F1 drivers, Yas Marina, 2018

Vote for your 2018 F1 Driver of the Year

2018 F1 season review

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The RaceFans 2018 F1 Driver Rankings are complete – you can read them in full here. Now it’s time for your verdict.

Was the champion the best driver of 2018? What about the four other drivers who won races this year?

It was a fantastic season’s racing in the midfield as well. Drivers from almost every team outside the top three took turns at being ‘best of the rest’ during the championship. Could any of them have given Lewis Hamilton a run for his money in the same car?

Need some data to make your decision? Here’s the team-by-team breakdown of how each driver compared against their team mates, plus more data from the 2018 championship:

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Vote for your choice of Driver of the Year below, tell us why you voted for your chosen driver in the comments and look out for the result in full one week from today on RaceFans.

Who was the best F1 driver of 2018?

  • Lewis Hamilton (60%)
  • Valtteri Bottas (0%)
  • Sebastian Vettel (1%)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (3%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (2%)
  • Max Verstappen (11%)
  • Sergio Perez (0%)
  • Esteban Ocon (0%)
  • Lance Stroll (0%)
  • Sergey Sirotkin (1%)
  • Nico Hulkenberg (3%)
  • Carlos Sainz Jnr (0%)
  • Pierre Gasly (0%)
  • Brendon Hartley (0%)
  • Romain Grosjean (0%)
  • Kevin Magnussen (2%)
  • Fernando Alonso (7%)
  • Stoffel Vandoorne (0%)
  • Marcus Ericsson (0%)
  • Charles Leclerc (9%)

Total Voters: 315

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2018 F1 season review

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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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70 comments on “Vote for your 2018 F1 Driver of the Year”

  1. Hamilton for me

    1. as for my full ranking (link with explanations):
      1 Lewis Hamilton  (78,7%)
      2 Max Verstappen (76,0%)
      3 Charles Leclerc (57,4%)
      4 Fernando Alonso  (49,4%)
      5 Daniel Ricciardo (48,5%)
      6 Sebastian Vettel (41,5%)
      7 Pierre Gasly (40,8%)
      8 Esteban Ocon (38,0%)
      9 Nico Hulkenberg (37,7%) – IMO Keith was missed the great things Hulkenberg did with a mediocre package
      10 Sergio Perez (36,3%) – He had a decent year, but not better than Ocon or Hulkenberg overall.
      11 Carlos Sainz Jnr (36,1%)
      12 Kevin Magnussen  (34,3%)
      13 Kimi Raikkonen (32,6%) – maybe we forgot towards the end how far Kimi was behind Vettel on most Saturdays and when the latter didn’t throw his race away.
      14 Valtteri Bottas (32,1%)
      15 Romain Grosjean (25,3%)
      16 Lance Stroll (23,6%)
      17 Marcus Ericsson (22,4%)
      18 Stoffel Vandoorne (20,4%)
      19 Sergey Sirotkin (19,9%)
      20 Brendon Hartley (12,1%)

      1. @coldfly I don’t understand how you calculated this, but it’s quite a sensible list. subjectively, I would have alonso above leclerc, gasly on par with raikkonen, and stroll on par with sirotkin. I might swap hulk and ocon too, but they’re pretty level in my mind. the hardest driver to rank is vandoorne – I think there are good reasons to have him higher, but equally you can argue he was no better than the williams drivers and hartley.

        hamilton bossed this year. even on his off days he was raking in big points – that is the mark of a serious champion and one who is hard to beat. I can understand why rosberg had had enough; the pressure just to try and look respectable must be enormous; it’s made me appreciate how quick rosberg was, even if his race craft was not at hamilton’s level.

      2. @coldfly

        I don’t know how you’ve come up the with these numbers. What’s the methodology behind them? While most of them actually kind of fall in to place.. there are definitely some snags. Magnussen shouldn’t be higher than Bottas and Raikonnen . Sainz is definitely flattered as well .. as is Stroll.

        1. I gave each driver a score for each race and divided it by total available points. @todfod

          I rate Star performance (getting the most and more out of the car) much more than I penalise Strugglers;
          I explicitly included Quali (but not FP) (e.g. Stroll in Monza);
          Driver’s score poorly with many ‘meh’ races (bottom 3 or 5).

          1. You have earned my respect.

          2. @coldfly and my ax… I mean, my respect too. Well balanced list, I fully agree with you.

