Motorsports »'s Motorsport Top 50 for 2016 (20-11)

You've had your say, now it is time for ours... This is's own definitive Top 50 in riders and drivers for 2016 (20-11)

Hayden Paddon
World Rally Championship – 4th

Following his headline-grabbing turn during a handful of outings in 2015, Hayden Paddon proved the hype for the Kiwi was real in 2016 as he turned his first full season of World Rally competition into a convincing year-round performance. A victory in Argentina was the highlight of his impressively consistent campaign in the Hyundai by demonstrating his all-surface skill as a potential future title challenger

Sebastien Buemi
Formula E World Championship – Champion
World Endurance Championship – 8th

After just missing out on Formula E title success in 2014-15, Sebastien Buemi made amends for the upgraded Renault e.dams team in 2015-16 with a fine title charge. Though matched all the way by Lucas di Grassi – and culminating in a somewhat embarrassing end-of-season collision -, Buemi was the year's standout performer in terms of pure pace.

Jose Maria Lopez

Jose Maria Lopez
World Touring Championship – Champion

Jose Maria Lopez and Citroen came, saw and conquered the World Touring Car Championship for a third and final time in 2016 as the formidable partnership made it three dominant titles in a row. With Citroen announcing early on that it would be exiting the series at the end of the year to refocus on its rally programme, Lopez ensured it was a swansong to remember with eight wins and a winning margin over team-mate Yvan Muller of 124 points

Chaz Davies
World Superbike Championship – 3rd

It was a case of 'what could have been' for Chaz Davies in 2016 as a formidable charge in the final races came too late for him to make an impression on the title fight. By the time Davies had dialled in the Ducati he was unstoppable, his six wins from the final six races suggesting this could be the new norm for the Welshman come 2017. In the end, the wins – 11 in total – couldn't offset the odd error, but it at least gives Jonathan Rea something to think about over the winter

Kris Meeke
World Rally Championship – 9th

Following his breakthrough maiden World Rally Championship win in 2015, Kris Meeke came of age in 2016. Having skirted on the periphery of greatness in previous years, though a part-campaign from Citroen gave him only a few chances to shine in 2016, the Englishman grabbed his opportunities by winning two of the seven events he was entered and challenging for the win in others. While there remains some rough edges for Meeke to smoothen if he is to form a title bid in 2017 with the new Citroen C3, the speed is evidently there.

Lance Stroll
European Formula 3 Championship – Champion

Canadian teenager Lance Stroll shrugged off the pressure of defending Prema's honour in the European Formula 3 Championship and his own lofty reputation to win the series at a canter in 2016. With big money behind him, Stroll proved he was far more than his backing as he reeled off 14 wins in 30 races, ensuring himself a graduation to F1 with Williams and another title win for the all-conquering Prema outfit.

Shane Byrne

Shane Byrne
British Superbike Championship – Champion

Sticking with the same team but riding a new bike, Shane Byrne gave himself a renewed challenge in 2016 in his bid to recover the British Superbike Championship crown he lost to Josh Brookes the previous year. Swapping Kawasaki for Ducati machinery, though the twin-cylinder 1199 took some initial fettling to find its sweet spot, once the PBM team did Byrne was hard to match. Leon Haslam went with him but in the end Byrne was a comfortable champion for a fifth time.

Antonio Giovinazzi
GP2 Series – 2nd

Despite graduating to the F1 feeder category as a relative unknown after a fairly modest couple of seasons at European F3 level, Antonio Giovinazzi found his form in the GP2 Series as he nearly reeled off a shock title win at his first attempt. Though assisted by the dominant performance of his Prema Racing team, it was driver skill that took Giovinazzi to a double win in Baku and from here he rarely failed to shine. Three more wins took him into a surprise title showdown with Pierre Gasly, but while he would lose out to his team-mate on the day, Giovinazzi's status as one of motorsport's most exciting newcomers has been assured

Brad Binder
Moto3 World Championship – Champion

Though he started the 2016 Moto3 World Championship as a fairly clear title favourite, Brad Binder was still the sheer class of the field this season. The South African youngster not only lived up to the hype but far exceeded it, notching up a steady stream of wins and podiums that ensured no other rider could get close to stymying his title charge. The fact his first win in Jerez came from last on the grid set the tone and thereafter Binder was never challenged, ending the year 142 points clear of his nearest rival

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo
F1 World Championship 3rd

Following a frustrating 2015 that brought him down to earth with a bump following the highs of 2014, Daniel Ricciardo regrouped, capitalised on a quicker-than-expected car and rose splendidly to the challenge presented by his new team-mate Max Verstappen. A return to winning ways in Malaysia might have been fortuitous but Ricciardo says this was his strongest F1 season yet and his performance in Monaco alone was testament to that. The odd lacklustre race day failed to dampen a marvellous second half of the year that would see him secure eight podiums and a clear third overall.

Related Pictures

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Haydon Paddon (NZ) John Kennard (NZ) Hyundai i20 WRC Logo

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