All 21 F1 Drivers of the Day in 2018 – as voted by the fans

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All 21 F1 Drivers of the Day in 2018 – as voted by the fans
Luis Ramírez
By: Luis Ramírez
Co-author: Bernardo Maldonado
Jan 6, 2019, 5:17 PM

Fernando Alonso started and finished what might be his final Formula 1 season as the fans' pick for Driver of the Day in 2018 – and here are all the others too...

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Australia: Fernando Alonso

Australia: Fernando Alonso
1/21

Photo by: Sutton Images

  • Started: 10th
  • Finished: 5th
  • In his own words: It was a good race today, especially considering where we started. The last couple of years have been difficult, and I think the winter has been difficult as well. We switched to the Renault engine quite late and the team had to react very quickly to redesign some of the parts at the rear end, and now we've come here and both cars have scored points – one in the top five. We should be proud of that, but I think there's a lot more to come from McLaren. We didn't maximise the full potential nor squeeze everything out of the package today. This is only our first race together with Renault, and some updates will come in the next few races. We can start to look ahead a little bit and Red Bull will be the next target. As I said before, this race is probably our lowest performance of this season as things are going to get better and better. Obviously, today we got lucky with the two Haas cars retiring, Carlos' [Sainz] problem in turn nine, and then overtaking [Max] Verstappen under the Safety Car. Let's say four positions came thanks to some favourable conditions, but we made no mistakes and we capitalised on everything. A perfect job from the team.

Bahrain: Pierre Gasly

Bahrain: Pierre Gasly
2/21

Photo by: Andrew Hone / LAT Images

  • Started: 5th
  • Finished: 4th
  • In his own words: Unbelievable, what an incredible day! The second race of the season with Toro Rosso and Honda, and we finish P4. It's just amazing, I'm so happy! A big thanks to the team because the car was fantastic! I had a nice fight with Magnussen and the pace was really good. I saw unfortunately both Red Bull cars had to stop, then after Raikkonen retired the team told me we had the opportunity to finish P4, so I gave everything to the end. The car has been fantastic since the beginning of the weekend, today I could just push flat out and the pace was great because I managed to pull away from the Haas. I need a bit of time to let this sink in, but we will definitely enjoy it with the team tonight! The start of the race was mega - I managed to overtake Ricciardo in Turn 1 which was great, after that it got a bit tricky when Magnussen overtook me in Turn 1, I knew I had to overtake him straight back because I would lose time and it would be difficult to catch him afterwards. Once I passed, I managed to keep him behind and push flat out while I was trying to manage the tyres, which we did pretty well. I think the pace was great so I'm just super happy.

China: Daniel Ricciardo

China: Daniel Ricciardo
3/21

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / LAT Images

  • Started: 6th
  • Finished: 1st
  • In his own words: That was fun, a lot of fun and I just about believe it now. From where we were yesterday you would not have believed we would be here today. For me this is a massive reward for the mechanics and engineers, they really earned this victory. Not only for the pit stops and strategy today but for getting me out in Qualifying yesterday which enabled me to get in the fight for victory, they should be very, very proud. The problem in free practice wasn't their fault but they did all the hard work and made today happen.
At the start of the race I thought we could fight for a podium but I didn't really expect a win; then after the safety car and when I could see the way the race was going I knew we had a chance. Once I had a sniff of victory I wasn't going to let it go.
The team made a very quick decision to stop both cars under the safety car and it was a winning decision. I have lots of emotions. On the in lap I was just smiling and I didn't have many words, then on the podium I was nearly in tears and in the press conference I was just thinking about the whole race and also about last week; how disappointed this sport can make you feel but also how high it can make you feel. It's like some sort of drug I guess and now we can all celebrate tonight.

Azerbaijan: Charles Leclerc

Azerbaijan: Charles Leclerc
4/21

Photo by: Zak Mauger / LAT Images

  • Started: 13th
  • Finished: 6th
  • In his own words: It was an amazing race today - I am very happy with my result. It was definitely eventful, with many incidents on track making it especially challenging and fun to drive. I felt comfortable in the car, and did my best to gradually advance to the front of the midfield through the race. It is an incredible feeling to score points for the first time in Formula 1. As a team, we can see our potential, and know what our strengths are. I am very pleased, and look forward to continuing on this positive path.