    2. Although I’m in awe of the speed, talent, craft and do or die mentality of Verstappen…there is only one driver who should be ranked nr.1…and thats Lewis. Almost faultless in 2018

  2. Hamilton will deservedly win this vote, so instead I voted Kimi just to make myself feel better.

  3. Hulk for being the most underrated driver in this year’s rankings

  4. Hard to argue against LH really.

  5. if we use this: Could any of them have given Lewis Hamilton a run for his money in the same car?

    This says it all who could beat Lewis is the same car. That are just few people, Max, Sebastian, Daniel and Alonso

    If none could then Lewis is the best, If i must be honest then no one (Max came the closest ) could.

  6. K-Mag for doing an excellent job. Hope to see him in a red car in few years.

    1. As a sticker on the driver seat? :)

  7. Voted for Max because I’m a fan and because of what he did with less car, or at least less Pu. That includes sorting himself and rallying after some really tough lessons were learned in the early stages of the season.

    1. Max sorted himself? It looked that way until the Ocon incident (more so the earlier part, but the later part doesn’t exactly scream “sorted” either…)

      1. There’s some stuff to blame verstappen for this season, especially early on, brazil isn’t one of them, it was an excellent race.

      2. @robbie Im still a firm beliver that what happened in the start of the season was just incidents and bad luck (on Max side). Next year you will see him driving close as ever to that Monaco corner and thats why hes voted #2 in an inferior car and with a season opening which had people calling for his demotion.

  8. Tbh none of the drivers really had a spectacular season for me.

    Verstappen had that abomination of a start to the season, Hamilton was a bit absent at the start and despite being very consistent later I just didn’t feel anything amazing. I mean I can find some major caveat in each and every driver this season.

    1. And just to elaborate I would still rank Hamilton as best of the drivers this season (along with most of kieth’s choices)

      1. I’ve seen it mentioned a few times now but I’m not sure Hamiltons start to the season was even bad.

        Australia – he took a great pole and lost the race due to the safety car /strategy

        Bahrain – had a grid drop and was out qualified by Bottas but only by less than .1 which isn’t that bad. An ok race back up to 3rd

        China- I remember thinking he was quite off the pace here but again less then 0.1 off Bottas and finished an ok 4th

        Baku – qualified 2nd which was a solid result for the Mercedes that weekend. His race was scrappy but he still grabbed the win. I can’t remember if a mistake hurt his race or if it was tyre wear in general but I know he wasn’t that impressive in the race.

        Spain – dominant weekend

        From Spain I think he’s been quite solid too.

        So looking back there’s only really Baku and China where he didn’t perform that well. And even then he managed to get a win and his worst result was 4th.

        1. No, china wasn’t ok for a driver of hamilton’s caliber, nor was canada!

  9. OK, who voted for Valtteri Bottas as Driver of the Year? Show yourselves.

    1. and 3 votes for Kimi, @mashiat.

      1. And we’ve got a vote for Sergey Sirotkin.
        IP address same as Internet Research Agency.

        1. @coldfly – I fancy it was a bear…

      2. @huhhii has been labeled as one of the suspects for voting for Kimi Raikkonen, driver of Scuderia Ferrari car number 7. We believe that a full-course investigation is underway, and a statement has been issued by Mr. Huhhii.

        Hamilton will deservedly win this vote, so instead I voted Kimi just to make myself feel better.

        This matter will be investigated further. The F1 police are still yet to comment on the matter.

        1. @mashiat Oh man, you got me! How could you know?!? You are such a skillful detective mr. Mashiat! How many penalty does that add up to my RaceFans licence?

          1. @huhhii The charge for your conduct will be:

            – 5 Penalty Points
            – 1 Reprimand
            – A 50-place grid penalty
            – 3 Days of Public Service
            – Cleaning all of Hamilton’s gold chains
            – Being forced to watch the 2017 Russian GP on repeat for the next 24 hours
            – Taken around a lap of Monaco at full speed in a racing car driven by an angry Maldonado

            And if you survive all that,

            – You get one free ice cream.

  10. Please let us rank them!

    1. @webbo82 If there’s workaround for us do this, it would be fabulous!

    2. Create numerous accounts until you have given whatever number of votes you think each driver deserves.

  11. I went for Hamilton, he won the WDC for a start so that counts for a lot, also he drove smart. He kept out of trouble he let the hot heads around him crash out, while he did what it took to get the points. he went only as fast as he needed to win.

