Jenson Button has placed second in the annual awards poll contributed by members of the European Sports Press Union.
The new world champion and Briton was awarded 81 points by journalists working for numerous European news agencies, behind the Swiss tennis player Roger Federer (135 points).
Just 8 points behind Button, 29, was the Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjorndalen.
Michael Schumacher won the European sportsman of the year title in 1994, 2001, 2002 and 2003. Kimi Raikkonen placed second in 2007.