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Drivers of the year: How JA on F1 readers have voted
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Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Dec 2012   |  12:57 am GMT  |  279 comments

We’ve had a huge response to the top five drivers of the year vote on JA on F1 over recent days, with just under 800 replies left on the site as of Monday night.

Although the composition of the respective reader top fives have been naturally reasonably varied given there are 24 drivers to select from, the #1 ranked position has almost exclusively been contested between the three men who claimed 12 of the 20 wins between them in 2012 – world champion Sebastian Vettel, runner-up Fernando Alonso and four-time 2012 race winner Lewis Hamilton.

Indeed, a massive 96% of respondents placed one of the trio at the top of their personal lists with Fernando Alonso’s relentless performances throughout the year earning him a landslide victory – over two thirds of readers voting the Spaniard as their driver of the season.

Newly-crowned triple world champion Sebastian Vettel was selected as the best driver of 2012 in just 16% of lists in comparison, marginally more than McLaren’s Hamilton. The driver who finished third in the championship standings, Kimi Raikkonen, takes fourth in our vote on 2%.

Most selected driver in first place:
1.    Fernando Alonso – 69%
2.    Sebastian Vettel – 16%
3.    Lewis Hamilton –  11%
4.    Kimi Raikkonen – 2%

James Allen’s own personal top five is still to be revealed, of course, and three readers, selected at random, whose selections match his will win signed copies of the 2012 JA on F1 yearbook – The Year of Living Dangerously.

The 256-page book, published last Friday, can be ordered from our online shop, and as it’s a limited edition book which has been on pre-sale for a couple of weeks, we’d urge you to get your copy soon to avoid any disappointment!

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Dear James,

I am waiting to watch your ratings. I trust it will be free of the bias (as may be) that is borne to reflect in the reader's rating. Guess you will jusify your choices too. I am hoping for a surprise or 2. Fingers crossed.



P.S James, what was the result overall? i.e. who did the readers place in positions 2,3,4 and 5 overall? Would love to see the full readers' list compared to yours.


James, so agree with everyone else. Why do we bother having a WDC driver table, we all know it doesn't reflect the best driver of the year!


Actually, yes it does.

It's a points contest.

Not a popularity contest.

Vettel got the best total result of 2012. Hence, he's best.


Actually, no it doesn't. Piquet won it in 87 with Prost and Senna on the grid, Damon Hill won it in 96 and Jacques Villeneuve in 97, were either of them better than Schumacher at his peak? No, but they had far superior machinery. Seb desrves his championships, but you can't ignore the contribution Red Bull have made in delivering him consistently the fastest car on the grid. Obviously Vettel has made the best use of the cars and there is a reason that Red Bull aren't looking for anyone to replace him, but that doesn't make him the best driver, just one of the best. Alonso gets the vote fron almost everyone because his performances have been amazingly consistent. Vettel made mistakes and was beaten a few times fair and square in the early part of the season by his team mate, Fernando made (maybe) one error in Suzuka and dominated Massa in nearly every race.


If it didnt then Webber would have been second on the WDC table and Massa would be fourth. It just shows the skills of both Vettel and Alonso how they beat their team mates. And both have been doing it for past 3 years and that too convincingly, and both of them by no means are slow drivers especially Webber who is a fierce competitor. And just a reminder Webber in his days with Williams was thought to be one of the best driver in qualifying, if Vettel beats him then there must be something. Just some food for thought. Cheers


I agree up to a point - although remember that the cars at both Ferrari and Red Bull are designed around both Alonso and Vettel. Massa was back in form, and easily had Alonso's measure in the last few races, but due to team orders / strategy let Alonso through. Equally, Webber had Vetell's measure early in the season while the RB8 was proving a tough drive, from around mid-season it had been revised to a point where Vettel was comfortable with it (which doesn't particularly suit Webber's driving style). RedBull have openly admitted that their car is built around Vettel and Webber just has to drive the car the way Seb likes it. The same goes for Massa at Ferrari.


It seems to me fans ranking is quite accurated. Perhaps, Lewis should be second instead of third. The top spot is obvious.


No, it is "obvious" Lewis is again the best driver in Formula 1, Vettel showed he really can race as well as be consistently fast in Quali and Race.

Alonso again lost it at the last moment, was only there with help from a non competitive team mate, got lucky numerous times, again showed what an unpleasant bitter person he is. If you want a real laugh, read the Spanish F1 forums, Google Chrome does an excellent inline translate. Then reread the comments trying to say that opinion on this site is tainted by Nationalism....

Kimi was fantastic, quietly, others shone at times, but nobody close to the top 3, Lewis, Seb, Kimi.


It seems that team bosses, whom have more information than us, have chosen Fernando as the best driver in 2012.


No Hamilton shouldn't be number 2, Kimi should be number 2 after Vettel. Lewis in the fastest car on average over the season could only finish 4th and basically on par with Button but still Alonso and Vettel are the best im F1 now.


yeah thats why all the Lewis fans overwhelmingly voted Alonso as their number one driver!!! Lewis desrves his place in the top 5, the lost wins that put him down to 4th were not of his making. A bit late but my top 5 are Alonso, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Vettel, Hulkenberg


I actually called Hamilton #1. I think it was a decent bet as James put him on the cover of his book this year. I think James feels Lewis' impact this year was significant. Also the view seems to linger that Lewis was the man to beat, if not for his team and reliability.

It is always the case that sometimes we choose to look at individual effort and sometimes team effort. As a package "Lewis Package" wasn't a package worth a podium position as his team was his weakness perhaps. Yet that could be spun into - that's why as an individual driver he deserves the high ranking.

Then again in the past commentators used to say that the driver's style sometimes contributed to their reliabilty issues - as in one was harder on the perticular equipment than another. Could Lewis' demands and style have contributed to the reliability issues? I'm thinking of the delicate McLaren during Kimi's years, seems like his team mates at the time for example didn't suffer nearly the failure rate Kimi suffered. Was it the McLaren or was it Kimi's harsh treatment of it? 2012 was it the McLaren or was it Lewis' harsh treatment of it?

On another note, did you hear about the noise how the Concorde agreements with teams may violate European Commission laws?


Yes and had McLaren not made so many operational mistakes, and had reliability issues Lewis Hamilton would have won the championship. Alonso did well inspite of his car whereas Vettel did well because of it. An undenignable fact!



This page is clearly a centre for British fans, and has an inherent bias. Hence the high rating for Lewis, who finished 4th again in one of the fastest cars on the grid again.

I expect that there is a site somewhere with Australian readers which ranks Webber as the best, one in Germany stating Vettel and Schey were 1 -2 and no doubt Finland has a fansite where Kimi reigns supreme.


So from this we can say Alonso is people's WDC this year.


Is anyone else extremely bored with the Alonso Media Corporation?


Since when did F1 turned into a communist sport where you can only support one team one driver?

I support one driver, in fact several, and if this offends you, feel free to focus on your own favourite driver and let other people support theirs.


Mr Cassady

Though you claim not to be offended I consider your offensive response unsuited to the standard of this site and totally boring to read.

Mr Allen

Has something gone wrong with the moderation on your site...?



Kay, you are rabid and/or off your rocker.

No, I am not offended.

And I believe in the freedom to support ones' favourite driver(s).

Your out-of-whack comment merely illustrates my point, rather than providing any substance to the discussion.

To make it, very simple:

1. Machinery has ALWAYS been part of this 'sport' of F1.

2. The only meaningful objective statistic for comparing driver performance, is who wins the championship.

3. All other fan 'preferences' of drivers is necessarily purely subjective; which is fine; I happen to like Kimi.

4. The incessant suggestions that Alonso is the best driver (in 2012), suggests organization, and revision to history.

5. Sebastian Vettel driving for the Red Bull team won the 2012 drivers championship, therefore, the best driver-team package for 2012 is Sebastian Vettel in a Red Bull.

6. For everybody else on the grid, 'try again later'.

I for one, and it would seem I'm not alone, wile totally acknowledging how good Alonso is, he did NOT win the championship in 2012, therefore he was not the best in 2012, and any suggestion that he was he best driver in 2012 is purely subjective and a matter of personal preference, and is becoming very BORING to read.


So we have three "people's WDC's" now, (Massa 2008, Alonso 2010&2012) Woohoo!!

Sorry, i prefer the real thing.


The real thing also showed Alonso won the votes by a landslide over Vettel, as shown by JA in this article.


Enzo, my comment did not come to attack Vettel, just saying, everyone expected Alonso to win after the huge efforts he put in, only to have lost it at the end. Due to his performance, he was on top of various charts that he'd win it, hence I said people's champion.



I'm a Ferrari/Alonso fan, but i think this whole "people's" or "true" champions discussion makes us look silly.

Vettel won it, get over it, let's get 'm next year.


I guess then we also have the FIA's WDC, Bernie's WDC, maybe the 'true' WDC too?

Would the real WDC please stand up? Oh that's right, he did, when he got his trophy for winning the most points over the course of the season 😛


No, you can see he's 'the people who read JA on F1's champion.

