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F1 fans’ world championship – Results
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Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Dec 2011   |  10:05 am GMT  |  121 comments

How would the world championship table look if the fans voted for who they thought had performed best?

We have the answer.

After a fantastic response, with 500 fans from around the world submitting complete forms this week, here are the conclusions of the JA on F1 Fans’ World Championship of 2011.

We asked you to look past the machinery and provide us with your Top 10 drivers of 2011, based on who did the best job with the equipment they had.

Each reader listed their Top 10 and we gave them points as in a Grand Prix (25 for 1st, 18 for 2nd, 15 for 3rd etc.) adding all the results together to produce a final table.

We paid attention to your discussions throughout the week about some fans being too partisan. To try to keep this exercise as real as possible, we decided to discount only votes that were overly partisan. It’s not possible to build a reasonable argument for omitting the World Champion from the Top 10 and likewise it’s very difficult to see how Mark Webber or Lewis Hamilton could reasonably be placed higher than their team mates.

So, the following anomalies were removed from the overall results, to avoid skewing the collective opinion:

• Those that omitted Vettel, Button or Alonso from the Top 10 entirely
• Those that placed Schumacher, Perez or Rosberg as number one (this seemed too far-fetched)
• Those that placed Webber above Vettel, or Hamilton above Button

These votes totalled 29 out of 478, which is 6%. It seems then, that 6% of F1 Fans here are partisan enough to put a purely subjective spin on how the action unfolded; a very low figure, which we take to be an illustration of the high level of debate and interaction on this site.

Interestingly, almost half of these votes were made up of fans placing Lewis Hamilton above Jenson Button, which supports the idea that despite having his ‘worst ever season in F1’, Lewis is still capable of rallying some pretty die-hard support.

ANALYSIS

49% of you voted Vettel as your top driver of 2011. However, this means that even after taking 11 wins, 15 poles and the World Championship, over 50% of you still don’t think Vettel was the best driver in 2011. Perhaps you thought the Red Bull was just too quick to judge?

Meanwhile 28% voted for Alonso as Number 1 driver this year and 22% went for Jenson Button.


Button vs Alonso
Placing one of these drivers above the other has proved the most tricky decision for many F1 observers this year. And even here in the JA on F1 Fans’ World Championship there are only 5 points in it!

Jenson Button narrowly lost his runner-up spot to Fernando Alonso in the Fans’ vote but the gap is tiny (just 0.06%). This reflects how difficult everyone found it to separate the two drivers and shows that even the informed fans in F1 work in impossibly tight margins!

Much of your debate throughout the week showed an empathy for both these two drivers but interestingly, this isn’t so obvious between Alonso and Vettel.

For example, if you voted Sebastian Vettel as your top driver, you were 25% more likely to put Button second than Alonso, whereas if you put Fernando top, you were 12% more likely to have Button in second place than Vettel.

This indicates there is a hint of rivalry amongst the fans in Vettel and Alonso camps.


Kovalainen and Rosberg stand out
Perhaps the biggest surprise in the Fans’ Championship table is Heikki Kovalainen, who climbed a staggering 18 places from his real championship position, to finish 4th. Clearly, the fans are paying attention to performances right down the order, which is evident also in Daniel Ricciardo’s elevation from 26th to 14th.

For Heikki to be rated so highly says a lot about how well regarded his efforts were this year.


Nico Rosberg is often painted as an enigma within the F1 media, without a real reference point in his career so far. However, the fans clearly rate his performance this year highly, putting him in 5th place overall, one in front of Lewis Hamilton and well ahead of his teammate, Michael Schumacher in 11th.

So it looks as though the fans have a hunch that he’s the real deal.

Perhaps there’s a feeling that Michael might have lost some of his speed but to consistently beat him for pace is still an achievement.

The facts show that Nico still had the measure of Michael in qualifying in 2011, but the veteran often had the edge on race pac. However the gap in the table shows that the fans have a firm conviction.

