Crash.net has been unveiling its top 100 drivers and riders from across the motorsport world from 2019 over the past five days - but who was #1? Find out below as our ranking comes to a close...

20. Maverick Vinales - 3rd in MotoGP

A season which started on a low and ended on a high for Maverick Vinales by capturing third place in the final MotoGP riders’ standings. Struggling for pace with a full fuel load at the start of races throughout the beginning of the season, Vinales gradually found solutions which enabled him to unleash his stunning late race pace more effectively. Wins at Assen and Phillip Island were key to silence the doubters against Vinales while podiums at Jerez, Sachsenring, Silverstone, Misano and Buriram added consistency to his campaign. Also a top three in the qualifying with three pole positions and six additional front row starts.

19. Simon Pagenaud - 2nd in IndyCar, Indy 500 winner

Following a difficult 2018 that put his future with Penske in serious doubt, Simon Pagenaud came roaring back to life this year. He dominated the Month of May at Indianapolis, winning both the GP and the Indy 500, the latter with a rare show of dominance in the race. It marked the first win from pole in a decade. Pagenaud fell short in the title race as he added just one more win to his tally, but kept Josef Newgarden honest throughout the year, reminding the IndyCar paddock why he is one of its hottest commodities.

18. Sebastian Vettel - 5th in Formula 1

Sebastian Vettel struggled to bounce back from the disappointment of his 2018 title defeat to Lewis Hamilton as his slump continued into this season. Once again, Vettel was left to rue a number of costly mistakes throughout the year, although this time he was never truly in championship contention as Mercedes’ incredible early streak put it in prime position to land both titles. Vettel improved as Ferrari enjoyed a short-lived resurgence following the summer break, with the German ending his year-long victory drought in Singapore and claiming a stunning pole position in Japan. But his season culminated with a clumsy collision with new Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc, who rattled Vettel and inflicted his first defeat to a teammate since his final year at Red Bull against Daniel Ricciardo in 2014.

17. Scott Redding - 1st in British Superbikes

A little over 12 months ago Scott Redding’s entire career hung in the balance after he lost his place at Aprilia in MotoGP. But not many comebacks outrank the British rider’s in 2019 as he stormed to the British Superbike title in his rookie year with unfamiliar circuits, tyres, rivals and the new Ducati V4 R - not to mention breaking his leg during winter training. On many occasions Redding demonstrated his class against the BSB field which made him a Moto2 race-winner and MotoGP rostrum-finisher as he produced instant speed in BSB and taking his maiden win in only his fifth race. As the year progressed Redding added consistency to his pace as he finished on the podium in each of the final 10 races of the year. The British rider was made to sweat over the BSB title by teammate Josh Brookes but Redding did just enough to seal the championship in the final race by five points.

16. Thierry Neuville - 2nd in World Rally Championship

Even if he was runner-up in the WRC for the fourth year in a row, Thierry Neuville was arguably in the form of his life through 2019. Neuville ironed out some of his past mistakes to accrue his highest season points total, but couldn’t hold a candle to Ott Tanak’s late-season form. His huge crash in Chile was a big dent to his hopes of a maiden title, and with just one win through the remaining rallies - at the Catalunya finale - it wasn’t enough for the Belgian to get close to Tanak.

15. Andrea Dovizioso - 2nd in MotoGP

2019 became a familiar story for Andrea Dovizioso as best of the rest behind Marc Marquez. A strong season overall became wrecked by his two DNFs of the campaign - both initiated by rivals taking him out with Jorge Lorenzo skittling him off in Barcelona and Fabio Quartararo high-siding into him at Silverstone. After his non-score at the British round, the MotoGP world title always looked a distant hope against Marquez’s domination but the Ducati rider maintain the best consistency behind the Spaniard to claim a comfortable second place in the riders’ world championship for a third consecutive season. Wins in Qatar and Austria were the clear standout moments in an otherwise frustrating campaign.

14. Carlos Sainz Jr - 6th in Formula 1

By his own assessment, Carlos Sainz took a massive step forward in 2019 as he began to unleash some of his true potential amid McLaren’s rise up the pecking order. The Spaniard was instrumental in helping the team claim fourth in the constructors’, and he pulled out some of the standout performances of the season to finish ‘best of the rest’ in an exceptional sixth spot, behind only drivers from the top three teams. Sainz flourished in his new surroundings and despite being pipped in the qualifying head-to-heads by Lando Norris, he outperformed his rookie teammate more often than not on Sundays. Eight top-five finishes, including a first-ever podium in Brazil, were key to Sainz emerging out on top of the ‘Class B’ fight.

13. Josef Newgarden - 1st in IndyCar

If Josef Newgarden’s first IndyCar title in 2017 was built on starting slow and finishing strong, then 2019 was the opposite. He came flying out of the blocks with victory at St Petersburg and two P2s in the first four races before a strong run to fourth at the Indy 500. Wins at Detroit, Texas and Iowa combined with Alexander Rossi’s title bid fading meant Newgarden still did enough for the title despite failing to finish on the podium in the last five races. Yet again, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better IndyCar ringer for your team.

