2016 saw Nico Rosberg win his first world championship in a tense season finale in Abu Dhabi but was he the best driver in 2016? Here we pick our top 10!
1. Daniel Ricciardo
‘Best of the rest’ is the best way of describing Daniel Ricciardo’s season. Had it not been for the two Mercedes drivers Ricciardo would have been World Champion. Ricciardo won in Malaysia and should’ve won in Monaco had it not been for a blunder in the pit-lane by his Red Bull team. Despite all the hype surrounding his teammate, Ricciardo outperformed the young Dutchman 10-7 on race days.
2. Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen became the youngest ever winner in Formula 1 when he won the Spanish Grand Prix in his very first race at Red Bull. Six more podiums were to follow in the season including a 3rd place finish in Brazil in wet conditions which lead many pundits to compare him to the great Ayrton Senna.
3. Nico Rosberg
The German won his first World Championship after beating Lewis Hamilton to the title by just five points. Rosberg picked up from where he left off last season winning the first four races of the season and took another 5 victories on the way to his maiden title.
4. Fernando Alonso
The Spaniard continues to out-perform the machinery he is given. Alonso maximized the potential of another poor performing McLaren scoring 54 points compared to teammate Jenson Button who scored 21. Notable drives include his two 5th place finishes in Monaco and in Austin and a 7th place finish in Belgium despite starting from the back row of the grid.
5. Carlos Sainz
Carlos Sainz showed his potential once again in the Toro Rosso. Despite, Verstappen’s promotion Sainz scored consistently and scored 21 points more than Danil Kvyat despite the Russian having four races at Red Bull before being dropped back to the junior team.
6. Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton had another fine season winning ten races and was unlucky in Malaysia. However a poor start to the season arguably cost him the title.
7. Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez had another good season with the Mexican the only driver to surpass the 100 point mark apart from the Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari drivers and outperformed highly rated teammate Nico Hulkenburg.
8. Romain Grosjean
Romain Grosjean scored an impressive 28 points with a 5th pace finish for his team Haas in their debut race in Australia once again highlighting his pace.
9. Sebastian Vettel
Vettel’s season was a bit scruffy at times but nevertheless the German got the job done finishing 4th in the standings ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen.
10. Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas had another solid if unspectacular season finishing as lead Williams driver and will be hoping for better in 2017.