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F1 fans’ world championship – Results
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.


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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I found the team managers list on Autosport the other week quite interesting. They had Webber in 6th, which is much higher than what the fans rated. Assuming that they are listening to the data analysts with their acoustic analysis and other modelling toys, it suggests that the team managers believe the best drivers do end up in the best cars.


I think it's just that the drivers at the front get more attention and their performances are easier to rate. I certainly wouldn't think Webber or Massa are among the best. In the midfield if they'd been that far behind their teammates they'd have been sacked.


I really hope team principles, bosses and management read this.


What makes you think they care about fans opinion? They have plenty of much more important things to take into account.


If you don't think they're interested in what fans think they're deluded. Of course they don't need advice on who to hire, but F1 is about more than being the best driver on track, it's also about how your performance is viewed by the outside world.


Do you really think they have less of an idea about who should be ranked where than us sitting on our collective backsides in front of the telly? They have access to a lot more info and data than any of us.

I'm not suggesting however there aren't drivers that deserve better equipment, or those less deserving of what they have.



Interesting, so the representative sample thinks that if Kovalainen rejoined McLaren for 2011 he may have out-performed Hamilton? You wouldn't have even given that a thought a few seasons ago.

I still think Kovalainen, whilst he appeared very much to do a fine job in 2011, isn't truly able to be compared with the rest of the field other than teammate Trulli. "Lotus" were in a class by themselves, behind the main pack and well ahead of the HRTs and limping Virgins.


So Kovalainen cannot be compared with the rest of the field, but every other driver can? This is simply a measure of how well each driver was considered to have done by a sample of F1 fans (and it is not known to be a representative sample because no demographic data was taken in order to weight the data accordingly). It is not a reflection of any hypothetical situation.

Like it or not, Heikki did a brilliant job for Lotus this year (as he did last year), often transcended his machinery and put in some stunning qualifying and race performances in a car that was in a no-man's land between the midfield and the stragglers. That is not his fault, is it? However, I think it is more than fair to say that he did a much better job with his car than Hamilton did with his McLaren. How many times was Kovalainen penalised or brought before the stewards? Hamilton was the most penalised driver on the grid and would very soon have been on first name terms with the stewards if they were the same people at each race. Heikki drove with a great deal of panache (dare I say 'Lotus spirit'?) and a hell of a lot of speed in 2011, whereas Hamilton did not generally impress. Therefore for the overall opinion to reflect that Heikki was better than Hamilton across the year is perfectly valid.


I think the key here is how well they did over the season given their machinery in 2011. So sort of saying: "His level of performance was 4th best among the drivers this season over the course of 19 races" or, equivalently, "if the cars had been homogeneised this season he would have finished 4th - given/based on the level of performance we have seen from him at Lotus in 2011 and, correspondingly, based on what other drivers have done with their respective teams."

This is not quite the same as saying that Heikki at McLaren in 2011 would have done a better job than Lewis. It's the balance between the hypothetical/theoretical and the empirical/reality. Put in a McLaren (or any car specifically) the analysis implies the sample believes Heikki would have done better than Lewis based on his level of performance at Lotus in 2011 compared with Lewis' at McLaren - but would he have sustained that level had he actually been at McLaren (this can be extended to any set of drivers in any machinery of course)? Some people perform better at some teams than others because the car is more to their liking, the relative pressure level is favourable, they build better intra-team relationships etc. As a simple example, Giancarlo Fisichella was always a whizz in smaller teams but didn't fare as well when pitted alongside Fernando Alonso at the title-winning Renault in 2005 & 2006.


Agreed. If he was the 4th best driver in the field he would be driving a red car next season. While he did a very good job it's hard to really judge him against Trulli who is a shadow of his former self.


That would imply ferrari were the second best team, which they werent 😉

I think Heikki is definitely worth a top line drive again.

But I'm noT entirely convinced there will be one coming up (other than Massa who I'm convinced wont last out his final season with Ferrari).


yeah agreed that Massa probably won't last the season, thats why i said he would be in a red car if he was the 4th best driver. Of the six best seats (red bull, macca and ferrari) Massa is the most likely to go first. I don't think Heikki will get the driver, but he wouldn't be the worst option.


Yes I think I's quite ridiculous to say that given equal machinery, Kovalainen would be the 4th fastest driver on the grid. He certainly never hinted at it when he had his shot with McLaren.


