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Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen
Born Origin
Team F1 Debut
Career statistics to end 2014
Race(s) Win(s)
Pole Position(s) Fastest Lap(s)

There’s nothing like saddling a 17-year-old with the burden of expectation.

As if being the son of a former F1 driver were not enough to live up to, Red Bull driver advisor Helmut Marko has said Verstappen stands comparison with Ayrton Senna.

Max will become the youngest driver in Grand Prix history when he lines up for Toro Rosso in Melbourne in March. At 17 years and 166 days he will be almost a full two years younger than the previous holder of that record, Jaime Alguersuari – and where is Jaime now?

Nico Hülkenberg

Nico Hülkenberg
Born Origin
Team F1 Debut
Career statistics to end 2014
Race(s) Win(s)
Pole Position(s) Fastest Lap(s)

This will be Nico’s fifth year in F1 – remember he missed out in 2011 – and it sees him still stuck in the middle tier of the grid after opting to continue with his current team.

The log-jam at the top of the Grand Prix field means that despite his talent the 2009 GP2 champion is still waiting for the chance to show what he can do in a front-running car.

Nonetheless, Hülkenberg insists that 2014 was the best of his four seasons in F1 so far. “It was the moment when I felt I really arrived and became comfortable with everything that surrounds the job,” he says.

Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez
Born Origin
Team F1 Debut
Career statistics to end 2014
Race(s) Win(s)
Pole Position(s) Fastest Lap(s)

In a Force India season of two halves, it was ‘Checo’ who came home the stronger of their two drivers in 2014, although in the end he finished one place and 37 points behind teammate Nico Hülkenberg.

This is the Mexican’s third team in his four F1 seasons to date: two years with Sauber were followed by a short-lived stay at McLaren, but now he seems settled in these more exotic surroundings.

Jenson Button

Jenson Button
Born Origin
Team F1 Debut
Career statistics to end 2014
Race(s) Win(s)
Pole Position(s) Fastest Lap(s)

He’s an old married man now, and he’s going into his 16th F1 season.

Jenson Button, 34, finally popped the question to his long-time partner Jessica Michibata and the pair were married in Hawaii at the end of 2014.

The joy of that day counter-balanced the way the year had begun, with the death of Jenson’s father and good mate John Button at the age of 70.

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso
Born Origin
Team F1 Debut
Career statistics to end 2014
Race(s) Win(s)
Pole Position(s) Fastest Lap(s)

“My motivation could not be stronger for the new season. I’ve done a lot of training during the winter break, to reach my peak physical fitness, and I’ve been working hard in preparation for this new era of McLaren-Honda. I’ve never felt better, or more ready for a new season.”

Fernando’s fired-up attitude can only spell bad news for every other driver in 2015.

It’s a year of many returns for McLaren. The question is, will they be happy ones?

Coming back first of all are Honda, with whom McLaren formed one of the most successful partnerships in F1 history.

Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen
Born Origin
Team F1 Debut
Career statistics to end 2014
Race(s) Win(s)
Pole Position(s) Fastest Lap(s)

Men of few words usually let their actions do their talking for them, but in 2014 the taciturn Finn was a man of few deeds as well.

Kimi couldn’t find his way to the podium last season: his best result was a fourth place in Belgium, his season blighted by the F14T’s handling characteristics that suited Alonso far better than they did him.

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel
Born Origin
Team F1 Debut
Career statistics to end 2014
Race(s) Win(s)
Pole Position(s) Fastest Lap(s)

A question for you: what was Sebastian Vettel’s race number before he took the World Champion’s #1 on his car in 2011?

It seems a long time since he carried anything else, doesn’t it? But if you said ‘5’, then well remembered.

Now it’s not just World Champion status that has gone, but Red Bull team membership as well, as Vettel succumbs to the magnetic attraction of Maranello and tries his hand as a Ferrari driver – like his compatriot and role model, the great Michael Schumacher, before him.

Can Vettel work the same magic at Maranello as Michael did?

Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas
Born Origin
Team F1 Debut
Career statistics to end 2014
Race(s) Win(s)
Pole Position(s) Fastest Lap(s)

If you remember last year’s Australian race in any detail you will recall that Valtteri Bottas got slightly carried away at one stage and hit the wall out on the eastern side of the circuit, calling the Safety Car into action.

Fortunately for the young Finn he was able to get going again and claw his way back through the field for a fighting fifth place – and, more importantly, he filed the experience away in the ‘Things I have learned’ folder for future use.

Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa
Born Origin
Team F1 Debut
Career statistics to end 2014
Race(s) Win(s)
Pole Position(s) Fastest Lap(s)

Mark it down as a red-letter day.

Spielberg, June 21st, 2014: the day Felipe Massa claimed his 16th pole position – and his first since the final race of the 2008 season, where he came so close to being World Champion.

With teammate Valtteri Bottas alongside him for the Austrian Grand Prix, it was the first all-Williams front row since the German Grand Prix of 2003, a moment that underlined the enduring feel-good factor that Sir Frank’s team can generate.

Daniil Kvyat

Daniil Kvyat
Born Origin
Team F1 Debut
Career statistics to end 2014
Race(s) Win(s)
Pole Position(s) Fastest Lap(s)

“A little bit rough around the edges.”

That’s Red Bull Racing chief Christian Horner’s assessment of the man from Ufa (look it up) who has come in to occupy the cockpit vacated by Sebastian Vettel, now in the scarlet red of Ferrari.

Horner should know: the GP3 team under his ownership was the cradle from which Kvyat emerged as champion at the end of 2013 to take his baby-faced looks and sheer speed into the ultimate racing theatre.

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