Drivers Yas Marina, 2016

Vote for your 2016 F1 Driver of the Year

2016 F1 season review

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The F1 Fanatic verdict is in and you can now see the 2016 driver rankings in full.

But who was your Driver of the Year? It’s time to cast your vote and pick the driver who impressed you the most throughout 2016.

F1 Fanatic 2016 Driver Rankings

Data on the drivers of 2016

Vote for your 2016 F1 Driver of the Year

Vote for the best Formula One driver of 2016

  • No opinion (0%)
  • Stoffel Vandoorne (1%)
  • Rio Haryanto (0%)
  • Esteban Gutierrez (0%)
  • Romain Grosjean (0%)
  • Esteban Ocon (0%)
  • Pascal Wehrlein (0%)
  • Jenson Button (0%)
  • Fernando Alonso (8%)
  • Felipe Nasr (0%)
  • Marcus Ericsson (0%)
  • Carlos Sainz Jnr (2%)
  • Daniil Kvyat (0%)
  • Jolyon Palmer (0%)
  • Kevin Magnussen (1%)
  • Sergio Perez (3%)
  • Nico Hulkenberg (1%)
  • Max Verstappen (23%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (28%)
  • Valtteri Bottas (0%)
  • Felipe Massa (0%)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (1%)
  • Sebastian Vettel (1%)
  • Nico Rosberg (16%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (15%)

Total Voters: 583

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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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154 comments on “Vote for your 2016 F1 Driver of the Year”

  1. Here I thought this season was one of high individual quality. The result of the driver rankings made me question that, as none of the drivers even got remotely close to what I would consider a stellar season.
    As such, I voted for the most inexperienced, youngest, standout driver of the season. Because unlike Keith (and Keith is welcome to his own methods), I think that definitely should play a factor.

    1. You voted for Vandoorne then.

      1. The only driver this year to score points in all his F1 races. :)

    2. ColdFly F1 (@)
      16th December 2016, 23:45

      @hahostolze, I appreciate your contributions, and even agree in many instances.
      But (yes there is a but), whenever I see your name I know there is another Verstappen love song following.
      I think that even if Max himself would contribute here, he would share the love a bit more evenly ;)

      PS – I think Hamilton had a better season that Verstappen (his lows were more shallow). But Verstappen(‘s season) was close and very exciting; exciting enough for me to rank him just a tad above his teammate who outscored him.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        17th December 2016, 0:47

        it’s difficult to type on a pool lounger with the Bali sun reflecting in my screen.:p

        1. @coldfly don’t miss lombok’ pink beach!

      2. You’re not wrong, although he’s not the driver I actively support, just trying to redress the balance on this website ;-)

        1. @coldfly, @hahostolze If anything we need less Verstappen/Hamilton supporters, especially if you want to even things out.

          1. ColdFly F1 (@)
            18th December 2016, 19:48

            @xtw; another great contributor on this site.
            But I’m as critical to fans who are overly dismissive of driver’s talents. And in your case even stranger as Verstappen was your countryman for 18 years.

            This site need more contributors who can see and acknowledge good performance for whoever the driver is. I’m not perfect, but I did write positive things about Maldonado and Ericsson when they deserved it. I believe I voted for 12-15 different DOTD this year.

          2. @coldfly @xtwl as I believe I clearly stated I don’t actually support Verstappen, I’ve been in an unrequited relationship with Kimi Raikkonen since early 2004. That being said, I believe people on this website are unduly negative towards Verstappen and unduly positive to whatever teammate he has. I don’t particularly care for waging into those discussions but I sincerely feel people are deliberately shortchanging him to be contrarian. That’s all by the by, to me he’s the most naturally talented driver we’ve seen since Senna. Maybe once Kimi retires I’ll join the Verstappen herd, but you’ll never hear me ignore the fact he deserves endless adoration and appreciation. Granted, the Dutch fans on here don’t always make it easy, but in my opinion they’re simply redressing the balance of people who are very much dismissive. It doesn’t particularly matter anyway, just thought I’d explain myself.

