro Rosso. At least he would have had were it not for awful reliability.

Not only has the 20-year-old outqualified his much-hyped team-mate in six of the ten grands prix, he has also finished ahead on six grand prix Sundays. Unfortunately for Sainz, though, Toro Rosso's reliability has let him down. In the last three races alone, he suffered three DNFs – none of which were his fault – while Verstappen grabbed 16 points.

When – or if – Toro Rosso get on top of their car troubles, expect Sainz to become a regular points-scorer.

Michelle Foster