Well, why not? Kovalainen is not the same driver as a few years ago, he progressed in every field. He proved to be quick in quali, took several great starts without KERS, and had a very good race pace. Technically, if he's 4th in this ranking, fans estimated he would have been 4th best with equal machinery in 2011. Doesn't mean that he's the 4th most talented driver in the field obviously, but still meaningful.


He was more than decent at his Renault times, though. I would say that most of the time equally impressive as Kubica was, whom many people consider(-ed) a future world champion - and I'm a Pole to say that 🙂


No, you've just completely read that into it.


James, I was waiting for results with anticipation:-)

THANKS for doing this!

I actually think and please agree, that fans know better:-)

This is what I did not 100% agree with you - Vettel is 1, Alonso is 2nd and Button is 3rd...you put Button higher. Alonso, IMHO have done much better job considering the car was really a lemon compared to McLaren, not to mention Red Bull.


I agree that Alonso had a great season, and if I had only one driver I would have him or Vettel as my driver. But how can we really say the Ferrari was a lemon compared to the Mclaren, just because he got beaten maybe?


You can say that the Ferrari was a lemon because every time they bolted on a set of hard compound tires it dropped an extra second relative to the competition in like circumstances. It was a glaring demonstration of the cars weakness.


James: I think many placed Hamilton above Button due to the entertainment value that he provides! (Not to say that Jenson hasn't given us some great moments this year - he has).

Which leads to another poll that you should do (and, to be honest, one that I'd be more likely to vote in!!): Who was the most entertaining driver in F1 in 2011?


i think james did right in not let those vote who think damaging his car is better than just being quick.


Yep - so what you're saying is something we already knew: DRS aside, it's still pretty difficult to overtake in F1, when on a similar strategy. (Overwhelming majority of passes this season were either due to DRS or different tyre age.)

Hamilton has had a pretty dreadful season, and made some awful passing decisions...

However, as a viewer, would I take that over a season with no passes, with drivers sitting meekly behind one another waiting for a mistake (which don't happen any more because of automatic gearboxes) over one with some great passes and some ill-judged ones? Everyone knows the answer to that.

When Hamilton came into F1 I felt he was like a breath of fresh air... pulling moves out of nowhere (there are a couple of others that did the same: Alonso round the outside of Schuey at 130R).

And I waited... waited for the F1 System to beat it out of him.. the same way it does with all the other drivers.

You can either celebrate drivers who want to go racing, or you can celebrate those who are content to join the queue. There is no other choice.


I guess it shows how much pressure was put on Hamilton this year. Sometimes Vettel looked pretty average last year as Webber looked to be the number 1 driver at Red Bull. Just the same as when it happened with Alonso vs Hamilton. This year Hamilton has felt the heat. You can't blame DRS or F1 for that. They all go racing sometimes you lose its how you bounce back. Kudos Vettel and Button.


But it was best driver not entertaining. I'm sure I'd come highly in a most entertaining poll if I was a F1 driver; spinning constantly and taking out half the field at the first corner!!!


I never said Hamilton wasn't entertaining, of course he was/is. I was stating that for those who placed Hamilton highly in this poll because he entertained is wrong/weak reasoning for such a poll. Apart from his great wins (notably Nurburgring) he didn't race particularly well this year.

But yes, a different poll for the most entertaining drivers would yield very different results and be quite interesting. Certainly doubt Vettel would win that one!


I think you must have been watching a different set of races this year!


Being entertaining by means of adversity and carnage made heroes of Ukyo Katayama, De Cesaris, Taki 'mind that medical car' Inoue...


Gilles Villeneuve never won a F1 championship, and only 6 races.

Yet many fans regard him as a legend.

I wasn't suggesting changing THIS poll, merely that it might miss something that could be captured by another poll.

Different discussion.


I just don't understand how di resta and algesuari are ahead of webber I just can't see these two beating webber in the same car also di resta is ahead of Sutil when Sutil finished in front of him in the same car.


Well, Di Resta was beating Vettel in F3 (I think - it may have been another formula), so it is not inconceivable that he could beat Webber in the same car.

Plus, these days with little or no testing, ANY rookie that manages to stay close to the more experienced drivers is impressive, in my mind.


look at how di resta and algesuari performed against their team-mate then do the same with webber. surely u can see it now, he was thrashed by vettel.

it's not about them being as quick as webber, you don't think heikki is quicker that lewis do you?


