F1 Driver of the Year 2015: 9th
9th – Valtteri Bottas
Average poll score out of ten: 6.2
Williams Martini Racing
Williams Mercedes FW37
5th out of 21
In isolation, Valtteri Bottas enjoyed a fairly strong 2015 season – certainly not one to be regarded as a disappointment or failure.
However, on the back of a spectacular breakthrough to the front with Williams in 2014, Bottas had a lot to live up to this year and with the team favouring evolution in order to consolidate its rediscovered pace – rather than risk going in the other direction again -, the car was never a match for Ferrari.
Charming and friendly off the track – if entirely uncontroversial -, Bottas made a few ripples in 2015 with his double high profile clashes with Kimi Raikkonen in Russia and Mexico, as well as airing his frustration at a catalogue of operational errors committed by Williams this year.
Though Williams was very much the 'third' power in F1 this year, Bottas' sheer consistency – at least until his first DNF at the hands of Raikkonen in Sochi -, he would out-perform it on occasion, his podiums in Canada and especially Mexico proving the highlights.
However, there were also unusually lacklustre weekends – Hungary and Monaco in particular – which took a sheen off Bottas at a crucial time when he was being touted for a potential Ferrari drive. Having been overlooked for the drive, it's ironic that he would then head into the final round at loggerheads for fourth overall with Raikkonen, though he would ultimately lose out for a still very creditable fifth in only his third year in F1.
So a year of consolidation for Bottas, the sharp upturn in form of 2014 somewhat unfairly always likely to result in diminishing returns for 2015. A safe pair of hands, Bottas may not have stolen many headlines this year, but he remains an undisputed talent.
Valtteri Bottas in the Crash.net F1 Driver of the Year
Top 10 F1 Driver of the Year 2014:
Top 10 F1 Driver of the Year 2013:
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About the vote:
Rather than repeat the Drivers' World Championship standings, the F1 Driver of the Year poll asks viewers to take into account factors such as machinery, performance relative to a team-mate, driving style, experience, injuries, progress and personality just as much as race results.
Over 120,000 votes were cast for the 2015 Crash.net
F1 Driver of the Year poll, where viewers awarded each of this year's full-time participants.