Spain: Lewis Hamilton

Spain: Lewis Hamilton
5/21

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / LAT Images

  • Started: 1st
  • Finished: 1st
  • In his own words: I'm really, really happy. I had no idea how the race was going to play out. We got the qualifying right yesterday, but the temperatures were going up and down today, clouds were coming over and we didn't know if it was going to rain or not. But I got a good start and after that the others didn't have the pace to keep up with me. I was pulling away almost a second a lap and I was thinking "Yes, let's keep this up!" - and it stayed that way for the rest of the race. To get our first 1-2 of the season here is a really great result for the team. Everyone's worked so hard, we had a great pit stop and great strategy. I said that I wanted to come win the way that I won and when I was coming across the line I was just happy that I did as I planned to. The team have been working very hard to understand the tyres and how the car works, so I think it all came together this weekend.

Monaco: Daniel Ricciardo

Monaco: Daniel Ricciardo
6/21

Photo by: Zak Mauger / LAT Images

  • Started: 1st
  • Finished: 1st
  • In his own words: Wow, it still hasn't sunk in. It was a perfect weekend but a crazy race. It's such a long week and because I get so excited for this race, I find it hard to control myself and I just couldn't wait for the lights to go out today. The start went well and I thought, I've pretty much done the hard part so let's just finish this race. Then on lap 28 I exited a corner and felt like I pretty much had no power. When it was clear that it was an MGU-K issue I wanted to close my eyes and start crying as I thought the race was over and I wondered just what I have to do to win here.
I spoke with my engineer on the radio and we changed a lot of things that didn't fix the problem but we just had to survive with the problem and keep Seb behind. We had a lot less power, fortunately, it's a tight track and we had a good car so I could make up enough time in the corners not to be vulnerable on the straights. On any other circuit, there was no way I would have won today. It wasn't fun driving like that and I'm pretty exhausted, but very, very happy. We finally got some redemption and this is the sweetest feeling. It wasn't easy but now I can say I'm a winner here and it's great to win the team's 250th race.

Canada: Sebastian Vettel

Canada: Sebastian Vettel
7/21

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / LAT Images

  • Started: 1st
  • Finished: 1st
  • In his own words: This win is very important for our tifosi and for our team, today is a special day. 40 years ago Gilles won here, then 14 years ago it was Michael and I was thinking of that today. At the start I tried to build up a margin, I was happy with my first lap and then the safety car came out and I had to start over again. During my last 10 laps I prayed that my car would not develop a problem until the end! Points are always important but today this win means a lot and not just in terms of Championship. The season is still so long and there are many races ahead. The main thing is that our car is strong and stays like that, so that we can fight.

France: Sebastian Vettel

France: Sebastian Vettel
8/21

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Sutton Images

  • Started: 3rd
  • Finished: 5th
  • In his own words: I think my start was good, perhaps even too good, as I found myself very close to Lewis in front and, when I tried to brake, I had absolutely no grip and there wasn't much space where I could go: Valtteri on my right was trying to get his position back and Max was also trying to come round on the outside. It's a shame for Vattteri because he did nothing wrong and it's a shame for us, because we could have obtained a better result. Fortunately, we could continue racing, we had a good car in the race, but the outcome was not wnat we wanted. It was my fault, but now let's move on and think about the next weekend.

Austria: Max Verstappen

Austria: Max Verstappen
9/21

Photo by: Manuel Goria / Sutton Images

  • Started: 4th
  • Finished: 1st
  • In his own words: I'm so happy to win at the Red Bull Ring, and with so many Dutch fans here. It was also so unexpected, and that makes it even better. An amazing weekend. If you want to win a race this is the perfect place, in a Red Bull car at the Red Bull Ring. For the race I was very happy in general with how the car was behaving but I always just try to do my best race possible; if that is going to be first, second, third, it's not in your hand. From my side I felt in control, I was driving to the best I could with the car I had and at the end we were struggling a little more than Ferrari with the tyre blistering but we managed to stay ahead. I knew that Daniel and Lewis had to pit again and I didn't want that scenario so I was not driving to the full limit of the car but just managing everything. It was tougher than perhaps it looked but I just needed to be on top of my tyres. I'm very thankful to the engineers for making that strategy call under the VSC and full complements to the team for that pitstop, because that definitely made our race. The fans in the grandstand were great, so many orange t-shirts there. My focus was always on the track but for the last few laps I could look a little bit to my left and they were really cheering me on, it was amazing.

