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Autosport readers' final F1 2018 driver ratings ranking revealed

In 2018 Formula 1 fans had the chance to submit their own driver ratings for each grand prix as part of Autosport's popular feature

The new feature gave fans the chance to have their voices heard alongside Autosport's own scores, and as the season developed it painted an interesting picture when the average scores from our Grand Prix Editor Edd Straw were compared to those of our readers.

By the end of the season, only two drivers featured in the same position in the year-long rankings based on both sets of scores - both of whom appear in this top 10, which is based purely on the ratings submitted by Autosport Plus readers through the 2018 season.

10 Kevin Magnussen - 7.15

Magnussen was one of the frontrunners through the first part of the season, vying at the top of the scores from our readers as he made a strong start to the year while team-mate Romain Grosjean (16th by the end of 2018) struggled.

Magnussen's average score was 8.16 after the first five races, and as late in the season as the Belgian GP he was still at an average of 7.78, which would have netted him second in this list if he had maintained it.

However, his average rating over the remaining eight races of the season was just 6.15, which included picking up scores of 4.8 and 4.3 in Singapore and Japan.

Did you know? Magnussen registered the highest score of any driver in the season-opening Australian GP with 9.3.

9 Fernando Alonso - 7.15

Alonso was another driver to start the year strongly then fall down the order towards the end. He registered scores of eight or higher six times in the opening 10 races, and by mid-season he was in the top three on the average scores.

However, over the remaining 11 races he only managed scores of seven or higher twice (7.1 in Hungary and 9.3 in Singapore). His average over that period was just 6.53, and his underwhelming Brazilian GP performance resulted in his lowest score of the season of just 4.7.

Did you know? Alonso is the only driver in this top 10 who didn't register the highest score in the field at a race in 2018.

8 Carlos Sainz Jr - 7.15

Sainz's 'Class B' victory in the Abu Dhabi season finale was his only best of the rest win of the year, and the 8.6 rating he received from our readers vaulted him four places up the order to break into the end-of-season top 10.

The Renault driver's highest score came at the French GP, where claimed the highest rating of anyone (9.1) in the race he deemed his best of the season.

In the eyes of the fans, Sainz started the year slowly with scores of 6.5 and 5.6 in Australia and Bahrain, and there were a further six scores of less than seven, including a tough run of three races after that star performance in France, where he picked up scores of 6.1 (Austria), 5.6 (Britain), and 6.3 (Germany).

Did you know? Sainz was one of only two drivers in the entire field to end the season in the same position in Autosport's average ratings and those of our readers.

7 Valtteri Bottas - 7.23

Bottas kicked the year off with his lowest rating of the season of just 4.3 at the Australian Grand Prix, but he quickly rallied and averaged 8.5 over the next three races, comfortably outscoring team-mate Hamilton in that spell.

After that, his year was patchy in the eyes of our readers, with a mix of scores in the sixes, sevens and eights through the middle of the season.

His year peaked with a 9.6 at the Russian GP where he only lost the race through team orders, but in the remaining five races he averaged just 6.18, finishing the year with back-to-back ratings of less than six.

Did you know? Bottas bookended his season by registering the lowest score of anyone at the first and last races of the year: 4.3 in Australia and 5.5 in Abu Dhabi.

6 Max Verstappen - 7.34

In our driver ratings Verstappen spent his entire year recovering from his messy start to the campaign, which went down very badly with Autosport readers.

After the first four races of the season the Red Bull driver's average was just 4.1 and, while he finally logged a respectable score of 7.6 at the Spanish Grand Prix, his crash before qualifying in Monaco that wasted a victory chance netted him a 4.5, so after six races his average was still just 4.8.

After that Verstappen went on a superb run, registering only one more score below seven all season (six in Italy), averaging 8.35 from the Canadian GP to the finale in Abu Dhabi. Only Lewis Hamilton scored higher over that stretch of races.

Did you know? Verstappen is the highest-placed driver on this list to have picked up the lowest score at a race, doing so in back-to-back GPs early in the year: Bahrain (4), and China (4.2).

