Power Ranking the Formula 1 Teams After 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix

Neil James@NeilosJamesFeatured ColumnistJuly 27, 2015

Power Ranking the Formula 1 Teams After 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix

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    Formula One heads into the summer break on the back of a thrilling, action-packed 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix.

    Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg missed the podium for the first time this season as Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel roared to his second victory in red. Had Kimi Raikkonen not suffered an MGU-K failure, it could even have been a Ferrari one-two.

    The Red Bulls of Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo, enjoying without question their most competitive race of the season, rounded out the podium while Max Verstappen took a career-best fourth for Toro Rosso.

    Fernando Alonso's McLaren was fifth on the road, the first part of a double points finish for his team. Hamilton, Rosberg, Lotus and Sauber rounded out the top 10.

    Though all the teams will now shut down for two weeks, we can still expect plenty of updates for the next racethe Belgian Grand Prix on August 23.

    Until then, here's how the teams rank.

    Note on Team Power Rankings

    F1 team power rankings ignore the points table and instead present a snapshot of where each team stands in relation to their competitors based on the three key factors of reliability, single-lap and long-run pace.

    The rankings are based on how they would perform if racing on an average circuit that places equal emphasis on each area of the car.

    All position changes are relative to those in the previous set of rankings, published after the British Grand Prix on July 6. You can find them here.

10. Manor

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    No Change

    Manor's difficult and emotional weekend ended with a single finish and a late retirement.

    Roberto Merhi led the way in qualifying despite missing first practice. His lap of one minute, 27.416 seconds was three tenths quicker than team-mate Will Stevens' effort. But it was still two and a half seconds down on the next-slowest car, and he started in 19th.

    Neither of the MR03Bs had enough pace to take part in the main race. Merhi finished two laps down in 15th, while Stevens suffered a late puncture. He retired but was classified 16th.

    Manor remain 10th.

9. Sauber

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    Down One

    Sauber benefited from the chaotic end to the race to bag an unlikely point.

    Marcus Ericsson was the quickest of the team's drivers over a single lap, but his time of 1:24.843 was only good enough for 17th on the grid. Felipe Nasr was a tenth slower and lined up 18th.

    It was Sauber's worst qualifying display of the year and the second time both cars have been eliminated in Q1.

    Neither driver made a good start and was forced to overtake Roberto Merhi's Manor, which had got ahead on the opening lap. From there, the two Saubers had quiet races, lapping a few seconds apart, Ericsson leading Nasr.

    Last of the midfield runners when the safety car emerged, Ericsson and Nasr stayed out of trouble at the restart and made up places as their rivals hit problems.

    They finished as they had spent the whole race, with Ericsson leading his team-mate home by a couple of seconds, the Swede claiming a single point for 10th.

    Sauber are being left behind and will need every point they can get if they want to retain eighth in the constructors' standings.

    They fall a spot here to ninth.

8. McLaren

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    Up One

    McLaren might have expected to have a decent race, but no one expected them to do as well as they did.

    Both cars hit trouble in qualifying. Jenson Button was eliminated in Q1 after his hybrid power failed to deploy on his hot lap. Fernando Alonso was unable to set a lap in Q2 after his MP4-30 ground to a halt. He started 15th.

    Fortunately for them, the race went a little better.

    Alonso made his customary good start and was up to 12th by the end of the opening lap. The first round of stops bumped the Spaniard up to 10th, and a decision to switch back to softs behind the safety car meant he was poised to take advantage of the drama ahead.

    He ended up fifth after passing Carlos Sainz Jr. and managed his tyres well to hold off a recovering Lewis Hamilton to claim 10 championship points.

    Button also got off the line well and spent most of the race a few seconds down the road from Alonso, lapping at a near-identical pace. But his side of the garage opted against a switch back to softs when the safety car emerged, which cost the Brit dear.

    Though he was up to 10th as racing resumed, Button's aged medium tyres were no match for the fresh rubber of the cars behind. But by keeping his head while others were losing theirs, he did enough to finish a creditable ninth.

    Around the tight and twisty Hungaroring, McLaren kept a similar pace to Toro Rosso, Force India and Lotus. It's unlikely they'll be as quick next time out at Spa.

    They rise a single place to eighth.

7. Toro Rosso

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    No Change

    Toro Rosso made the most of a circuit that places low demands on their weak power unit to grab a good haul of points.

    Max Verstappen made it through to Q3 for the fifth time this season and qualified ninth with a lap of 1:23.679. Carlos Sainz Jr. struggled to get to grips with the car and could only manage to qualify in 12th.

    The Spaniard had an OK first lap and rose to 11th, a position he held throughout the opening round of stops. As the race progressed, Sainz gained places because of the misfortune or failure of others and was running sixth when the safety car returned to the pits.

    Sadly for him, a loss of boost pressure caused him to slip back, and he retired nine laps from the end.

    Verstappen made a poor start and fell to 12th, but the team brought him in a lap earlier than his team-mate, allowing the Dutchman to rise to ninth.

    At the restart following the safety car, he was lucky to escape with only minor damage when he tapped the rear of Valtteri Bottas and gave the Williams man a puncture, effectively ending the Finn's race; Verstappen went in the other direction, gaining places as four rivals hit trouble.

