Start, Hungaroring, 2012

Vote for the best F1 driver of 2012

2012 F1 season reviewPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Fernando Alonso was my pick of the best drivers of 2012.

But now it’s time for find out who F1 Fanatic readers’ driver of the year was. Review the rankings in full, cast your vote for the best driver of 2012 below, and tell us who you picked in the comments.

F1 Fanatic 2012 Driver Rankings

Read the rankings in full here:

Cast your vote for Driver of the Year below. The results will be announced later on in the 2012 season review.

Who was the best driver of 2012?

  • Sebastian Vettel (13%)
  • Mark Webber (0%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (21%)
  • Jenson Button (0%)
  • Fernando Alonso (50%)
  • Felipe Massa (0%)
  • Michael Schumacher (1%)
  • Nico Rosberg (0%)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (11%)
  • Romain Grosjean (0%)
  • Paul di Resta (0%)
  • Nico Hulkenberg (0%)
  • Kamui Kobayashi (0%)
  • Sergio Perez (0%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (0%)
  • Jean-Eric Vergne (0%)
  • Pastor Maldonado (0%)
  • Bruno Senna (0%)
  • Heikki Kovalainen (0%)
  • Vitaly Petrov (1%)
  • Narain Karthikeyan (0%)
  • Pedro de la Rosa (0%)
  • Timo Glock (0%)
  • Charles Pic (0%)
  • Jerome d'Ambrosio (0%)

Total Voters: 709

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Pass of the Year and Overtaker of the Year

The polls for Pass of the Year and Overtaker of the Year are still open so be sure to vote here as well:

2012 F1 season review

Browse all 2012 F1 season review articles

111 comments on “Vote for the best F1 driver of 2012”

  1. No doubt Kimi Raikkonen will win because it’s a fan vote, but if you didn’t vote for Alonso you must have been watching the season with a binbag on your head.

    1. Kimi Raikkonen (15%)

      No doubt indeed.

    2. Im a Kimi fan many years, still voted for Alonso because he was simply the best this year.

    3. I actually voted for Hamilton, @tommyb89, for the reasons I wrote in the forum and which @KeithCollantine included in Hamilton’s article and those he himself gave in it. Alonso would have won had he always performed as in the first 4 races with that car, but the F2012 was the fastest car at times and Alonso was certainly not faultless. Hamilton, on the other hand, was closer to perfection in my opinion, and the fact he would’ve won the title were it not for the mechanical failures indicates that, although he often had the fastest car, he was very often the best driver.

      1. I second that. Lewis was the best driver on the grid in 2012. Unfortunately, the car didn’t had the reliability of a Ferrari. If it had, Lewis would have wrapped up the title even before Brazil.

      2. And had the Ferrari been as fast as the McLaren at all times, he would have picked up more points as well. Maybe. Maybe not. As in all things, we cannot be sure. Maybe Hamilton was a bit better, maybe Alonso was, but clearly both had outstanding seasons. I’ll go with Alonso though (unsurprisingly).

      3. The F2012 was never the fastest car under regular conditions at any point in the season. Alonso held off attackers for each of his wins and benefitted from Vettel’s retirement in Valencia. The only time the F2012 was fastest was in the wet qualifying sessions, both of which Alonso scored pole. One could maybe argue that it was also fastest during qualifying at Monza, but then, of course, he was affected by a mechanical error.

        1. Well apparently setting one fast lap in an entire race means it was fast…

    4. I tend to agree with the Alonso choice, however I made no vote because I think it is too difficult to rate the performance of those drivers in the lesser teams, to illustrate; is Maldonado potentially the fastest driver stuck in a midfield car or is the Williams potentially the fastest car stuck with a pair of midfield drivers? How would the STR drivers have done driving RBRs or McLs?

    5. @tommyb89
      Massa consistently beat Alonso at the end of the season…
      Lewis once again outperformed Alonso with his racing.

      1. @jason12 but one driver beating his team mate at some stage throughout the season is a common occurrence throughout the field. Vet is a better driver than Web, but Web beat him clearly at Monaco. It just so happened that it was Massa’s turn to do so at the final couple of races

      2. @tommyb89 You seem to struggle to look at the bigger picture (all 20 races, not just the last 3).