The Fans’ Voice

Thanks to everyone who took part. Of the 478 readers’ votes, the closest match to the final standings was that of Arun Vajpey, who’s first 6 drivers matched the readers’ overall choice. Two readers matched the Top 5; Sudha S and Tristan Bayless. You three are the closest to representing the fans’ voice.

(Thanks for Data collation and Analysis to Matthew Hyatt)

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1

This exercise was a brilliant idea and, James, very well executed. It is extremely interesting to see the final standings and to note that there are only 5 points between Alonso and Button and then nealy 5000 before Kovalainen and the rest!

It was a foregone conclusion that Vettel would take the number 1 spot which is why I voted for Button as number 1 and Alonso as number 2. Both these drivers showed more driving skills and overtaking manoevres than Vettel who has, imo, so much more to learn. He was in the best car last season and is a great driver who drive it to its maximum from the front, also he didn’t loose his cool. It will be interesting to see how all these three do next season with the new cars and new rules!

James, may I take this opportunity to wish you a very good 2012 and my congratulations on an excellent web site!

Cheers!

2

Thanks and Happy New Year to you and all the readers

3

I still think Rosberg has not convincingly beat Schumacher. Quali pace yes, but there was nothing to choose between them in the races. Clearly Schumacher’s performance is on the upward curve!

4

I dont think it was necessary to tune the data in a certain, “logical” way. After all, fans gave their opinions, not measurements. Personally, I would press all 28 in a top ten(all the drivers seemed more or less competent, no complete failures!), but it is not possible. These tables always reflect emotions, on paper and with numbers, magical things can happen.

But it was nice to see admitting the removed results and some explanations. Very correct.

5

Interesting results and thank you James for your continuing outstanding work in bringing the sport closer to us, the fans.

As a suggestion for another pole perhaps the move of the year. For me it has to be Webber going around Alonso at Eau Rouge. The immediate reaction of all commatariat highlighted just how strong this move was.

While DRS has certinally added to the number of passes there is something special watching top level drivers (By this I mean any driver in top level motorsport) setting up and then completing a true pass.

Thoughts James?

6

It’s time to be honest and ask why Heikki has had such good ratings before and after driving at McLaren 2008, but never in Woking team. Besides honesty calls for a minimum of intelligence and zero “partisan element”.

7

What about those placing Di Resta above Sutil??

Surely that is as bad as placing Hamilton above Button. Didn’t both finish clearly ahead of their team mate in the same car or does it not count because Di Resta is British and Sutil isn’t?

8

Then there would have been too many votes excluded ….. 😉

9

It would be interesting to know if the results would have been any different had you included the 29 votes that you somewhat arbitrarily discounted.

It seems somewhat odd to boast about the low number of “partisan” votes while at the same time discarding them.

10

I agree with the system of discarding obviously biased votes, but I think the Hamilton/Button one was a bit unfair.

You could construct an argument that Hamilton was in fact stronger than Button this year without being biased, it wasn’t that one-sided in my opinion. I happen to agree that Button was indeed stronger, but I would still respect the option to vote otherwise.

11

Let’s be honest here. Who can ever see jenson out performing his dog like the way alonso did this year. I am not saying jenson didn’t have a great year. I am just saying button didnt out perform his cars abilities the way fernando did consistenly. It is also clear that you need a brain for the new look f1 which is why Lewis struggled more. Vettel and alonso. Best 2 drivers in f1 now cubic isn’t here.

12

Irish con,

You may well be correct but this kind of hypothesising doesn’t actually tell us anything.

We can only analyse and compare what we’ve actually seen, and not what might have happened.

So many times we read fan posts along the lines of “That Ferrari is a dog, given a better car Alonso would blow Vettel away” or “If Hamilton was in the Red Bull he would be beating Vettel” etc. etc.

These points are routed entirely in the personal prejudices and bias of fans, and should’t be introduced when trying to analyse what actually DID happen.

13

He showed it last year and he’s done it again this year: Alonso is simply amazing !!!

14

Who had the most fastest lap during the race?

Who made the most passes during the races? this shows racing ability of a driver.

Who had the crappiest starts and still drove through the field?

Who was the one man who was able to consistantly out manouver Alonso in some fantastic dueling?

