Top 10 F1 Drivers of the Year 2013:
Mercedes AMG Petronas
2012 Driver of the Year position:
Leaving McLaren for Mercedes could have been a major risk for Lewis Hamilton but, as it turned out, proved the right move to keep him at the front of the field.
While McLaren struggled to breach the top five anywhere, Mercedes was a contender for both pole position and race wins, although the Briton had to be content with just one of the latter, having waited until the height of summer to come out on top in Hungary.
He was more successful in qualifying, with five fastest times, including four in a row between Silverstone and Spa, but struggled both with the set-up of his W04 and the car's early-season propensity for eating its tyres.
Involvement in the controversial Pirelli test post-Barcelona kept Hamilton out of the ensuing Silverstone group session where rival teams got to grips with the revised tyres for part two of the campaign, but his failure to return to the podium in the final eight races were not entirely due to that, especially as team-mate Nico Rosberg made the top three in India and Abu Dhabi.
Nevertheless, Hamilton sat third overall heading into the final round – a position he insisted meant nothing due to Kimi Raikkonen's decision to miss the US and Brazilian GPs – but a clash with Valtteri Bottas' Williams, resulting in both a puncture and penalty, ultimately allowed Mark Webber to steal into the spot.
Hamilton will return as part of an unchanged Mercedes line-up in 2014, but will need better results to throw off accusations that his off-track life - including time spent with his dogs, in recording studios and aboard his new private jet - might be a bigger distraction than he admits.
's 2013 F1 Driver of the Year – top ten to date:
9. Valtteri Bottas
10. Daniel Ricciardo