5 Sebastian Vettel - 7.43

Vettel was a regular feature at the top of the average scores until his season unravelled following the summer break. The last time he headed the order was after the Belgian GP, when he moved back ahead of Hamilton by 0.02 based on our readers' ratings.

At that stage Vettel's score for the season was 7.89, but over the remaining eight races his average was just 6.66, as he picked up scores of lower than seven in Italy (5.8), Singapore (6.9), Japan (4.6), USA (6.1) and Brazil (6.1).

Did you know? Vettel only picked up the highest rating of anyone once during the season, with a 9.5 for his commanding Canadian GP victory.

4 Kimi Raikkonen - 7.52

Raikkonen only slipped off the end-of-season podium with our readers at the final race, when he dropped behind Daniel Ricciardo thanks to being outscored by two clear points in Abu Dhabi.

The scores awarded by our readers summed up Raikkonen's final season with Ferrari. For example, between his two best races - 9 at Monza, and 9.9 for his Austin victory - the Finn returned scores of 6.7, 6.7 and 6.9 in Singapore, Russia and Japan, showing that even his strongest campaign back at Maranello still produced too many underwhelming performances.

Still, fourth overall - ahead of Vettel - represents a decent season, especially given he spent most of the first half of the campaign in the lower reaches of the top 10.

Did you know? Raikkonen's 9.9 in the USA made him one of only three drivers to achieve that rating all season. The other two were Daniel Ricciardo (Monaco) and Pierre Gasly (Bahrain).

3 Daniel Ricciardo - 7.57

Ricciardo ended the year ninth in Autosport's driver ratings, reflecting a downturn in his performances relative to Verstappen as terrible reliability derailed his season.

While that is partially reflected in his scores from our readers as well - he picked up season-highs of 9.8 and 9.9 for his early-season wins in China and Monaco - there were enough high ratings late in the season for him to battle back from slipping down the order during the summer.

Ricciardo was as low as ninth following three consecutive scores of 6.5 or lower in Belgium, Italy and Singapore, but he bounced back in the final six races, with four scores of 8.6 or higher, plus a 7.5 in Russia and 7.8 in the USA.

Did you know? Aside from his two victories, Ricciardo also picked up the highest score in the field in Brazil, where he and Charles Leclerc both earned ratings of 8.9.

2 Charles Leclerc - 7.65

The Sauber rookie's proximity to the top of this list was a season-long narrative we followed with our stories on the updated order after each race.

During the middle of the year that meant he was vying for position with his 2019 Ferrari team-mate Vettel, bouncing back from his tough start to life in F1 with a stunning run of scores over the next seven grands prix.

Three races into his F1 career Leclerc's average score was just 5.93, but from Azerbaijan to Great Britain he managed scores of nine or higher five times in seven GPs, producing an average across those races of 8.9.

Leclerc went through a sticky spell either side of the summer break at the same time as Vettel, which allowed Hamilton to break clear in our driver ratings as well as the championship fight he had with the Ferrari driver.

Leclerc averaged just 6.1 with scores of 5.7, 5.2, 6.9 and 6.7 for races in Germany, Hungary, Belgium and Singapore, and while he rallied in the final part of the season with five scores of eight or higher in the last seven races, 6.1 in Japan and 6.5 in the USA in the middle of that spell ensured Leclerc - like everyone else - finished the year well down on Hamilton.

Did you know? Leclerc picked up the highest rating in the field four times in 2018 - Baku (9.7), Paul Ricard (9.1), Silverstone (9.3) and Brazil (8.9).

1 Lewis Hamilton - 8.23

In the end, much like the world championship fight, this one became a no-contest.

Hamilton was only seventh in our readers' ratings following the Austrian Grand Prix with an average of 7.52, but over the next 12 races his lowest score from the fans was the 7.2 he picked up on the weekend he was crowned world champion for a fifth time in Mexico.

Hamilton's average score over that run from the British GP to the Abu Dhabi finale was 8.7, so it's little wonder that as the early frontrunners' ratings fell away, he was unstoppable on his march to a dominant crowning as the first winner of Autosport readers' driver ratings.

Did you know? Hamilton scored nine or above eight times during the season in the eyes of our readers.

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