Too many show ponies if you ask me,not enough tough hard as nails drivers.

15

You have to respect all the votes, originally it was not forbidden to vote for Hamilton more than Button, or for Schumacher for instance.

In this and future exercises, just keep the original rules established before vote if you are asking a vote.

Democracy is not perfect but it is the best way to respect all opinions.

16

The first three was expected. From fourth to tenth I’m not to sure myself even if I had voted, that’s why I didn’t. Tough one.

17

I think the reason Alonso is up there is the fact that he was utterly impressive in a dog of a car.

Most people on this site have realised that his performances in that car were (all put together) better than Button, whose Mclaren was a mile better. I also think that if the 2 of them were in opposite cars (JB in Ferrari and FA in Mclaren), Button wouldnt be as close to the top as FA was. THIS IS MY OPINION.

I wait to see what can happen with Alonso in a RBR matching Ferrari next year (should that happen) – he will kill the competition.

18

I still dont understand why a top 10 driver like Alguesuari was sacked. Look at the fan support he has!

19

A Ferrari driver in 16th! That’s got to make Felipe sweat just a little no??? Great to see so many fans with knowledgable insights into the skill of the drivers, not just the package the team provides.

Seasons greetings to you and all the readers James, let’s hope that 2012 is as action packed, enjoyable and safe as 2011.

I asked Santa for a closer championship battle next year, hoping he delivers!

20

I totally disagree with your judgement about the “hint of rivalry” between alonso and vettel. We should be careful when we interpret statistical data. For me those that believe that in this championship the cars were more important than the drivers, would put Alonso first as he had the worse car from the trio, then Button and then Vettel as he had the best car. Those that believe that in this championship the drivers were more important than the cars would put Vettel first then Button and then Alonso as Button had better results than Alonso.

Personally I also disagree with your belief that if a fan considered Lewis better than Jenson then his view was not objective. What if the fan considered that Lewis had problems in his personal life while Jenson had none. And what if that person considers that he should take these personal problems into account as well when rating a driver. Could not he then rate Lewis better thn Jenson? Not to mention that many other reasons could be behind these ratings. As the results of the votes mainly show how peope think it does not make sense to exclude their votes because you do not understand them.

21

Charalampos,

The point of the poll was to decide the top 10 drivers for this year, not in general terms who is the best.

Clearly Hamilton had problems both on and off the track, but trying to include personal life as a factor in performance is shaky. How do we know other drivers weren’t going through similar problems? Didn’t Alonso just get divorced? Do we have to factor personal problems for every driver, therefore?

Personally, I just cannot understand why fans of Hamilton cannot simply concede that he had a poor year by his very high standards and was beaten by a team mate. I don’t think it diminishes his talent by doing so.

One last point – did people voting for Kovaleinen actually look at results? Trulli actually finished higher in the championship and in many of the races the Lotus cars finished next to each other. It seems an oddity that for some reason Kovaleinen’s performance has been singled out in this way.

22

I don’t understand why Rosberg is held in such high regard. Sure he qualified ahead of Michael more often than not, but his race pace doesn’t seem to be a strength. James acknowledges that Michael in fact often had better pace on a Sunday.

All in all I don’t see Rosberg ever winning a championship, possibly a strong second driver at a team like Ferrari.

James, I’m wondering if you are able to shed any light on this as he seems to also be highly regarded by team bosses.

23

because he has a pretty face may be? In todays f1 may count for something. I agree with you, he hasn’t done much to deserve his status. He is totaly overated.

24

Firstly, thanks James (and helpers) for putting this together!

Secondly, I think it’s perhaps a little unusual to take the view that you’re asking the readers for their opinions then discounting the opinions that don’t agree with yours (viz: discounting any votes that put Webber ahead of Vettel & Hamilton ahead of Button)!

While Button had a fantastic year, Hamilton didn’t do badly himself – he had as many wins and one more pole position than Button (and was the only non-Red Bull driver to achieve that accolade). He out-qualified his team mate for most of the season and was generally faster than him in the practice sessions. Events on the track on race day saw him dumped down the order and ultimately beaten by his team mate on points by the end of the season. But, to be fair, that can happen to anyone. Taking nothing away from Vettel, he had some pretty bizarre incidents in 2010 (vs Webber in Turkey and Button in Spa) so it can happen to the best drivers out there.