Great Britain: Lewis Hamilton

Great Britain: Lewis Hamilton
10/21

Photo by: JEP / LAT Images

  • Started: 1st
  • Finished: 2nd
  • In his own words: It was a difficult race, but I gave it everything and I'm grateful to make it back up to second. It was eventful from the start, but in the final laps we just didn't have the pace of the Ferraris on the fresher tyres. I'm very grateful that the car was in one piece after the incident in Turn 3 and that I could continue the race. I was last at that point, but I still believed that I could win - and I needed that mentality to make it back to where I finished. When the guys in front of me pitted under the Safety Car, it was an opportunity for me to get up into third. It was absolutely the right decision - if I had followed them into the pits I would have come out behind them on equal tyres and I would have struggled to get by them and most certainly would not have been second. The fans have been incredible this weekend and I'm so grateful for all their support.

Germany: Lewis Hamilton

Germany: Lewis Hamilton
11/21

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Sutton Images

  • Started: 14th
  • Finished: 1st
  • In his own words: I've never experienced a race quite like this. I knew sitting on the grid that I had to catch the guys at the front - that was my goal. I did a very long first stint, but I had to stop just before it started to rain as the tyre just couldn't hold out any longer. It rained more and more and it was so tricky out there, but I'd come so far, there was no way I was giving it up. To get the 1-2 for Mercedes, especially on a weekend when the Team showed their confidence in us by re-signing us, is tremendous. I would never have thought you could do something like that today but I just kept pushing, I kept believing and it happened. I prayed as I always do before the race, and it feels like those prayers were answered. There was a lot of negativity this weekend, but I feel like the rain has come down and washed away all of that negativity. It's been a real dream and a day I'll always remember.

Hungary: Daniel Ricciardo

Hungary: Daniel Ricciardo
12/21

Photo by: Zak Mauger / LAT Images

  • Started: 12th
  • Finished: 4th
  • In his own words: We had a pretty good car and I was able to make it to fourth having been at P16 at one point on the first lap, so in the end it was a good result for us. The start was pretty chaotic and I took a hit on my front left tyre which caused some vibrations and we lost a few positions there. Ocon then went really deep in Turn 6, cut the chicane and stayed in front of me for two laps. That was frustrating, especially at the beginning when everyone is so close, you lose a lot of ground. After this with the pace advantage we had we were able to get on and do some overtakes, and I had some fun with that and could get up the field. Before the incident at the end with Valtteri in Turn 1, I knew he had some damage, so I knew it should be relatively easy to pass him, but he obviously just went too deep into that turn. I couldn't see his car in my blind spot so I left room, and then I got the hit but fortunately I didn't spin. I thought it was likely he would get a penalty but I really wanted to pass him on track, which fortunately I could do on the last lap. I was happy today, happy to finish and get some points and have a race I feel I maximized.

Belgium: Sebastian Vettel

Belgium: Sebastian Vettel
13/21

Photo by: Andrew Hone / LAT Images

  • Started: 2nd
  • Finished: 1st
  • In his own words: I'm very happy because we had a great race, the car now has proved to be robust on all tracks and this weekend we got a little more power from the new engine, which I think also helped us down the straights. At the start I tried to stay close to Lewis, getting a good exit out of Turn 1 and then taking advantage of the slipstream to get past. After the Safety Car pulled out, it was just the other way round, so I looked after the exit of Turn 1 to stay ahead. The first stint was very close, only a couple of seconds between us; but then the guys did a fantastic pit-stop, I could not believe the light had turned green so fast, and that gave our rivals no chance. The second stint was ore about managing the car and the tyres for both of us. This is a great win for the whole team and hope in Monza it will be the same, but we need to keep fighting to be always up there.

Italy: Kimi Raikkonen

Italy: Kimi Raikkonen
14/21

Photo by: Zak Mauger / LAT Images

  • Started: 1st
  • Finished: 2nd
  • In his own words: Our car was really good today. The first set of tires was OK, while the second one didn't last as long as we had expected. There wasn't much we could do, we had to push all the time and there was no single moment in which we could take it easy and look after the tyres. For sure we wanted a better result, but this is what we've got; we did our best but it was not enough. It's easy to say what we should have done in an ideal world, but we did what we thought was right and I think there was nothing wrong. Second position is not ideal, but we take it; I think that we were lucky to finish the race, on the rear left tyre there was no rubber left.