An exercise such as this will always raise questions, especially when your top ten is supposed to be based upon them driving the same car. To do this, you can only really look back at the car they were driving and how they performed in it.

Assuming that Webber had exactly the same team support as Vettel, his performance looks very ordinary in comparison. I've no doubt this is why Webber was way down the table.

If you had an open test session where each driver was allowed to drive Vettels car, allow time for familiarisation and assume constant weather conditions, and rank the drivers by fastest laps. I think the order would be somewhat different for two main reasons - the drivers skill and ability and secondly, the design/performance characteristics of the Red Bull may not suit some drivers.

The only real judgement you can make is between drivers in the same team. I like Webber as a person, he's open, honest and approachable, but he didn't perform this year, particularly when you consider he was beaten by Button in an inferior car.


Agreed webber had a horrible year


i voted di resta in front of sutil coz as a rookie he keeps the gap quite small.


A shade more than half the points and something like 3-4 championship places is a small gap?


Like I've said many times about di Resta here - you can't name a DTM champion a rookie the same way Alguersuari or Ricciardo were, junior formulae and most hi-tech touring car series in the world are on different competetiveness level.


Oh and forgot to add finishing behind someone who got fired before spa... yep a real winner there


Interesting list and idea, though some clear inconsistencies considering it was based on the 'who did the best job with the equipment they had'.

Di Resta well above Sutil despite being comfortably beaten in the championship in the same car? Hmmmm.

Perez above Kobayashi despite having less than 1/2 the points in the same car? Hmmmm.

Alguersari 13 places above Buemi on the list despite finshing 1 position higher in the championship? Hmmmm.

Looks like there might be some more partisan support there. Not sure what it really means if the voters can't even get these inter-team battles that close. Let's call it a fan championship heavily influenced by nationality and popularity.


Yeah it seems that a lot of people in the case of DiResta and Perez have taken into account the fact that they're first year rookie drivers and were never expected to beat their more experienced team mates which in my opinion should not be a factor in determining the best drivers. If you can't beat your team mate in the same car over the course of a season then you quite simply haven't been the better driver that year unless there's been some extraordinary circumstances such as mechanical failures outside the drivers control which has determined that he came second in that team.


Exactly what I was thinking.


Well I got 8 of the top 10. If I'd voted Vettel ahead of Alonso then Button and Alonso would have been dead equal on points. I wish I had given 10th place to Karun Chandhok now though...


This is more a fans rankings of 2011 than how well the drivers used the equipment available to them. The team mate comparisons for Mercedes and Force India show this to be the case.


That's a great analysis, and it's been a really fun way to get the fans interacting. Thanks again for the site and all the work that goes into it, all the best as well for 2012!


The final list actually looks to be a pretty good ranking overall, with probably the top 3 being interchangable.


I am amazed that after the known differences in most fans' choices, I can hardly disagree with the overall result!

I think Senna didn't do enough other than have "that" surname to be so far ahead of Petrov, and Glock's position, though logical is a shame as I class him as an equal of Kovalinen in his attitude with fans/media, his general demeanour, small team leading skills and ability to get above his station at the start.

I voted for Kovy strongly too, and I wonder if he is benefitting from the great relationship him and his team have with fans?

But overall it's entirely logical from this fan's point of view. And while I personally put Button ahead of Alonso, it was a close run thing and I am quite happy to see Alonso in P2.

Excellent excersize, James. 🙂


Ha, what would come of the world if we all did agree on everything.

I guess democracy rules for it's the only way to maintain the peace, if not that, it's back to the jungle.

On the other hand, I can understand the Hammy die hard fans point of view because (excluding the team blunders and Lewis doing only one Q3 run) more times than not, Lewis beat Jenson in qualifying and during the race, Jenson usually beat Hammy when Lewis had issues here and there therefore he rarely beat him on outright pace like Vettel did Webber.

Also lets not forget despite Jenson having his best season & Lewis having his worst, they both finished with the same number of race wins.

And it's for this reason, the real analytical F1 fans placed Alonso's drive ahead of Jens.

