Daniel Ricciardo’s outstanding final season with Renault has seen the Australian voted the third-best driver of the 2020 Formula 1 season by his peers in the Formula1.com official poll.
Ricciardo avoided a messy divorce with the French team this year, forced to race most of the season knowing he would be on the move to McLaren for 2021.
But rather than let his performances slide, Ricciardo only seemed to grow in strength through each round.
Two podiums could well have been more if not for the odd strategy mishap or untimely safety car interventions. Still, fifth place in the driver’s standings is demonstrative of Ricciardo’s class this year.
He scored in all but three races this year and earned a pair of fastest laps at Belgium and Abi Dhabi.
On average, Ricciardo finished each race two spots ahead of his teammate Esteban Ocon across the season. That margin was extended to beyond three places in qualifying.
15 of the 20 drivers in the field cast their votes for the top-ten drivers over the year.
Predictably, Lewis Hamilton topped the ballot in a season where he claimed his seventh world title and usurped Michael Schumacher as the most winningest driver in history with 95 victories.
Max Verstappen slotted into second after an impressive year in the Red Bull. Indisputably the second-fastest car, more often than not Verstappen qualified just behind the Mercedes duo and would then go one better in the race.
Charles Leclerc was ranked the fourth-best driver. The Monegasque had a turbulent campaign in a dogged Ferrari challenger but convincingly beat his four-time world champion, Sebastian Vettel, on multiple fronts, including in the standings.
Rounding out the top-five was Pierre Gasly who claimed his maiden race win this year in a thrilling Italian Grand Prix.
George Russell may have only scored points once. Still, his performance at backmarkers Williams made him a comfortable candidate for sixth, just ahead of Red Bull-bound Sergio Perez.
Some surprising results from the poll saw Romain Grosjean ranked at number eight and Alex Albon down in tenth.
The most notable omission was Lando Norris who starred at the opening race in Austria, before backing it up with a further five top-five results. The McLaren driver would end the season ninth overall and just one point adrift of Leclerc in the leading Ferrari.
2020’s top-ten drivers as voted by the drivers: