Over the past five days, Crash.net has been unveiling its top 100 drivers and riders from across the motorsport world from 2018. New Year's Eve marks the final part as we reveal our top 20, ending with the #1 racer in the world this year. Let us know in the comments if we’ve made the right choices.

20. Sebastien Buemi – 24 Hours of Le Mans, 1st; WEC LMP1, 1st (season ongoing); Formula E, 4th

Sebastien Buemi somehow ended up empty-handed in 2017, failing to win Le Mans, the WEC title, or a second Formula E crown, but recovered in style through 2018.

The Swiss driver finally put to bed the bad memories of 2016 as he teamed up with Fernando Alonso and Kazuki Nakajima to win Le Mans for the first time. Victory at Spa and podiums at Fuji and Shanghai put Buemi in the joint lead of the WEC LMP1 drivers’ standings heading into the new year.

Buemi had a less fruitful time in Formula E this year. His late defeat to Felix Rosenqvist in Marrakesh was as close as he would get to a win as Techeetah and Audi stole a march on the Renault team, which has since become Nissan for the new campaign. But Buemi once again proved himself to be an adept all-rounder, and, more crucially, one of the quickest men on four wheels.

19. Alexander Rossi – IndyCar, 2nd

Alexander Rossi spent his first couple of years in IndyCar bubbling under as a future star, most notably winning the Indianapolis 500 on debut in 2016, but 2018 marked his true arrival in the series.

Hopping over to the fully-fledged Andretti Autosport stable, Rossi hit the ground running this year with podiums in St. Petersburg (after a clash with Robert Wickens when fighting for the win late on) and Phoenix before an emotional victory at Long Beach in his home state of California.

P4 in the Indy 500 followed by wins at Mid-Ohio and Pocono thrust Rossi into title contention against Scott Dixon, only to lose out at Sonoma after early contact dropped him out of the fight.

This was nevertheless Rossi’s strongest year in IndyCar to date, marking himself out as one of the top tier drivers, capable of performing across all kinds of tracks. Expect him to be at the sharp end once again next year.

18. Valentino Rossi – MotoGP, 3rd

Valentino Rossi’s first winless MotoGP campaign since his Ducati days six years ago might be an argument to see ‘the Doctor’ lower on this list, but given Yamaha’s own struggles it was a surprise to see the Italian as Marc Marquez’s closest title challenger up until the final few rounds of the year.

Five podiums and one pole position, along with no wins, remains a modest return but Rossi’s unwavering consistency to maximise his result despite suffering for outright performance against his rivals ensured he finished inside the top six in 13 out of 18 races – a record only bettered by Marquez.

But without tasting victory champagne in 2018, going closest in Malaysia where he crashed out of the lead, it means the year will go down as one of Rossi’s toughest of his career.

17. Jorge Martin – Moto3, 1st

Ever since his switch to the Del Conca Gresini squad at the start of 2017, Jorge Martin had always been tipped as a title contender in Moto3. Last year’s effort was heavily hampered by injury as he missed two key races in Germany and the Czech Republic to see the Spaniard finish the year in fourth place.

In 2018, Martin avoided both prolonged injuries – but did miss the Brno race again – and converted his 2017 podiums into race victories to see him set the early pace with triumphs in Qatar, America, Italy, the Netherlands and Germany.

With Marco Bezzecchi maintaining the pressure, Martin produced a vital pole position and victory at Aragon to give himself a comfortable points cushion heading to the pressure-filled flyaway races.

A crash in Japan, coupled with Bezzecchi’s win, threw the momentum to his title rival but a fifth-place recovery in Australia followed by victory in Malaysia saw the Spaniard wrap-up the world championship with one round to spare.

16. Sebastien Ogier – World Rally Championship, 1st

A sixth consecutive WRC world title but by far the toughest of his career. A fifth straight perfect start with victory at Rallye Monte-Carlo was followed by a poor Rally Sweden but the defending champion recovered with back-to-back wins in Mexico and France to take a firm grip on the title.

