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Danny, the champion of the rankings - Ricciardo retains his Christine's Rankings title for second year

Published by Christine

You may have thought the 2016 F1 World Championship was a fiercely contested, tense fight to the finish but the season had nothing on this year’s Christine’s Rankings competition. After 39 weeks of battle, we crowned our winner for this year’s contest – the most in-depth and accurate global ranking driver system ever produced by me! Raise a glass and applaud the 2016 Rankings champion, Daniel Ricciardo!

Ricciardo retains his Christine's Rankings title for second year
Credit: Mark Thompson

Red Bull’s Ricciardo is the first double Rankings champion, having taken the title back in 2014. As the competition skipped last year, Daniel has managed to successfully defend his crown and in some style. The Australian’s laid-back attitude, and cheeky personality, are inherently pointsworthy and the endless smile that is emblazoned on his face only serves to endear him to fans even more.

However, it wasn’t an easy battle to the finish, as Ricciardo faced stiff competition from previous title-holder Lewis Hamilton, the ever-popular Fernando Alonso and the outgoing Felipe Massa. Here’s how the 2016 season played out for the Christine’s Rankings finalists.

Bronze medallist – Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa has always been a likeable chap but this year’s rankings for the Brazilian have been aided by two things. Firstly, his decision to retire at the end of the year, which has seen an outpouring of love for the veteran racer. With so much emotion on display amid fond farewells up and down the paddock, it’s not a surprise that there have been handfuls of points for Felipe on this front.

The other aspect that has helped Massa out has been Massa Jr, Felipinho, the cutest young racer there has ever been. Whilst Felipinho isn’t eligible for points himself, it’s up to Massa Sr to decide what the youngster can and can’t get up to in and out of the paddock, so there were plenty of points for indoor kart racing with Ricciardo, and young Massa ushering his father out of the garage for his final race.

We’ll miss Felipe and his heart-on-sleeve approach to both racing and to life, but what a ride it has been!

Silver medallist - Lewis Hamilton

It’s easy to criticise Lewis for some of the things he gets up to, but at least he is out there promoting the sport, making a brand for himself, and generally bringing attention towards Formula One. His antics throughout the year have been hit and miss, but the hits help more than the misses hinder, and you can’t fault him for making an effort.

Lewis is a former Rankings champion but just as with the World Championship this season, he was pipped at the post for this year’s title. Nevertheless, he’s put in some good turns – appearing on the Ellen Show, indulging in an escalating training montage battle with his teammate, and of course, who can forget shaking up the status quo with that Snapshat debacle. But then, of course, there are the red shoes and the fashion faux pas appearances that will always hold him back.

Hamilton may have missed out on the 2016 title (both on and off track) but love him or hate him, he’s an integral part of the sport as it is.

Gold medallist - Daniel Ricciardo

Ricciardo can get on with anybody, but his recent pairing with Max Verstappen has provided some comedy gold at times. The two have an irreverent and fresh take on life within Formula One’s paddock, and it’s wonderful to see humour and smiles almost everywhere they go. But Ricciardo is equally a superstar on his own, with very little serving to frustrate him or get him down.

The odds were always in his favour when it came to defending his Christine’s Rankings title, but there were a few drivers chomping at his heels throughout the year. It was his attempt at belly dancing that catapulted him into the lead, and from there he barely looked back. The only blot on the landscape is the whole champagne and shoe situation, of which the less said, the better.

It’s been a great year for rankings with plenty of laughs along the way. I’m enjoying the return of some solid sponsor videos, and there have been a wide variety of interesting and usually entertaining pre-race endeavours. With only a couple of drivers remaining off the social media grid, we get more and more access into the personalities of the mysterious 22 pilots, and for that, I am grateful. So, here’s to the 2016 grid, particularly our finalists, and of course to 2016’s Christine’s Rankings Champion, Daniel Ricciardo!

All content in the series Driver rankings 2016