Ten views on the top ten F1 drivers of 2016

2016 F1 season

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F1 Fanatic has given its verdict on the top drivers of last season. But what did other publications make of the F1 field of 2016?

The top ten rankings of ten different publications have been compiled below for comparison. They include Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, France’s Motors TV, Spain’s El Confidencial and Brazil’s Globo. Here’s how they ranked the best drivers of last season:

F1 FanaticAuto Motor
und Sport
Motors TVEl ConfidencialGloboMotorsportAutosportMotorsport
Top GearWill Buxton
See listSee listSee listSee listSee listSee listSee listSee listSee listSee list
1RicciardoRicciardo/ HamiltonHamiltonRosbergRosbergRicciardoRicciardoRicciardoVerstappenRicciardo

NB. Motors TV’s list was part of a top 50 drivers of the year including competitors from different disciplines. Hamilton was second overall behind WRC racer Sebastien Ogier.

  • Daniel Ricciardo emerges well from the comparison, heading six of the ten lists and featuring in the top three of all the others. He was also voted the top driver of the year by F1 Fanatic readers.
  • Carlos Sainz Jnr, Toro Rosso, Interlagos, 2016
    Sainz popped up in all the top tens
    He is one of seven drivers who appeared in all ten top tens. The others are Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg, Carlos Sainz Jnr and Sebastian Vettel.
  • Only five other drivers appeared in the top tens. These were Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez (eight times each), Nico Hulkenberg and Valtteri Bottas (five times), Romain Grosjean (three times) and Stoffel Vandoorne (once).
  • Hamilton was generally considered to have driven better than his championship-winning team mate Rosberg and was listed ahead of him in eight of the ten tables. However the two which placed Rosberg ahead of Hamilton were also the only ones to choose Rosberg as the best driver of the year. In contrast Hamilton only heads one of these lists on his own.
  • As for the other team mates, seven of the ten put Vettel ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and eight put Ricciardo ahead of Verstappen.
  • Three publications – Auto Motor und Sport, Motors TV and Top Gear – filled their top six places with the same drivers who occupied the top six places in the championship standings
  • There’s little evidence of chauvinism: Hamilton didn’t top any of the British lists, Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport ranked Rosberg behind Hamilton, neither Brazilian driver appears in Globo’s top ten and two non-Spanish publications put Alonso higher than El Confidencial did.

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Read the F1 Fanatic Driver Rankings in full

Over to you

Which ranking mirrors your verdict mostly closely? Who do you think has been over-rated or under-rated?

Have your say in the comments, and please share links to any other driver rankings especially those from foreign language publications for further comparison.

2016 F1 season

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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45 comments on “Ten views on the top ten F1 drivers of 2016”

  1. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    8th January 2017, 12:11

    Good analysis, especially important to have an overall idea of how accurate the fans views here are, compared to journalists and other sources.

    1. Fans views aren’t accurate, they’re biased views were most voted for who they liked as opposed to who was the best. The only pole I’d say was the closest to being the most accurate, was that of the team principles, whose vote was done in private.

      1. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
        8th January 2017, 13:58

        Yes, I agree. but at least here, and even when there are some blind fans around, at the moment of the opinions about the rankings (not the ranking itself as that was made by Keith alone) there was an almost general consensus, very similar to the results in other websites as well.

      2. @Kgn11 How was that poll in relation to your own views? Nothing biased about you finding that poll to be the most accurate?

      3. The silent majority does show though, by reading general comments you wouldn’t think F1Fanatic viewers would’ve voted Ricciardo as the best, more likely Hamilton or Verstappen, but Ricciardo won both the poll and the overall article thing. Mostly Hamilton and Verstappen fans voted those two, others who either don’t have a favourite or their favourite (Button, Raikkonen etc) obviously weren’t the best, mostly voted for Ricciardo I’d think (of course there will be some exceptions to this).

        1. That;s a lot of assumptions brought to us as facts..
          Of course fans are biassed. Bit it seems you’re a fan trying to deny your choices.

