16 December 2015
F1 Driver of the Year 2015: 8th - Daniel Ricciardo
He was your winner last year, but it's a steep drop to eight place for the latest driver to be rated in our Driver of the Year poll.
8th – Daniel Ricciardo
Average poll score out of ten: 6.2
Team: Red Bull Racing
Car: Red Bull Renault RB11
Fastest Laps: 3
Best Finish 2nd
Championship points: 92
Championship position: 8th out of 21
Much like Valtteri Bottas, who landed ninth in your F1 Driver of the Year poll, Daniel Ricciardo always faced a tough task to take his thorn of a Red Bull deeper into the side of the otherwise dominant Mercedes pairing in 2015.
In 2014, it was those giant-killing performances and comprehensive defeat of team-mate Sebastian Vettel that spurred him on to a convincing victory in your poll last year, but more middling results and defeat by new team-mate Daniil Kvyat has been reflected in your ranking for him this year.
In defence of the amiable Australian, he had just cause in attributing much of the downturn towards Red Bull Racing's struggle to get the best from the RB11 chassis, though he then had to contend with the compromised Renault power unit that proved a debilitating Achilles heel all the way to the season end.
Indeed, it was clear fairly early on in the year that Red Bull could be facing its first win-less season since 2008, the RB11 not proving as sweet to drive as its predecessors, while the Renault power unit doubled up the issues with patchy reliability and dismal performance.
In full respect to Ricciardo, he had the audacity to stray from the (Horner) party line of directing blame towards solely Renault by making his feelings about the RB11 chassis also clear. Then again, in fairness to Red Bull, it never stopped tweaking the package until it was once again the nimble challenger that formed the basis of its four title wins. By contrast, Renault delayed its updated power until the penultimate round and it still proved slower.
Indeed, in his first season as a team leader, Ricciardo took on lofty expectations with aplomb, even if he would allow his trademark smile to slip on occasion as frustrating retirements and uncompetitive weekends took their toll.
With the Red Bull chassis eventually finding its form, Ricciardo's results picked up in the second half of the year, starting with his (bruising) podium in Hungary before an inch-perfect performance around the favourable Marina Bay Circuit would have been good enough for victory were it not for the similarly peerless Ferrari of Vettel ahead.
To his credit, though Ricciardo could never be accused of lacking effort in 2015, it will have stung to be beaten by Kvyat to seventh in the standings, but while a good workman should reputedly never blame his tools, the Aussie had just cause on several occasions this year.
Daniel Ricciardo in the Crash.net F1 Driver of the Year
Top 10 F1 Driver of the Year 2014: 1st
Top 10 F1 Driver of the Year 2013: 10th
Top 10 F1 Driver of the Year 2012: 16th
Top 10 F1 Driver of the Year 2011: 19th
Do you agree with the poll results? Have your say in the comments section below...
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.
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