As for the Wunderkid, I suppose the majority of fans rated him as the best because he rarely made mistakes irrespective of his machinery but for people like me, it becomes impossible to rate a driver (especially one with questionable racecraft) highly because he had it way too easy at the front (with the exception of Monaco, Barcelona of course).

But anyway, I have already forgotten the 2011 season for all my thoughts & dreams are on the all time classic the waits us in 2012, more so because that will be the year that we will see the real Lewis Hamilton i.e. the Hammy that doesn't smile too much & never lets his teammate finish ahead of him ---> Papa Hamilton said so.


All real F1 fans should root for a Hammy WDC win in 2012 so we can have the best three drivers on the grid having 2 titles in the bag thereby setting up an all-out nuclear war in 2013.


why not button instead of Hamilton 🙂


I'm guessing that your vote would have been one of the ones discarded. There is a difference between supporting your man and being totally one eyed about it. As an Aussie, I support Webber and (being from Perth, Daniel now as well), although I didn't like it, he was out driven by Vettel this year. As Cliff mentioned, Vettel got on top of the rule changes very quickly whereas Webber struggled.


Button beat Hammy fair and square, this 'best season-worst season' is a red herring argument used only the the hardest of the die-hard Hammy fans to ease the pain.

They are usually also the same people who claim Hammy 'trashed' Alonso in 2007 int he same car, lol.

It does not hold any water. You are as good as your last race and this year Button was the better driver, Hammy was driving around like Chandok on a good day..


Most McLaren fans accept that LH had issues during 2011, but we also accept that many were self-inflicted. On the otherhand, JB's DNF were due to mechanical problems. The team made mistakes, but LH tended to make the problem worse. As for SV, he simply delivered the goods by maximising the car and getting to grips with the new tyres. The result was correct, even though I had JB above FA!


"All real F1 fans should root for a Hammy WDC win in 2012 so we can have the best three drivers on the grid having 2 titles in the bag thereby setting up an all-out nuclear war in 2013."

All real F1 fans want an entertaining season, regardless of who wins.


I'll gladly vouch for hammy's 2nd wdc when he gets his act together and shows some maturity (a little more vettel, a bit less lewis) alongside the monster talent he no doubt posseses.


Wow, that's biased!


No, its called a different point of view.

I'm not sure if the results are valid if one person can simply pick and choose what he agrees with. Perhaps we should just have had the JA opinon of drivers performances?

Lewis equalled Jenson's race wins, and were it not for him going s little 'awry' in Canada,he probably could have had 4 wins.

I would admit that this form of F! does favour the plodder, tortoise.


So you say that being reckless is the only true way to earn a racing driver status?


Oh yes it is. He could have just put "Hamilton #1" and it would be about the same.


Brilliant survey James and a great way for closing 2011!

Thanks for all the hard work, keeping us up to date with the F1 wonderworld.

Riccardo Consulini

Excelent article James.

It's certainly a tough job to judge who deserves the second spot. Button and Alonso were both outstanding. Lewis surely is a good driver, but a combination of factors contributed to his sub-par performance this year, jealousy, pressure and over-confidence being some of them. Therefore, I agree with you.


wow very interesting stuff. I think the gaps between the two STR drivers and between the Mercedes drivers is a bit unfair but it seems a pretty good reflection apart from that.


on the basis of who made the greatest improvement this season it seems that the fans really rated heikki's come back after he had been destroyed by hamilton as a team mate ..even as a rookie hamilton learned fast enough to rattle a double world champion's cage and only button has shown enough maturity to cope with him

so in my book heikki deserves his rating for coming back from that ...he also deserves a more competitive car ....let's hope he gets it this coming season to start with


Intereting somewhat, but 2 problems stick out.

1) You asked for the top 10 and you've extrapolated that through the whole grid. Everyone could have put Chandhok in 11th, just out of the top 10, but because no one put him in the top 10 he is last. This is a flaw, and for sure you could argue that if he was to be 11th then some should put him in, but take Barichello, someone ranked maybe around 20th.

The stats put him 23rd, which is based on a few people thinking he should be in the top 10.

If the whole grid was to be ordered as part of a fan championship point scoring comp then we would have to list out everyone for otherwise the odd cases (those who put buemi in the top 10 for example) stand out above the majority who would put him at say 16th.

