3rd – Nico Rosberg
Average poll score out of ten:7.4
Mercedes AMG Petronas
1st out of 24
There were times in 2016 where Lewis Hamilton was unbeatable and yet it was Nico Rosberg that walked away with the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship title… a huge testament to his nerveless driving against huge pressure and the odd demon.
You only had to witness the sheer relief that came in the moments that followed his title win to see exactly what it meant for Rosberg to – finally – call himself world champion… and explains a lot about his actions in the days that followed.
As it became clear early on that the 2016 fight would come down to another tense head-to-head between Rosberg and his Mercedes team-mate, the German very clearly knuckled down to focus on establishing the mental edge that could make the difference in another tight battle of wills, particularly when Hamilton's focus wavered amidst technical misdemeanours.
Four wins out of the box were lucrative but offset by the general assertion that it was only made possible by his team-mate's issues. The fact Hamilton not only came back but went comfortably clear means more credit should be given to Rosberg for the mental fortitude he showed by not putting a foot wrong after the summer break.
Hamilton naturally has his excuses – many justifiable - but it would have been easy for him beat him Rosberg if the German had made a single slip up in any of the final nine races.
He didn't, even as Hamilton desperately tried to wrong foot him in Abu Dhabi. Mid-season scuffles aside, the newly-retired Rosberg literally saved his best until last and deservedly came out on top.
Nico Rosberg in the Crash.net F1 Driver of the Year poll
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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.