Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has been collecting accolades left right and centre in 2020 – and he’ll need to clear room in his trophy cabinet for one more, as F1’s team principals have voted him their number one driver of the year.
We asked all ten team principals to submit their list of the top 10 drivers of the year, under the proviso their individual ranking would remain anonymous. Drivers were given scores based on the current F1 points system – 25 for the top driver down to one for 10th in each list – and then those scores were combined to create a ranking. For the second successive year, Verstappen – winner of the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi - finished runner up to Hamilton, despite having failed to beat Valtteri Bottas to that position in the drivers’ championship. Charles Leclerc completed the podium, as he did in 2019, only this result is more impressive given he did not take a single victory or pole position, but instead earned praise for outperforming a very disappointing Ferrari.
HOW THEY SCORED
POSITION DRIVER SCORE
1 Lewis Hamilton 171
2 Max Verstappen 156
3 Charles Leclerc 132
4 Daniel Ricciardo 95
5 Sergio Perez 82
6 George Russell 75
7 Lando Norris 45
8 Carlos Sainz 37
9 Valtteri Bottas 27
9 Pierre Gasly 27
Daniel Ricciardo came in at fourth, one place higher than his position in the drivers’ standings, the Australian giving Renault two podiums before he heads for McLaren next year. Sergio Perez, currently without a drive for next year, was fifth, having claimed the first victory of his career after nearly 200 Grand Prix starts.
George Russell may have failed to score any points for Williams, but his form in the back-of-the-grid car, coupled with his stunning stand-in performance for Mercedes when Hamilton tested positive for Covid-19, has earned him a top-six spot in the eyes of team bosses.
McLaren duo Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz are next up, the team mates pushing each other hard all season, which in turn was a key factor in the team taking third in the constructors’ championship – their best finish since 2012.
Bottas pushed Hamilton hard early in the season, before his championship threat evaporated. The Finn scrapes into the top 10 in ninth, level on points with Pierre Gasly who had his best season yet and scored his maiden victory.
The Team Principals who took part in the vote (in alphabetical order) were: Cyril Abiteboul, Christian Horner, Simon Roberts, Andreas Seidl, Guenther Steiner, Otmar Szafnauer, Franz Tost, Fred Vasseur, Toto Wolff.