Singapore: Max Verstappen

Singapore: Max Verstappen
15/21

Photo by: Manuel Goria / Sutton Images

  • Started: 2nd
  • Finished: 2nd
  • In his own words: It was a shame to lose a position to Sebastian so early on but there was not a lot I could do as we were both flat out. I should have been able to hold the line but I just couldn't match his speed. My only real chance to win was at the start, unfortunately it was a bit all over the place and I knew my chance had gone. Luckily the team had me on a great strategy and therefore managed to get me back into second place with a brilliant pit stop. When I got close to Lewis due to back markers I never really thought the pass would be possible. It's hard to overtake here so I didn't want to take the risk. It was also slightly unfair how he had been held up by drivers not getting out of the way. I had a few driveability issues again behind the Safety Car and pulling away from the pit stop was dreadful, but in the end we managed it well and got the result we wanted. After the way the car has felt at certain points this weekend, qualifying on the front row and taking second place today is an amazing result.

Russia: Max Verstappen

Russia: Max Verstappen
16/21

Photo by: Manuel Goria / Sutton Images

  • Started: 19th
  • Finished: 5th
  • In his own words: To come from the back to finish fifth was a very good result today. I had a good start, a good first lap and from then onwards we could go through the traffic more easily than expected and also manage the tyres very well. It was a bit tricky at the start because Pierre stalled in front of me and I had to go around him. Then going into Turn 2 we were careful not to have any contact and after the first eight laps we were fifth and still in the pit stop window of Ferrari and Mercedes. After they pitted they couldn’t get past me. Unexpectedly, I was in the lead of the race and could keep them behind which shows that we really had very good pace, even on old tyres. Then once we stopped, we just had to bring it home. The tyre strategy was right because the Soft tyres were the only option we had in order to go as long as possible into the race. Today was better than expected, so I hope that the rest of the races this season will also be better than we expect. I enjoyed myself out there and this is a good result for my birthday.

Japan: Daniel Ricciardo

Japan: Daniel Ricciardo
17/21

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Sutton Images

  • Started: 15th
  • Finished: 4th
  • In his own words: Surprisingly, I was able to come through the field and overtake quite easily. That's not because I thought I couldn't personally overtake, it's just not that easy on this track, but I was able to make good use of the downforce we had on the soft tyre. I knew we would be quite vulnerable on the straights as we ran very high downforce this weekend, but I could stay close enough in the corners that I could latch onto the tow of the cars ahead on the straights. It was a good set-up and the first part of the race was a lot of fun. We went on to the mediums to try and cover Kimi and fourth place was kind of written after that. I would have loved a podium and I was kinda of hoping for something to happen up front, but I feel I earned at least a fourth today. It was good to come through the field and on the grid Helmut actually said that he thought fourth place was a little optimistic and possibly out of reach today. So, fourth is like a little victory from the back on this track and it was good to see our strong pace against Ferrari. A podium would have been even sweeter but I can't complain with the result and I'm pleased for the Team. All that's left to say is, arigatooooo Japan.

United States: Max Verstappen

United States: Max Verstappen
18/21

Photo by: Zak Mauger / LAT Images

  • Started: 18th
  • Finished: 2nd
  • In his own words: It is safe to say today went a lot better than expected. I managed to stay out of trouble on the first lap while progressing up the field as the pace of my car was really strong. This was crucial as it allowed me to settle into my own rhythm and catch the cars ahead. I didn't think the Soft compound was the best out there, once I pitted I felt more comfortable and able to control the Supersofts. The undercut on Valtteri was ideal and probably the key to achieving the podium, a great call from the team. In fact, our entire strategy was spot on and once we stopped we were able to manage the Supersofts all the way to the end. The last 10 laps were pretty exciting, especially being the only car on the softer compound fighting at the front. I was trying to get close to Kimi but at the same time keeping an eye on Lewis in my mirror, it was close but we managed to hang on to second. Lewis had a go but we both gave each other plenty of room and thankfully he ran a bit wide and onto a dirty part of the track. I think I started to run out of traction towards the end so attacking Kimi was not on the table. The team have certainly earnt a little celebration tonight before we head to Mexico, where we will try to do even better.

