editors have come together to compile a list of what we think is the definitive Top 100 riders and
drivers in motorsport this year.
Over the coming days we will be counting down to our #1, but in the meantime check out who we have placed 50 to 26...
50. Pol Espargaro
6th in the MotoGP World Championship
His brother Aleix may have stolen the pre-season headlines on the Open-equivalent of the Yamaha, but it was Pol who would emerge as the best-placed Espargaro by the end of the season. Handed a competitive bike for his MotoGP debut, Espargaro settled in well and some inevitable rookie errors aside, was immediately on a par with his satellite contemporaries. Though a maiden podium remained frustratingly out of reach, he did enough overall to beat his team-mate Bradley Smith, his brother and Stefan Bradl to the top satellite rider accolade at his first attempt.
49. Pierre Gasly
2nd in the Formula Renault 3.5 Championship
If Red Bull Junior contemporary Carlos Sainz had a 'win or nothing' approach to his Formula Renault 3.5 Championship title win, Pierre Gasly used unwavering consistency to form his challenge. Though he didn't top of the podium, the rookie Frenchman notched up eight podiums to finish runner-up, while the odd GP2 outing towards the end of the season raised his stock further with the Red Bull talent scouts.
48. Mitch Evans
4th in the GP2 Championship
One of the few non-European racers to be scrambling towards the top of the motorsport ladder at the moment, New Zealander Mitch Evans took a notable step forward for his second season of GP2 Series racing. With the sudden death of Russian Time team principal Igor Mazepa marking a sombre beginning for the outfit in 2014, the Kiwi raised smiles with two wins and four more podiums en route to fourth overall.
47. Christian Vietoris
4th in the DTM
A far cry from its dominance in F1, Mercedes endured a torrid year in its 'bread and butter' championship, the DTM. Compared to BMW and Audi, the three-pointed star found itself at the back of the field for the opening races, yet from this dismal start, it still notched up a win courtesy of Christian Vietoris, the German triumphing in the damp at Oschersleben. Indeed, the German proved the marque's most consistent racer in 2014 and his eventual fourth overall had more to do with his personal efforts than that of the C-Coupe's general competitiveness.
46. Kris Meeke
7th in the World Rally Championship
Following several false-starts, Kris Meeke finally got his shot at a full season in the World Rally Championship and, on speed alone, made an impression. Joining the high pressure ranks of multiple champions Citroen, though the once dominant French firm didn't have the measure of VW, Meeke's podium on the Monte Carlo opener suggested it had made a savvy choice in signing the Brit. A lack of experience elsewhere told at times, Meeke ended the year with four podiums and the measure of team-mate Mads Ostberg.
45. Juan Pablo Montoya
4th in the IndyCar Series
A blast from the past for those who hadn't followed his NASCAR career, ex-F1, Indy500 and CART winner Juan Pablo Montoya returned to single-seaters for the first time in eight years with an IndyCar Series drive. Despite some initial scepticism, Montoya proved competitive from the off and was on the podium twice before notching up a popular victory in Pocono. Another rostrum result yielded an impressive fourth in the overall standings.
44. Dani Pedrosa
4th in the MotoGP World Championship
Blindsided by the extraordinary debut of Marc Marquez on the other Repsol Honda, Dani Pedrosa needed to respond in 2014, but it would prove another frustrating year for the Spaniard. As Marquez got stronger, Pedrosa's form wobbled and though he would be the man to halt the youngster's run of wins, it was the only time he would top the podium in 2014 as he was comfortably beaten by the Yamahas too.
43. Andreas Mikkelsen
3rd in the World Rally Championship
Following a part-season campaign in 2013, Andreas Mikkelsen was awarded a full year with the Volkswagen Motorsport team in 2014 and though he benefitted from having the dominant Polo WRC R at his disposal, he was still mightily impressive. Five podiums – across all surfaces – earned him a place in VW's overall 1-2-3 and a tip as a future star.
