Drivers of the year: How JA on F1 readers have voted
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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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!


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.


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.


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.







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)


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.


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 there…at 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”.




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.


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.


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.?


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


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.


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.


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?


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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 am guessing JA driver of year will be:






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.


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


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

Why do I care? No idea…


The Cream really does rise to the top!!!


Cream is 2/3 of the cup this time 😀

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