Either way, I'm sure it's the title Fernando would have really wanted this year - it means so much. Really.


Rodger, check this article on Autosport.

Just like I said on my previous post, the team principals voted Alonso as best driver of 2012 by the biggest margin in 5 years since autosport started this poll.

How about that?


I think the second half of the list is quite interesting. Such as the 14 drivers behind Massa. Paul di Resta's "I beat Vettel in F3" history is probably officially redundant with the F1 community.

I'd like to see the scores for the entire field. How did the Torro Rosso drivers come out? Does Bruno Senna have any support? Maldonado vs Grosjean.

Thanks for pointing it out.




Nice one MISTER! (although, to be fair, it wasn't much of a stretch)

I did post a reply to your comment before the vote was published but it wasn't uploaded for some reason...

Anyhoo, what I basically said was my top 3 was: Alonso, Vettel, Raikonnen (just shading Hamilton) which I'm glad to see the team owner's agree with (although they had Hamilton shading Raikonnen).

But it's all based on opinion, and who we THINK did the better job based on various factors. However, it's impossible to KNOW who actually did the best job. And just because a majority THINK someone is the best, doesn't make it so.

My point, thus, was that Vettel won the poll that really mattered, the only poll that deals in tangibles, and that is winning on points.


I am pretty sure even the team principals will vote Alonso as best driver of 2012..

Why don't you post here a poll from any website which will not place Alonso in first place and I can point to you a biased poll.

People say there are mostly readers from UK on this site, but can I remind you that Alonso and Ferrari and not very loved in UK, therefore I expect even higher percentage in people rating Alonso on websites in Italy and Spain.

The only websites his percentage will be lower will be Germany, but even there I expect Alonso to win the poll.


I'm inclined to agree... Doesn't human-nature pretty much determine all opinion is subjective/biased by definition - very few of us are ever able to be really objective (James Allen and one or two others only), especially in polls such as this. The Team Boss's poll is much more effective I think.

There is a huge bias of support for Ferrari in Italy (listen to the boos at Monza when a competitor drops out), and similarly for Alonso in Spain (witness the outburst after Brazil). I'm not saying this is 'wrong' - just 'natural'...


Any opinion poll is biased, because it's based on our idea of who we think did the best job while we try to factor in other things such as luck, car ability, team driver preference, etc.

I enjoy reading this site because there is a genuine broad mix of readers, who seem intelligent (mostly) in their opinions (although there is a slight bias towards Hamilton, but that's OK).

I think the reason for such a wide and diverse readership is because James is well-respected, always informative and pretty much impartial from what I can see.

My personal top 3 was: Alonso, Vettel, Raikonen (who shaded Hamilton for me).

However, Vettel won the championship, and that's all that really matters. If opinion and not points dictated a WDC we'd never get anywhere.

That was my point.


Your first point is not necessarily true. Opinion, yes, but always objective. Why should an opinion always be biased?

Biased implies some pre-determined prejudice one way or another and that's not the same thing as opinion based on facts, insights and observations


Alonso gets much more respect here nowadays than you might think. Ferrari are not overly popular (they are by no means dislikled, however) but then they are one of the few teams on the grid not based here...


It's only 40% UK readers on this site


Very surprised Kimi only came 4th. I'd have thought after his time away & the Lotus resources he would have come 3rd & reflected his final placing in the champ.


Kimi likely scored highly but not many would think to rate him number 1 over the likes of Alonso, for example, would they?


Yes, I did. All things considered I thought his was the outstanding season



I totally agree, Kimi extracted the maximum, and besides trying to take a scenic route out of an off-track episode in Brazil, made no errors that I am aware of, in a car that never had single lap dominance, and in only one race had the best race pace.

In terms of extracting the most from the machinery, he did as well as anybody,...

but the best job was done by Vettel, and he won the championship this year.

Vettel made mistakes, but he also did extraordinary things, that quite frankly, and this is TOTALLY OVERLOOKED BY THE ALONSO MEDIA CORPORATION, Vettel did things in races this year that no one else on the grid has ever done!

I'm not saying he's perfect, what human is? It is the flaws are what make us interesting, and spectacular.


Me too. Being away for 2 years, Kimi hss an amazing season!

Alonso has done well but he has been racing competitively for 3 years in a row with a top team.


What's happening here Rich is that people are compensating for Lewis Hamilton's awful support from his team and his terrible luck - without his Team's best efforts to ruin their year there is a very strong argument that he would have challenged and perhaps even won the wdc by about 20 points. I think it's right to compensate are we are voting on the 'driver' performance and not the team performance.


Is it over-compensating though? Lotus, after all, was no where near as fast as McLaren, so if McLaren had been more reliable and Lewis had placed ahead of Kimi in WDC because of that, would that have represented the driver performances of these two drivers better? I think there is a strong case to be made for Kimi faring better than Lewis, even accounting for McLaren's poor reliability.


It certainly could be over-compensating. There are definitely strong arguments for Kimi, but then there are definitely strong arguments that Hamilton DROVE a better season than Vettel as well, but no poll will ever reflect that.


Agreed. I think ppl focus too much on championship position.

Kimi obviously got more out of the car (in comparison to his respective teammate) than Lewis did.

I think that's why ppl rate Alonso so highly: if he had a teammate that was capable of winning a race or two, he (and the Ferrari) wouldn't look so awful. A deserving champion? How's about an undeserving teammate.

If Alonso was paired with Button, Webber, or any other half decent #2, would he look so 'deserving'?


So is it fair to say that the general perception is that Fernando did a better job overcoming his team's shortcomings than Lewis did? Which is why Fernando "deserved" the title so much more? (supposedly... --On that, I've never read so much poor loser fanboy drivel than the discussions of 'deserving' champions.)

I think Fernando did a great job this year,maybe the best job; but ppl are making too much of it. Slow cars don't win championships (FA). Neither do fragile cars (LH).

It's always the best driver, in the best car, with the best team behind them. I find it hard to argue that that formula hasn't proven true in ever single F1 championship since the 80s (except maybe for 2007).


A bit hard to overcome the car failures, and quite hard to make up relative time within the race. If the Ferrari had one good characteristic it was the starting performance, and it was here that Alonso made up most of his places. The McLaren car by comparison was perhaps only average off the grid.


Very reasonable KGBVD.


Lewis also did not have a wingman.


I think you are a bit confused. The question is 'who was the best driver this year?'. As many people have mentioned already Fernando and Lewis did less mistakes than Seb.


Depends how you define best...I think you mean best combination.

Let's see,

1982 wasn't exactly won by the best car or driver that season.

1986 was won by Prost against the quite brilliant FW11

1987, Piquet triumphed over Mansell again

1995, Schumacher over came the superior William

2005 Alonso beat the faster Mclarens

F1 is a package, the driver being just part of the overall structure


I actually rated Kimi and Lewis togeather, Lewis was brilliant this year, as was Kimi. Infact, they were probably equal to Vettel. Alonso was way out front though.


Hi James,

From the people you've spoken to in the paddock, what are the views on the drivers' performances from within the sport? Would be interesting to know how the people with the data felt.



Heinzman (Fan of: ALO)

Martin Brundle quoted Alonso as his star of the season


Martin Brundle. What about Emmanuelle Pirro, Christian Fittipaldi or Stefano Modena? Or how about the legendary Jos Verstappen's opinion?

Heinzman (Fan of: ALO)

I'm not sure.

I was just stating a fact, keep your antagonism to yourself.


I think they all agree this was Hamilton's year, by far the best driver in the paddock! That's why everyone was so keen to grab him when his contract expired at McLaren.


Yeh thats right.

Ferrari, RBR turned his approaches down, he ended up with only Mercedes interested...


This just goes to show how the media manipulates opinion. The importance of Saturday pace and sheer speed has been incredibly over-exaggerated.

In retrospective, the Red Bull was only the faster car on 6 out of 20 races, while the Ferrari was in only 3, but in terms of consistency and reliability, there was no contest, Ferrari was the better car, period. McLaren looked like the faster car more often, but they frequently struggled to translate their Saturday speed into races. In fact, when Fernando overtook the McLarens in the race, they almost never had a car competitive enough in race pace to bounce back.

Similarly, Ferrari have been the better team when it came to consistency, strategy, etc. They literally made 1 minor pitstop mistake in 20 races (Brazil), almost always getting everything right in terms of strategic decisions...

So if we put things into perspective, Fernando has had the most reliable car by far, a car that was consistently, Sunday after Sunday, competitive enough to fight for podiums (except for the first 4 races, perhaps), probably the fastest car in the wet, and a team that was rock solid and performing at its peak... How come everyone sees that as an noncompetitive package? I don´t get it.

Hamilton is living proof that the faster car means nothing if mechanic failures and/or team management errors get in the way. Had he had Ferrari´s consistency and reliability, he´d won the championship by mid year, but people still think the faster car is the better car...

In any case, Fernando did drive some very good races, specially early on when the Ferrari was very hard to drive, but objectively, he´s not done that much a better job than the rest. His tools were very competitive all year long, even if not in the obvious, pace-setting manner the media loves so much.