    1. IMO winning the wdc doesn’t count at all, 2016 best driver? Surely not rosberg, hamilton did better with the same car, can be argued about other drivers ofc.

      What hamilton did to win this title makes him the best driver, not that he won.

      1. (@esploratore)

        IMO winning the wdc doesn’t count at all, 2016 best driver?

        Your point that Hamilton was the best driver because he beat his team mate is a bad comparison I think. Bottas had a terrible yr and couldn’t win a chook raffle if he had all of the tickets.
        It’s not just the fact that Hamilton won but the way he won. He drove only as fast as he needed to win. He kept out of trouble even when trouble tracked him down. Which I think I alluded to in the first post.

  12. I’ve decided to do a usual thing for once, you know me, I’m a generous king.
    So I combined all the rankings into the forum, in order for us to see how our combined opinion compares to Keith’s ranking. The results are as follows

    Community Ranking (Racefans ranking)
    1 – Hamilton (1)
    2 – Leclerc (3)
    3 – Verstappen (2)
    4 – Alonso (4)
    5 – Ricciardo (5)
    6 – Vettel (6)
    7 – Hulkenberg (12)
    8 – Kimi (9)
    9 – Ocon (10)
    10 – Gasly (8)
    11 – Perez (7)
    12 – Bottas (11)
    13 – Sainz (13)
    14 – K-Mag (14)
    15 – Ericsson (16)
    16 – Grosjean (17)
    17 – Sirotkin (20)
    18 – Vandoorne (15)
    19 – Hartley (19)
    20 – Stroll (18)

    Some curiosities.

    Stroll was placed last, not by much, and reading everything it felt like his position was already given at the start of the season

    Vandoorne and Hartley had the same level of performance according to us, I just placed Vandoorne ahead because he was ranked two times 17th while Hartley was only once placed in that position. The racefans ranking placed Vandoorne 15th, none of the rankings in the forum placed him higher than 17th.

    While Sirotkin was placed last, none of us considered that he was the worst, he was however placed 19th two times.

    Pretty much everyone agreed that Grosjean should be placed between 14-16. In the other hand there was some struggle to rank Ericksson, he was placed last, midtable and there was even someone that ranked him 5th (I want some of that smoke)

    Hulk’s rank was completely different from the Racefans table. The lowest we have placed him was 10th, combined he is ranked 7th. But you guys don’t remember FPs, so what do you know?

    At the top pretty much the same. Only one person didn’t pick Hamilton has the number one driver this year, maybe it was the same that placed Ericsson 5th?

    Other relevant aspects is that we placed Ocon ahead of Perez and Sirotkin ahead of Stroll.

    Just want to end by saying that this isn’t my ranking, are we clear?

    1. @johnmilk thank you for doing this. it’s fascinating to see what the consensus is. COTD surely?

    2. great work @johnmilk, this is almost worth its own article.

      PS did you include both of your own rankings ;) @johnmilk

      1. @coldfly ah! I didn’t, I should have, maybe it would be more to my liking

    3. Long live the King!

    4. Thanks for your personal list @johnmilk

  13. The Racefans ranking had veered between 100% correct to reasonable to downright lunacy(when I saw Hulkenberg in P12 I wanted to call it F1Lunatic but then I remembered it’s called Racefans now, and it spoiled the fun). However Hamilton is the undisputed P1 and an all time great. One that in decades to come people will be proud to tell they watched him race live same as Fangio, Moss, Clark, Stewart, Lauda, Prost, Senna and Schumacher.

    Here’s my final rating of all 20:
    1) Hamilton
    2) Alonso
    3) Verstappen
    4) Leclerc
    5) Vettel
    6) Ricciardo
    7)Hulkenberg
    8) Raikkonen
    9) Gasly
    10) Ocon
    11) Perez
    12) Magnussen
    13) Sainz
    14) Bottas
    15) Grosjean
    16) Vandoorne
    17) Eriksson
    18) Sirotkin
    19) Hartley
    20) Stroll

    1. weird. Alonso made it 2nd in your 2018 ranking, but missed the cut to be amongst Fangio, Moss, Clark, Stewart, Lauda, Prost, Senna and Schumacher.
      @montreal95

      1. @coldfly I do consider Alonso as one of the all time greats but I just wanted to limit the list to the absolutely undisputed ones. Otherwise I would have definitely added him. Not a fan of his but a great admirer of his driving skills. I’d have also added Brabham, Ascari, Graham Hill, Gilles, and(yes I know) Vettel. But some of these are not undisputed and I didn’t want to start an OT discussion

          1. @johnmilk You are a great admirer of Lamy’s driving skills then? 😉

          2. Just saying it how it is @montreal95

            Not biased or anything

          3. @johnmilk I trust your claim of impartiality completely.