But that grip loosed drastically with just a single podium (second place in Sardinia) across the following six rounds to see Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville take the lead in the standings.

Ogier and M-Sport Ford dug in at the team’s home event for victory in Wales which was followed by second place in Spain, but with Sebastien Loeb winning as a non-title threat, the defending champion regained the points lead heading to a dramatic finale in Australia.

Keeping the pressure on both his chasing rivals Neuville and Ott Tanak, the situation saw both crack and allow Ogier to ease off for fifth place and with it a sixth WRC crown.

15. Lucas di Grassi – Formula E, 2nd

Lucas di Grassi had a real shot at becoming Formula E’s first multiple champion as Audi displayed impressive pace through pre-season – only for reliability to prove costly.

Through five races, di Grassi had just three points to his name, leaving him 78 points back in the title fight. But after Audi got to the bottom of its recurring reliability woes, the Brazilian went on a remarkable run of form that saw him take seven straight podium finishes, made up for five P2s and two wins.

While it wasn’t enough to deny Jean-Eric Vergne the drivers’ crown, di Grassi’s form came in time for Audi to clinch its first Formula E teams’ title, as well as sounding a warning shot to the rest of the Formula E grid.

Di Grassi also dipped into the Stock Car Brasil series through 2018, scoring three race wins.

14. Kimi Raikkonen - Formula 1, 3rd

In 2018 Raikkonen produced his best F1 season of the V6 hybrid era to finish inside the championship top three for the first time since 2012. Despite turning 39 at the latter stages of the year, Raikkonen found a new level of motivation throughout the season and proved to be one of the most consistent drivers.

The Finn scored 12 podiums - matching the total of Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel - one pole on Ferrari’s home soil and finally ended a winning drought that had lasted over five years. 113 races since winning the 2013 Australian Grand Prix, Raikkonen charged to victory at a thrilling United States Grand Prix to seal a memorable win that acted as one of the highlights of an excellent year.

13. Francesco Bagnaia – Moto2, 1st

After an eye-catching rookie Moto2 campaign last year with the Sky Racing Team VR46, many tipped Francesco Bagnaia as a title contender in 2018 but very few expected the dominating form of the Italian.

Eight wins and three additional podiums across 18 rounds, while also scoring points in every race, meant the front-running pace was unrelenting for his rivals. Despite a difficult Australia, where he had his first chance to seal the title, third place in Malaysia finishing directly behind his final title rival Miguel Oliveira enabled the Italian to seal an emotional world championship.

Big things are already predicted for Bagnaia for 2019 with his move up to MotoGP on the Pramac Ducati as he demonstrated his credentials this season.

12. George Russell - Formula 2, 1st

Russell followed up on his title-winning GP3 campaign by triumphing to the F2 championship crown in his rookie season with ART Grand Prix, replicating the achievements of Charles Leclerc in the process.

Fellow Briton and McLaren junior Lando Norris had the most attention surrounding him heading into the new season but it was the Mercedes-backed Russell who stole the headlines in 2018. Despite being hit with a number of mechanically-related reliability woes early on in the campaign, the 20-year-old recovered brilliantly to surge to the title, winning seven races and taking five poles as he elevated himself above the rest of the field and ultimately earned himself a deserved F1 shot with Williams.

11. Sebastian Vettel – Formula 1, 2nd

Sebastian Vettel’s wait to follow in Michael Schumacher’s footsteps and be the man to return Ferrari to its former glories continued in 2018, despite this being his best chance in the last four years to do so.

Ferrari entered the season strongly, with Vettel winning the first two races. Victories in China and Baku could have followed, only for things not to go his way in a sign of things to come later in the year.

Ferrari really hit its stride through the middle of the European season, clearly enjoying a pace advantage over Mercedes. Victory at Silverstone vaulted Vettel into the lead of the championship – and then Hockenheim happened.

A slow-speed crash while leading comfortably ended Vettel’s chances of a maiden Hockenheim win, as well as allowing title rival Lewis Hamilton to complete a remarkable charge from P14 on the grid to take victory and the championship lead.