I suspect the drivers themselves are pretty much separated in skill level by the slimmest of margins and their demeanour and a certain amount of luck on the day is the only thing that determines their result. I greatly cherish Lewis’ win in China and Button’s in Canada, as both came after it didn’t look like even finishing on the podium was a likelihood at various points in the GP. Both drivers were capable of making the moves that brought them the win and they deserve a lot of credit for that.

Discounting people who put Hamilton above Button seems a touch unfair – perhaps you can explain your point of view and reasons why you thought Hamilton doesn’t deserve to be seen in the same light as Button?

Granted, the Webber vs Vettel seems pretty clear-cut, I’m not going to argue that one 🙂

25

The question is about who they thought had performed best.

Do you have any excuse for people that put Hamilton above Button based on overall performance?

People always bring quali stat in this kind of argument, which for me would make the comparison even much worse for Hamilton! Why? Because the fact that Hamilton out-qualified Button so much but still finished behind Button thus basically the performance when it all counts (the race) was basically poor. Yes, Hamilton got 3 wins and a pole, but again, same as quali stat, it would only make Hamilton look bad in my eyes because basically the 3 wins flattered his overall score and masking his inconsistency over the whole season.

For me, putting Button above Hamilton is easy and require no thinking. It is just that obvious. But for others (like Di Resta above Sutil and Perez above Kobayashi) probably can be explained because both are rookies (yes, there would be some bias, but unless the rookie was badly beaten by the more experienced driver, putting the rookie above the more experienced driver is understand-able).

I think one of the worse result came from the fact that Alguersuari finished much higher than Buemi because that surely wasn’t reflected in either their FIA standing or their overall performance over the season. I can understand if people that would rate Alguersuari very high also put Buemi not to far from him, but most of the time I see people rate Alguersuari very high then just forget about Buemi. James Allen also guilty for this by putting Alguersuari on fifth which didn’t even mention anything about Buemi in his reasoning… the fact that Buemi got the worst luck at the last few GPs. If we remove the result where one of them DNF, then the standing would be 6-6 (10-9 for Alguersuari but with 3 DNF for Alg vs 4 for Bue) and 7-12 in quali for Buemi. So how this ever improving Alguersuari is infinitely better (at least according to this pool) compared to Buemi? I believe his article about his top 5 drivers influenced some (a lot?) of people to rate Alguersuari much higher than Buemi.

Overall, I enjoyed the result. Some oddities here and there, but basically this is the overall fans view about the performance of the drivers. And I can see a lot of Senna fans there… and of course lots of Alguersuari fans. I can agree with the result until no.8.. but 9th onwards definitely different from my fantasy ranking.

26

JA’s assignment to us was to rate how you thought 2011 would have turned out if all the drivers had been driving the same car. In the case of Vettel vs Webber and Button vs Hamilton we have the actual facts, not opinions.

27

I would have thought excluding voters who put di Resta above Sutil to be pretty clear cut. Although reading the above posts by a couple of people trying to half justify di Resta finishing higher was most amusing.

It is what it is – a fans based poll and nothing more – but also nothing less …

Highly enjoyable – thanks James. Great idea and great post.

28

Pretty ironic how the poll was about who was the better driver…then teammates who got beaten by their teammates in the same car are higher in the list.

Especially Perez above Kobayashi is hilarious…13th? More like 5th-6th looking objectively what he has done in that dog of a car, beating the 2 drivers of the faster Torro Rosso and Di Resta in an even faster car.

Di Resta above Sutil…what?

This, even though the proper ommisions by you James, was still a popularity contest, nothing to do with quality driving. Hamilton should not be even in the top 10.