42. Neel Jani – Marc Lieb – Romain Dumas
3rd in the World Endurance Championship
The attention may have been on Mark Webber in the sister car, but it was the #14 trio of Neel Jani, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas that led Porsche's much publicised return to sportscars in 2014. Though the 919 Hybrid's race pace couldn't initially match the single lap strength that yielded three pole positions, it did develop into a formidable contender by season's end, prompting a fairly dominant victory in Brazil and expectations of a title bid in 2015.
41. Tommy Bridewell
3rd in the British Superbike Championship
After years on privateer machinery, Tommy Bridewell got his big break in 2014 with Milwaukee Yamaha and, despite some initial stumbles, ultimately made the most of his chance. Though his best wasn't seen until the second-half of the season, Bridewell notched up an emotional first win at Cadwell Park, a Title Showdown spot and a final round push that saw him snatch third overall from team-mate Josh Brookes.
40. Mika Kallio
2nd in the Moto2 World Championship
Overshadowed by Scott Redding in 2013, Mika Kallio spent another year chasing his team-mate – this time Tito Rabat -, but he was still able to notch up a career-best runners-up spot behind his contemporary. Consistent enough to finish all-but-one race inside the top seven, nine podiums kept the Finn in the hunt, but his three wins couldn't match Rabat's seven successes.
39. Scott Redding
12th in the MotoGP World Championship
Though the limitations of the Open Honda forced him to revise his initial expectations, Scott Redding emerged as a welcome revelation in his first season of MotoGP racing. Though direct rivalries were limited to other Open Honda riders, Redding rose above his contemporaries and was comfortably the fastest in his class behind the dominant Aleix Espargaro. Perhaps the most telling statistic of his season though was scoring in all but two races, not to mention ending the season just eight points shy of team-mate Alvaro Bautista on the full specification Honda and ahead of Cal Crutchlow on the factory Ducati.
38. Andre Lotterer
2nd in the World Endurance Championship
1st in the Le Mans 24 Hours
Though he was thrust into the wider limelight with his surprise (and brief) F1 outing at Caterham, it was Andre Lotterer's sportscar achievements that continue to earmark him as one of the best driver's you've never heard of. Though Audi was comfortably out-performed by Toyota in LMP1 as a whole this year, it was Lotterer's extraordinary speed during the Le Mans 24 Hours – he set the fastest ever lap of the La Sarthe circuit in the final quarter whilst charging down the leading Porsche – that earn him pride of place here.
37. Dan Linfoot
5th in the British Superbike Championship
Though he wasn't a headline-grabber during the first-half of the 2014 BSB season, Quattro Plant Kawasaki's Dan Linfoot steadily made his presence felt over the course of the season, his unwavering consistency pushing him towards a surprise Title Showdown spot. Though Linfoot managed just a single podium in 2014, he scored in every race and was in contention for the overall top three right to the final race, with fifth overall marking a big step forward for both rider and team.
36. Maverick Vinales
3rd in the Moto2 World Championship
The rookie everyone had their eye on in 2014, Maverick Vinales delivered to expectation by notching up a quartet of wins on the way to third in the Moto2 standings. The 2013 Moto3 champion was a winner from his second race and though a mid-season lull snuffed out a title challenge, three wins from the final five events justified his earlier-than-planned move into MotoGP for 2015.
35. Jack Miller
2nd Moto3 World Championship
One of the sport's boldest characters - and increasingly one of its most controversial -, Jack Miller snatched his fair share of the headlines in 2014. A top tip for the Moto3 title, the Australian was still a breath of fresh air in a field largely dominated by Spaniards. An uncompromising style didn't win him too many friends and may have contributed to him missing out on the title to Alex Marquez, but Miller's boldness alone will make him one-to-watch in 2015 when he makes his leap into MotoGP.
34. Tom Sykes
2nd in the World Superbike Championship
There was a point fairly late in the 2014 World Superbike season where Tom Sykes looked odds-on to become the first man since Carl Fogarty to successful defend his title. Roll on two months and he would the year as runner-up to Sylvain Guintoli after being pipped to the crown in the final race. As galling as the outcome was – particularly after 'that' costly collision with team-mate Loris Baz -, nine wins and 16 podiums are not statistics to be ashamed of.