    6. I actually voted for Alonso, but disagree with your opinion- I could have just as easily have voted for Vettel, and particularly Hamilton.

    7. I love Kimi as a character yet you can’t look beyond Alonso in this one.

    8. firstLapNutcaseGrosjean (@)
      15th December 2012, 16:49

      @tommyb89 I didn’t vote for Alonso, because he lost the championship by his fault, when he “kamikazed” into Raikkonen in Japan. He couldn’t resist, could he?

    9. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
      3rd March 2013, 5:22

      That is true.

  2. Has to be Alonso, should not be any prize for guessing that. Ferrari being off the pace by such a margin for the first four races, being outdeveloped by Redbull, Maclaren and in few cases Lotus, it had to be some luck along with pure driving prowess for someone to remain in touch with WDC chance. Alonso just showed that this year.

    The team principals who voted him the driver of the year as well, must be having the same logic I guess :)

    1. I’m no Alonso fan, ever since the Spygate he lost most of my respect, but this year he regained it. Battling with that disastrous Ferrari was heroic, and his win in Valencia was very emotional. To be fair, he deserves much more. If he starts 2013 with all his power, Seb can say farewell.

    2. Has to be Alonso. He’s a Ferrari driver and Ferrari is the oldest and most successful team and as such has the most fans to vote for their drivers. Combined with the Alonso constant complaints about how bad his car was, which made everyone believe it was true, there can’t be any other result possible.

  3. out of two year, in new team, new cars that wasnt build around him unlike the others, new tyres, imperfect steering setup, slow pit stops, bad strategies, car fallen off development since summer break, in the end, finished 3rd in wdc.

    Agree Alonso should be P1, wouldn;t mind put Kimi on P2 !!

  4. Has to be Alonso. He was miles better than everyone out there. The classiest act in a classy field.

    1. the best driver in 2012? absolutely

      i’m not sure alonso and class belong in the same sentence though…ever

      1. Yes @melkurion he sure knows how to lift his teams’ spirit! At least he has become more gracious in defeat…

        1. @vettel1 Indeed, I think his grace in losing is fast approaching his already legendary level of graciousness and not to forget modesty when winning :P

          1. Well he still gets a bit tiresome with his rants about “achieving the maximum” and his samurai quotes, but there is no denying his class in the cockpit…which is all that matters at the end of the day.

            Many great champions have been, to say sore losers isn’t quite right, bad losers. It is part of what drives them on I think.

  5. Well I voted Hamilton. As I’ve said elsewhere Alonso was incredible for the first 12 or 13 races, yet when the heat was really on Massa was the quicker Ferrari driver.

    1. @debaser91

      It wasn’t 7-8 races, merely 2 qualifying sessions and 3 races and as I said elsewhere Massa always excels in CCW circuits and he outperformed Alonso exactly there. Do you think it is coincidence?

      1. @philby What is the full form of CCW?

        1. @keithcollantine Counter clockwise circuit I imagine, what we English would call anticlockwise. I didn’t say Alonso was outpaced by Massa in the last 7-8 races if you see what I wrote, just that when it really mattered in the last few races when Vettel was ahead and Alonso needed to really step up Massa got more out of the car. I do think Alonso’s performances did dip toward the end of the year, there was his error in Japan where he squeezed Raikkonen and some scrappy performances particularly in qualifying. I don’t blame him for that though, it must be incredibly difficult to sustain such an intensity for an entire season particularly when you don’t have the best car and I am not denying he had a fantastic season, I just think Hamilton performed even better.

          1. @keithcollantine, Yes it stands for counter clockwise, I am not british my cover is blown!

            About Alonso’s downfall in the last 2 races I don’t understand when people say that he ought to have done more, in US the only thing he could do was to come 3rd there was not a single chance of beating the others, a great start was needed to justify Ferrari’s move and he delivered. In Brazil he played it safe but what else he could do? I agree it was much less spectacular than his Malaysia or Valencia heroics but I defy anyone to come up with a viable alternative course of action for Alonso in those last 2 races.