2) The people. I addressed this in my post under that post of yours, however this shows very clear errors. For sure we don't know the variables of the cars in performance terms to compare properly so it's hard to compare Hamilton with Massa. HOWEVER, some drivers are in the same car and thus can be compared rather easily. For sure the odd performance would stand out, along with fuel loads etc and the odd race where half the grid didn't finsh (how Lotus, Virgin and HRT rank themselves in other words), but there are several errors where fan psychie has overloaded the facts and here we see the problems. Several examples:

Di Reseta 7th 1942 points
Sutil 8th 1777 points
They were in the same car and can be compared.

There are 165 points betwen them, or to put in another way, if Di Resta was 164 points lower he would still be ahead, if Sutil was 164 points lower then he would be in 11th!

In other words, the Di Resta is so much better than Sutil than if the ability below Sutil of that would putt him out of the top 10, while Di Resta was in 7th!

So obviosly according to this would expect Di Resta to have destroyed Sutil, or at the very least beaten strongly despite bad luck.
Sutil 9th (42 points), Di Resta 13th (27 points)

That is ridiculous. And even at the end Sutil was stilling beasting Di Resta so you can't argue that this is Di Resta improving throughout the season into a Sutil beating machine.

Sutil beat Di Resta strongly and this shows the exact opposite.

E.G. 2) Rosberg 5h has nearly twice the points of Schumacher in 11th. They ended up being much closer.

3) Perez beating Kobayashi while apart from the odd drive by Perez (e.g. Australia) Kobayashi has the been the strong performer. (30 points to 14)

4) OR my favourite:
Buemi 22nd: 28 points
Alguersuari: 9th: 1762 points

Buemi is almost at the back of the grid, Alguersuari is in the top 10! Someone sack Marko! Jamie is 62.9 (approx) times the driver his teammate was! If each person line up has been counted as a Grand Prix would then there were 500 of them and Alg would have finished 7th approx (3.524 points) per Grand Prix. Buemi would have finished outside almost the entire time with 0.054 points per GP.

I'm not a fan of Marko given his love of Vettel, hatred of Webber and personality, however I do think he was closer to the ball park that the fans would suggest.



The drivers' championship points are scored based on points from top ten finishes.


Great post. But I think the differences were due to there being a point system and not a rank based system, as you touched on.

With regards to the STR drivers, most people would put Jaime in their top 10 whereas they wouldn't for Buemi. With the snowball effect that comes from a poll the results are exaggerated.

I think it's fair to say that the results outside of the top 11 can essentially be discounted...

I also think Heikki's rank is due to James ranking him in his top 5. I think the result would have been quite different if the "Championship" was conducted before Allen's personal top 5 post.


Thanks. I appreciate your comments.

I agree with Kovalainen being due to JA's ranking partially. Also I would say due to him being the best of the new teams. If he were in a Virgin I'm not sure he would come out as well.

Alguersuari also gets mentioned because of this. Di Resta is mentioned quite a bit given his positions in the BBC commentary which many in English speaking countries follow and so I was expecting that (see his post announcing this championship).

I think if this shows anything at all, it's that most people are happy to read certain trusted bloggers, commentators, pundits, etc... as gospel and hold those views strongly.

People are attached to these views and this is what stays with them.


Agree it can't be viewed as a real "championship" ranking of all drivers. Its a tough task anyway and its good that they removed obviously biased votes. I sadly don't think it reflects insightful fans, I think Heikki simply made it in because the fans here read James top 5 and rated it highly, which is fair. How Button can be ranked above Alonso by anyone is beyond me, as we saw multiple times this year Alonso in a high position and then he loses spots simply because of how dreadful the Ferrari was on hard tires. We even saw this at the last race. Even if you ignored the obvious and then said Button and Alonso were fairly equal this year, Button's qualifying pace is abysmal. This should easily have him below Alonso in equal cars. It seems obvious to me... But I guess some might call it crazy. I'd love to see a poll of F1 personnel or drivers on a top 5... I'd bet anything that Alonso would be ranked above Button.


Lies, Damn Lies and Stastics!

Your points are very interesting. But I think what James is saying is that it is interesting how difficult the judgements can be, and also how partisan.

There are, of course anomalies. Di Resta shouldn't be so much higher than Sutil, but I think that he did have the better of him in the early part of the season. You don't often see that with rookies. Frankly, unless Schumacher destroys Rosberg and wins multiple races, he will always be deemed to be operating at a lower level. I can't decide whether Nico is great or Schumacher has lost it and I suspect it is, in truth, neither.