33. Mattias Ekstrom
2nd in the DTM
It's been 13 years since Mattias Ekstrom began his long association with Audi in the DTM, but 2014 proved the veteran Swede still has what it takes at this level. The only Audi driver to win a race in 2014 – his first since 2011 -, Ekstrom would end the season runner-up to Marco Wittmann and seemingly as fast as he has ever been.
32. Jorge Lorenzo
3rd in the MotoGP World Championship
An embarrassing false start, persistent complaints about tyres and being overawed by team-mate Valentino Rossi, few knew where Jorge Lorenzo's 'head' was at the start of the MotoGP season as his form descended into farce at times. Nonetheless, though it took time for him to refocus, by the end of the season the Spaniard had rediscovered his form, his wins at Aragon and Motegi, as well as an unfaltering run of nine podiums, reinstating his confidence and almost getting him as far as second overall.
31. Michael Dunlop
4 Isle of Man TT wins
Michael Dunlop defied the odds to boost his tally of Isle of Man TT victories to 11 after his second consecutive four-timer on the Mountain Course in 2014. The 25-year-old from Ballymoney parted company from Honda and teamed up with BMW to ride the S1000RR Superbike, delivering the famous German marque's first victory in the blue riband class in 75 years to cap the anniversary of Georg Meier's 1939 Senior triumph in perfect style.
30. Andrea Dovizioso
5th in the MotoGP World Championship
Ducati enjoyed a minor renaissance of sorts in 2014 thanks to the savvy move to acquire the highly-rated Gigi Dall'Igna as its team principal, the decision to adopt Open-style regulations and the reliable riding of Andrea Dovizioso. A rider that has suffered just two DNFs in the last three seasons now, Dovizioso extracted the most from the GP14 – especially in qualifying with its softer compound rear tyre – and while that would often count against him in the races, he still notched up two podiums and a pole position at Motegi.
29. Alex Lynn
1st in the GP3 Championship
With the Red Bull paymasters watching closely, Alex Lynn went a long way to assuring he will go all the way to F1 one day by dominating the GP3 Series in 2014. His first season in the category, Lynn only won three races but displayed an incomparable level of consistency to keep the points ticking over, allowing him to pull away as the season progressed to a well-deserved title win for Carlin.
28. Jari-Matti Latvala
2nd in the World Rally Championship
Still fast, yet less erratic than in other years, though Jari-Matti Latvala didn't quite have the flawless enough campaign to trouble Sebastien Ogier, he proved enough time that he can at least match his VW team-mate on pure pace at times – probably the only driver able to do so. Wins in Sweden, Argentina, Finland and France proved a good return for the Finn, though his exit in Germany arguably halted what would have been a potential title tilt.
27. Dean Stoneman
2nd in the GP3 Series
After taking two years out of competition to be treated for cancer, Dean Stoneman made a magnificent return to single-seater racing in 2014, coming straight into the GP3 Series and forging a title challenge. Beginning with Marussia but ending the year with Koiranen, Stoneman won more races than any other driver (five in total) and would go all the way to the runners-up spot. A fine achievement, three years after his last full season of single-seater racing.
26. Stoffel Vandoorne
2nd in the GP2 Series
Highly-rated Stoffel Vandoorne proved himself a worthy candidate for a future F1 drive by finishing runner-up to Jolyon Palmer in his first season of GP2 racing. Backed by McLaren, the Belgian began his GP2 endeavour perfectly with a win at the season-opener, though a series of non-scores would leave him down the order. Nonetheless, a fine push in the latter half of the season would see him overhaul Felipe Nasr for second overall, claiming a total of four wins along the way.
25. Fernando Alonso
6th in the F1 World Championship
Another year, another disappointment from Ferrari, but Fernando Alonso's reputation remains relatively intact. Having often been considered as out-performing his machinery, 2014 proved little different, Alonso comfortably faster than Kimi Raikkonen and proving his race craft time and again when qualifying often failed to deliver. Just two podiums would come his way in 2014, but performances as the one in Hungary showed what Ferrari may well be missing next year…