Viewpoint: Who are the top ten Drivers of 2020

2020 has been a year like no other as the coronavirus pandemic put the international motorsport calendar on hold from March until the summer. But despite the huge global challenges, motor racing restarted behind closed doors to give fans the chance to see the best drivers go head-to-head in Formula 1, Formula E, Indycar, Nascar, the World Touring Car Championship and the World Rally Championship. My top ten drivers of this year have all shown themselves at the highest level of motorsport.

10. Mitch Evans NZL

The 26-year-old Kiwi has proven himself once again in the all-electric racing series and was a championship challenger until the season hit pause after the Marrakesh ePrix. Despite a sub-par end to the year with the six races in Berlin, Evans has demonstrated himself as a topflight challenger in one of the toughest motorsport series out there.

9. Chase Elliott USA

2020 saw Elliott take a big step up from Nascar race winner to Nascar champion. Elliott beat former champions Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano to claim his inaugural crown at the very last round of the season by winning the Phoenix finale to claim the title by just five points after 36 races. He will start 2021 as one of the strong contenders after a championship-winning 2020.

8. Yann Ehrlacher FRA

It was a strong season from the Frenchman after a condensed schedule took place from mid-September to mid-November across six world-class events in five different European countries. The younger Frenchman had never triumphed in the WTCR Cup until this year, and in doing so, he beat his experienced compatriots in Yvan Muller and Jean-Karl Vernay. Ehrlacher also competes in the Andros e-Trophy and has had a flying start to the 2021 season in that category to cap-off an awesome year.

7. Takuma Sato JPN

Despite being horrendously underrated by everyone in the motorsport community, Sato continues to demonstrate his brilliance by winning the Indianapolis 500 for a second time. Despite a low-key rest of the season, regaining the Indy 500 title shows Sato’s ability on the track and he continues to be a strong threat every year.

6. Max Verstappen NTH

The 23-year old Dutchman had a consistent year in Formula 1. Verstappen really showed his class by out-scoring Valtteri Bottas in the Mercedes during the first-half of the season. But five retirements in the latter-half of the year prevented him from finishing second the championship. He claimed two wins at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix and the Abu Dhabi GP and now has 42 podiums in 119 starts which is a record anyone would be proud of.

5. Sergio Perez MEX

The Mexican showed his speed, consistency, maturity and character in a season full of ups and downs which was perfectly capped off by signing a 2021 contract with Red Bull Racing in Formula 1. Perez had a consistent start to the year with three top seven finishes in the opening three races. But his year was curtailed after he was forced to miss the British GP and the 70th Anniversary GP. But he returned with a vengeance with a top five finish at the Spanish GP. From there, his year grew stronger and stronger, the highlight of which was his maiden victory at the Sakhir GP which culminated in him finishing fourth in the world championship.

4. Scott Dixon NZL

He may have missed out on the Indy 500, but he secured his sixth IndyCar Series title with four wins and seven podiums as part of the revised 2020 schedule. Dixon once again proved that he was the man of the moment and the person most able to adapt to the unique circumstances. Another great season from a class act as he and Chip Ganassi Racing continue to deliver at the highest level.

3. Antonio Felix Da Costa POR

Starting the 2019–20 season, the general consensus was that two-time Formula E Champion Jean-Eric Vergne would be the team leader at DS Techeetah. But Formula E veteran Felix Da Costa was not prepared to settle for no. 2 inside the team. After a difficult double-header in Diriyah, the Portuguese racer was barely off the podium which is something of a rarity in the crazy world of Formula E. He now joins team-mate Vergne, Lucas Di Grassi, Sebastien Buemi and Nelson Piquet Jr as Formula E Champions.

2. Sebastien Ogier FRA

It may only have been a seven-round season, but the 2020 World Rally Championship was intriguing all the same. For Ogier, it was his seventh World Rally Championship crown and he did it with a third different manufacturer. Ogier is now just two titles away from matching his hero in legendary rally champion Sebastien Loeb. He will continue his career with Toyota again to see if he can double-up in what he and everybody else hopes will be a more conventional 2021 schedule.

  1. Lewis Hamilton GBR

On paper, it might be another title for Hamilton, but 2020 has seen a different side to the British great altogether. Now he stands strong on 98 poles, 95 wins and 165 podium finishes. But beyond the eleven wins and his record-equalling seventh world championship, he has used his platform to promote racial equality as he aims to turn himself into a sportsperson with a purpose.

After a difficult year for all, sport has given us great heart and a good distraction from all the misery that is going on in the world. And despite everything, these men have shown why they are the best in the world at driving quickly. So here is to a more prosperous 2021 on and off the track…

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