Max Verstappen pipped Lewis Hamilton to the 2021 World Championship to claim his first F1 crown – and he has now picked up another accolade, as F1’s team principals voted the Red Bull racer their number one driver of the year in our annual poll…

    We asked all 10 team bosses to submit their list of the top 10 drivers of the year, under the proviso that their individual ranking would remain anonymous.

    Drivers were awarded scores based on the current F1 points system – 25 for the top driver down to one for 10th in each list. Those scores were combined to create a ranking.

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    And after clinching his first world title, with a record 18 podiums that included 10 victories, Verstappen has come out on top for the first time, edging out last year’s winner Hamilton by 21 points.


    1 Max Verstappen 213
    2 Lewis Hamilton 192
    3 Lando Norris 110
    4 Carlos Sainz 85
    5 Charles Leclerc 70
    6 Fernando Alonso 69
    7 Pierre Gasly 64
    8 George Russell 44
    9 Valtteri Bottas 43
    10 Esteban Ocon 41

    Lando Norris, who began the season with 10 successive points scores, including three podiums, was the only other driver to score more than a century of points as he completed the podium for McLaren.

    Carlos Sainz was next up in fourth, having secured his best-ever drivers’ standings finish with fifth in what was his first year at Ferrari, with the Spaniard’s team mate Charles Leclerc slotting into P5.

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    In his first year back after a two-year hiatus, Alpine’s Fernando Alonso was voted the sixth best driver of 2021, with Pierre Gasly a fine seventh for AlphaTauri.

    Mercedes-bound George Russell made it successive top-eight finishes in the rankings, the Briton securing his first F1 podium in Belgium this year for Williams, as he finished one place ahead of the driver he’s replacing – Valtteri Bottas, who will drive for Alfa Romeo next year.

    Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, who secured his first F1 victory in Hungary this year, was a new entry in 10th.

    The team principals who took part in the vote in (in alphabetical order) were: Mattia Binotto, Jost Capito, Christian Horner, Laurent Rossi, Andreas Seidl, Guenther Steiner, Otmar Szafnauer, Franz Tost, Fred Vasseur, Toto Wolff