So it's not only the opinion of more than two thirds of the readers of this site. It seems that Team Principals' opinions have been manipulated by media as well. Even James Allen's opinion has been manipulated.

Hilarious at least, isn't it?


that is a quite fair asessment.


Simply wrong. The Ferrari was certainly better in the race than in qualifying but as an overall package it was behind Red Bull and McLaren for the majority of season, period.

Yes, they had better reliability and fewer pitstop mishaps but for Alonso to get all those podiums he mostly had to come through the field in the race, as opposed to holding on to a good position at the front like many of the other challengers.

Alonso was clearly the driver of the season. No one is saying the Ferrari was terrible but Alonso had to drive his best season ever to be able to challenge for that title, not to mention finishing a mere 3 points adrift. The fact other teams and drivers tripped over themselves can't detract from Alonso's performances.

And to say Hamilton would have won it by mid year in that Ferrari is ludicrous. So you're saying Alonso was just average this year was he? I'm not an Alonso fan but I don't blind myself to credit where it's due.


how would you compare raikkonen's performance with alonso's then?


Alonso drove consistently.

Raikkonen drove consistently.

So very similar except Alonso drove consistently on the limit of the cars performance where Raikkonen drove consistently conservatively.

Both made mistakes.

Alonso wins this one by a mile.

Just my opinion.


because kimi nvr criticize his team despite ruining his race with worse pit stop and strategies. Nvr blame the car when it fallen off the pace since summer break.

thats how alonso level up his performance by blaming the car although it was the most consistent car all year long.


if raikkonen's performance was nearly as good as alonso's why do so many people rate alonso@s performance so much but not raikkonen's?

could it be because they are not well informd?

chema martin was certainly correct in his post above. read it again and think about all factors before rating alonso's performance.


and wasnt massa outpace alonso in most occasion since summer break?? unlike alonso, kimi will nvr use his teammate like a scapegoat......


Pretty even. Alonso made less mistakes though and there were times when Grosjean seemed to out perform Raikkonen. Kimi did great though.


Massa was in front of Button, the eventual race winner, after the first corner, in Brazil ! He could have challenged the McLarens for victory on outright speed if he didnt need to mess with Webber and Vettel to backup Alonso. Whatever the Ferrari lacked on saturday (in Alonsos hand) it more that made up for it with its launch controll. Once its ahead in a race its as good as a McLaren or Red Bull.


I think what he's saying is that had the McLaren of Hamilton had the reliability (and that aspect only!) of Alonso's Ferrari he would have won by mid season.


Thank you!

And no, it is not a silly comparison, it is just highlighting that pace means nothing without reliability. It´s been demonstrated this season and was also very clear in 2005 and 2006, when Renault was rock solid and beating other, supposedly, faster rivals.

What I am trying to say is that this whole "Fernando won with a car that was far from the best" is simply not true. It was far from the fastest in certain moments during the weekend (mainly quali), but then it was not that far in race pace, so if we add that to rock solid reliability, it made up for the lack of pace when compared to other contenders.


Well, had Ferrari had McLaren's pace, Alonso would have won by mid season. It's a silly comparison.


What he did do, consistently, was maximise his chances. Vettel made a fair few errors this year, it is perfectly arguable that both Lewis and Alonso made none (one each at the most).

"This just goes to show how the media manipulates opinion" -

Honestly, I do not think you are giving the readers of this website enough credit. Also, much of the media that you are talking about are 'specialist' media and are close to F1 being either ex-drivers, long-time journalists, commentators, Team Bosses etc They generally know what they are talking about. I have not seen one F1 insider who has not acknowledged the stunning job Aonso has done this year - to dismiss them all because you do not agree makes no sense.

The 'general' media didn't make a song and dance over Alonso and they all reported Vettel as the wdc obviously! Were we all being led round the nose by the media the landslide would have been for Vettel as he won.

As for Alonso's performance on Sundays, you can say that his car was not very competitive because he rarely, if at all, throughout the year, in the dry, was able to challenge whichever was the fastest car on the day. He maximised the performance he had but it was never fastest and never able to challenge whoever was the fastest lap by lap, errors and retirements aside. You can sure that with a driver of Alonso's standard, this was down to the car rather than the man.


The suggestion that Lewis and/or Alonso didn't make any errors during he season is ridiculous.

Lewis was at his worst when he wasn't at his best, and Alonso made severe strategic, and tactical errors, and more than one driving error which resulted in loss of points.

I'm not saying that they are not great drivers, for example Lewis was personally responsible for about 80% of the spectacle in 2011, but 'flawless' is absurd.


My apologies, I didn´t want to demean the readers of this website in any way.

What I am trying to say is that we are all influenced by the media, and that I am pretty convinced that the outcome would have been different had the media conveyed a different message.

I live in Spain, and over here the Alonso propaganda is outrageous, so much so that many times it achieves the opposite effect. In other words, when you have heard a thousand times that it was all down to "Magic Alonso", you start to wonder if that is really so, so I guess I have a bit more awareness against this kind of bias than other people living in other countries.

Again, apologies if my comment sounded offensive.


Alonso made two in Brazil alone, and completely crumbled the last few races to the point Massa was all over him.

Vettel was shaky at the start in Brazil but then just went for it after the contact.

Alonso crumbled at seasons end - when it mattered most - and Vettel had a somewhat shaky start to the year being unable to exploit the masses of rear grip the EBD gave him the year before, although he was still very fast in race trim.

Both drivers more or less minimised the damage when their car was not the best, and took full advantage of it when it was.

Vettel had 2 alternator failures and a rogue Karthikeyan. Alonso got taken out in the Grosjean incident, took himself out at Suzuka and was the primary cause of the Monaco fiasco (Grosjean vilified for forcing Schumi into the wall... yet Alonso gets away scott free for forcing Grosjean into forcing Schumi into the wall. Right.)

The only driver who was pretty much flawless was Hamilton. I can't think of any major faults (but would appreciate it if someone pointed some out).

Raikkonen was woeful in qualifying early in the year, and still barely had the legs on a crushed Grosjean even by seasons end. Did Raikkonen even exist during wet weather races?

The drivers are so close in F1, every little helps as Tesco would say, so Raikkonen consistently lap after lap failing to remotely maximise the track width on corner entry and exit is hardly the mark of an amazingly fast drive. Too conservative in overtaking too.

His slow but consistent style THIS season did grant him great consistency, which allowed him to stay in the fight still, but he should have been up there anyway.


spot on chema martin, i didn't think alonso's 2012 drive was as great as the 69% of posters thought. if all the points you raised are taken into account, they'll have a better understanding of who drove better than the rest.

it's a shame the media fails to honestly educate the fans about the sport. i guess they're also in it to make some money like the rest of them, so much so that they fail to investigate information sufficiently enough before publishing it. only if they made good use of their researchers or employ researchers if they don't have any.


I'm not surprised by the landslide of opinion in Alonso's favour. Everyone loves an underdog and he's very charismatic which colours people's perception of reality. Kind of like how people view Senna vs Schumi. They both we're ruthless racers but one is deified the other vilified. Although, I can't figure out why Vettel doesn't have a greater fanbase - he's bright, refreshingly down to earth, and has a wicked sense of humour.

That being said it's been decades since we had such sublime drivers - Alonso/Vettel/Hamilton. Can't wait till Hulk gets a top drive to see how good he can be.


I don't begrudge him or the others for an in the moment emotional response in the heat of battle. Your comment applies to most of the drivers who have spent time at the sharp end of the grid under immense scrutiny.

We can all remember Alonso's behaviour at McLaren when he didn't get his way and Hamilton's behaviour last year. No one's perfect. It's just gets old with fanboy's trashing other drivers. None are perfect and we're absolutely blessed to have such immense talents all in their prime - if only Lewis stayed 🙁


Vettel is "down to earth" and likeable when things are going his way. On the rare occasion when things do not go his way, his reactions are quite petulant, and even immature/childish.

Leads one to believe he puts on a great facade which slips up every now and again. To me this lack of genuine emotion does taint his undeniably vast talent.


Agree. Towards the end of the season Alonso wasn't even the best Ferrari driver, never mind the best overall....



Which 3 races were Ferrari the fastest? I can only think of Monza.

You have exagerated the difference in reliability. Vettel's car failed in 10% of races and 0% of qualifying. Alonso's car failed in 0% of races and 5% of qualifying. Now that is putting things into perspective.

Fastest car in the wet? Well where was Massa in Malaysia? In Hockenheim and Silverstone qualifying? In fact if you add the fastest sectors for Webber at Silverstone and Vettel at Hockenheim, they were faster than Alonso's best time. The Red Bull was faster but they couldn't put the lap together when it mattered.

Ferrari race pace was better than qualifying pace, but you talk as if it was faster than all the others in the race.