          2. All races offer the same amount of points @debaser91 .

            The final races counted for as much as any other races in the year. The order in which you rack up the points really counts for nothing.

  6. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not an Alonso fan. But as much as I dislike him, I have a lot of respect for his ability. Even I can’t deny he drove far and above everyone else both in quality and consistency this year.

    1. When was Hamilton lacking quality and consistency?

      1. When he stuck with and passed the reigning triple world champion in a slower car?

        1. @switchbacker
          Assuming you mean Austin, how do you know that the McLaren was the slower car that weekend? It could just as well have been that Vettel got more out of his car, as it could be the other way around. The margins between the two were so tiny that weekend. I think its impossible to safely assume that one car had the edge over the other.

          1. Just running in turbulent air for so long, makes a lot of difference.

            In any case the cars were similar, yet Vettel failed to defend his position.

      2. @switchbacker at the beginning of the season.. when he could put the car on pole but couldnt convert them to victories.

        Could also mention that when Alonso’s car wasn’t at its best he still put in some legendary performances… but Lewis didn’t do it with the same conviction in Monaco, Valencia and Bahrain

        1. Alonso lost points through driver error, Hamilton lost those victories to operational errors.

    2. @joey-poey – you mirror my standpoint exactly! Are you sure we aren’t the same person?

  7. Vettel of course. With a car that was not the best managed to win his third championship in a row. His recovery in Brazil with a damaged car after being last in the first lap is a sign of his extraordinary ability.
    Frankly I can not understand why there are Formula 1 fans who vote to a driver (Alonso) who conspired with his team principal to dangerously make crashing against the wall to his teammate (Piquet) to win a race. (Singapore 2008).

    1. Maybe because we are voting on who was the best driver in 2012 and not 2008.

    2. So controversy discounts people?

      What about Vettel taking the front wing from Webber’s car?

      That’s pretty dodgy…

      Ok, so not even going to think about Hamilton, Raikkonen’s had his controversies, so he can’t be it,

      I suppose then you’d say Hulk or Perez would be the best guys this year? Because we can’t think of voting for anyone who’s done things wrong.

    3. @jorgelardone he never conspired lol. You are crazy and delusional. An entire investigation into the matter discovered Alonso was innocent.

      Hows the tinfoil hat treating you?

    4. davidnotcoulthard
      22nd December 2012, 8:39

      I’m not sure that you were right about Singapore ’08

      @mikeI also doubt that there were any conspiracies at the first Silverstone race on it’s “new” Track.

    5. davidnotcoulthard
      22nd December 2012, 8:41

      I’m not sure that you were right about Singapore ’08

      @mike I also doubt that there were any conspiracies at the first Silverstone race on it’s “new” Track.

      If only F!F’s got an “edit” button.

      1. davidnotcoulthard
        22nd December 2012, 8:41


    6. (@jorgelardone)

      Vettel of course. With a car that was not the best managed to win his third championship in a row. His recovery in Brazil with a damaged car after being last in the first lap is a sign of his extraordinary ability.

      This is a joke, right?

  8. I voted Alonso, but I disagree with some of the comments above that say “Alonso was miles ahead everyone else” or that “if someone didn’t vote Alonso he was watching the season with a binbag on their head”. Apparently Alonso’s I-always-take-the-maximum-out-of-my-car-even-though-it’s-a-lawnmower-and-I-never-make-mistakes-don’t-you-dare-to-claim-Suzuka-was-my-fault PR strategy is working.

    I think the top four was very, very close this year and any of them could be regarded as the driver of the year. In my books Alonso was a little better than Hamilton, Räikkönen and Vettel, but I can fully understand if someone feels differently.