    3. @hahostolze
      Sport, ultimately, is entertainment. You don’t have to look far to find great sportsmen who recognise that. So I voted for Max because he was clearly the most entertaining driver of the year. To some degree this was because his driving lacks the technical polish of his more experienced peers.

      While I have sympathy for those who think driver of the year should be based on purely meritocratic criteria, at the end of the day a flawless drive is trumped by someone putting it all on the line and pulling off a wild maneuver.

    4. it has been proven age is not an issue anymore, or inexperience.. someone like Verstappen came into f1 with 14 years driving experience, helped along the way with money like most drivers in F1 resulting in a top 2 car seat in f1 at the age of 18. fir a vote for driver of the year, speed and result are what counts, not age or experience, look at Alonso -super experienced, but does not have the car Verstappen has, so cant show results – and as such can not get voted by a majority for driver of the year.

  2. I choose Max as he is the driver who impressed me the most throughout 2016. Not the best/constant but one who gave F1 his name back

    1. @macleod
      I voted for him for the same reason. If there was one driver who I expected to do something outstanding, it was Verstappen. He wasn’t the most consistent, but I think his best races were the best of anyone.

      1. He wasn’t the most consistent, but I think his best races were the best of anyone.

        i’d agree with that

        I chose Lewis for that amazing end of season recovery and doing everything possible to back Nico up, otherwise Max would have got my vote.

        1. Lewis for […] doing everything possible to back Nico up

          Kind of tried to back Nico up, but far from doing everything possible, he made a miserable job of it. Not surprisingly for a guy who can’t even get the car properly started.

          And I’m not going into the unsportmanship of it which is another question. Can perfectly see people like Schuey or Senna (about the worst sports ever) doing it -but properly, and getting results. But try as I might, I can’t figure Juan Manuel Fangio or Jim Clark even considering doing it.

          1. Here, here.

          2. @eaglemk1 So what was “unsportmenship” what Hamilton did according to you ?.

          3. @revelations: He was a filthy liar and a dishonest act.
            Just as the previous poster said, I can’t imagine Schumi resorting to lie in the face of the fans and his team. While he was ruthless, he was always honest and a class act never getting into stupid intra-team mind games.
            Lewis even posted on Twitter how he will take the loss as a man, but his actions were nothing like that of a man with conceding only when the pressure was on to say something and with the words and body language of a sore loser.

          4. petebaldwin (@)
            17th December 2016, 12:51

            Personally, I can’t imagine any top driver today not doing the same as Hamilton if they were in that position. Certainly Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton and Verstappen would have all done the same.

          5. Surely most top drivers would do it nowadays (not all, I don’t believe Kimi would). But I certainly hope they would do it better than Mr. Hamilton, at least some of them.
            Vettel has never been a master in the wheel-to-wheel department so he probably wouldn’t get it right, either.
            Verstappen is much better than Vettel at this kind of business and Lewis knows it, a perfectly timed block by MV sent Lewis off track in Japan.
            And Alonso… he was truly masterful delivering the killing blow in Brazil 2007 that lost LH the WDC.
            So yes, most (surely not all) top drivers nowadays would resort to this kind of tactics. But some of them can do it right while LH just can’t.

  3. Riccardo, so consistent, had to deal with great disappointments but kept fighting!

  4. Voted for Kevin. Deal with it

    1. @saints I didn’t. Dealt.

  5. Ricciardo just edges it for me. Don’t think he was perfect (no one was) but across the whole season I thought he did the best job of anyone.

    Hamilton would be my close second, then either Alonso, Rosberg or Verstappen in third.

  6. I voted Max, not because he’s the best driver this year, but simply because his antics and uniqueness throughout the season.