Well, Italy is one, but it was certainly up at the top in Germany and UK. In Malaysia it was the fastest car with the exception of Perez, of course, but still faster than all the big names. Aside from those examples, the Ferrari was very often extremely close to being the fastest car on the hard tyres. One clear example was Abu Dhabi, when Fernando started to chase Kimi in the last few laps. It was clear that, as soon as he went for it, there was no other car on track that could cope with its race pace, not even Vettel on a race-improved car with fresher soft tyres.

As for Massa... Well, aside from the clear fact that he was under-performing early in the season, he also struggled with the early Ferrari, a car that was certainly harder to drive. He´s also seen his entire season compromised as a clear second driver, when most of his chances would evaporate as soon as the whole team strategy revolved around Fernando.

Finally, no, I didn´t say it was faster than all others every race, what I am saying is that it was a VERY competitive package overall pretty much the entire season, which is very different to the idea the media is selling, that Fernando had a poor package and that his performance was almost exclusively down to his talents.


The results in Silverstone and Hockenheim were made possible by Alonso's strong qualifying performances in the wet.

Fastest car in Malaysia? where was Massa then?

Abu Dhabi is a poor example. Ferrari clearly struggled to get temp in the tyres after the 2 safety car restarts. No point in cherry picking the last few laps to try and give us the idea that the Ferrari was the fastest car on the hard tyres.

Massa ended up as the 2nd driver because of his first half of the season performance. He was out of the running for the championship by the halfway point in the season (not that he actually helped Alonso in anyway up until then).

Don't think the media are saying it was a poor car. Just that it was inferior to the Mclaren and Red Bull. Don;t agree it was competitive over the entire season - first 4 races plus Hungary the car was definitely not competitive - thats a quarter of the season right there.


Excellent content and presentation; the Ferrari wasn't all that bad compared o the others over the entire season, single lap plus race pace.


Most reliable car and in some cases a faster car was the one that Kimi was driving.


yea sometime =) lmao


That's why it spend four races in a row behind Force India and Mercedes?

Unless Kimi could pull an freakish over-take, he was always been doomed to giving that position away due to lack of straight line speed.


Fernando drove a car that was never the fastest but the 7th of the grid the 4 first races, had a KERS failure at Malasia and the roll-bar issue at Monza that costed him pole and victory.


And a slow pit-stop and a failed KERS.


I agree with you that Ferrari didn't have a bad package, but still - Fernando drove near perfect season (maybe he should only be slightly better on saturdays).

I'm a Vettel fan and I put Alonso on number 1 spot, although I agree 69% is bit too much in Alonso's favour. Vettel, Hamilton and Raikkonen all drove great seasons and Raikkonen only got 2% of 1st palces.

There is also a question how readers created their lists. I guess a lot of people were trying to guess James's opinion in order to win his book.


I concur, Alonso drove well, but as my post below highlights (#12) his apparently awful car actually netted him shed loads of points by the fact that it was super reliable and wasn't really as slow as people make out.

If you look at the fastest car, most reliable car and best team this season it's incredibly close between Ferrari and Red Bull which is the best overall 'package' to have. Do you have a marginally fast race car, with slow straightline pace, a weak unreliable KERS with a dodgy Alternator and a team mate who's always trying to make life difficult for you, or a slightly slower car which never fails and a team mate who pulls over at the drop of a hat and has decent straightline pace and is easily the best car off the grid in F1?

It's close, really close. When you weight up all the pros and cons I really don't know which is better to have. One thing is for certain though, the Ferrari and Red Bull cars were better overall packages than this years fastest car - the McLaren.


Well said Paul; I am of the opinion that there is perception shaping by the Alonso Media Corporation; your analysis of comparison of machinery is excellent, and valid in my opinion.


I disagree. Ferrari and Fernando were very consistent during the year, but the car was slower than Mclaren and Red Bull the whole season. Sometimes even slower than Williams, Sauber and Lotus. They had big problems with wind tunnel correlation and as Gary Anderson has explained in his BBC column, This car has lots of problems in corner entry, etc....


In Physics its impossible to out drive a car as the car will perform on the limit it can, so where ever he reached was possible by the car to reach. So if Sauber were faster and finished lower that was the fault of their drivers making rookie mistakes and not some miracle by Alonso per say. Though Massa showed in the last races that their was more to the car than Alonso extracted. Cheers


I think that just shows who the class drivers were and how far ahead they were of the rest of the field. The tough bit was deciding on who to place fifth...


Naah, that is just an answer who has the most active fans...answers are mostly in Britain I believe. Not everybody in the worls are reading Allens writings


No this don't mean anything if you have alot of people who know nothing about F1 vote a certain way it doesn't really say much. Having said I think everyone anticipated Alonso would get the big question is 2 - 5


Had only voted the people who know about F1 and are totally unbiased the Alonso would have got 100% of votes, want it or not.


Don't get too excited last 3 races Felipe was actually faster. If Felipe is given a half a chance he will beat him next year for sure .Fernando did the best job this year.But there are better than him that don't exaggerate about the car and don't rely on their team mate.


"...then Alonso would..."



"Having said that"

..."Alonso would get no1"


I was just wondering, is Alonso (or the other top two drivers) going to get some sort of award (trophy) from JA on F1?

I was thinking in terms of, you know, like the BBCs 'Overtake of the year' award for Hulkenberg, EJ's 'Scoop of the year' award, and such...



...and back in 1610 most people thought the Earth stood still while the sun went round it.


... and now looks like only 31% thinks in a similar way.


Like I said, looks are deceptive.


Hi James

Did your moderators remove one of my posts on this subject. They were pretty much duplicates


Thank god I am fourth. Wouldnt want to go to another ceremony for a 3rd place :0)


Don't worry we can give you precise directions to the venue, don't want you getting lost again.


He didn't get lost !! Someone Shut The Gate..!! Get it right..hes done it before..LOL


I get lost sometimes when I am out driving and claim I was just interested to see what's there. It's a locked gate, ah well I least I know now, should probably get back to the race...ho hum. 😉


LOL Classic Kimi!

Nobody does it better...


Really surprised to see that ONE out of every THREE people think that Alonso was NOT the top driver...

Can anyone explain this to me?!!

I thought may be 1 out of every 5 or even 10 would think this! wow!


For the same reason people would think Westlife are as good as the Beatles because of their number 1's.

Or think that Mcfly can play guitar better than Hendrix. Perception..


You are talking here about actual "people" conforming to the generally accepted definition? With functioning ears?

My lawn, these "people" would not be allowed on it. Vigorous cane shaking would occur should they come anywhere near it.

Anyway, slightly more on topic of why "1 in 3 people did not rate Alonso the best": it really is simple, I just don't think he did the best job overall. Yes, he was consistent and made few errors. But the most serious error he did make took him out of the race in Japan. And he benefited from a teammate who would roll over on command and a team focusing solely on his needs, something no other driver on the grid has.


Japan was a big turning pt for Alonso. Was his mistake, unnecessary, and costly to the extreme. Agreed with others that his quali performances later in the season were puzzling.

Alonso won a lot of respect this year. I think he and Ham, as Alonso himself has intimated, are the only ones who can win in a car that's not the best. Hamilton of course did it in 2008, while Alonso came within 4 pts (2 in old money) of doing it this season.


Yes, but wil lyou listen.

I think Alonso lost a lot of the sympathy vote that he had spent all season building, look at me I must be a great driver scoring points in this crap car, when he done over Massa in the US.

If deliberately penalising your teammate is not bad enough, to then state that you are proud of this action, rounds of this despicable act nicely. Call it a team decision if it makes you feel any better but it leaves a sour taste in my mouth and many others.

Don't get me wrong Alonso is a top driver; I just did not buy into the super hero hype.


@Jake: Yes I am listening 😛

I don't think this rating was about which team/driver was morally superior to others. Personally, I also disagree with what Ferrari and Alonso did at US GP.

But this rating was about which driver was the best. Even if you take away the US GP, Alonso pulled time of out that car that I think very few other drivers could manage and manage throughout the season. His strength was his perfection that was consistent. I don't remember him putting his wheel wrong too many times...

I am not saying staying out of controversy and making stupid judgment calls is not important. But if you judge drivers by that, I doubt Senna or Schumacher would come out on top for you too...


Nothing wrong with a bit of controversy, I am after all a Hamilton supporter, (do not like the term fan), it spices things up, but I think Ferrari crossed the line on this one.

Happy to see Massa pull over and let Alonso past for the good of the team etc. but this was way more cynical and calculated than that.

I have very mixed feelings on Schumacher; I actually wanted him to do better. I was never a Schumacher supporter but the talent and skill during his first stint was undeniable as was his ruthless pursuit of the title at any cost mentality that I think Alonso has adopted to a certain extent. Personally I want to see drivers genuinely race each other on the track and to that extent I do hope Mercedes produce a half decent car.


You asked why some people did not vote for Alonso and I gave you the reason I dropped him to my second position after Hamilton. I think ranking him second still shows that I considered his performance this year to be outstanding. The comment regarding being proud of the penalty for Massa was reported to have been made by Alonso and ultimately that is what lost him my top vote.

Would the best driver ask (command) his team mate to roll over? I do not think so. That is my opinion.

