Crash is unveiling its top 100 from across the motorsport globe from 2017 with a countdown on each day until New Year’s Eve! 

Check out Crash's Top 100 for 2017: Part 4 (40-21)

 

20. Maverick Vinales - MotoGP, 3rd

Jorge Lorenzo’s replacement at Movistar Yamaha looked a perfect match by topping all of the pre-season tests and winning the opening two races in Qatar and Argentina, but a crash in the USA and sixth place in Jerez dropped him off the pace in the points standings, only to bounce back with a dramatic victory at Le Mans.

Podiums in Mugello, Brno and Silverstone were the highlights of a tricky middle third of the season as the top two pulled away in the riders’ championship before he saw the factory Yamaha’s development tail out with just one podium in the final six races. Third place in the MotoGP riders’ standings in his first year at Yamaha still marks the best season of his career but after such a flawless start more had been expected.

19. Felix Rosenqvist - Formula E, 3rd; Super Formula, 3rd

The man who can race anything and win in anything, Felix Rosenqvist only furthered the legend surrounding his versatility and outright ability in 2017 by enjoying strong campaigns on two fronts - fronts he had never ventured to before.

Rosenqvist joined Mahindra in Formula E and took pole for just his second race in Marrakesh, and finally got a breakthrough win in Berlin. He was untouchable all weekend long, and would have come away with two wins had he not been stripped of his Sunday victory for a questionable penalty for an unsafe pit release. The Swede ended season three P3 in the standings, and made a flying start to season four with a remarkable fightback win in Hong Kong.

Outside of Formula E, Rosenqvist also embarked on a campaign in Super Formula, finishing the season third overall with three podiums - not bad for starters. He also enjoyed a hugely impressive second IndyCar test with Chip Ganassi Racing, raced at Le Mans in LMP2 with DragonSpeed, and even took a win in the Porsche Carrera Cup in Sweden when he was invited to race as a guest!

18. Esteban Ocon - F1, 8th

Stepping up to Force India for his first full season in Formula 1 will remain a memorable one for Esteban Ocon having produced impressive consistency for a relatively inexperienced driver. The Frenchman missed out on the points on just two occasions all year – a record only bettered by the Mercedes duo in 2017 – while he set the F1 all-time record for most consecutive race finishes from the start of career with 27 which was cruelly ended in a first-lap clash with Romain Grosjean in Brazil.

Ocon’s 2017 was also full of highlights, most notably a pair of fifth place finishes coming in Spain and Mexico, where keeping his nose clean and maximising his Force India’s performance ensured he took advantage whenever the top three teams faltered.

An eye-catching fifth which turned into third (due to engine penalties) in a wet qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix demonstrated his skills both over a single lap and in the rain while the 21-year-old also wasn’t dissuaded to take on a vastly more experienced team-mate.

In truth Ocon’s clashes with Force India stablemate Sergio Perez somewhat dampened the team’s feats toward the latter stages of 2017 with their rivalry coming to a head in an on-track clash at Spa which resulted in ‘rules of engagement’ being installed. Their fierce battle is already a talking point for the 2018 season and what the Mercedes-backed driver can produce to build upon his outstanding 2017 campaign.

17. Lucas Mahias – World Supersport, champion

Lucas Mahias returned to the World Supersport championship as Endurance World Champion and paired with the new Yamaha YZF-R6 the French rider relied upon his consistency to secure a maiden title in the series.

Seven rostrums from the opening nine races, including a maiden win at Aragon, ensured Mahias was a firm title contender against defending champion Kenan Sofuoglu and when the Turkish rider was ruled out through injury for Magny-Cours and Jerez he stacked up a healthy points advantage going into the season finale in Qatar.

Despite immense pressure at Losail to seal the title, Mahias wrapped it up in impressive fashion with pole position and victory in a frantic race for his second world title in as many years.

16. Sebastien Buemi - FIA WEC LMP1, 2nd; Formula E, 2nd

Sebastien Buemi’s 2017 offered his most successful season in terms of race wins, yet he remarkably came away without a second title in either the WEC or Formula E.

Buemi was the man to beat early on in Formula E’s second season, becoming the first driver in the series’ history to win three straight races. Back-to-back wins to start the WEC campaign meant he arrived at Le Mans with a unique triple in sight: WEC, Le Mans and the Formula E titles.