29

You make a valid point about the team-mate battles, but (and I’m not a raving Hamilton fan) you’d completely discount his season, with 3 wins, including an excellent race in Germany that put anything most drivers did this season to shame? Yeah, there was a lot more bad with the good than usual, but saying he shouldn’t be in the top ten is like an open admission partisanship goes both ways…

30

I’m Vettel fan and do agree that Hamilton’s Germany win was the best and most entertaining of the year. Probably the best race he ever won, aside from China 2008. It showed his class and his talent….

31

Excellent analysis James, especially the part about the likelihood of voting Jenson or Alonso second. Could you have have the fans vote like this before you publish your list of top five next year? Your list might bias fans’ choice.

32

James, I can’t believe you culled some of the data! Fans voting Hamilton above Button are legitimate and unbiased. There are many reasons why Button managed to scraped through above Hamilton in the points, and it has nothing to do with maximizing his machine. JB only scraped ahead due to keeping his nose clean, not having any “enemies” and being less affected by team errors. Driver to driver wise, Hamilton still had the better performances (same wins, more laps lead, more poles, better qualified, finished ahead) in his worst season.. It is very unjust and incredulous to disregard the Votes of Hamilton ahead of Button.

33

Your argument only reinforces the argument for the exclusion… despite apparently having more raw talent than Button, Hamilton was unable to score higher than his teammate because he didn’t keep his nose clean.

Biding your time when you have to and being in the right place in the right time is a virtue of many a good driver. Think Prost Vs. Senna.

34

But what is a “raw talent” in Hamilton’s matter? It is the fact that he managed to outperform Alonso in a McLaren enviroment that proved to be very unpleasant to Fernando? Many people consider Lewis as the most talented driver out there. Still sometimes I wonder how would this be different if Glock didn’t pull over in 2008.

Without that – does Hamiltons record really looks as impressive to always underline his raw talent superiority to Button or everyone else? I would like to remind that he is one of the very few young drivers who started their careers in a winning car instead of crawling up the order. That blurs the view for me, because we don’t know what would happen if – for example – Button was the one to replace injured Schumacher after Silverstone 1999 instead of Salo. And I’m not a Hamilton hater at all, by the way 🙂

35

Forget if he did or didn’t pull over, it’s about the result – if Massa had taken the 2008 WDC then I guess today Hamilton would be considered the same as Button was before 2009: as a bit overrated talent, especially considering his three rather adventurous seasons.

36

Well, Glock didn’t really pull over in ’98… he was driving out of a corner in a wet track with dry tyres, ‘massaging’ the throttle & trying not to spin his tyres (too much), while Hamilton was on wets and all over him… it was a foregone conclusion.

You do make a really interesting point about how he started in the sport, though.

37

Nice to be in the Top 3:-) Wonder if Arun Vajpey is also from India.

Many people think that Indian fans dont know anything about F1.

People like me have followed F1 for many years and really hope the Indian GP grows and takes root in my country

I didnt have Paul Di Resta, the Force India driver in my Top 10. He is not that well thought of here in India and Adrian Sutil was more popular

39

Absolutely fascinating James. Brilliant idea and superbly presented. Well done. At least I have the top 4 right now and can’t really argue with Nico in 5th

40

Thoughts – indeed!!

Your first point is complete nonsense in my view. The World Championship itself is decided in the same way – i.e. points for the top 10 finishers only. Having points all the way down to last place would be administratively cumbersome and are statistically unimportant for the outcome.

The point about team mates (e.g. Sutil and Di Resta) has been made a number of times already. Certainly, the partisan nature of the voting (even after censorship) is a limitation of the game, but then, that is all this is really – a game, a bit of fun!

Almost certainly, more Brits than Germans have voted on this particular poll, and that can’t be helped. Trying to think of a non-patriotic reason for this result though – I think Di Resta’s popularity is helped by him performing ahead of what may have been expected of him all season, whereas Sutil only really pulled his finger out in the last 5-6 races. There may therefore be an element of the perceived future potential of Di Resta baked into his ranking in this fans poll, which one could argue is unfair on Sutil as this isn’t about future potential.

41

I guess fans put Lewis above Button simply because Lewis is still the faster of the two easily. I also agree with that.

42

Faster is not better.

Hamilton lacks in every other category to be considered a great.

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