If the decision was not made by Alonso, at the very least I would expect that he should have declared his disapproval, he did not thus' we have to conclude that he approved.


In regards to the Massa self-imposed penalty, whilst I disagree with what Ferrari did, I wouldn't say they were proud, i.e. bragging about it. I'd much prefer Ferrari to be honest about it. Afterall, they could've taken a more sinister and dangerous course - premeditate Massa stalling/getting off to sluggish start, so FA could get past.

To me personally (as highlighted in one of JA's posts), I couldn't see all that much difference between what Ferrari did and what RBR did the race prior - start Seb from pitlane to optimise car setup following his penalty from Qualifying.

Would have been nice if neither had happened: but both teams played within the rules.


Hi James. Yes, I realised this. I was just referring to your post on both incidents and how personally, to me there wasntnany real difference.

Sorry for my clumsy worded comment - where it appeared I was putting words in your mouth. 🙂


I didn't say that there wasn't much difference (the contrary in fact) but I put them together in one post as examples of rules that could do with being looked at again


I find difficult to believe a driver decides what you have suggested in your comment. I know Alonso is seen as a pantomime villain in the UK and probably in Germany these days, but Ferrari, the team, called the shots. As an example, Alonso could have gone to the press many times and complained about how slow his car was in comparison to Mclaren, Red Bull, etc... However he stood by his team, his team mate, etc...


He did that virtually every race so his results look better than it actually is steaming past 2 mclarens in India n people say the car is slow?

Also when he was leading and was odds on favourite to win he wasnt saying that.


hear hear...


Because he didn not win the WDC. I'm wonderintg why there is still people that rates drivers just seeing the standings and not thinking on the package they had. I bet had Alonso taken the WDC then like 80-85% of the people would have voted him as the best.


Totally agree with you!


Interesting that so many rated Alonsos performances so highly when he features so little in the overtaking statistics of the season:

Data from

All overtakes

1. Sebastian Vettel - 74 on-track overtakes

1. Mark Webber - 74

3. Felipe Massa - 65

4. Lewis Hamilton - 55

4. Romain Grosjean - 55

All overtakes, without backmarkers

Disgarding the overtakes on the teams of HRT, Marussia and Caterham

1. Sebastian Vettel - 51 on-track overtakes

2. Lewis Hamilton - 46

2. Mark Webber - 46

4. Felipe Massa - 45

5. Jenson Button - 41

All overtakes, without backmarkers, with equal tires

Disgarding the overtakes on the teams of HRT, Marussia and Caterham

Disgarding overtakes on cars with more than 5 lap older tires

1. Sebastian Vettel - 29 on-track overtakes

2. Jenson Button - 26

3. Mark Webber - 24

4. Kimi Räikkönen - 23

4. Felipe Massa - 23

All overtakes, only on 5 top teams

Counting only overtakes on the teams of Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Lotus and Mercedes

1. Sebastian Vettel - 28 on-track overtakes

2. Lewis Hamilton - 25

3. Jenson Button - 22

4. Kimi Räikkönen - 21

5. Felipe Massa - 16

All overtakes, only on 5 top teams, with equal tires

Counting only overtakes on the teams of Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Lotus and Mercedes

Disgarding overtakes on cars with more than 5 lap older tires

1. Sebastian Vettel - 17 on-track overtakes

2. Kimi Räikkönen - 16

3. Jenson Button - 14

4. Lewis Hamilton - 13

5. Felipe Massa - 12


Wow, great and revealing data about overtakes. Boiling it down to the comparison of the top teams, under very comparative conditions is very revealing.

Thank you.


5 lap older tires I would not consider as " comparable". So problems with the methodology used, and possibly the data as well.


I´ve seen those stats. Aparently they come from some fans forum and not from the official F1 website or anything like it. So I don´t take it very seriouslly until further proof


Interesting stats as in so many races Vettel was on pole and stayed in from, thus no overtakes!


Don't forget Vettel only had 6 poles about 20% of the races, Hamilton had 7.


**Paul** brilliant way of looking at it. It does dispel the Alonso mythos even more.


These stats have nothing to do with the poll in the article.

Alonso's overtakes have taken place at the start and on people in top 4 teams. Alonso never started 15-16 so he can overtake the likes of Force India etc.

Just to point out how bad your stats are in relation to this article..check this out: Massa features in every one of your overtakes stats. Are you telling us that Massa was better than Alonso in 2012???

Maybe you should give it a thought before you come with something like this, as is very misleading. Why don't you do a stat about who overtook most cars on the first 2 laps??


I believe most of Alonsos overtakes actually took place off the start line, as they did with Felippe too, as the Ferrari was the best starting car in F1 this season. You could almost bet your mortgage that each Ferrari would make 2 spots off the grid by the first or second corner. Significantly better than any other team - even taking into account the fact that the pole man (usually a McLaren, sometime RBR) can't gain, Ferrari were leagues ahead in standing starts. Compare them to Lotus and Mercedes who rarely bagged poles and you'll see that.

The overtakes listed above are from the end of lap 1 onwards I believe.

What the stats do is back up what I've previously said on here though, and that is Fernando benefitted from having the best starting car on the grid and awesome reliability. He must have done so, because he is widely acknowledged to have come through the pack numerous times, didn't overtake people on track as much as his rivals and yet he still netted numerous podiums.

For me the statistics demonstrate what I've thought for a while, the Ferrari whilst not having the out and out pace of either the McLaren of Red Bull does have it's own strengths that many fans have blatently overlooked in their assessment of this season. As I've said earlier in this thread; the choice of who had the best package this season is incredibly close between Red Bull and Ferrari.

But that's just my opinion - a Jenson Button fan who likes Alonso and Ferrari, but respects Vettel...


Fair comment, but not in regards to the best package. I seriously don't know how you can say it's between Ferrari and RBR.

Just because they had great starts and better pace in the race then their qualy pace, doesn't mean that was a good package.


What this shows is that his podium positions are due to breakdowns simple and not overtaking.


DRS overtakes don't count... they are the equivalent of blue flags... absolute waste of time.


What about the Hamilton overtake on Alonso at the British GP?

Alonso DRS open, Hamilton closed - pity he slightly overshot at the end of the end of Wellington straight. Classic!!



One driver leads all the overtaking statistics, very impressive!


Very interestig not to have Alonso there. While in races he consistently climbed up from his grid position (mostly in the opening laps), this stats suggest that also in qualifying he takes the best out of his machinery.


Very interesting data. Alonso made up places on the opening lap, held position after stops and didn't really pass much during the race. Massa qualified below what the car was capable of and features in the lists above.


He generally got the most out of the car, hence why he was low on the overtaking list. The same applied to Vettel last year as he was always getting the most out of the car hence rarely had to overtake.

The only race I can think of where he didn't get the most out of his qualifying car and thus had to fight through the field was Valencia and he pulled off some stunning moves that day 🙂


Hey Paul.. Excellent info what a great site will check them out later.

With decent stats you can see how strong the drivers are the further down the list you go, Vettel Button and Raikkonen really come on with quality moves!

Red bulls super handling aside Button and Raikkonen the two most outstanding drivers of the year with the kit they had.


Bear in mind those stats don't show how many times those places were then lost again...


This is pretty cool. Kimi rises towards top as overtaking gets harder.


Overtaking is not he only way anyone racks and stacks a driver


But this was used against Vettel last year.


That's a misleading stat since I'm pretty sure cliptheapex doesn't take the first lap into account.

Most of Alonso's decisive overtake occurred on the first lap and his aggressive overtakes in those situations with the championship on the line were one of his most impressive qualities.

After the first lap, Alonso often didn't really have the pace in the car to track down cars and overtake them and would more often then not try and hold station.


Wow, where is Alonso?

And people say Vettel can't race.


And what it has to do being the best driver overall?


It says a lot about how Alonso always had to go "through the field", but he isn't even top 5 overtaker of the year. Don't get me wrong, he drove his best season ever, but it's interesting data, you have to admit.


No.. it's interesting but not the way you read it or Paul wants us to read it (where is Alonso??).

In fact it really showes us Alonso was very consistent this year gathering his points from starting positions as good as possible and recover from there due to good race pace.

Vettels great numbers come from a start from the pitlane, crashing in a DRS signboard, spinning in the first lap. This gave him at least 30 or more easy overtakes.

According to these lists Massa did a much better job and is a better driver than Alonso.


No, I think you are misleading people.

If you have the fastest car and start from the pit lane, you are for sure going to overtake a lot of people.

A lot more important is who you overtake and how, rather then how many people.


This survey only proves that 31% don't understand or have never watched F1. How could anybody with a shred of intelligence not vote Fernando as numero uno for 2012?


We have eyes that work, we watch the races and make assessments based on what we see and we read the commentary but do not draw our conclusions directly from it.

He made several mistakes, one that forced him out of the GP, and his performance fell away in the last few races. In general a very good performance but ultimately not the best.

He finished second in the championship and that was what he deserved.


Yeah, heaven forbid that people have a different opinion.


Because he choked when it mattered most, towards the end of the season. For example the title was his for the taking after Senna spun Vettel, all he needed was to win the race to clinch the title, yet he failed.


Aghh, that word choke. Say what you want about Alonso, but he didn't choke. To choke essentially means to "snatch defeat from the jaws of victory".

"All FA had to do was win in Brazil following Seb's run in with Senna"? ALL????

The fact he couldn't didn't mean he choked. Perhaps if Alonso was leading the race with 3 laps to go and spun out, or did 3 very average laps and was overtaken, then you could say he choked.

In fact you could say Seb was the one who nearly choked. He effectively needed "just" a points finish to secure WDC. He nearly came to grief on lap 1 for an incident he was at least 50% to blame for.


As mentioned before. 2007, 2010 and now 2012, Alonso did not deliver when it matted in the last race of the season.


Well, in all honesty, it´s hard to argue that Fernando´s performance was what could have been expected from him in Brazil.

He had everything he asked for from the race, wet conditions, Vettel´s team mate playing any role but the team mate one, a spin in the first lap that left Vettel out of the race, two track exits that had no consequences, an accident between Hulk and Hamilton and a superb performance by his team mate to protect him when he was weakest... The only thing that was missing was his performance.

For a driver that´s supposed to adjust very quickly to changing conditions and with a car that was clearly very competitive (as shown by Massa when he had room, VERY meaningful as he´s clearly not a good driver in the wet), I missed his response.

Vettel had a section in the race when he was fastest, so did Hulk, Hamilton and Button, even Massa had his share, but where was Alonso? How come he never had the edge under conditions in which the driver talent matters most?


He did choke. The start at Suzuka and then being outperformed by Massa in 3 of the last 5 races, not to mention two mistakes in Brazil alone and a very very timid drive there.



that is a bit harsh, don't you think...?

We all love this sport and have every right to voice our opinions about who we think drove the best this year. I think all four of the drivers were phenomenal this year, they provided us with many, many fantastic moments, and for that they all deserve place on this list.

If you think Alonso was the best man, then by all means put him first. But please don't call somebody unintelligent or less of a fan just because they think Hamilton, or Vettel, or Raikkonen deserve that spot.

It is pointless and demeaning to both these fantastic drivers and people who voted for them.


Easily; I've been watching since 1981, I think I understand motorsport, and I think I'm, at least, reasonably intelligent. I rate Alonso highly, but think he was 3rd best for the year. There's no accounting for taste. I believe if Ferrari want to win a driver's championship, I think they need the best, and that's Vettel.


An opinion is not a fact. To think that Vettel was better than Alonso this year is difficult to comprehend, especially when you see how many mistakes Seb had in comparison to Fernando. Ferrari doesn't need Seb, they need Adrian Newey.


I think you have blinded yourself to the many errors Alonso made this year including some from the last few races.

Alonso choked at the last when it mattered most. Alsonso has done this before and just missed out because of his choking under pressure.

Massa also showed Alonso to be performing sub par and highlighted the errors that Alonso himself made (not the team or car)

I still rate Alonso highly as a driver just didn't appreciate the grubby comments and Ferrari greasy tactics. Alonso is such a good driver this sort of behaviour only lessens his reputation.


See post number 5.


James will surely have FA as 1st on his list so if you didn't have that you may as well start saving for his book because you ain't gonna win one. Luckily it doesn't cost much anyway so dont fret.


' we’d urge you to get your copy soon to avoid any disappointment!'

Great choice of words! Question remains, who will be disappointed if you don't order your copy soon.. The reader or James Allen himself. Lol!

Great website! Looking forward to your personal top five.


While pretty obvious for what we saw on track, the result is overwhelming and hardly leaves any room for doubts. Great cars make champions but it is great drives that make the epic quality of F1!


Outcome says it all. Superb season from Alonso, although I am surprised Vettel is ahead of Hamilton.


Why? Remember this is who voted for number 1. Many voted Alonso as number 1 for simply being the driver of the season! Others will have voted Vettel number 1 for winning the championship (and his 3rd on the trot). In other words, for peoples number 1 vote, there is likely more chance of people giving Vettel a number 1 vote than Hamilton.

However that doesn't mean as a whole population of voters Vettel will rank higher than Hamilton.

When it comes to the statistics of the overall results, I expect Hamilton will be 2nd with Vettel 3rd.

You have to separate the results here from the overall table. They show different things.


No the funny thing about this vote is Hamilton fans actually voting for Alonso through their disdain for Vettel but Vettel fans voting for Vettel.


I've no idea why, I'm a Hamilton fan and I can't stand Alonso. He maybe a good driver (though hugely over rated by the media if you ask me) but that's where his merits end. Vettel seems like a great guy off the track as well as being a good driver.


Same thought, driver standings cost Lewis the 2nd slot here.


I like this. It's interesting. You should do more detail analysis of the results. It reveals a lot about the F1 fan base. Thanks!








Probably agree with that top four, even as a Kimi fan. However, that is taking into account the entire season, of course. In the second half of the season Kimi was a lot happier with the car and less 'rusty' - consequently his quali pace improved and his overtaking prowess, most notably. I expect him to be higher up the list next season!


Truthfully, one could make an honest

and persuasive case for any 1 of the

4 as "DOTY". I believe that list re-

flects well upon you and the vast

majority of your readership.



Love him or hate him, Fernando showed his character this year putting that Ferrari into positions it should never have been in. The man has heart.


You mean other teams running in trouble, putting Ferrari in that position. Seriously.....


Others may have run into trouble but Alonso whas there to capitalise, just look at Massa. You can say the same for Raikkonen, not the best car but impressive drives meant that like Alonso, he too was able to take arvantage when the opportunity arose. They both kept their wits about them when the going was tough which some others this season failed to do.


I read this and instantly thought, does he mean underneath a Lotus... Even I don't think that was down to Alonso.


I was just about to give you a serve for failing to give credit where credits due, then realised you're talking about the first corner clash with Raikkonen. Yes, fair enough. I'm sure Fernando will be thinking about that corner for a while. A few points in that race and he may well have taken the crown.

Nevertheless you have to admit he was ultra impressive. Some of his qualifying efforts were poor but man did he ever redeem himself in the races.

But for me the most impressive aspect was his approach. Vettels and Hamilton's radios were full of moaning all season, whereas this guy was Mr cool. Under the pressure he's under to deliver for Ferrari that's impressive.


Actually the other incident with the Lotus, Alonso was to blame for the Raikkonen incident.


Alonso did his moaning after the races. He humiliated his team by constantly saying that the car wasn't good enough and stating that he was racing Newey.

Pat Fry was clearly annoyed enough by this to state that Alonso needed to perform better in qualifying and it wasn't all down to the car. Alonso's response was to fly into a rage and needed to be talked down from responding with a disparaging message on Twitter.

Hardly Mr Cool.

Clearly Alonso needs to realise that he was only in the WDC fight because of his team. They had the most reliable pit crew, the most reliable car, the best car in the wet and the best car from a standing start. They also made his indisputed number one within the team and used Massa as his assistant.

If I was the head of Ferrari I would be furious with the way Alonso behaves.



I recall immediately after losing his top spot (due to poor tyre choice) to Webber at Silverstone, at Hockenheim Stella was the one fretting on the team radio while FA was being hunted down again (was it the Red Bull again?). FA had to calm his race engineer down with a nonchalant "don't worry, its under control". That was pretty special.


The man has the three "H's" a driver needs to be Great: Head, hands and heart.


I'm not surprised with Fernando being at the top. Without a doubt he has been the best driver this season despite his machinery.


Kimi has to be both winner and runner up for the award for best/most entertaining comment of the 2012 season, Less we forget :

In First Place :

"Yes, yes, yes, yes, I'm doing all the tyres. You don't have to remind every second."

In Second Place :

"just leave me alone, I know what I'm doing"


And that was spectacular! True gems to behold for a generation!


Could we have the full results to look at please ?

By that I mean, how many people placed the various drivers in 2nd, third, fourth and fifth places.

That will tell us a lot more.



Would be nice to see a more detailed analysis of the voting results, based not only on the top vote, but the whole top five vote. It is quite odd that Kimi would place only forth, below his WDC standing, considering he's not driving for one of the big three teams and his absence from the sport for two years.

Not surprised to see Alonso on the top, but I think that shows more about the bias of the fans than how the season progressed, especially considering the landslide victory he has taken in this vote. Maybe he was the driver of the season, but not so much much better than the others as this vote would imply. At least that's my opinion, I'm sure some others will have a different view.


1. Alonso

2. Vettel

3. Raikkonen

4. Hamilton

5. Webber

P5 was a difficult one, between button and Webber for me, although JB had a better end of season, Webber probably just inched it overall.


Happily proud to b a fernando fan this season... even with criticism, there was always a good reason why i support him, and this yr he showed it...


Hi James,

Would it be possible for you to show the fan's top five based on the vote? Like who received the most votes for second best, etc.

Can't wait to see your pick.


Is it me, or is nobody else missing the number 5 in the top 5!!!!!!!