But things went downhill fast. Reliability woes denied Buemi a chance to win Le Mans and make up for his 2016 heartache, handing Porsche the initiative for the rest of the season. Despite ending the year with an unprecedented five race wins alongside Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima, Buemi was title-less.

In Formula E, Buemi’s capitulation was all the more remarkable. He remained in the lead of the drivers’ championship despite missing the New York double-header, but a practice crash and disqualification from the opening race in Montreal killed his title hopes, handing Lucas di Grassi the crown.

All in all, Buemi won 9/19 races he entered in 2017. Even if he didn’t win a title, he once again marked himself as one of the finest racing drivers on the planet right now.

15. Brendon Hartley - FIA WEC LMP1, champion; 24 Hours of Le Mans winner; Formula 1, 23rd

One-upping Felix Rosenqvist on the ‘race everything and be good at everything’ scale, Brendon Hartley enjoyed a racing season that is unlikely to be matched anytime soon.

After beginning the year with a quiet run to P7 in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Hartley’s season was really kick-started at Le Mans when he played a part in a famous win for Porsche alongside Timo Bernhard and Earl Bamber, fighting back from almost an hour in the pits for his maiden overall victory at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

As Hartley and co. forged a path to the WEC title with three wins following Le Mans, their futures were thrown into doubt when Porsche announced it would be quitting LMP1 at the end of the year. Hartley put in an opportune call to Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko to say he was available for anything that may come up, and left it at that.

Hartley took victory at Petit Le Mans to close out the IMSA season before then getting a dream call. Seven years after being dropped from Red Bull’s driver programme, he was handed a one-off F1 shot in the United States GP with Toro Rosso. He impressed enough to secure a seat for the rest of the season, and despite being hit by grid penalties, secured a seat in F1 for 2018.

A run of eight straight weekends closed out Hartley’s season across three different series, plus with a private Formula E test in the middle. A record-equalling 21-race F1 schedule will be child’s play next year for the New Zealander…

14. Shane Byrne – British Superbike Championship, champion

Shane Byrne’s unprecedented sixth BSB title brought along a first for the Be Wiser Ducati rider – it was the first time he’d successfully defended the crown. Arguably his toughest challenge to date, Byrne saw off multiple threats from experienced hands Leon Haslam and Josh Brookes to emerging talents in Jake Dixon and Luke Mossey.

Byrne saw his task of a sixth title made even tougher after being ruled out of the season opener when he sustained concussion at Donington Park but the defending champion found his rhythm with a run of eight consecutive rostrums which included five wins to wrestle the title lead by the halfway point.

A tricky start to the BSB Showdown rounds at Oulton Park saw Haslam take back the points lead but on home turf Byrne delivered with two wins and in a gripping finale saw off a valiant charge from Haslam to seal a sixth championship.

13. Fernando Alonso – F1 (15th), Indy 500

Fernando Alonso’s headline-grabbing moments have potentially come outside of F1 for the first time in his career with his shock maiden outing at the Indianapolis 500, sacrificing the Monaco Grand Prix, as the Spanish driver saw a nightmare 2017 unfold on the first day of winter testing in Barcelona.

Repeated engine failures plus the power deficit to its rivals effectively forced Alonso out of the competition he targeted before the season even began. Shoots of recovery appeared during the course of the season from Honda, despite its relationship with McLaren pushed past breaking point, which saw a fighting two-time F1 world champion score points in all three of the final races of the year.

A best result of sixth place and fastest lap of the race in Hungary demonstrated McLaren’s faith in its chassis combined with Alonso’s race craft after another frustrating season stuck at the back.

12. Joan Mir – Moto3, champion

After enjoying a hugely impressive rookie Moto3 season last year on his way to 5th place in the riders’ championship, Mir and his Leopard Racing squad made the bold switch to Honda machinery from KTM. The move, combined with a year’s experience, paid off as Mir stormed to opening back-to-back wins for an early championship lead which he never let go.

A total of 10 wins from 18 races for Mir matched Marc Marquez’s 2010 record in the junior class and only bettered by Valentino Rossi’s 11 wins back in 1997. But Mir’s consistency in the dogfight of Moto3 made the Spaniard really stand out having missed out on the rostrum in just five of the 18 races in 2018 to ensure a ground-breaking year for the 20-year-old.

