Red Bull's Verstappen most popular driver; Hamilton third: F1 survey

by IANS |

Austin (Texas), Oct 22 (IANS) Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen is the most popular Formula 1 driver, with the Dutchman receiving a whopping 14.4 per cent of the votes, not just from the Dutch audience but from fans from other countries as well, especially the United States and Japan.

McLaren's 21-year-old driver Lando Norris was second with 13.7 per cent but was the highest-ranked among the female audience and number one in all age groups under 24, while British Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton -- winner of the joint-highest World Drivers' Championship titles -- was number one in the UK and all the 35 and over age groups, but ranked third overall, according to a survey conducted by Nielsen and Motorsport Network.

Currently Verstappen leads the Drivers' Standings with 262.5 points, while Hamilton is on 256.5 points going into the United States GP this weekend.

Fans from 187 countries took part in the sport's biggest-ever survey, according to which McLaren -- which is represented in the current season by Norris and Daniel Ricciardo -- is the most popular team.

McLaren have risen to the top of the heap when fans were asked to name their favourite team with 29.5 per cent of the vote, ahead of Red Bull (19.8), with Ferrari (17.9) dropping from first to third and Mercedes (11.9) down to fourth. Aston Martin have doubled their support since rebranding from Force India.

In the Constructors' Standings, McLaren (240 points) is third behind Mercedes (433.5 points) and Red Bull (397.5).

Nielsen and Motorsport Network said the sample of 167,302 responses was the "largest and most diverse sample ever", with female participation doubling and the average age of a participant dropping four years (since the last survey in 2017) to 32.

Fans were asked to select their five favourite races, with Monza, Spa, Silverstone and Monaco retaining their spots in the top four, with Japan slotting into fifth. Baku was a big mover, up from one per cent of the fans' vote in 2017 to 13 per cent.

A record 55 per cent of the fans believe F1 should be a world leader in the development of 100 per cent sustainable fuels, with 65 per cent aware of F1's plan to introduce 100 per cent % sustainable fuels by 2025.

"We are hugely grateful for all the fans that have given their time to share their views in this huge survey. Their views are very valuable to us, and we are extremely pleased with what we have seen in the results. I also want to thank Motorsport Network and Nielsen Sports for the incredible job they have done," said Stefano Domenicali, president and CEO of Formula 1.

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