James what your stats show are just the percentage of people who voted for their No1 . It doesn't not show who had the the highest percentage for No2, 3,4. & 5 - if you show this then you would have a slightly different result.


James, can we also have a section where we rate the top five teams, be an interesting one as Mclaren and Ferrair probably wouldn't get on to most people lists, as they let their drivers down to a certain extent. Red Bull and Ferrari may also miss out because of the stunts they pulled in Singapore and Austin respectfully. Also be interesting to see if a team like Marussia would make people lists.


Interesting that JA on F1 readers (including me) went for Alonso by quite some margin, while Autosport's chose Vettel (margin unknown). Both were worthy but choices had to be made!


69% is a vast majority.

I wonder how Vettel feels about this?


Don't worry, he is already thinking about his 4th title.

And how do you think Hamilton feels?

He drove great and he's only in 3rd place.


I am Happy that Lewis is on the cover of the book. Gives all you Alonso fans a chance see what a class driver actually looks like... 😉


What a lot of nonsense this is; Alonso, the best driver of the 2012 F1 season! Me thinks not.


1) Unlike both Vettel and Hamilton Alonso doesn't have a team mate he has to race against

2) Had Hamilton not had the dreadful luck and been victim to McLaren's mistakes he would have been this years champion

Fact had Alonso been at McLaren instead of Hamilton and experienced the same woes he would still have been champion with ease as his team mate (Button) would have been instructed to make way for him or at the very least least hinders his main competitors (as Massa tried)

Having watched and been an F1 fan for more than 40 years I wonder how many others see it as it really is rather than be swayed by the constant, all but brainwashing of certain pundits in the media?


No offense Dale. Just because you've been a fan for more than 40 years doesn't mean you are necessarily correct.

I've followed the sport for more than 30 years, and I'm happy to admit my opinions and thoughts are not always right.

End of the day 69% is pretty conclusive.

Your "facts" probably reflect more on why you're not a fan of FA.


Yeah same.. I voted Alonso even though I can't stand him [mod] Not that Vettel is any angel. I wish they were only half as honest as Raikkonen ( that would be plenty )


Fernando Alonso was massively honest on his declarations in his first years and a big number of people started to hate him for that. The problem? He was often right.








What about tallying based on the ranking of votes instead of just comparing the count of number one votes received? Might be interesting. Obviously Alonso would still come out ahead, but we might see a bit of a shuffle down the order. I would imagine that people who ranked Alonso in 1st based on effort would probably have ranked Hamilton a very close 2nd with Vettel in 3rd (he did win the championship after all).


Expected this to be honest, but I did not expect only 16% voted Vettel as the best, quite a humiliation for a triple WDC


Whaaaat? Vettel just won his third WDC in a row. I am sure Vettel feels no humiliation at winning three WDC. The other drivers are the ones that lost the WDC for three years. Not one of the other drivers could beat Vettel in the last three years.


The irony of your statement humiliation on JAonF1 when the record books state otherwise can bet you by next season nobody would remember this survey.


I would suggest James to give 5 points to 1st place, 4 to 2nd and ..1 to 5th for all the readers' ratings and then average it out for the total number of readers who rated. The driver with the highest average will be people's choice automatically. This way I'm sure we will get a much more balanced view than considering only number 1. You know the more averaging it involves, the more likely it will tend to be accurate.


I wouldn't put Alonso in the top 3. He gets too much help from his teammate all season long, rest at least seem to let their drivers compete until the other is mathematically out of the championship race. Massa's been bending over for him all year long. Besides he is always screaming for penalties when his skills/car doesn't add up get where he wants to be.


Seriously? Massa was effectively a no-show till Japan (where FA had a DNF) so I fail to see how he was of any help to FA for >75% of the year. Had Massa taken points from RB8 earlier in the year, it MAY have had a bearing on the bigger picture (but let's not digress into the land of hypotheticals). What is fact is that Massa unfortunately was not of any assistance till the last 2-3 races, which hurt Scuderia's constructors title bid.


In the last three races Massa was able to help Alonso, but I wonder where he was the rest of the season.








...still laughing...

All season long?!?!

Massa was useless for pretty much almost whole year. He had better race pace in USA and Brasil and maybe, just maybe in Korea, and only outqualified Alonso in the last two races. That's pathetic. He couldn't have helped him in any other race even if he wanted to. Webber was much more help for his teammate. Webber's win in Silverstone for example, took 7 points off Alonso, and lost out by just 3 points in the end.


I agree.

Only six months ago, everyone was hollering for Massa's head on a plate, screaming for Ferrari to axe Massa.

In the last 4-5 races of the season, Felipe was actually driving a different car to Fernando (older spec car). However, some say that Massa is now deemed faster than Fernando all season.

Two words.....short memory.....


I'm by no means an Alonso fan, but the way he refused to give up despite having a dog of a car in Australia impressed me. As for having a cooperative team-mate, he's at Ferrari. What else would you expect!! Especially considering Massa's form last year and at the beginning of this year.

A good driver will always maximise everything at his disposal. Can't blame him for doing exactly that all year!


"...but the way he refused to give up despite having a dog of a car in Australia impressed me...."

I think you giving him too much credit there mate, for $30m a year and no title in last 6-7 years, he is obligated to do his best, cause his best is obviously not as good as some other drivers are showing.


I wonder if Alonso benefited more from NOT winning the championship than from winning it?!

If he'd cruised to a third championship in a dominant car, he probably wouldn't have the respect that he has now.

Drivers become legends for different reasons and winning isn't necessarily one of them...


absolutely agree. the best examples of legends who have never won WDC are Stirling Moss and Gilles Villeneuve. By contrast his son Jacques won a WDC but will never be classified as a legend-neither will Vettel.


Got to be Hammy/Alonso for first then Webber(for pushing Vettel off the racing line). GodI will love it LH wins next season and Mcl have a mare! I would love it, love it!


+1. Would be sweet sweet sweet. Though not realistic.


The Cream really does rise to the top!!!


Cream is 2/3 of the cup this time 😀


James, do you have the breakdown for the most voted 2nd - 5th driver.

Why do I care? No idea...


Interestingly the JA-readers are quite aligned to the profesionnel evalutaiton in Autosport.(Which Autosport forgot in their event, perhaps influenced by the championship result).

The rating they give drivers for each race accumulate to:

Alonso - 170

Vettel - 164

Hamilton - 163

Raikonnen - 150


1. Vettel

2. Alonso - In last part of season, he lost to his teammate in qualifyings which costs him WDC. So he did not drove perfectly all season. Plus most season he was always over cautious inspite of good reliability, never took chances after gaining positions in opening laps. Overtaking with DRS does not count as taking chances. He always kept on saying "there are still many more races to go in season hope to do better next time." Well next time it is, then!!!

3. Kimi

4. Hamilton - Button clearly said in his interview recently Hamilton is fastest guy on grid for one lap but race is not of one lap you need to take care of your car till the Cheq flag.

Colombia Concalvez

Hamilton faster over one lap ?, Lewis has blown Button of the track this year, Lewis is simply the best on the grid right now and don't understand why you put Alonso on 1


@ HIten


Webber 9 - 11 Vettel

Alonso 17 - 3 Massa

In my view vettel do not deserve this title by any means. Webber ran him close enough and led the championship standings until summer break. Only when RBR improved the car since singapore vettel started to drove better.

Where was vettel during the first half of season ? when the cars where closely matched

What do you mean by perfect season ? Are you pointing vettel's season ? If so you are wrong 100 %.

When alonso have not overtook cars to gain postions ?

All three alonso victories are just classic (Vintage alonso in my opinion)

In malaysia he held off a flying perez. In valencia clawed his way back from 11 th to 3rd with some scintillating moves (Before vettel and grosjean retired). In germany He held off Faster Redbull (vettel) at first stint and Mclaren (Button) at second stint for the win.

For your reference in valencia his moves were outside DRS zone



The qualifying starts show webber was competitive are you basing Alonso's performance on massa's qualyfing position? I think thats wat most ppl are doing. so I would put it this way Vettel was on a diff planet as Webbers performance was the true pace of RB after the summer break you can see the irony.

You asked and I quote,

"Where was vettel during the first half of season ? when the cars where closely matched"

Well he was busy maximizing his cars potential wat you forget is he would have won in Valencia and the championship would have looked different.

What was vintage about Alonso's win? Checo making a mistake or Vettel breaking down? his win at Germany was helped by Hamilton unlapping himself. I think you need to watch the season over again and you would realise what you missed while it was on.

Also in reference to Valencia he messed up his qualy so he started out of position.


I am guessing JA driver of year will be:






guess what? if this question was asked on the non english speaking sites (eg spanish or italian) alonso would have scored even higher.


Guess what? If this question was asked on the non English speaking sites (eg Austrian or German), Alonso would NOT have scored as high.


I think, that list is a very personal list and it doesn´t represent a real rank. At least is very obvious to me.


This was Vettel's best season, gaps were narrows, he had to go through most of the situation during the season. Yes, he was emotional few times, but in the end he did just enough to win it.

