Only three rookies lined up on the grid in Australia but by the end of the season five had made their Grand Prix debut. But who was the best? In our latest post we rank the rookies of 2016!
5. Rio Haryanto
Indonesia’s first F1 driver struggled to make an impact up against fellow rookie and Mercedes reserve driver Pascal Wehrlien at Manor. Haryanto, a paid driver, failed to finish a race ahead of teammate Wehrlien during their time as teammates. Haryanto was dropped by Manor during the summer break after failing to find the sufficient funds for his F1 drive and ultimately his F1 career is over before it even really started.
4. Jolyon Palmer
Palmer endured a frustrating debut season at Renault scoring just a solitary point. Up against highly rated teammate Kevin Magnussen, Palmer struggled to find form early on and was regularly outperformed by the Dane. However, that changed towards the end of the season with Palmer becoming the better performing Renault driver and as a result he kept his seat for 2017.
3. Esteban Ocon
Ocon was brought into F1 to replace Haryanto in time for the Belgian GP. The Frenchman who is highly regarded by Mercedes had a solid season and regularly matched teammate Pascal Wehrlein despite only joining the team at the halfway stage of the season. As a result of his impressive performances, the Frenchman was picked ahead of his teammate to join Force India in 2017.
2. Pascal Wehrlein
Wehrelin beat both his teammates- Rio Haryanto and Esteban Ocon in the head to head battles at Manor. The German also scored the teams only point in Austria which looked to have secured them 10th place in the constructors championshiop only for Sauber’s Felipe Nasr to finish 9th in Brazil. Wehrelin will be disappointed not to have secured a drive with Mercedes and Force India.
1. Stoffel Vandoorne
Vandoorne only had one race in 2016 but showed everyone why he deserved a McLaren seat for 2017. The Belgian replaced Fernando Alonso in Bahrain after his huge crash in Australia and he grabbed his opportunity with both hands. He out-qualified teammate Jenson Button and then in the race he finished 10th after a number of great overtaking moves giving McLaren their first point of the season. It’s for this reason that Stoffel Vandoorne is our rookie of the year!