11. Josef Newgarden - IndyCar, champion

Josef Newgarden had long been standing out as one of IndyCar’s bright sparks, battling away as a plucky midfielder, but life at the front is very different. So when Penske came calling for 2017, success was by no means guaranteed.

It had taken Simon Pagenaud one year to bed in with Penske before he was ready to mount a title bid, and having taken a similar path, Newgarden was perhaps expected to need the same amount of time. Oh how wrong was that assumption…

Newgarden took his first win for Penske at just the third attempt at Barber, with further podiums at Long Beach, Detroit and Road America putting him in title contention come the sharp end of the season. It was here that he really hit his stride, with three wins and two second-place finishes in the final six races of the year delivering the championship, making him the first American winner since Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2012.

We always knew Newgarden had what it took to be champion - but this early? Perhaps not. Now he has the chance to kick on and start hunting down the record-makers.

10. Daniel Ricciardo – F1, 5th

A campaign of two halves for Daniel Ricciardo when a bumpy start in Australia turned into a rostrum run of five consecutive podium results capped by a dramatic victory in Azerbaijan when he kept a cool head with slick overtaking moves – notably a triple pass on Williams duo Lance Stroll and Felipe Massa and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg.

A small mid-season stall occurred when he was taken out by Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen on the opening lap of the Hungarian Grand Prix but after the summer break Ricciardo roared back with four podiums from five races.

However, a combination of engine penalties and unreliability sank any hopes of a strong finish when three DNFs over the final four races – plus a lowly sixth place in Brazil after a first lap clash – saw him lose fourth place to Kimi Raikkonen in the F1 drivers’ championship.

9. Max Verstappen – F1, 6th

Max Verstappen’s first full F1 campaign at Red Bull was very much a tale of two halves. A bright start of third place battling in wet conditions in China was followed by five retirements over the next seven races due to a combination of engines woes, crashes and bad luck.

With Red Bull lacking the outright performance and race pace of Mercedes and Ferrari, whenever Verstappen managed to reach the chequered flag it was at a stretch from the podium with his best mid-season result of fourth place at Silverstone aided by Vettel’s late puncture.

After being the meat in a Ferrari crash sandwich in Singapore, Verstappen’s fortunes turned around in style with a well-fought victory in Malaysia followed up by a second place in Japan – only narrowly missing out to Hamilton. Verstappen then got the upper hand in the first lap scrap with Hamilton and Vettel to ease to victory in Mexico which added to his two fifth place finishes in Brazil and Abu Dhabi meant the Dutch driver scored the most points of any driver over the final six races.

8. Johann Zarco – MotoGP, 6th

Stepping up to MotoGP for a rookie campaign as double Moto2 world champion, Zarco still exceeded all expectations as the surprise package of 2017. The Tech 3 Yamaha rider shot into the lead of the season opener in Qatar before slipping off – which would be his only non-score all season – as the French rider became a constant front-runner.

A maiden podium duly came on home soil at Le Mans having also briefly led the race while accolades followed with a first pole position in the premier class which arrived at Assen. A couple of wet-weather pit stop gaffs aside, Zarco enjoyed a largely flawless campaign while also keeping the factory Yamaha riders under pressure.

Another pole position, this time in Honda heartland at Motegi, followed by back-to-back rostrums in Sepang and Valencia saw the French star produce the best rookie MotoGP season of any rider since Marc Marquez in 2013 while Zarco beat the likes of Jorge Lorenzo, Danilo Petrucci and Cal Crutchlow this year.

7. Charles Leclerc – Formula 2, champion

Graduating to the new-look Formula 2 as GP3 Series champion, Leclerc took the series by storm in his rookie year by winning the title with a round to spare to become the youngest-ever champion of the major Formula 1 feeder series at 19 years and 356 days old.

Leclerc dominated qualifying with eight feature race pole positions in 11 rounds and converted five of those into race victories. With an additional sprint race victory in Bahrain plus three other rostrums the Monaco-born driver sealed the title with a win in Jerez for Prema Racing.

Having enjoyed a handful of FP1 outings for Haas in 2016, Leclerc returned to F1 action as Sauber’s test driver and four further FP1 appearances in 2017 signalling his move up to F1 in 2018 with the rebranded Alfa Romeo Sauber squad.

6. Sebastian Vettel – F1, 2nd

Sebastian Vettel’s 2017 began with a storming start to back-up Ferrari’s impressive pre-season pace with three wins and three second places from the opening six races to pull out a useful early points lead.

But a slight dip in Canada followed by his brainless moment running into Hamilton behind the safety car in Azerbaijan put the German’s campaign into a wobble with just one rostrum in four races. Vettel thumped back into form with pole and victory in Hungary to extend his points lead to 14 points going into the summer break.

Damage limitation in the final two European races saw Vettel lose his points lead for the first time in the season but sitting on pole position in Singapore with Mercedes off the pace, the German driver looked set to strike. But his clash with Raikkonen and Verstappen before the first turn sparked Ferrari’s horrific run, followed by mechanical issues forcing him to start last in Malaysia and DNF in Japan.

With the title eventually conceded in Mexico, Vettel ended the year on a high with a further victory in Brazil and third place in Abu Dhabi.

5. Andrea Dovizioso – MotoGP, 2nd

The Italian rider enjoyed the best campaign of his MotoGP career as Ducati’s lead rider despite welcoming Jorge Lorenzo as team-mate for 2017 and took the world title fight down to the season finale in Valencia against Marc Marquez.

Second place in the 2017 opener in Qatar matched his previous results from the past two years but Dovizioso didn’t truly show himself as a title contender until back-to-back wins at Mugello (where he was also battling illness) and Barcelona. The Ducati rider accumulated useful points at circuits which traditionally didn’t suit his bike and bounced back to winning ways in Austria and Great Britain and take the championship lead.

Victory in Honda heartland at a soaking wet Motegi ended Marquez’s winning run but a difficult Phillip Island race finishing a lowly 13th place handed the Spaniard a huge advantage for the final two rounds. The Italian rider kept the title race running with victory at Sepang, following up his 2016 triumph, but with a 21-point deficit Dovizioso needed a miracle in Valencia.

The Ducati rider fought valiantly in a do-or-die race but his crash effectively ended the title race and an enthralling 2017 in which Dovizioso produced his best career results with six race wins and two additional rostrums.

4. Sebastien Ogier - World Rally Championship, champion

Winning a fifth straight WRC title may seem like no big deal given Sebastien Ogier’s conquering of the rally world in recent years, yet this was unquestionably the Frenchman’s hardest-fought and most surprising title success to date.

Ogier linked up with the Ford-backed M-Sport squad for the new season following Volkswagen’s exit from the WRC, a team not fancied to beat the full works outfits such as Hyundai and Toyota.

Yet Ogier was able to take a shock win on debut for M-Sport in Monte Carlo and remained consistent all year long. While Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville was perhaps quicker outright, taking four wins to Ogier’s two, mistakes were frequent. For Ogier, they were non-existent. He was top five in every rally bar Finland, where a throttle issue forced him to retire on the opening day.

Ogier’s fifth world title was richly deserved, and with greater Ford backing arriving for 2018, it would take a brave man to bet against him making it six.

3. Marc Marquez – MotoGP, champion

The dominant force in MotoGP endured his toughest title battle to date against Andrea Dovizioso but proved once again his unwavering consistency paid dividends.

The defending MotoGP world champion suffered his worst start to a season with fourth place in Qatar and a crash in Argentina that forced him on the backfoot against runaway leader Maverick Vinales.

Marquez maintained his unbeaten record in the United States to return to winning ways before a strong runner-up result in Jerez but the Spaniard dipped off again with a fall at Le Mans coupled by a distant sixth place in Mugello.

But that set-up his mid-season charge which included five wins and four additional rostrums in the space of 10 races to storm into a useful 33-point lead at Phillip Island with two rounds to go. With his points advantage to lean upon fourth place in Sepang was enough to keep the pressure on Dovizioso and third place in Valencia coupled with the Italian’s off handed him a fourth MotoGP title and sixth world championship in all at just 24.

2. Lewis Hamilton – F1, champion

Bouncing back from the disappointment of losing the F1 world title to Nico Rosberg last season, Lewis Hamilton appeared to relish the new fight against Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel. A promising start to the year was tempered by his ‘diva’ Mercedes car which enabled Vettel to build a points lead over the first half of the season but Hamilton always remained in stride with the German.