12. Alvaro Bautista - 2nd in World Superbikes

A tale of two halves in the extreme for Alvaro Bautista as he moved from MotoGP to World Superbikes in 2019. The Aruba.it Racing Ducati rider utterly dominated the start of the season by winning the first 11 races ahead of defending champion Jonathan Rea. 13 wins from the opening 15 races made Bautista the odds-on favourite but a combination of complenancy, weaknesses with the V4 R Panigale plus the non-stop attack from Rea flipped the championship on its head over the summer rounds. A crash in the final race at Jerez was followed by the same situation in the last race at Misano to allow Rea back into the title picture. A horrid round at a wet Donington Park before taking zero points at Laguna Seca due to numerous falls handed the initiative to Rea who never let go with an unrelenting wins run which left Bautista out of the title picture with two rounds to spare. Bautista comfortably held on to second place but ultimately threw away one of the best rookie World Superbike campaigns of all-time.

11. Toprak Razgatlioglu - 5th in World Superbikes

In just his second season in the World Superbike championship, Toprak Razgatlioglu became the surprise package by building on his impressive rookie campaign to emerge as a consistent front-runner. Equipped with the customer-specification Puccetti Kawasaki, the Turkish rider outperformed many of his rivals on his way to two wins and 11 further rostrum finishes to beat the likes of Chaz Davies, Leon Haslam and Tom Sykes all on factory machines. Razgatlioglu starred at Magny-Cours by dominating the French round with two wins and should have made it a hat-trick only to crash out while battling for the lead. Having been pencilled in for the factory Kawasaki team in the future, a massive fallout between the Turkish rider and the team at the Suzuka 8 Hours - where he wasn’t picked to ride throughout the iconic endurance event - led to Yamaha snapping up the 23-year-old for 2020.

10. Sebastien Buemi - 1st in WEC LMP1, 2nd in Formula E

Sebastien Buemi’s five-year wait to add to his maiden WEC world title came to an end in 2019, joining Fernando Alonso and Kazuki Nakajima in the #8 Toyota crew that swept the final three races of the 2018-19 campaign at Sebring, Spa and Le Mans. Buemi’s third Le Mans win may have come with a stroke of fortune, but the Swiss racer was on song throughout his WEC commitments this year, adding victory at Fuji to P2s in the other three rounds opening the ‘19-20 season. Buemi also made a return to form in Formula E after a tricky final year in Renault colours, leading Nissan’s charge. Reliability woes cost him in the early part of the season, but he finished strongly to put pressure on eventual champion Jean-Eric Vergne, ending his win drought in New York. Buemi will enter 2020 knowing his elusive FE/WEC title double is a possibility once again.

9. Jean-Eric Vergne - 1st in Formula E

Jean-Eric Vergne may not have quite scaled the dizzying heights that he did through 2018 with success in both Formula E and sports car racing, but he once again proved himself to be one of the strongest racers on the planet. His Formula E title defence was far from dominant, but three wins was all he needed to romp clear in the standings as his rivals took points off each other and struggled to match his consistency. Vergne took one ELMS win for G-Drive and was in contention for class victory at Le Mans until late in the race, with the enduro classic again escaping his clutches.

8. Ott Tanak - 1st in World Rally Championship

After runs to third in the championship in both 2017 and 2018, Ott Tanak finally ascended to the top of the rallying world this year. The Estonian was able to kick on through the mid-part of the season as rivals Thierry Neuville and Sebastien Ogier started to falter, taking four wins in five rallies from Chile to Germany to pull clear in the points. A sixth win of the year at Rally GB put Tanak on the brink of the title, clinched in fashion with a run to second at Rally Catalunya. The reign of the Sebastiens is now over. The reign of the Ott has just begun.

7. Valtteri Bottas - 2nd in Formula 1

Valtteri Bottas recovered from a tough, winless 2018 campaign in fine style as he embraced a new ‘Valtteri 2.0’ mantra and harder approach to his racing. Bottas made the perfect start to the year by beating Lewis Hamilton to the win at the season-opener in Melbourne, while he added three further victories in Azerbaijan, Japan and the United States. Bottas’ flashes of brilliance were too few and far between to sustain a title challenge to Hamilton, who ultimately prevailed to the championship crown by 87 points. Nonetheless, Bottas improved drastically and proved more of a threat to Hamilton, particularly with regards to his one-lap performance as he equalled his teammate’s tally of five pole positions on his way to taking his best-ever finish in F1.

6. Charles Leclerc - 4th in Formula 1

Charles Leclerc fully justified Ferrari’s gamble to promote him as Kimi Raikkonen’s replacement for 2019 following his outstanding rookie campaign with Sauber last year. Leclerc took time to bed into life at the Scuderia but his pole position and near-victory in Bahrain proved he had the pace to prove more than a match for his four-time world champion teammate Sebastian Vettel. Ferrari’s 2019 car was inconsistent but when it was at its best during a resurgent spell following the summer break, Leclerc shined by claiming five pole positions and two supreme victories under pressure in Belgium and Italy, handing Ferrari its first win on home soil since 2010. Intra-team indecision and frictions hurt Ferrari’s season but Leclerc ultimately beat Vettel to fourth in the championship by 24 points. If Leclerc can eradicate the sort of mistakes he made in Baku, Monaco and Germany, then he could well force himself into the reckoning as Ferrari’s new team leader in 2020.