    He didn't have the pace to stay with the leaders but was still able to cross the line in fourth. This represents Toro Rosso's best result in a car wholly of their own designbut it wasn't earned by the performance of the STR10.

    They stay seventh.

6. Lotus

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    Down One

    Lotus emerged from an eventful weekend with a handful of points.

    Romain Grosjean was the quickest of the two drivers in qualifying. He made it through to Q3 but didn't get the best from the E23 and lined up 10th with a lap of 1:24.181. An error on his only Q2 hot lap saw Pastor Maldonado start down in 14th.

    When the lights went out, Grosjean got off to a stinker and was 16th at the entry to Turn 1. Though he gained one place back, he couldn't overtake the McLaren of Jenson Button, remaining behind after the first round of stops.

    A five-second time penalty for an unsafe release meant his second stop was slow. Despite numerous rivals hitting trouble, Grosjean was 13th when the safety car returned to the pits.

    He rapidly made up places thanks to the carnage up the road, finally managed to overtake Button and held off Nico Rosberg at the end to cross the line in seventh.

    Maldonado had an even more eventful afternoon. The Venezuelan opted to start the race on slower, medium-compound tyres; everyone else was on the quicker softs, and when they made their stops, many drivers fell behind Maldonado.

    One of those was Sergio Perez. Far quicker on fresh tyres, the Mexican cruised around the outside of Maldonado at Turn 1. The Lotus man failed to leave enough space at the exit and pitched Perez into a spin, earning himself a drive-through penalty.

    He got another drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane, then acquired a third penalty for overtaking behind the safety car. With 10 seconds added to his race time, he finished where he started: 14th.

    Lotus drop a spot to sixth.

5. Force India

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    Up One

    Force India's vibration awareness department has a lot to answer for after this woeful weekend.

    Things started to go wrong in first practice. Sergio Perez was minding his own business, trying to set a lap, when his suspension suddenly failed at the exit of Turn 11. His car slewed across the track, hit the barrier, slid back onto the circuit and flipped over its loose front wheel.

    Perez escaped unhurt, but the team missed second practice as they tried to get to the bottom of the issue.

    When the competitive running began, Nico Hulkenberg qualified 11th with a lap of 1:23.826missing out on a spot in Q3 by just two hundredths of a second. Perez lined up in 13th.

    Hulkenberg rose to fifth at the start but emerged from the opening pit stop phase in seventh. After his second stop, he was ahead of Daniil Kvyat's Red Bull and looking good for a strong finish. Unfortunately, his VJM08 wasn't enjoying the kerbs, either.

    His front wing failed on the run down to Turn 1, sending the German off the track and into the tyre barriers. Autosport later reported vibrations caused by running over the kerbs were at the root of the problemas they had been for Perez's suspension failure.

    For his part, Perez rose to eighth at the start, but a collision with Pastor Maldonado dumped him down the order. He struggled thereafter and was forced to retire with a braking issue 15 laps from the end.

    A dismally poor result for Force India, but the car is definitely looking quicker than the Lotus or Toro Rosso and the vibration issues shouldn't happen elsewhere.

    They're up a spot to fifth.

4. Red Bull

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    No Change

    Red Bull had by far their best result of the seasonand it could have been even better.

    Daniel Ricciardo equalled his best qualifying performance of the season to line up in fourth, less than two tenths shy of a front-row grid slot. Daniil Kvyat later said he failed to get into a rhythmhe lined up a disappointing seventh.

    An average start and contact with Valtteri Bottas at the first corner saw Ricciardo slip down to eighth at the end of the opening lap. But his raw pace was unaffected by this loss of track position, and by Lap 13, he was up to fourth.

    He fell to fifth as the recovering Lewis Hamilton steamed by midway through the second stint. But after the safety car, it was the Ricciardo's turn to attack. Now on the quicker soft tyres, he attempted to pass Hamilton around the outside of Turn 1.

    The world champion locked up and slammed into the side of the Red Bull, damaging some of the RB11's bodyworkbut crucially, Ricciardo took the place. He quickly dispatched the ailing Kimi Raikkonen and closed up on Nico Rosberg.

    On Lap 64, Ricciardo dived down the inside of the German. The move didn't come off, and as both got back on line, the Red Bull's front wing and the Mercedes' rear tyre touched. Rosberg got a puncture; Ricciardo had a broken front wing.

    But the Australian was far enough ahead of the rest of the field that the resulting pit stop only cost him one place, and he finished a season-best third.

    Kvyat's race was little less dramatic. Lacking Ricciardo's pace, he let his team-mate through early on and spent most of the race staring at the back of Nico Hulkenberg's Force India. When the VJM08 speared off the track and brought out the safety car, Kvyat found himself in seventh.

    He passed Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton at the restart to claim fifth, rose to fourth as Kimi Raikkonen's car failed and took second after Ricciardo and Rosberg's tangle. That's where he finished, taking his first F1 podium in the process.

    Red Bull were faster than normal at the Hungaroring, but this was a positive blipthey won't be as quick elsewhere.