A fierce but fair fight against Vettel for victory in Spain sparked the start of their direct competition but his seventh place in Monaco pushed him on to the back foot. Victory in Canada handed momentum to Hamilton with the boiling point in his battle against Vettel spiking in Azerbaijan when the German rammed his rival behind the safety car.

Hamilton conceded further ground to Vettel by the summer break before his charge of five wins in six races to demolish his title rival, coupled the Ferrari’s disaster in the Asian flyaway races. With ninth place in Mexico enough to wrap up a fourth F1 world title Hamilton eased off with a qualifying crash in Brazil before missing out on victory in Abu Dhabi to team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

1. Jonathan Rea – World Superbikes, champion

History-maker Rea has come out on top after his record breaking third World Superbike title in 2017 with Kawasaki Racing Team. The Northern Irish rider became the first rider in history to win three World Superbike crowns in a row and has drawn level with Troy Bayliss on three titles and just one off of Carl Fogarty’s all-time record.

Records continued to tumble having missed the rostrum in just two races all season – beating his 2015 and 2016 record – while his 16 race wins was just second on the all-time list for most victories in a season to Doug Polen’s 17 victories in 1991. Rea also equalled Polen’s record of 14 fastest laps in a single season.

Rea’s unwavering consistency saw him wrap up the title at Magny-Cours with five races to spare and went on to score a record number of points of 556 – beating the previous record held by Colin Edwards in 2002.

While Rea had the superior package with his factory Kawasaki, what made his charge into the record book all the more impressive was his unstoppable ability to carve through the field on the reverse race two grid. On the 13 occasions Rea started on the third row or lower for race two he was still able to win eight times from that position. Simply, wherever Rea started he found a way back to the rostrum and usually in an untouchable manner.

This domination of World Superbikes against a quality field sees Rea a deserving winner of the accolade for a truly outstanding 2017.

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Lewis or Marc should have shared top 2...Both were bounced back from difficult moments this year...Rae had good bike in WSBK field...Hat-trick gave him 1st place...I don't agree.

Not to sell JR65's talent short, but he is on the fastest bike and his you might want to check the passports on his pit crew because I think they're all swiss (you know, because of how precise they are)....  those guys didn't make a single misstep in 2017 (other than JR's pirelli deciding to part ways with the rim in Donnington, which is unlikely to be their fault)

Its't that easy winning first time in the history a Hat-Trick...But his bike was already on a full swing...So i just thought Rae might not struggled as much as 93 & 44 did... first 6 races were disaster for those two guys...  But the way Marc & Lewis bounced back this year was incredible...So that i just thought placin 44 & 93 in top 2 would've been better...Rae can be 3rd...and Rae is already 30...Where marc is just 24 now...  

I'd have given it to Marquez. Not the easiest bike to ride and he still won. Dovi should have been higher. Both Hamilton and Rea had the best tools for the job and unsurprisingly won their titles. 

I can't agree with the top spot in the least. Rea had another dominant season in SBK but I doubt that there is anyone who thinks that he would stand a chance against Marquez. Not even Rea would think that. Also, Mir had an impressive season and he might be a new Marquez or Valentino but he still has most everything to prove so a 12th place is a bit of a gift, specially when one of my favorite riders - Miguel Oliveira - had an impressive demonstration of his talent in a more demanding class and even didn't make this list. Does crash.net really think that Mir is going to wipe the floor with Oliveira next year?

Erm... where is Sam Sutherland, first ever British winner of the Dakar Rally, where's Bradley Ray, 11th in his first season of BSB, one place behind Mossey, ahead of Guintoli and top Suzuki and why is Josh Brookes only 66 when he returned to BSB to finish 2nd on a pushbike? 

Congratulations to Hamilton and Rae for brilliant seasons with the best machinery. Marquez won by far the toughest fight and should top your poll.

Just sayin'.

Happy New Year to y'all!

JR65 should be top 5 at most considering WSBK competitiveness and rivels.

MM93 should be top of the list with his performance this year up to the last race..
LH - well F1 as a motorsport is still a mess - idk what spot he should get

list criteria are not clear..