    1. So, on a poll where the sole purpose is to vote for who you think the driver of the year is you voted for someone you don’t think is the driver of the year…. Yeah f1fanatic logic right there…

      1. Exactly. Precisely why these polls are meaningless

        1. Its just a bit of fun.

        2. Who did you vote for?

    2. Lewisham Milton
      16th December 2016, 22:42

      Ocon’s tallest, I’m voting for him.

    3. Honestly,
      Its too tough to pick one between Alonso, Mercs, and the Red Bulls. In fact Rosberg best season still 3 rankings below Hamilton, this just show how “good” were the drivers performance this season, and it’s Max’s “X factor” that set the difference. In fact he also leading Daniel towards the end, made incredible defending moves that even FIA have to ban it, and he’s still under 20.

      1. @deongunner Alonso ?. What has he shown you if i may ask ?

        1. probably speed and racecraft, something you obviously didn’t notice or just hate Alonso – as I notice you asked this question over and over scrolling through the comments here.

          1. @kpcart Yes i asked over and over and still no proper answer from the ones who say they would choose Alonso.

        2. @revelations
          Well he’s clearly a fighter this season, he had couple of great races and consistent all around the season. Maybe his racecraft was a bit scruffy at times, but his fighting spirit is really makes him special.

  7. Ricciardo, Alonso, Rosberg, Verstappen then Hamilton for me. Very difficult season to rank though with so many drivers making mistakes.

    1. @glynh What has Alonso shown that you considered voting for him ?. Just asking.

      1. I just felt he was the one who often stood out as getting better results than you would expect from a Mclaren.

        He also doubled his teammates points and had some good starts as well as strong defensive driving.


  8. F1 is not about being the fastest, however much you want it to be. Rosberg’s outstanding mental fortitude and his unwavering determination to never give up in the face of a stronger team mate makes him my driver of the year. He gave it absolutely everything, so much so that he couldn’t face doing it again. He didn’t benefit from some God-given talent he has no control over, he went out there and fought tooth and nail for it. Quite inspirational in my book.

    Beats me how anyone can say he doesn’t deserve it. If we all know who the fastest driver is, why do we bother to go racing? Should have just given Hamilton the trophy at the beginning of the year the way most people tell it. The concept of not being deserving unless you are the best is alien to me and defies the point of sport.

    I believe Rosberg completely maxed out his potential. What else can you ask for.

    1. See where you’re coming from there – I don’t think Rosberg was the best driver (so I didn’t vote for him), but I do think, from what I could see, that he was the one guy on the grid who came the closest to his own personal ceiling over the course of the whole season.

      And I agree that he deserved the title too. It’s a mistake to think in terms of black or white, ie, if one guy deserves something, the other one does not. That’s not true at all… driving as they did, any of my top five would have deserved it – not just my #1.

      So, +1, despite disagreeing with your pick!

    2. Rosberg made a dozen mistakes. Bad starts, penalties, and slow races.

      1. Yes, and he still won the championship. Imagine that.

    3. +1 Well said

    4. @valandil

      his unwavering determination to never give up in the face of a stronger team mate

      umm, sorry to break it to you but Nico gave up and quit the sport. So much for his unwavering determination to never give up.

      1. Ohmygosh, i know! What a loser!

        You’re totally right.

      2. I guess we can add everyone who has ever retired from anything as spineless quiters then…

    5. +1, great comment about Nico!

    6. Hmm, sounds kinda heartwarming but I’m not convinced

      So, if I am a total disaster as a F1 driver but I give it everything I have, and do my absolute best (and of course everyone laps me five or six times each race) then I deserve to win? Whatever…

      1. We’re not talking about Baumgartner here, Nico is still a decent driver, just doesn’t have that last 10th on Hamilton.

        Elite sport is about mind management, anyone that can’t see that is deluding themselves, and Rosberg nailed that this year.

        Put it this way, who would I want my kids to look up to? Someone that relies on raw talent alone and whinges when he doesn’t get his own way, or a grafter that goes out and makes it happen for them?