It was the first of many mistakes from Vettel late in the year, the most notable ones being spins at Monza, Suzuka and Austin in the opening stages that dropped him out of contention for victory. It meant Hamilton could streak clear to win the title with two races to spare, and by his greatest margin of victory with a record points total.

Vettel put in some stunning displays this year which should not be overlooked. But he failed to fulfil the championship-winning potential Ferrari had. Will another chance this good come his way again?

Click on Page 2 to seee our top 10...

10. Scott Dixon – IndyCar, 1st

2018 was a year for five-time world champions. Lewis Hamilton and Marc Marquez achieved the feats in Formula 1 and MotoGP respectively – but Scott Dixon became a five-timer himself over in IndyCar.

Dixon’s relentless consistency reached new heights in 2018. Alongside three wins, he hit the podium at Indianapolis (twice), Road America, Pocono, Gateway and Sonoma. Between the Indy GP at the start of May and the season finale at Sonoma, Dixon finished outside of the top five just once, at Iowa.

One of Dixon’s most remarkable moments came at the penultimate race in Portland. After being caught up in a first-lap clash that saw his car get spun and hit by three rivals, one of whom went over the top of his Ganassi car, Dixon recovered to finish the race fifth.

Despite being pushed hard by Alexander Rossi in the title fight, Dixon once again proved why he is one of IndyCar’s all-time greats. At 38, he’s still got a few years left at the highest level, and if 2018’s form is anything to go by, more titles are surely going to come his way.

9. Alex Rins – MotoGP, 5th

One of the standout youngsters on the MotoGP grid in 2018, after an injury-stalled rookie campaign last year Alex Rins properly announced himself in the premier class for Suzuki with an impressive season which included five podiums.

A maiden MotoGP rostrum arrived in the wild Argentina race, seeing off Jack Miller late on, but he struggled for consistency at the start of the season with three DNFs alongside his third place in South America.

In the incredible Assen race, Rins more than held his own with some eye-catching overtakes to secure second place before discovering his consistency to notch up strong points over the second half of the season – only behind Marc Marquez on total points scored after the summer break.

During the flyaway races at the end of the season, Rins continued to show his worth to Suzuki with a trio of podiums in Japan, Malaysia and the wet finale in Valencia to secure fifth place in the MotoGP riders’ standings.

8. Charles Leclerc - Formula 1, 13th

Leclerc’s move into F1 in 2018 was met by much anticipation, given the highly-rated Monegasque’s Ferrari links and arrival in the sport following back-to-back title wins in GP3 and F2. After a tough transition during the opening three rounds, Leclerc soon found his feet and turned heads in the paddock with a superb drive in Baku to claim sixth place - his and the revitalised Sauber squad’s best result of the season.

The 19-year-old’s success did not stop there as his momentum continued to grow. He convincingly beat teammate Marcus Ericsson in both qualifying and on race day, scored 39 of Sauber’s 48-point haul and made it into Q3 eight times, with his Saturday performances in France, Russia and Brazil acting as particular highs.

In total, Leclerc finished inside the points 10 times across 2018 and capped off the season in style with three consecutive seventh-place finishes. The excitement surrounding Leclerc will only continue to rise when he joins Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari in 2019.

7. Fernando Alonso – Formula 1, 11th; 24 Hours of Le Mans, 1st; WEC LMP1, 1st (season ongoing)

Fernando Alonso did plenty to firm up his legacy as being one of modern motorsport’s great all-rounders in 2018, with his first series foray into sports car racing yielding sensational results.

Formula 1 naturally remained Alonso’s priority, and despite early-season promise following the switch to Renault power units, it became a familiar story for the Spaniard. Issues with the design of the McLaren car meant the team regressed through the season, making points a rarity come Abu Dhabi.

Tired of F1, Alonso confirmed in August he would not be racing in the series in 2019, instead turning his attention to other championships, where he had begun to taste success once again.