          1. @Hugh [q] Mostly Hamilton and Verstappen fans voted those two, others who either don’t have a favourite or their favourite (Button, Raikkonen etc) obviously weren’t the best, mostly voted for Ricciardo [/q]
            Assumptions.. not facts.

      4. @kgn11

        The only pole I’d say was the closest to being the most accurate, was that of the team principles

        So speaks a fan of the driver who won that pole, thereby supporting your original premise that ” they’re biased views”.

        There is no way that the team principals’ vote isn’t slightly biased too – these are the guys who employ the drivers and have a vested interest in them due to the combined marketing strategy. I’m not claiming the result isn’t correct, just that you can’t credibly laim the only pole without bias is one that supports your own view.

        The other thing you are doing is applying bias yourself to these poll results. You think they are biased because they don’t support your view. The reality is that there will be some bias in them all but there will also be plenty of credible views and taken together they can tell us something. For example looking at all of the 10 poll above there are only five different drivers who make the top 4 in all polls, so the results seem consistent despite the different readership/geographic bias (and El Confidencial wasn’t even one of the two pools to put Alonso up there).

        1. I’ve taken the poll/pole misspelling and carried it on! I managed to get principals’ right though :)

      5. “Fans views aren’t accurate”

        You mean that Max Verstappen wasn’t the best driver of the US GP?

  2. I find this list subjective to say the least. There are tons of publications and media companies out there, heavy ones and smaller ones, who have their own rankings.
    So looking at this article and the list, I wonder what the criteria was in selecting the publications listed. If it is England based publications, then why are BBC and Sky rankings not mentioned considering that they are/have been heavy weights in F1 business. What of Crash and their choice of Vesterpen?
    But since publications and media companies from other countries are featured in the article, should the list therefore not be much more inclusive and comprehensive? What do Dutch, Belgian or other global/regional publications think?
    That should give a clearer picture in my opinion.
    So I think this is not fully representative of how the drivers are viewed. This is more of a reinforcement of an opinion.

    1. Besides Crash (which I hadn’t seen, which is why it isn’t here) are there any others which you would have liked to see included?

      1. F1i is usually good

      2. @keithcollantine already been reported I guess but the autosport team managers rating would have been relevant.

      3. f1metrics is pretty much the only one I care about

  3. As if I needed another reason to hate Top Gear..

    1. I love Top Gear but, their top 10 list is laughable!

      1. @wesley I just hate what they’ve done to the show. Evans was truly awful.

        1. I know, right? Evans was like a cartoon character on speed. Damn you Jeremy Clarkson for ending a perfect gear head show!

    2. Maybe all the F1 drivers should go out to the Top Gear Test Track and show their paces in the same car.

  4. I mostly agreed with F1Fanatic’s ranking, but I disagreed with Rosberg’s low ranking (5th), especially since Hamilton was 2nd.

    Looking at this table, Rosberg is in top four in every other ranking and none of them puts Rosberg three positions below Hamilton. I still think that F1Fanatic’s ranking is rather unfair towards Nico.

  5. My ranking of the rankings

    10. Globo (Were they watching NASCAR?)
    9. Motorsport Magazine (Very Odd choices, Max P6? FI out of top ten? Grosjean P8?)
    8. Top Gear (Nobody watches you anyway, Grand Tour FTW)
    7. Will Buxton (Kimi was no way better than Vettel)
    6 .El Confidencial (Rosberg wasn’t better than Lewis)
    5. AMUS (Not much to comment here, some odd choices)
    4. Motors TV (A bit of a car ranking)
    3. Autosport (Best of a bad bunch)

    The next two are a big step ahead

    2. Motorsport (Pretty accurate, may have challenged first if they did the full 22)
    1. F1 Fanatic (Great detailed list, had the exact same top ten as me apart from Perez and Sainz swapped :))

    1. @lolzerbob OK now we need nine more people to rank the rankings so I can rank your ranking rankings.