        1. +1… For his determination..

        2. @valandil
          If you choose Rosberg as the driver your kids should look up too, i’ll wager you haven’t done any kind of competitive sports in your life, nor have you won anything worth mentioning.

          1. So you’re going to tell your kids to give up on something if they’re not very good at it, and they won’t have to work hard in life because it should all come naturally to them (Exaggerating here of course
            )? Way to foster a great attitude to life in them.

          2. i do not hope your kids look to Hamilton as role model..
            More a driving soap.. supported by social media.

    7. My thoughts exactly. Not a Rosberg fan by an measure, but he absolutely deserved the championship as much as anyone. Some drivers that win a championship don’t do it on anywhere their best season, doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a championship. It’s the beautiful, complicated, unpredictable nature of the sport we are passionate about. Raikkonen absolutely “deserved” the championship in 2003 and 2005, but won it in 2007, when Hamilton “deserved” it. Anyway, one biased fans opinion…

    8. +1

      Racing is not only about who is the fastest, but als about determination, personal strategies and investment. Hamilton clearly showed those attributes in the last races. But Rosberg showed them the entire season.

      1. Right…

        That’s why he spent a 1/4 of the season off the podium due to his own driving ‘issues’ and gathered more penalty points than anyone.

        In a car that at worst should have been second?

        No sorry – this consistent Nico is quite simply a rewriting of history. The reality is that it was his very least consistent season.

        It just looks good to write things that way because, God forbid, we should state the reality. He got lucky with his team mates issues and enjoyed a team that while not actively assisting, certainly preferred and perhaps inadvertently intervened to create a scenario for him to win it otherwise it’s all about Lewis and not Mercedes (or Toto!)

        That worked well. Not!

        Oh well, at least they still have a world champion driving for them although the way Toto was describing his ‘other driver’ on Channel 4?

        Would not like to bet on either himself being removed or Lewis going elsewhere pretty shortly after this truly magnificent cock up and, let’s call it, amazingly poor management oversight.

        1. Drg i am with you on this matter, I am having great difficulty in understanding why so many are buying into this idea that Nico was consistent. He probably made more unforced mistakes than his team mate, he certainly got more penalties and had more crashes, twice he put his car in a wrong engine mode during races. As i have said before he was not consistent only his race results were and that was largely due to there being no close competitor in any of the other cars. I believe that his peformances were no better than those of 2014 and 2015 and as for mental fortitude, whilst i dont wish to sound rude 2016 took so much out of him he decided to quit. As silly as it may sound i think Nico is a great driver and would beat or challenge most the other drivers, but the fact he won the WDC in the manner he did doesnt do much for his credibilty as a great or consistent champion.

    9. He didn’t benefit from some God-given talent he has no control over

      Once again, a not so subtle way to have a hit at Hamilton.
      He doesn’t have a God given talent. He’s a talented driver who became WDC through work and sacrifices. Just like Nico Rosberg mind you. A lot of commenters don’t want to give him credit but that’s how it was. Until his results impressed bakers to support him.

      My point being: you don’t have to belittle Hamilton to praise Rosberg.

      @valandil @tryneplague @jorge-lardone @balue @ruliemaulana @ferrox-glideh @sd @polestar31 @dk

  9. From their drives over the course of the season, averaged out I’d go with Ricciardo. I’d then put Hamilton and Alonso behind him on equal rank, with Verstappen in fourth.

    If I was choosing the drivers I wanted in my car for next year though I’d want Alonso and Verstappen.

  10. See where you’re coming from there – I don’t think Rosberg was the best driver (so I didn’t vote for him), but I do think, from what I could see, that he was the one guy on the grid who came the closest to his own personal ceiling over the course of the whole season.

    And I agree that he deserved the title too. It’s a mistake to think in terms of black or white, ie, if one guy deserves something, the other one does not. That’s not true at all… driving as they did, any of my top five would have deserved it – not just my #1.