    1. To Be simple Alonso ahead on Lewis and Vettel by Experience and on Kimi by Better Strategies. (Lotus failed in making right strategies for most of the Season)

    2. @hotbottoms I love the PR name you give there and if it fools some people it bores others and I fall in the second category. I’m quite amazed to see how well this has worked for him when reading people comments, hope Alonso doesn’t go the same way next year …
      From the top 3 driver, he is probably the only one which hasn’t progress in his attitude. I don’t particulary likes Vettel, but he is somehow less arrogant than in previous year and more “in his place”. Lewis has also been more mature this year … but Alonso has fallen back in childhood.
      Totally agree on the fact he drove superbly this year but not by miles, and would have been even more appreciated without all the praising he putt around this year.

      1. Truth is that no one knows how close (or over) the limit Alonso really was. To claim it is a PR stunt means that you think it is a lie. That is your opinion I guess, but dont fault people who chose to take the paddocks word on it.

    3. @hotbottoms This guy speaks the truth.

  9. Romain Grosjean (1%)

    I did not know Romain Grosjean follows F1F!! :P

    1. He’d get Mr Ecclestone’s vote, this is show business remember ;)

    2. I bet that was Horner giving something back for Spa. :)

    3. Joey Zyla (@)
      15th December 2012, 7:04

      He’s a good driver. Not the best, in my opinion, but I can definitely understand why some would think that. He’s very, very talented, and when he hits his prime, he could be near the top every race.

  10. Wow, Hamilton is not a popular chap, 15% !?!
    If he was surly on camera and didn’t wear ear rings he’d probably do much better.
    Alonso has some great PR people, out raced by Massa (few months ago debate was whether Massa should be retained, even talking about the end of his career) during teh season finale and still proclaimed as best driver.

    1. Sviatoslav Andrushko (@)
      14th December 2012, 20:19

      Ham was outpaced by his teammate several times in 2012 too. So what? And I believe we shouldn’t talk only about row race pace. As a racer Alonso is more complete when Ham usually makes mistakes in strategy and adjusting his car.

      1. I think the concensus is that Hamilton totally out performed Button this season, who was clearly a far tougher prospect than Massa in 1st half.
        Hamilton is an outstanding qualifier.
        You realise the McLaren strategists make strategy calls right?
        What racing errors did Hamilton make? Alonso made at least a couple.
        What are the set up errors Ham made, I’m genuinely curious?

        1. @switchbacker

          McLaren strategists make strategy calls right?

          Not always, Button often makes the calls regarding say, the weather, and he tends to get it right. Look at Brazil for example.

          What racing errors did Hamilton make?

          Slow start off the line in Melbourne probably cost him the win.

          What are the set up errors Ham made, I’m genuinely curious?

          In Belgium his side of the Garage went with the wrong set up, Button’s set up was by far the way to go.

          I think Hamilton did an amazing job, but don’t pretend he is perfect and criticize others for not being so, no driver will ever be perfect.

        2. @switchbacker the other drivers were beaten by their team mates more than Alonso was…

          1. davidnotcoulthard
            22nd December 2012, 8:48

            tougher prospect than Massa in 1st half.

  11. Alonso is as clearly the best driver this year as Vettel was last year.

  12. Hamilton and Alonso are tied in my opinion, but I voted for Hamilton because it’s obvious the vast majority will vote for Alonso even though Hamilton drove just as well this season.

    1. Gotta agree! Alonso and Hamilton were pretty equal in my eyes, but I voted Hamilton out of pity for his extensive misfortunes rather than a means of evening out the scoring here :-)

  13. Gotta be Charles Pic – he has shown some immense speed throughout the whole season, I mean, I surely cannot run faster than he was going, even during practice sessions!

  14. I have to take the boring choice I’m afraid.

  15. i voted for jerome dambrosio who is 5th in the vote

  16. Top three are definitely Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton. Which order though is up for debate: I voted Alonso top and personally I put Vettel ahead but it is very close between those three.

  17. Alonso drived beautifully but given what Hamilton could have achieved without the mishaps he suffered the whole year, I can’t not vote him as the best driver.

  18. I think most people will agree (setting myself up for an argument there…) that the top four in no particular order this year were Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso and Raikkonen. I’d argue the first three are slightly ahead of Raikkonen, but even then I put most of that down to first-season-back rustiness. After that, the differences become so paper-thin that personal bias is the only deciding factor, in my opinion.