5. Fabio Quartararo - 5th in MotoGP

Fabio Quartararo went from unfancied rookie to MotoGP superstar in 2019 as he produced some stunning performances for the new Petronas Yamaha squad. A nightmare start to his MotoGP debut, when he stalled on the grid, didn’t discourage the French rider who grabbed an historic pole position in Jerez (one of six he would go on to claim this season). Lightning one-lap pace gradually converted into race-long performances as he took seven podiums across his stunning rookie year in the premier class. Quartararo even took on the dominant force of Marc Marquez on multiple occasions towards the end of the season, with his battles for victory against the reigning MotoGP world champion at both Misano and Buriram something only a few have been able to do in recent years. Top rookie and fifth in the overall standings is a hugely credible achievement on satellite Yamaha machinery and a repeat in 2020 will leave Quartararo destined to become a world champion challenger in the future.

4. Max Verstappen - 3rd in Formula 1

Arguably the driver of the season in F1 2019. Max Verstappen made the most of every opportunity he had, blew away his two teammates and emerged as the biggest rival to Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton’s stranglehold at the top of the pecking order as the season progressed. Boosted by Honda’s gains, Verstappen claimed all three of Red Bull’s victories in Austria, Germany and Brazil, but also demonstrated a number of standout performances across the campaign, including at the start of the year when Red Bull had not quite got to grips with its RB15 package. Verstappen finally ended his wait for a first pole position in Hungary and added a second to boot at Interlagos. He came close to further wins in Monaco and Hungary and ultimately clinched third in the championship. While the ever-improving Dutchman appears to have ironed out the mistakes that blighted his early career, some areas are in need of sharpening if he is to make that next step and seriously challenge Hamilton’s current dominance of F1. Some errors remained, most notably failing to acknowledge yellow flags at the end of Q3 in Mexico and being stripped of what should have been a comfortable pole.

3. Jonathan Rea - 1st in World Superbikes, Suzuka 8 Hours victory

On paper, Jonathan Rea’s 2019 looks just as impressive as his four previous World Superbike title triumphs; 17 wins, 17 further rostrums from 37 races. But without question his fifth world title became his toughest achievement as he overturned Alvaro Bautista’s early domination to successfully defend his title in style. 10 consecutive runner-up finishes to start 2019, all behind Bautista, proved vital as it didn’t allow the Ducati rider to runaway in the points standings and as he cranked up the pressure on the Spaniard the wins returned starting at Imola and Misano before a purple patch of victories at Donington Park, Laguna Seca and Portimao. With his rivals beaten, Rea wrapped up his historic fifth WorldSBK title with two rounds to spare to underline his dominance. Away from World Superbikes, Rea helped to deliver Kawasaki a highly-desired victory at the Suzuka 8 Hours alongside Leon Haslam and the unused Toprak Razgatlioglu to cap a near-perfect 2019.

2. Lewis Hamilton - 1st in Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton once again delivered a stellar season that will go down in history as statistically one the most successful of his career. After quashing Valtteri Bottas’ early momentum, Hamilton took charge of the title race and never looked back as he stormed to a sixth world championship with 10 victories and six further podiums from 21 races to record the most amount of points ever achieved across a single season (413). While his qualifying was not up to his usual standards - managing *just* five pole positions - Hamilton excelled on Sundays. Eight of his 10 wins were remarkably earned when he did not start from pole as the Briton demonstrated new levels of his impeccable race craft. He led 511 from 1262 laps raced across a season which featured just two notable errors: a rare mistake crashing in wet conditions in Germany during a nightmare home race for Mercedes, and tangling with Alexander Albon late on in Brazil, though he had already wrapped up the title by this stage. Hamilton’s meticulous work ethic and continued drive to perfect his craft is making him even more formidable as he looks to go on and equal Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles in 2020.

1.  Marc Marquez - 1st in MotoGP

Marc Marquez’s sixth MotoGP world title and eighth world crown overall was captured in his most complete campaign to date as he utterly dominated in 2019. 12 wins from 19 races, missing out on the podium only once all year (when he crashed out while leading in the United States) meant Marquez collected a gigantic 420 points - a new record in MotoGP - which works out as 22.1 points per race. Marquez also proved his adaptability and race craft by winning in a variety of ways from complete control at the front (Argentina, Germany and Aragon) to stunning last-lap duels (Misano, Thailand and Australia). Marquez has also become the complete package with 10 pole positions, 12 fastest laps and a series of stunning saves as he continues to rewrite the MotoGP record book. Never too far from controversy, Marquez remains unmissable and now has a record of an all-time great aged just 26.

 

Comments

Loading Comments...