Alonso made a splash in his Rolex 24 at Daytona debut in January, acting as preparation for his LMP1 programme with Toyota. Alonso took pole and victory on his WEC debut at Spa before completing the second leg of his Triple Crown goal with a Le Mans win.

Alonso did not do it alone, teaming up with Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima in the #8 Toyota, yet it was his night-time stint that was the stand-out display from the trio in the race. He carved over a minute out of the sister #7 car’s lead, paving the way for their fight through to victory.

2019 will see Alonso return to Le Mans and enjoy his second shot at the Indianapolis 500. With a little more preparation than his impressive debut in 2017, he stands a real chance of becoming only the second driver in history to complete the Triple Crown.

6. Jean-Eric Vergne – Formula E, 1st; ELMS, 2nd

Since being ditched by Toro Rosso in F1 at the end of 2014, Jean-Eric Vergne has been on a long road to redemption. He finally got there in 2018 – and boy did he do it in style.

Vergne had spent the previous year building up the privateer Techeetah team, which pulled off a shock by stealing a march on the rest of the Formula E field through 2018.

Vergne led its charge with wins in Santiago – ahead of teammate Andre Lotterer for Formula E’s first one-two – Punta del Este and Paris, before a fifth-place finish in the New York opener saw him wrap up the drivers’ title with one race to spare.

Besides Vergne’s superb Formula E form, he also hit his strides in sports cars as part of G-Drive Racing’s LMP2 stable. Vergne led the team to a dominant victory at Le Mans, only to lose the win over a technical irregularity, but also took wins at Spa in WEC and at Monza, Spielberg and Silverstone in the European Le Mans Series. In fact, it wasn’t until late September that Vergne actually lost a race on-track in sports cars.

So impressive was Vergne’s form that he found himself fielding calls from Formula 1 teams over a possible comeback. Alas, a return is unlikely – he’s in a good groove exactly where he is right now, and unquestionably one of the world’s finest racers.

5. Andrea Dovizioso – MotoGP, 2nd

While Andrea Dovizioso was unable to push Marc Marquez as closely in the MotoGP title race this year compared to 2017, the Italian holding his hands up at the three DNFs at Jerez, Le Mans and Catalunya as the cause, 2018 still ended a strong year for the Italian.

The Ducati rider led the MotoGP world championship after victory in the opener at Qatar before a run of poor results allowed Marquez to produce a healthy points gap in the standings.

Losing out to team-mate Jorge Lorenzo for victory in Mugello would have hurt but a pole position and a win in Brno began to cement the idea Ducati could win at ‘non-Ducati’ tracks.

Victory in San Marino plus podiums in Aragon, Austria and Thailand helped him surge to second in the standings but in an all-or-nothing race in Japan he crashed out fighting Marquez to see the Spaniard seal the title.

But a warning for 2019 was issued with victory in the wet Valencia finale as Ducati’s performance continued to improve against its rivals at a variety of tracks on the MotoGP calendar.

4. Max Verstappen – Formula 1, 4th

Six races into the Formula 1 season, you would have been laughed out of the room for suggesting Max Verstappen would end the year this high in our Crash 100 rankings.

Six incidents in as many weekends had seen Verstappen spurn victory chances in China and Monaco, leading to questions about a possible need to change his approach. While Verstappen dismissed the need to at the time, he stopped trying to overdrive his car, leading to a remarkable run of form to the end of the year.

An opportunistic victory in Austria was followed by a string of podium finishes – 10 between his qualifying crash in Monaco and the end of the year – and two late-season highpoints. First was his dominant victory in Mexico, blowing the rest of the field away as he marched clear at the front. In Brazil, Verstappen was in inspired form, charging from P5 on the grid to lead the race after the pit stops, only for the clash with Esteban Ocon to cost him a sure-fire win.

While there are still rough edges to corner off – his reaction to the Ocon clash being one example – Verstappen is increasingly looking like world champion material. The new Red Bull-Honda era starting in 2019 is one that he will be the face of. It continues to seem like a matter of when, not if, he will become F1’s man to beat.

