Sebastian Vettel has added yet another accolade at the end of his remarkable 2011 campaign - by being voted as the best Formula 1 driver of the year in AUTOSPORT's exclusive team principals' top 10 rankings
In the now annual poll, Vettel emerged as a clear winner ahead of Jenson Button - with last year's winner Fernando Alonso dropping two places down to third.
The annual team principals' verdict is compiled by getting the top ten driver rankings of every boss, which are kept secret, and then converting their rankings into the F1 points' system (25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1).
The final scores are added up to discover which driver the team bosses overall believed had done the best job throughout the campaign.
Vettel is the first world champion since Lewis Hamilton in 2008 to earn the top place in the drivers' rankings.
Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner believed that it would have been wrong for any driver other than Vettel to have come out on top on the back of his dominant campaign.
"It would have been a surprise if any driver other than Sebastian would have been voted as the driver of the year, after the season he's had in 2011," Horner told AUTOSPORT.
"He won 11 races, finished second in five, third in one, had a fourth place and one DNF which is quite a remarkable run of results.
"On top of which, he scored a season record of 15 pole positions to secure his second consecutive world championship title. Therefore he fully deserves to have been recognised as the outstanding driver of 2011."
Paul di Resta was the leading rookie driver, earning 44 points to take seventh place, while Heikki Kovalainen's efforts for Team Lotus were rewarded with ninth place.
This year's voters were: Horner, Martin Whitmarsh, Stefano Domenicali, Ross Brawn, Eric Boullier, Frank Williams, Vijay Mallya, Peter Sauber, Tony Fernandes, Colin Kolles and John Booth. Scuderia Toro Rosso declined to take part.
AUTOSPORT TEAM PRINCIPALS' TOP TEN - 2011 RESULTS
1. Vettel 241 UP 1 2. Button 200 UP 4 3. Alonso 188 DOWN 2 4. Hamilton 122 DOWN 1 5. Rosberg 90 UP 2 6. Webber 70 DOWN 2 7. Di Resta 44 NEW ENTRY 8. Sutil 38 RE-ENTRY FROM 2009 9. Kovalainen 26 RE-ENTRY FROM 2008 10. Schumacher 23 NEW ENTRY
* The AUTOSPORT Team Principals' Top Ten was published for the first time in this week's bumper F1 Season Review issue of AUTOSPORT magazine, which can be found here.
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