10th – Sebastian Vettel
Average poll score out of ten: 6.2
4th out of 24
Last year you voted Sebastian Vettel as your F1 Driver of the Year but his tumble to tenth place in this year's poll is representative of a 2016 campaign that never quite shone as brightly as many had hoped or expected.
Indeed, though fourth overall for the four-time world champion still represents a solid return for both himself and Ferrari in isolation, the team's failure to maintain the race winning form of 2015 ultimately wrote the headline of its end-of-season summary.
Starting the year with lofty aspirations having proven more than a thorn in Mercedes' side during 2015, though Vettel began well with eye-catching turns in Australia, China and Canada, niggling issues – some self-inflicted, some strategic – stymied Ferrari's potential at its most convincing moments.
However, by the time Ferrari had perfected its race craft, the car's development was plateauing, James Allison had exited the team and Red Bull was now manoeuvring itself as Mercedes' closest rival.
As such, Vettel would spend the second-half of the season chasing podiums rather than topping then, often finding himself on the periphery of the lead fights without quite having the car capable of getting involved in them.
Qualifying – often one of the key weapons in Vettel's armoury – was a particular let down in 2016, the German out performed by Kimi Raikkonen 10-11 on a Saturday. Often leaving him on the back foot coming into the races, the fact Vettel was overtaken just once all season* is a measure of the forward momentum he had to take into the races on several occasions.
There were clumsy errors too, not least in China, Malaysia and Mexico, while his acid tongue – not least Mexico – didn't endear him to rivals at times either.
Nevertheless, on his day – or at least on Ferrari's day -, Vettel could take the fight to Mercedes on pure pace and it is plausible to imagine he could have won in Australia and Canada were it not for the benefit of hindsight in Ferrari's strategy choices…
Sebastian Vettel in the Crash.net F1 Driver of the Year
Top 10 F1 Driver of the Year 2015:
Top 10 F1 Driver of the Year 2014:
Top 10 F1 Driver of the Year 2013:
Top 10 F1 Driver of the Year 2012:
Top 10 F1 Driver of the Year 2011:
Top 10 F1 Driver of the Year 2010:
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About the vote:
Rather than repeat the Drivers' World Championship standings, the F1 Driver of the Year poll asks viewers to take into account factors such as machinery, performance relative to a team-mate, driving style, experience, progress and personality just as much as race results.
Over 70,000 votes were cast for the 2016 Crash.net
F1 Driver of the Year poll, where viewers awarded each of this year's full-time participants.