2016 FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVER GUIDE
Lewis Hamilton (GBR)
Championships: 3 (2008, 2014, 2015)
Nico Rosberg (GER)
Their fourth and potentially final season together at Mercedes with Rosberg out of contract at the end of the year. Hamilton has got the better of his German team-mate in all three seasons, with two of those yielding the world championship.
Sebastian Vettel (GER)
Championships: 4 (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN)
Championships: 1 (2007)
Vettel will be looking to lead Ferrari’s championship challenge as he and Raikkonen form an unchanged line-up. Vettel won three races in his debut season with Ferrari while Raikkonen was surprisingly handed a one-year extension last summer.
Felipe Massa (BRA)
Valtteri Bottas (FIN)
Bottas was linked with Raikkonen’s seat, but after Ferrari opted to retain the Finn, he decided to stay put. Bottas and the heavily-experienced Massa will enter a third campaign together for Williams.
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS)
Daniil Kvyat (RUS)
The two Dans were evenly matched throughout much of last season but Ricciardo, a three-time grand prix winner, will be keen to stamp his authority as the team’s number one in 2016.
Sergio Perez (MEX)
Nico Hulkenberg (GER)
Perez enjoyed a strong end to last season, but – despite interest from Renault – opted to stay with Force India. The Mexican and team-mate Hulkenberg, last year’s Le Mans winner, will start their third season together.
Jolyon Palmer (GBR)
Kevin Magnussen (DEN)
Romain Grosjean, now of Haas, and Pastor Maldonado, now out of a job, have been replaced by the young, dynamic pairing of Palmer and Magnussen. Britain’s Palmer, a former GP2 champion, is in his rookie campaign, while Magnussen has been handed a second chance after being dumped by McLaren.
Max Verstappen (NED)
Carlos Sainz (ESP)
Last year’s all-rookie line-up will start their second season together at Toro Rosso. Verstappen, 18 last September, impressed in his debut campaign while team-mate Sainz, son of former rally champion Carlos Sainz, also showed glimpses of his potential.
Felipe Nasr (BRA)
Marcus Ericsson (SWE)
Nasr and Ericsson, who both bring a wealth of sponsorship, will join forces at Sauber once more in 2016. Nasr, now in his second campaign, will be looking to build on a relatively impressive rookie year.
Jenson Button (GBR)
Championships: 1 (2009)
Fernando Alonso (ESP)
Championships: 2 (2005, 2006)
On paper, one of the best driver line-ups in the paddock, but will Button and Alonso have the car to match this season? McLaren, thwarted by their hapless Honda engine, endured a miserable campaign last season, but will the team have made enough progress over the winter to move back up the field?
Pascal Wehrlein (GER)
Rio Haryanto (IDN)
The only all-rookie combination on the grid. Wehrlein is highly thought of by those at Mercedes, while team-mate Haryanto will become the first Indonesian in F1.
Romain Grosjean (FRA)
Esteban Gutierrez (MEX)
American outfit Haas make their debut this season and will be led by the experienced Grosjean. The Frenchman is joined by Gutierrez, who spent two seasons at Sauber.