Alonso on other side, was very lucky to find himself where he did half way through the season. But in the end he choked. Third title on the line, Force India leading the GP (so don't even start on pace of the Ferrari, the driver was lacking), he simply did not deliver in Brazil. He should have known better, this is not the first time he was in this situation.


True, he also lost in 2007 when a second place was all that was needed. He lost out to Massa and therefore lost the title. In 2010 all was needed was a 4th place but he finished 7th and lost the title.


Based on this survey if Vettel had any decency he would hand the title to fernando immediately.he is the only legitimate winner for 2012. in fact i think this is the only fair way to determine a championship. they should all do the best job they can through the year then a panel of judges determine the WDC. that is the way diving, gymnastics etc are determined and F1 should be no different. that way they can take into consideration a multitude of factors such as reliability, luck, not at fault crashes, car speed and even helping your team mate. failing that at least ignore the drivers worst 2 results.


I like the idea of judges deciding, we could have extra points for flamboyant manoeuvres and best smashes. Webber takes the lead with a 20 point back flip with a half twist only to be beaten by Grosjean with a 50 pointer ultimate carnage award.

Actually removing the best and worst results is a legitimate way to modify results in order to eliminate fluke events. It can be argued this would give a more realistic picture of the drivers season. All drivers in the race would have to score points and compete in every race for this scheme to work properly, so not very practical.


Are you serious?

Did you see Alonso win in Brazil, I can't see how he did a best job he could considering a Force India was leading a GP.


How about giving the title to the driver with the most wins in a season?


Hello Bernie! The title would have been settled after Abu Dhabi, or maybe Austin. Certainly Lewis was out after Abu Dhabi, on 2nd places, but Alonso might still have been in contention, needing to win both in Austin and Brazil.


Interesting that drivers like Webber and Button which have strong followings and were in good cars didn't even rate a mention. Perhaps that means that the majority of readers felt they underperformed?

Perhaps this is the cue for anothe JA poll - drivers who disappointed during the year. That would be fair to drivers of 2nd/3rd tier teams.


webber drove while carrying a metal bar in his leg. very painful somertimes but he kept going. he will not have the metal in his leg next season so he might do better. he may have made a complete recovery from his injuries by 2014, when we'll see his best performance.

i wonder why other drivers are not able to do doughnuts like this

caulthard tried it at the race of champions and crashed into the barriers, at the same sport hamilton did it 5 minutes before him.

look at how close he gets to that metal post.


Ok James let us has have your top 5 thanks. I will even give you my top 12. I know you will disagree with Vettel.I'm tough on avoidable collisions.










Di Resta




Whoops forget about out own Aussie Webber he should be at 6 where Button is and all move down 1


But who was the toughest mentally this year? Alonso was pretty tough until he lost the championship lead. Vettel's late surge was certainly impressing with all the pressure. Maybe it was Kimi, but he's becoming the Chuck Norris of F1, so maybe he should be excluded 🙂

What do you think?


I suppose it all depends on personal preference. From a purely racing point of view I can't argue too much with that poll. I do feel though that Hamilton and Alonso were very similar this year in that their actual performances were superb despite the machinery, yet unfortunately the poll doesn't (and probably can't) reflect that.


Further to my post 52 on this subject i forgot to add that if the WDC is to be determined by a panel of judges, for fairness they must only be Spanish or Italian so as to remove bias from the process or at least give a balance.


sorry, i think i posted the wrong link. here's the right onely.


This poll is deeply flawed due to the fact that a large number of voters were trying to predict James Allen's list in order to win the prize. This poll should have been taken without mention of the prize for matching JA's list. I'm sure that there would have been fewer responses, the competition posts on this site always have a huge number of responses, but the results would have been a far more accurate measure of fans impressions.

To imply that these results are the accurate opinions of F1 fans is to imply that every reader here agrees 100% with the opinion of James Allen, which is obviously an unrealistic assumption.


Not at all.

The basis for this strand is clearly for readers to put their top 5, with justifications and that is clear.

There may be one or two who want to try to second guess my Top 5, to win a book, but there's no way that 800 people will do that.


But with respect, James, they will either do that, or give a list of the drivers they like the most. Vettel won the title, no one can argue with that. He is the champ - no matter how much I would have liked another driver to do it.

Difficult to argue with the standings table you show on this page.


Not true, I don't particularly like Alonso. But I am perfectly capable of making a judgement which eludes to the fact that the best driver did not win the WDC.

Being has most people agree the car is 70% to 80% of the equation what is wrong with that.?


Sometimes, I feel like driver of the year means more than actual WDC where the car factor decides it all.


If the car factor decided it all, then Webber would be second. He isn't.


Mate,we have said that many times before, it ain't even a question.

My point is that when two world class drivers driving for two different teams, it delegitimizes the thing called World Driver Championship.


Congraulations to the Alonso PR MEdia Corporation, and honorable mention to the over-inflated proxy Hamilton Media Corporaion, aka the British F1 Press Corps. for diligently 'sticking to message' despite the overwhelming 'controversy' of the championship actually being won by Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel-ed Bull package was the deserving champion.

Best driver, as mentioned before, where different from the Drivers' champion, is purely subjective, but just because you pick one guy, it doesn't make him my favourite.

My favourite driver, and I think he's the best one, Kimi.


I read the first dozen or so replies to this thread and I remember: I hate the internet.

F1 has an individual championship that gets the majority of focus, yet as an individual sport it is less 'pure' than some others as a large contributing factor to individual results is quality of machinery, which is itself a function of budget and skill on behalf of a team of other people. Yet the driver is the element of this equation that people can relate to, so it is fascinating to consider which one of them performed the best in isolation of the above factors, plus the usual misfortune that can occur in any sporting endeavour. It is an impossible task, and will always tely on empirical, qualitative judgements. Opinions in other words.

How can a totally innocent poll like this, and a chance for James to generously give out a few freebies can be twisted into something sinister or ridiculed for being somehow biased or inaccurate?

This can only happen on the internet. I hate the internet!


+1, I am with you. This is why I do not have Twitter, Facebook and whatever else is out the end of the day, everything is turned into negativity. Information overload...and mostly the rubbish one.


Good Post!

James is just giving us the opportunity to have some fun and perhaps win a prize. Vettel won the WDC. He is the WDC. Is it possible that another driver was forced to display more racecraft because of a handicap with a poorer car, pit crew, strategy/tactics etc? And did? Not Vettel's fault nor his problem. He still remains the WDC.

We all know that there are several factors involved in F1. Each factor must be given a "weighting". This should be an exercise in FUN!

Let's embrace the Christmas (or whatever holiday you worship) spirit.

James, thanks. I'm certain that there are many readers, like myself, who enjoy and truly appreciate the work you do. "You put the Fun in F1".




James I was interested to read you saying (only) 40% of those visiting this suite are in UK. Sorry I'd wrongly assumed higher. But do you know how many of the 'foreigners' are still British? (Like me in USA). Sorry I know it must be hard to figure! I'm just (still) a bit concerned about the Bias aspect, with readers voting patriotically rather than as 'open-minded fans'.


I voted Alonso - it was easy. I cannot even say a single word in Spanish.


There is no way Alonso is number one. He was "given" a Championship lead and he did not perform his best when it mattered, or he would have won in Brazil. (Or now Force India is a better car than Ferrari, or maybe it's just Hulkenberg who is better than Alonso)


There is only one contestant for No.1 position, i.e Alonso.

For 2nd position it is tough choice between Hamilton and Vettel. But i chose Vettel just because he scored more points and won the title.

Fourth position is occupied by Kimi.

Fifth: Jenson Btton.







Question to James Allen:

Does Alonso choke under pressure?

Reason I'm asking:

1. The last 3 races, Alonso had nothing to lose, yet we didn't see him push it and get that extra 10% - In fact on the contrary we saw Massa performing better in the last 2 races..

2. Too conservative - I would have liked him to try a strategy similar to Button's when it started drizzling...

3. We saw what Seb did in 2010 Abu Dhabi...

Personally, I think Alonso was in with a chance because of his conservative style but he should pushed it more in the last 2 races...


No, I don't think so. Look at all the pressure he was under in 2005 and 2006 and he got the job done. He wasn't at fault for the loss in 2010.


Very interesting to read all the 'opinions', but F1 has never been about a drivers championship.

How can you all believe that it's a fair contest when one driver has an HRT to drive and his rival has a Red Bull? I rest my case.


What a fantastic website and discussion! The Formula fans are a credit to the online discussion boards. Hardly any negative or abusive comments, unlike football, lord bless their souls. Vey interesting season in 2013. What an abundance of brilliant drivers. It is the golden era for Formula 1. safety has been sorted out ( I hope). Seven world champions racing against each other with number of rising talents. Great to see you guys expressing opinions with such depth of understanding of the sport. Reading this much later than the last comment was posted, but this is a exiting to read. The fact is there are fantastic drivers around and anyone who has got a drive is a hero and an exceptional driver. what a fantastic sport!

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