      And thanks :-)

      1. Please do this!

    2. The Grand Tour has been pretty mediocre so far, with the exception of episodes 1 and 6. The rest have had way too much forced humour. The script needs to be toned town. Series 23 of Top Gear was pretty bad, but that was only because of Chris Evans, and now that he’s gone, the show can only get better with LeBlanc, Harris and Reid as hosts.
      The Grand Tour needs to return to their old form shown in series 9-12 of Top Gear if it is to become a good show again.

  6. Just made an amendment – AMuS actually put Ricciardo and Hamilton joint top (which I think is a bit of a cop-out but there you go!)

  7. Well, list that puts a driver who won more races that world champion in 2016 and has less wins only to M.S, to second or third place-subjective by default…

    1. To be fair, if you have the best car on the grid then it does make your skill a little less relevant to your podium finishes than if you had a car that was less than the best.

  8. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    8th January 2017, 15:44

    This is really hard to understand. They must have been showing a different season in the US because Ricciardo looked slightly above average. I like Ricciardo and I disliked Verstappen’s defensive moves but it’s impossible to say that Ricciardo outshone his teammate. Everyone’s talking about Verstappen.

    At Monaco, he followed up his stellar quali with a subpar race performance where he was beaten by Ultra softs.

    After Brazil, there’s no way anyone can put Ricciardo at the top of the list after what Verstappen and Hamilton did.

    After Abu Dhabi where Hamilton was driving like a “school bus” and no one could pass him, where was Ricciardo?

    We expected him to be able to be in the top 3-4 and vying for position and maybe making the championship more interesting but he finished P5.

    For me in 2016, the correct ranking would have been “Where is Ricciardo?” I’m pretty sure Horner was asking that question all day long and why he didn’t vote him as #1 along with any team principal.

    I analyzed Ricciardo’s numbers from the principals and he would have needed 4-5 P6 positions to offset 1 P1 from a principal.

    1. Really?

      Ricciardo seemed just as quick as Verstappen at his fastest, while making zero mistakes.

      I don’t see how anyone could have ricciardo anything other than 2nd to Hamilton at worst.

      I think we will see next year, if Red Bull design a championship capable car, verstappen’s speed will go down as he will have to chase more consistency. And Ricciardo will easily have his measure.

      P.S. not sure what you are talking about in Monaco. The only thing that stopped Ric from dominating the race with the stuffed pit stop. He took almost 10 seconds(!) out of hamilton on his in lap.

      1. “Ricciardo seemed just as quick as Verstappen at his fastest, while making zero mistakes.”

        Ricciardo did make less mistakes but Verstappen had an edge on speed. Especially in the last part of the season.
        Ricciardo had to up his game. Even he himself admitted to that. However Verstappen seems to be improving still. Time will tell if Verstappen will continue to become even faster and less prone to mistakes and whether Ricciardo can stay ahead by consistency.

        “I don’t see how anyone could have ricciardo anything other than 2nd to Hamilton at worst.”

        Depends on the criteria. For me Ricciardo wasn’t as impressive as others try to make him out to be. He was consistent and only had a few errors. That combined with impeccable reliability meant he managed to stay ahead of Verstappen in the points.

        Verstappen impressed me more because he came into the team with no experience in the car and immediately forced Ricciardo to up his game. He immediately became a force to be reckoned with even if you had a silver car. His overtakes aren’t just dive bombs that may or may not force another driver to take evasive action. And perhaps most of all, Verstappen is the reason A LOT of people watch f1 now.

        “I think we will see next year, if Red Bull design a championship capable car, verstappen’s speed will go down as he will have to chase more consistency. And Ricciardo will easily have his measure.”

        You hope. Try and stop letting your dislike for a driver hamper your objectivity. The fact of the matter is Verstappen has been getting faster consistently throughout 2016 while also making less mistakes. If the last 6 races of 2016 are any indication Ricciardo will have one hell of a job to beat Verstappen in 2017.

        “The only thing that stopped Ric from dominating the race with the stuffed pit stop. He took almost 10 seconds(!) out of hamilton on his in lap.”