3. Jonathan Rea – World Superbikes, 1st

History-maker Jonathan Rea continued to write a new World Superbike record book with his fourth consecutive title along with surpassing Troy Corser’s podium record and Carl Fogarty’s win record.

The only meaningful record Rea doesn’t top or share in World Superbikes remains the most pole positions in a season (Ben Spies with 11 from 2009) but Rea’s name is now everywhere you look as the greatest World Superbike rider of all-time.

Despite the technical rule tweaks for 2018, aimed at reeling in Rea’s recent dominance, the Northern Irish rider maintained his almost untouchable pace by winning every single race from Laguna Seca race one until the end of the season – 11 races in total – along with at least one win at every round except Donington Park and Phillip Island.

Returning with a new Kawasaki ZX-10RR in 2019, Rea will target a fifth world crown to take the outright most titles record which he currently shares with Fogarty.

2. Marc Marquez – MotoGP, 1st

2018 became seventh heaven for Marc Marquez as he stormed to the MotoGP world title, his fifth in the premier class, but it was a season full of fierce fighting for the Repsol Honda rider who rarely had a smooth path to victory.

After finishing second to Andrea Dovizioso in Qatar, coupled with his wild incidents in Argentina, Marquez was on the backfoot but a hat-trick of wins in Austin, Jerez and Le Mans ignited his title defence.

A rare race crash, despite numerous practice and qualifying falls, saw Marquez miss out in Mugello before a mid-season run which included five wins and four podiums – finishing on the podium in every race in that stretch – culminating in sealing the riders’ title at Honda’s home race in Motegi.

Wins in the hectic Assen race and at the new Thailand event demonstrated Marquez’s supreme class on his way to the title with three races to spare as none of his rivals could keep pace.

Even with a scary crash with Johann Zarco at Phillip Island and an off at the wet Valencia finale, Marquez still triumphed with the title won after seeing Valentino Rossi push a little too hard while leading the closing stages of the Sepang race. It marked his ninth win of the year and secured a 50% win rate in 2018.

Despite a couple of high-profile mistakes in 2018, Marquez only missed the podium on four occasions all year and maximised his Honda’s performance at every race he reached the rostrum against the fancied Ducati GP18 riders.

1. Lewis Hamilton – Formula 1, 1st

As impressive as his prior successes have been, Lewis Hamilton reached new heights in 2018 as he became only the third driver in history to win a fifth world championship.

Even in the face of a rejuvenated Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel, Mercedes fancied its chances after an impressive pre-season – only for Ferrari to spring a surprise with its early pace as Vettel took wins in Australia and Bahrain.

Hamilton’s first win only arrived in Baku – and in fortuitous circumstances – but he quickly doubled up with a second win in Spain. While another victory came in France, retirement in Austria and a first-lap clash at Silverstone meant he neared the summer break on the back foot.

An issue in qualifying left Hamilton 14th on the grid at Hockenheim, giving Vettel a chance to pull out a decent points lead from pole. But a costly error from Vettel saw him crash out, with Hamilton splashing through the rain to take victory.

Hockenheim may have seen the decisive swing in the championship, but Hamilton followed it up with further displays of brilliance. His pole laps in Hungary and Singapore – both tracks Ferrari was expected to lead at – were astounding, while victory at Monza after a late pass on Kimi Raikkonen was an emphatic message.

Hamilton was clinical throughout 2018, even when the title was settled – a time in the past when he has gone off the boil – as he closed out the year with 11 wins, 11 poles, and a record points total.

But the most impressive aspect of Hamilton’s title win in 2018 was how comfortable he has become. He truly looks at ease in every aspect of his life, combining his on-track successes with pursuits in areas such as fashion and music. Everything with him seems perfectly balanced right now.

And with Hamilton in that kind of mood, it will take something big to prevent him from winning a sixth title in 2019 and edge closer to Michael Schumacher’s records.