    They remain fourth.

3. Williams

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    No Change

    Williams thrive on high-speed circuits and probably expected a tough weekend at the tight, slow Budapest track. That's exactly what they got.

    Valtteri Bottas, third on the grid at Silverstone, could only manage sixth at the Hungaroring. His lap of 1:23.222 was more than a second slower than Lewis Hamilton's pole time. Felipe Massa was a further three tenths slower and started eighth.

    A good opening lap saw Bottas up to fourth, and though he was unable to keep up with the leading three drivers, the Finn looked a clear best of the rest. He slid down to sixth after the opening round of stops but remained comfortably clear of seventh-placed Nico Hulkenberg.

    The Force India man attempted an undercut at the second round of stops, but Bottas held him off and looked set for a decent haul of points before the safety car emerged.

    At the restart, Bottas got caught up in the tangle following Hamilton's collision with Daniel Ricciardo, had to slow through Turn 5 and was hit from behind by Max Verstappen. The resulting puncture dropped him out of contention, and he ultimately trailed home in 13th.

    Massa's race started to go wrong before it had even begun. He was out of place on the grid, forcing an extra formation lap and earning a five-second time penalty. Serving it at his first pit stop dropped the Brazilian from 10th to 16th, and he never recovered.

    Painfully slow on the medium tyres, Massa three-stopped and spent most of the grand prix stuck in traffic. He crossed the line in 12th after a thoroughly miserable afternoon.

    Williams were not as quick as Red Bull in Hungary, but Spa should tell us more about the true pecking order in the battle for the third in the championship.

    They remain third for now.

2. Ferrari

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    No Change

    Ferrari claimed their second win of the season as their main challengers fell apart in Budapest.

    Sebastian Vettel qualified in third for the fifth time this year, less than two tenths of a second slower than Nico Rosberg's Mercedes. Kimi Raikkonen was a further three tenths slower and started fifth.

    From there the two SF15-Ts were ideally poised to take advantage of average starts from the two Mercedes. Vettel pulled alongside Lewis Hamilton on the run down to the first corner, forcing the defending champion onto a poor line for the entry.

    This allowed Raikkonen to slide by as well, and the Finn made it a Ferrari one-two when he dispatched Rosberg at Turn 2.

    It looked for all the world like we'd see a repeat of the British Grand Prixtwo lightning-fast Mercs harrying and eventually beating a couple of slower cars. However, the two Ferraris stunningly pulled away from Rosberg.

    After 41 laps, Vettel had a commanding 27-second cushion over his compatriot, but Raikkonenhimself 17 seconds clear of the chasing Rosberg at the timesuffered an MGU-K failure. Robbed of hybrid power, he started to circulate three seconds per lap slower.

    The safety car erased the Ferraris' lead, and Raikkonen retired soon after. But Vettel held off Rosberg with little difficulty to take the 25 points and win No. 2 for Ferrari.

    It's hard to say how the Scuderia really compared to Mercedes, as the quicker Silver Arrowthat of Lewis Hamiltonseemed to be fitted with a self-destruct button.

    But they were certainly close, and it'll be interesting to see how they fare in Belgium.

    For now, Ferrari remain second.

1. Mercedes

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    No Change

    Mercedes did OK in Hungary. Their drivers on the other hand...

    Lewis Hamilton blitzed the field with a lap of 1:22.020 to claim his ninth pole position of the season. Nico Rosberg never really looked comfortable over a single lap; though he qualified second, he was almost six tenths slower than his team-mate.

    When the red lights went out, Hamilton didn't get off the line well. He was pushed onto a poor line by an aggressive Sebastian Vettel and fell to fourth, while Rosberg slid down to third. An error while trying to attack his team-mate left Hamilton skidding across the gravel; he ended the opening lap in 10th.

    The Brit worked his way back through the field, showing excellent pace whenever he had clear air, and he was in fourth when the safety car emerged. But he had to stop to fit medium tyres, while Daniel Ricciardo in fifth switched to the quicker softs.

    The Red Bull man got a better exit out of the final corner at the restart and tried to pass Hamilton around the outside of Turn 1. The reigning world champion locked up, skidded into the side of Ricciardo and damaged his front wing.

    Two visits to the pits laterone for a new nose, and the other for a drive-through penaltyHamilton crossed the line in sixth.

    Rosberg, meanwhile, had a different problem: He just wasn't quick enough. Though the safety car cut his deficit to Vettel from 27 seconds to one, Rosberg couldn't get close enough to mount a single serious assault and instead came under pressure from Ricciardo.

    The Australian took a somewhat optimistic lunge down the inside on Lap 63; it ended with the Red Bull needing a new front wing and Rosberg needing a new rear tyre.

    The German lost over a minute crawling back to the pits and acquiring new rubber. Though he pushed hard, he didn't have enough laps left to climb any higher than eighth.

    It was the worst weekend for Mercedes since the start of the V6 turbo erabut it wasn't the car's fault.

    Unless otherwise stated, lap-time, penalty and race data used throughout sourced from the official F1 website, the FIA and F1 Fanatic's lap charts.


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