        That’s because Hamilton stopped the lap before. At no point of that race was Ricciardo 10 seconds faster than Hamilton. If he was he would have passed Hamilton easily. Even at Monaco.

  9. if rosberg wouldn’t got screwed in spain, canada and germany he would be ranked higher than hamilton with more wins and a bigger point gap, i wont even talk about hamiltons gifted win in monaco and his luck in belgium. championship should have been decided since italy

    1. And if Hamilton didn’t get screwed in China, Russia & Malaysia, Rosberg wouldn’t be WDC. See we all can make “what if” statements.

      BRB, Flávio’s on the other line.

      1. nelson piquet
        9th January 2017, 4:53

        he got incredibly lucky in russia, he’s just too hard with his material. bad luck was even, just in different forms. rosberg won

  10. It’s interesting to see how they all compare to the F1 metrics rankings which claims to be the only objective ranking, though the guy who designed it admits that it contains flaws. https://f1metrics.wordpress.com/2016/12/02/2016-model-based-driver-rankings/

    1. All those statistical models are flawed and a waste of time.

    2. Guybrush Threepwood
      9th January 2017, 6:33

      The problem of course with F1 metrics is that it places an emphasis on passing cars, so those starting further back than they should get a better rating.

      Aside from that it’s a good comparison but otherwise it’s virtually redundant.

  11. @keithcollantine A small correction Keith: six other drivers appeared in the ratings(apart from the 7 who were in all the ratings), not five.

    Anyway, I’ve done a little aggregate calculation to see what the ultimate top 10 of all top 10’s is. Points awarded on a 1-10 scale with driver who’s first in a poll gets 10 points, and a driver who’s 10th gets 1 point. The results are as follows:


    Out of the aggregate poll the top 4+Raikkonen’s P8 are exactly as my opinion. Mostly it’s representative apart from Vettel being way too high while Sainz & Perez a bit too low IMO.

    Judging by the polls I found out that I most of all agree with Will Buxton. His top 8 is exactly the same as mine. Least of all I agree with Motors TV. Exactly 0 of their choices are the same as mine

    Anyway, this was an extremely interesting feature and exercise. Thanks a lot Keith!

  12. On the bottom half I’m more with F1fanatic and particularly Auto Motor und Sport. On the top, it’s F1fanatic and Buxton that I believe are furthest from my opinion.

  13. You can’t rank a championship winner at 5th of the season, it’s hard to win a title and winning it should guarantee a podium at the very least.

    1. @t3x Yes you can. This is not the first time in history when the WDC is far from the best in a season. I put him P4 but P5 is reasonable as well.

      Some examples:
      1) in 1996, Damon Hill won the WDC. However Villeneuve, Schumacher, Alesi and Hakkinen drove better than he did(many thought Coulthard and Barrichello did too).

      2) in 1999 Hakkinen won the WDC. However this was an uncharacteristically mistake prone season for him. At least 4 drivers drove better: Schumacher, Irvine, Frentzen and Ralf

      3) in 2012 many ranked 4 other drivers above the WDC Vettel. Namely Alonso, Raikkonen, Hamilton and Button

      4) in 1987, Piquet was WDC, but most ranked Mansell, Senna, Prost and Berger’s performances higher

      I could go on. It’s a great achievement to be WDC but it doesn’t guarantee you are a top 3 driver in a season

  14. Anything that relies on fan imput will turn into a “I HATE HAMILTON SOOOOOOOO MUCH, so I will rank him 9th!” fest.

    We should figure out some kind of system where points are given based on how a driver performs during the race Instead…. oh wait….

    “I cannot comprehend why” some people are so far removed from reality that they can’t figure out how people can have conflicting opinions… come on guys…. it’s opinion. Everyone has one.

    With that being said, I am glad verstappen didn’t sweep the rankings… the kid wasn’t that good.

    1. Why do people continue to assume dislike of Hamilton will negatively affect others’ opinions of him as a driver when he’s had more Driver of the Weekend poll wins than anyone?


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