    2. @montreal95 Your all time list is too long. Hamilton towers above all British drivers and Moss never won a title.

      1. @Mclaren Winning a title is a subjective criteria for greatness. Otherwise just trust the stats count the titles, equal great with winningest and the whole discussion is meaningless. Moss is considered an all time great by most even if you disagree. Greater than many others who won titles even multiple ones.

  14. Max verstappen. After his one hour interview I really found out how less we all know and how much we all pretent to know about racing. Even the 99% of the paddock has no clue. His problems with mapping, tyres, the Renault engine etc, it is a miracle how he ended the season so good. The same for Ric btw.

      1. The interview is on Dutch television. Link on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8Cqh6avd8c

    1. Brilliant driver with some bad (race-ending or race-losing bad) driving throughout the year. So no cigar. Just no.

  15. For objectivity’s sake, it would make more sense to run this poll before you’ve influenced our opinions Keith

    1. Was thinking the same. Monkey see monkey do.

  16. I voted for LH, so, therefore, my answer to ‘Was the champion the best driver of 2018?’ is Yes.
    What about the four other drivers who won races this year?
    – DR: The unluckiest driver of the season, but even that aside wasn’t really a match for his teammate.
    – MV: Bad start to the season followed by a great turnaround of things.
    – KR: Improved on his previous four Ferrari-seasons since returning to the team.
    Could any of them have given Lewis Hamilton a run for his money in the same car?
    – Yes.

  17. Everyone seems to have got it pretty spot on. You really have to vote how each driver did in their team and the car they had. Lewis was almost perfect, Leclerc was great and Max messed it up too many times.

    Teams of the year
    Mercedes
    Sauber
    Redbull

  18. This is probably the easiest such poll in this decade. As an individual season Hamilton this year is right up there with Alonso’s 2012 but back then other top drivers had also better seasons than biggest best challengers this year.

    1. @bleu

      Comparing Lewis’ 18 to Alonso’s 12? I guess I must have missed something.

  19. Charles Leclerc, I’m eager to see what can he do next year with a (hopefully decent) Ferrari. My expectations: Seb is going to miss his year with Dan Ricciardo as a teammate.

    Too bad he’ll not be driving for Merc. And Max won’t, either.

  20. Voted for alonso, my 2nd best performer, cause I felt with the car he drives he’d have got few votes, and look, he did! But hamilton was ofc the best performer this year and I’m not surprised to see him win this poll, apart from alonso the other drivers lacked speed (ricciardo, raikkonen, bottas) or had the speed but made too many mistakes (vettel, verstappen) to really compete with hamilton.

  21. In future, it may be more interesting to run this article before you go through your driver rankings, as the votes will be less influenced by your articles?

    It wouldn’t have changed my vote, but there is room for influence in the world which could have altered the activity in this article.

  22. Hamilton, as though there’s any doubt.

    PS; I prefer Keith’s opinion first, I wouldn’t want him to be influenced by ours :0)

  23. Lewis Hamilton has now won the Racefans (F1 Fanatic) Driver of The Year poll more times than any other driver.

    Can anyone confim this?

  24. This poll is so predictable. With the large English fan base Hamilton will win every year, even if he crashed in every race. The system with only one vote for one driver makes it very difficult to get a more balanced result.
    So maybe you could consider a system where every voter can decide who is their number one, two and three. Give 3 points for the number one, 2 points for second and one point for third and see who gets the most points. Probably still Hamilton but not with so much distance to the rest.

    1. Not that i care about Brits voting for Hamilton but your idea is great and often asked for.

    2. @dutch-1

      But if Lewis will still win it using YOUR proffered method, that kinda negates your comment about the poll being “so predictable”, or your unfounded accusations that he is only winning because of the large English fan base.

      So, it your issue that Hamilton wins the DOTY poll, or that the gap he wins it by is too large?

      1. @kbdavies
        Lewis will win anyway, theres nothing stopping the brits. The rest of the list will be more nuanced however since all the brits can vote for their 2nd and 3rd driver aswell and aint just locked up in clicking on Hamilton.

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