    So, +1, despite disagreeing with your pick!

    1. Oops, should have been a reply, shall add it up where it should have been…

  11. For me no brainer, Verstappen as the driver who gave me the most memorable and impressive moments. But overall we had a pretty excellent field of drivers this year.

  12. Expected more sarcastic votes for Haryanto tbh

    1. No need to, you can also vote sarcastically for Hewis Lamilton

      1. @eaglemk1 😂😂😂😂

      2. Ba dum tsssss

  13. Voted Max, as the number of cheers and shouts of disbelief directed at my TV screen seems about a useful metric as any other! Not the most consistent, but just edges Ricciardo as this year’s most entertaining driver.

  14. ILuvSoundtracks (@)
    16th December 2016, 14:31

    I’d vote for Verstappen…

  15. Okay, fess up. Who voted Massa, Magnussen or Raikkonen?

  16. Ricciardo. He is simply the best driver at the moment.

    However, I think Verstappen is the driver with the largest potential, but he just isn’t quite the finished product. That will come with time though.

  17. I voted for the only driver to score points in every race he took part in. What more could he have done?

    (Not a serious vote but I don’t have a strong opinion on who really deserves it.)

    1. Ahah, why is Stoffel in the list?

      1. If Soffel wants to vote

  18. Nico Rosberg, of course.

    1. Technically the driver with the most penalty points for bad or dangerous driving is the worse driver of the season. I’m pretty sure that was Rosberg.

      1. It was Max who other drivers complained about with respect to dangerous moves, causing a reminder to everyone by F1 of the moving under braking rule and the unreasonable forcing of drivers to make moves of avoidance after they had committed to their corner.

        1. Drivers can complain as much as they like @robbie the fact is Rosberg got the most penalty points for bad driving.

          1. That’s true, but you also used the word dangerous which made me immediately think of Max, and just to be clear I’m excited by Max and his youthful exuberance. And I highly doubt if Keith did a poll you’d have a big following agreeing with your ‘technical’ claim about ‘dangerous’ Nico as having any teeth. And you can slough off the drivers’ complaints all you like to suit your argument, but you must admit the fact that Max is the one who far and away caused the biggest stir in F1, no matter how hard you want to stretch to run Nico down.

        2. ah, yeah.. like vettel did and got penalized.

  19. In time honored tradition, I voted for the fastest driver in the second fastest car – because we all love an underdog.

  20. I voted Max, not because he is the best (yet) but he made me enjoy this season the most. He provided lots of on- and offtrack action and lots of talks en controverse. This makes him my driver of this season!

  21. Hard to choose between Alonso, Ricciardo and Rosberg. In the end, it was Rosberg for me. He beat Lewis, a Top 3 driver, even though he lost a lot of points by getting crashed or turned in to.

    1. @dh1996 Also for if i may ask. Why was Alonso in your consideration ?, whatd did he do actually ?, just asking.

  22. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    16th December 2016, 16:25

    I actually voted for Hamilton. We have seen glimpses of a driver this year on a level beyond that of anyone on the grid. In the final four races especially, there were flashes of a driver so complete, so confident and so concentrated that it is actually pretty ominous for next season now that his most direct competitor has retired. Laps to claim pole at Silverstone, CotA and Interlagos are among some of the greatest laps I have ever seen him drive, compounded by unflustered victories the next day.

    On his day he can make beating Rosberg appear so straightforward and easy for him that you wonder by what permutation that he actually came to be beaten by Rosberg to the championship. Of course it was by no means an especially good season for Lewis; yes reliability cost him points but he equally could have got the extra five points he ultimately needed by avoiding poor starts in Melbourne, Bahrain, Monza or Suzuka. Ricciardo by comparison did not markedly haemorrhage points at any point this season.