I think that you can ignore the points as absolute totals and band them together into orders of magnitude. Take positions 1-3, 4-11, 12-16 etc. and judge them in relation to each other and as separate echelons. I think there are less inconsistencies that way.

What is more interesting is that only 1 person matched to top six and two others matched the top five. It just goes to show how divided opinion really is.



I agree that the points do not present the picture well, but I also think that the whole process is flawed for these two reasons (namely, only counting the top 10 to determine those outside of it, and 2) fans' bias).


regarding alguersuari and kovalainen, i am sure james's top five put them on the radar of many fans that otherwise would have not noticed them so much. Even if i consider jaime's position fair, not so sure about kovalainen's.

Di resta in front of sutil doesn't make sense. I agree he might have a brighter future, but is not what we are judging here. The same goes for kobayashi and perez.


Di Resta has the same hardcore fanbase growing as Hamilton has, I guess that for the majority of non-British F1 fans he is overrated up to this point and has yet everything to show and prove. And I bet that Hulkenberg will give him a hard time in 2012.

As for Kovalainen I think that many fans remember his Renault performances and have in back of their minds that his McLaren slumber was partially caused by consequent second driver status (worse strategies, less develompent parts). Back in 2007 when he was joining McLaren he was considered one of the hottest talents in Formula 1.

Alguersuari on the other hand is the one who progressed the most comparing to 2010. His superiority over Buemi comes from that the latter has merely progressed since 2009 and hasn't really shown anything new.

Last but not least - after an extremely strong debut season Kobayashi hasn't really turned from entertainer into a deliverer and that's where Perez appears on stage. Considering all the circumstances he was a rookie of the year for me, even though I'm not rating him particullary higher than Kamui, it's a matter of proportion.


great topic- for me it was the top all about the top 5 really, Can't really argue about the result, although Kovalainen was a surprise to me how many people voted for him.

Vettel, peerless in this years RBR

I think Alonso had some fantastic races after what looked liked poor qualifying which made him the fans number 2 choice- (sic) he can outperfrom the car

Button, well he is marmite man, but a great season

Kovalainen, a surprise

Rosberg- would love to see him in a competitive car next year, but what a great qualifier.


Excellent exercise, well done - now have a day off,

Read you in 2012 ....

Happy 2012


Great peace of work, thanks James.

Just 5 points between Button and Alonso! Many can say this but my vote really did make a difference in that I debated a long time who to put 2nd and 3rd. If I'd plumper for Button as 2nd instead with Alonso 3rd that would have been a 6 point swing!

In the end I choose Alonso ahead of Button due to the fact that if they'd been in the opposite cars it's unlikely Button would have done as well as he did in that Ferrari. But Jenson had a very strong, almost error free season you have to say.


(re post above) I meant Button doing as well as Alonso did in the Ferrari not Button doing as well in a Ferrari as he did in the McLaren of course!


Thanks James! In a few months... can we do a prediction for the 2012 campaign after the testdrives ? Would be great to see the opinion of the fans in that perspective too.


Prior to that could you do a prediction of the grid for 2012... just the first GP?

I really want to know who you think will be in the 2nd Williams and HRT seats as well as if Trulli is trully keeping his Caterham seat or not?

From an insider what do you think is going to happen?

btw Sorry for being a bit harsh in my judgement in my post (above) about the championship, it's the whole fanboy choosing thing (which you partially mentioeed with the 6%) which (pun intended) drives me partially mad!


Having Hamilton in the top ten this year is a joke.

While he has been a top two or three driver in past years. This year he was terrible. I expect him to mature and improve in 2012 but a top ten driver in 2011? No way.


In F1 the only thing that matters is results. Hamilton, despite having a bad season by his standards, won the same number of races as Button and 2 more than Alonso. The fact that a certain driver communicates well with the media or "pushed hard for the whole race" or has the prettiest girlfriend is all superfluous. It's results that matter and you can't argue with that!


I see, it's a joke to win three races and be the only guy other than a Red Bull driver to get a pole position this year? Ha ha ha!


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


Faster is not better.

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


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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 🙂


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.


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.


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.


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.


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...


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....


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 🙂


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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!


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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


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".


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?


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.


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!


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!



Thanks and Happy New Year to you and all the readers

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