Formula 1 Popularity Contest: Lewis Hamilton & Max Verstappen Speak Out

    Max Verstappen
    [Image via NBC Sports]

    The Formula 1 Global Fan Survey results are out. Max Verstappen is the sport’s most popular driver, Lando Norris second, with Lewis Hamilton third. Voted on by the F1 fans – 167,000 spread across 187 countries – this is the largest single sports survey by Nielsen Sports.

    Lewis Hamilton was the most popular driver in 2017 but has fallen two spots behind. Formula 1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali admitted he was surprised. He credited the younger demographic for the change, saying: “For sure it’s a sign that we don’t have a problem with drivers for the future.”

    Max Verstappen won the overall vote, as 14.4% of fans voted for him as their favorite driver. He even ranked top three among one-third of fans. Verstappen’s popularity was noted in the 2017 report. However, his popularity has continued to rise through 2021.

    Perhaps his largest fanbase is in the Netherlands. This isn’t exactly shocking, as Max is from Belgium; the next-door neighbor to the Netherlands in Europe.

    However, Verstappen’s popularity proves to be global as he ranked highly in the United States & Japan polls as well. He was also popular among fans in the 35-54 age demographic. This proves the 24-year-old’s popularity is not exclusive to a younger audience.


    The People’s Champions

    Max Verstappen & Lewis Hamilton
    [Image via This Week UK]

    Lewis Hamilton is the sport’s most successful driver and easily most followed on social media. He was the most popular in the United Kingdom and among fans aged 45 and over. Max Verstappen was popular within the 25-45 age range while Lando Norris was the highest-ranked driver in the 16-24 bracket (and among the female demographic).

    You can read the full list of the 2021 F1 Global Survey below:

    Top 10 Favorite Drivers

    1. Max Verstappen – 14.4%
    2. Lando Norris – 13.7%
    3. Lewis Hamilton – 12.5%
    4. Daniel Ricciardo – 10.2%
    5. Sebastian Vettel – 9%
    6. Charles Leclerc – 7.4%
    7. Fernando Alonso – 7.3%
    8. Kimi Raikkonen – 5.4%
    9. George Russell – 4%
    10. Pierre Gasly – 2.9%

    Top 5 Favorite Teams

    1. McLaren – 29.5%
    2. Red Bull – 19.7%
    3. Ferrari – 17.9%
    4. Mercedes – 11.9%
    5. Alpine – 3.1%


    Lewis Hamilton’s Statements

    Lewis Hamilton
    [Image via NBC Sports]

    The seven-time world champion is making strides in a bigger-than-sport battle against racial injustices. He’s making bold statements that, unlike his bold fashion statements, are beloved worldwide. It is a fight that is especially personal for Lewis Hamilton. He is the only Black driver who has ever managed to break through to the top level. This is almost unbelievable when you consider that Formula 1 has been running since 1950.

    F1 has allowed a portion of time before every race since 2020 giving drivers the chance to make statements. Hamilton has knelt ahead of every race since the opening race of the 2020 season (something that began in the NFL with Colin Kaepernick). This all began for Hamilton weeks after the death of George Floyd.

    Along with powerful slogans on T-shirts, his poem for Black History Month was moving and impactful. Hamilton has also put his money where his mouth is, so to speak. He created the Hamilton Commission, a body tasked with studying and understanding the barriers Black people face in U.K. motorsport.

    He pledged a further £20 million of his own money into the creation of a new charity Mission44. This comes from the number Hamilton has raced with since 2014.

    Mission44 is committed to supporting people from other under-represented groups. 

    Somehow taking a stand and fighting for his beliefs hasn’t led to an increase in F1 popularity. We know his performance as a driver has never wavered. Although with six races remaining, he is chasing Max Verstappen in the standings that matter most. 


    Max Rejects Netflix

    Max Verstappen - Red Bull
    [Image via Red Bull]

    Max Verstappen’s global audience was sad to hear that their favorite racer will not be a part of Netflix’s next season of Drive To SurviveThe docu-series is now filming its fourth season. It has been credited as a big factor in fuelling the sport’s growth, especially in the United States.

    The series has proven to be extremely popular and has resulted in a surge of interest in Formula One. ESPN revealed that the sport’s viewing figures have climbed from 547,000 people in 2018 to just shy of 1 million in 2021.

    Verstappen earlier told the Associated Press that he recognized the importance of the series. Having said that, he did not like being a part of it and would not be giving any interviews. Max felt that the series “faked a few rivalries that don’t really exist.”

    He added: “I am not really a dramatic show kind of person, I just want facts and real things to happen.”    

    It is clear that the Flying Dutchman, currently at the top, wants his performances to do the talking.



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