    But consistency is such a uninspiring method of measuring racing drivers. Ricciardo was more consistent but equally suffered something of a drop off in ultimate speed versus teammate Verstappen following his Malaysian triumph. However Hamilton’s speed was an ever-present, but for a blip in Singapore, in whatever weather and whatever racetrack (Hamilton has now collected victory at an absolutely absurd twenty-four different circuits!).

    However he owes much of his speed to a phenomenally fast teammate, in qualifying especially, who together have pushed themselves above and beyond their own perceived limits of performance. The result of Mercedes housing “two cockerels in one henhouse”, to borrow the traditional Maranello vernacular, has been occasional contact on-track and internal jousting repaid ten-fold by a competitive dynamic where the prospect of almost certain victory motivated both drivers to extract more and more from his driving. By investing in the services of two top-level drivers, Mercedes have made an already great driver even greater and ensured that seldom the potential of a great car wasn’t fulfilled. I can’t help but think Bottas will dilute the equation.

    1. I share your concern about a lack of competition next year at Mercedes but I’m hopeful that Bottas (presumably) will be buoyed by the opportunity and will, as is
      so often the case, be coloured by a much better car than he has been coloured by in the past. Of course he will be starting off on his hind foot as a newbie to the team so that might immediately be cause for your concern to come true.

      Here’s also hoping that with these massive reg changes it isn’t just more Mercedes domination, only now with an LH able to cakewalk it. It will be pretty sad if little changes with the big changes. And that is so hard to imagine too. Will there be any one dominant team? Will there be 3 or 4 top teams very close? Will the drivers be able to race more closely? Who will struggle with these new cars and who will excel? Or will they all just take it in stride and adapt equally? Much remains to be seen.

      None of the drivers on the grid have driven cars that were last like this in 97. Some weren’t even born yet in 97. And no driver has ever driven a pre-98 style car with this amount of torque. I fear a long off-season of anxiously awaiting the answers to a lot of questions.

  23. Verstappen for me. He alone has provided more excitement & entertainment than all others together, with the probable exception of Vettel, whose rantings & whinings have been highly amusing.

    1. I voted for Max for similar reasons.

      The Driver of the season, for me, is the driver who provided the most entertainment. Results in races, championship, and off-track have a place in my choice as well.

      However: THE driver who made me hurry home, who made me curse festivities that made me miss a Quali or Race session, who made me get up at 04:45 in the morning during my vacation because it was his first race for a new team, and then WON, that is the one I voted for.

  24. Daniel R. can always keep this ranking and others similar to it (that stands for he being the best in 2016) and enjoy with self solace. And IF someday he really achieves something important like winning a race (not inheriting one) or, of course, if he not only wins one or several races but also a drivers championship, then he definitely will forget all this nonsense and be a real and happy winner.

    1. I want whatever you’re smoking

  25. Definitely Daniel Ricciardo. A very consistent season with very few mistakes.

  26. I couldn’t decide between Kvyat and Harianto, so I went with Gutierez.

    1. Hahaha, this made me laugh. Thumbs up :)

  27. As far as I’m concerned it was either Ricciardo or Verstappen, each for different reasons. But the pair of them I thought were not only the strongest driver pairing, but both the best qualifying performances and racecraft. Personally if the Red Bull was able to consistently fight on the pace of the Mercedes I don’t think either Merc driver would be the champion right now.

  28. Verstappen a no braindrain. Ricciardo overrated here. Besides Monaco no special races from him. Verstappen got me on the edge of my seat. He is the only driver who maken F1 exciting to watch and stil only 19 years young

  29. Waiting for all the crazy Dutch to start voting for Max like they did for FIA DOTD in America and the rest of the season.

    OAN, Keith do you know your site has pop ups galore now? Every few times a click on something it opens multiple other windows with advertising. Using Google Chrome on Android phone. Not sure anyone else is getting this? There is also an annoying ad when typing a comment that covers the screen so is difficult to see what you are typing.

    1. I get it too. Popup madness. 50/50 chance of having to close chrome and restart.