Mexico: Max Verstappen

Mexico: Max Verstappen
19/21

Photo by: Manuel Goria / Sutton Images

  • Started: 2nd
  • Finished: 1st
  • In his own words: Yesterday I was very frustrated and disappointed but today I am really happy, and Sunday is the best day to be happy. I didn't sleep much last night and found today's race build up a long one, but after the lights went out my feelings soon changed. Once ahead I could just settle in and concentrate on my own race, especially as Lewis looked to be struggling with grip. I made sure I matched his lap times to maintain the lead. We got the strategy spot on again, having another set of Supersofts meant I was able to manage the wear knowing I had a fresh set to go onto towards the end of the race. So when Seb pitted we did the same and were able to keep the gap. When I saw Daniel pull over I asked the Team if they should turn my engine down as I already had such an advantage, I wanted to be sure we made it to the chequered flag. It was such a shame as we were definitely on for at least a double podium, if not a one, two. The podium, like last year is amazing. To have the DJ and the crowd coming down from the stands is really cool, two years in a row makes it even better. Mexico always has so many passionate fans which makes me love coming back here every year. Also congratulations to Lewis on his fifth title, he has been the most consistently strong driver all year and deserves the championship, I'm sure it feels very special. Hopefully I can challenge him for it soon.

Brazil: Max Verstappen

Brazil: Max Verstappen
20/21

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Sutton Images

  • Started: 5th
  • Finished: 2nd
  • In his own words: First of all I want to thank the Team. The car felt amazing all race, even with a damaged floor towards the end. The set-up, balance and strategy were perfect today. To be this competitive at a track we didn't expect to be is really positive, and makes me look forward to Abu Dhabi. We have come away with a P2, which should have been a win. This shows we were performing really well, beyond expectations. It is a real shame we didn't come away with the win due to the incident with Ocon. Of course a backmarker can un-lap himself but he took an unnecessary amount of risk, especially against the race leader. They gave him the penalty for causing a collision so I think that says enough. At the end of the day I am a passionate sportsman that wants to win, this situation is frustrating and shows emotion when competing at the highest level.

Abu Dhabi: Fernando Alonso

Abu Dhabi: Fernando Alonso
21/21

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / LAT Images

  • Started: 15th
  • Finished: 11th
  • In his own words: It has been a very intense and good few days. I think I still need a couple of days to take everything in that I've lived and this weekend will always be in my heart. There have been so many nice things prepared for me from Formula 1, from my team and from the fans. I've been extremely busy, and didn't have the right time for myself to think about what was going on.
Thanks also to Lewis and Sebastian for the nice in-lap all together. It was quite emotional. I have a lot of respect for them, they are great champions and I feel very privileged to have raced with them for most of my career.
Today it was a good race, focussing on tyre management, fuel saving, and fighting for points until the last lap. All my career I have always been fighting, sometimes in competitive cars, sometimes not, but I've never given up. I'm proud of what I've achieved and for having raced for the best teams in the world.
Thank you to my fans and all the people who have followed me over the past 18 years. I felt a lot of support and respect for me and this is something I take very seriously. I feel honoured. But, I'm not stopping racing. I love motorsport, so don't give up on me!

Grand Prix Driver of the Day
 Australia   Fernando Alonso
 Bahrain   Pierre Gasly
 China   Daniel Ricciardo
 Azerbaijan   Charles Leclerc
 Spain   Lewis Hamilton
 Monaco   Daniel Ricciardo
 Canada   Sebastian Vettel
 France   Sebastian Vettel
 Austria   Max Verstappen
 Great Britain   Lewis Hamilton
 German   Lewis Hamilton
Hungría Hungary   Daniel Ricciardo
Bélgica Belgium   Sebastian Vettel
Italia Italy    Kimi Raikkönen 
Singapur Singapore   Max Verstappen
Federación Rusa Russia   Max Verstappen
Japón Japan   Daniel Ricciardo
 United States   Max Verstappen
 Mexico   Max Verstappen
Brasil Brazil   Max Verstappen
Emiratos Arabes Unidos Abu Dhabi   Fernando Alonso

Totals for the 2018 season

Driver Number of times won
 Max Verstappen 6
 Daniel Ricciardo 4
 Lewis Hamilton 3
 Sebastian Vettel 3
 Fernando Alonso 2
 Kimi Raikkonen 1
 Pierre Gasly 1
 Charles Leclerc 1

Totals for each driver (since 2016)

Driver Number of times won
 Max Verstappen 17
 Sebastian Vettel 13
 Lewis Hamilton 7
 Daniel Ricciardo 7
 Valtteri Bottas  3
 Kimi Raikkonen 3
 Romain Grosjean 2
 Sergio Perez 2
 Fernando Alonso 2
 Daniil Kvyat

1

 Kevin Magnussen 1
 Nico Rosberg 1
 Lance Stroll 1
 Pierre Gasly 1
 Charles Leclerc 1
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