    1. Sorry @beshoreblue, no real argument from me. I would say Raikkonen is so close to that group that he might almost make it a group of four, he tends to be forgotten about because there was much less fuss and hype around him. If he had made the pass in Bahrain and had two wins to his name I would have been tempted to rank him number 1.

      In the end I voted Vettel not because I thought he was better than Alonso and Hamilton but because he was ‘as good as’ them and tends to be portrayed as a poor driver just because he has a good car. I’ll admit that I prefer Hamilton and Vettel to Alonso because of my own personal bias so I guess in such a tight three way decision that ends up counting against him.

    2. @beshoreblue can’t argue with that. And the rustiness and great quali from Grosjean is probably pushing Raikonnen towards the 4th spot, still great drive from him this year.
      For the top 3 guys, they have each something for them and depending on how everyone of us define “the best driver” and indeed our à priori on each driver, we will pop out with different picks … that shows how closely match they have been (even if not totally reflected on the points for Hamilton case anyway).

      We can just hope to have 4 guys in top form again next year, and in 4 different teams which could content for victories (that remains to be seen)

  19. I dont understand all this hype surrounding Alonso in 2012, in my opinion he only had a few fantastic races but his performances dropped towards the end of the season and was even beaten by Massa and he gained massively from luck. His starts were flawless but that is all I can remember of alonsos racing in 2012. In his three wins he only truly deserved one of them, Germany, in Valencia he benefited from Vettels DNF and the safety car and in Malaysia the weather played into his hands and he was almost beaten by an inexperienced Perez in a Sauber

    1. By that logic Vettel doesn’t deserve the title because he only got lucky that Ferrari built a slower car. That’s luck right? I mean, it can’t be that Vettel was the best of the remaining 22 or 23 drivers? As soon as Alonso’s Ferrari was slower then the Red Bull, Vettel didn’t have to move a finger, he sat in the back of the garage and became a champion.

      And same could be said about Alonso. He did nothing in Valencia, and simply won because Vettel’s car gave up the ghost. I could swear I saw Alonso enjoying in one of those roof-top pools with the girls until he saw Vettel’s car slowing down. He immediately ran down to the garage, jumped in his Ferrari and joined the race. He joined on the leading lap of course, not some 40 laps down, and he joined in front of everybody else. Of course, there’s no rule to forbid this, so Alonso was pretty much chilling in the shade, talking to Nicole how Hammy is better then Vettel and occasionally jumped into his car when he saw Vettel retiring from the lead.

      I mean, I really don’t get all this hype. Alonso was invisible for the whole year and was comfortably beaten by Massa in half of the races. By the way, did you know that 20/2 = 2? I lived my whole life thinking that 20/2 = 10!

      What was I thinking…

      And by the way, did you know that Ferrari doesn’t really want to win. No, they intentionally don’t want to win anything and they are supporting Alonso because Luca adores his eyebrows. They could stand a better chance of winning if they throw all their support behind Massa, because nothing says domination like being the last driver of all the established teams (not counting last 3 teams) to score a point this season. Yup, that’s right, last! He only scored in Bahrain and then followed that up with a brilliant last (in front of just caterham, marussia and hrt), one lap down, while his worthless teammate fought for the victory.

      I’m telling you, it’s obvious Ferrari shot themselves in the foot by backing Alonso instead of Massa.
      If it wasn’t for Massa working his miracles, I bet the whole top management in Ferrari would lose their jobs.

    2. You were probably watching only starts?! Are you saying that Vettel never benefited from Alonso’s retirements? I suggest you to watch Belgian and Japanese GP.

      1. @thorpedo no but alonso benefited from vettel more tham vettel did from alonso

      2. @thorpedo – Vettel didn’t directly benefit form Alonso’s crash in Suzuka as he was ahead anyway but regardless of that I think it was equally (if not more so) Alonso’s fault as Räikkönen’s.

    3. BTW, my post was reply to @Colm

  20. Voted for Alonso.

    Why not give everyone 3 votes? I think it would close up the field a bit.
    And Raikkonen would win :)

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