Lotus tops Motor Sport's poll


The votes are in and Lotus is the most impressive Formula 1 team in the eyes of Motor Sport readers.

If statistics were everything, though, the most impressive team would have to be Red Bull, followed by Ferrari, then McLaren, according to the standings. But based on where they were last year, struggling with inexperienced drivers and an underdeveloped car, this season has been a revelation.

With former champion Kimi Räikkönen and the fast but erratic Romain Grosjean on board, Lotus looked dangerous all year. After two seasons spent rallying, Räikkönen took some time to get his racecraft back, although he was the first to admit it. In a recent interview with Motor Sport, he said of his failure to pass Sebastian Vettel in Bahrain: “We should have won, we got one chance. And if it would have been now at the end of the season I probably would have been much more aggressive. But that’s how it goes.”

The Finn finished every Grand Prix in 2012, testament to the team’s ability to build a reliable car, aside from the alternator problems that plagued Renault’s engines. Grosjean only suffered once from that problem in Valencia, and his other retirements were often conspicuously his own doing. Räikkönen finished third in the championship despite only winning once and there is a good feeling in the team. Sometimes seen as a problem child at McLaren and Ferrari, he’s finally found his home.

There were some other interesting results in the poll. While Lotus scored 654 votes (38 per cent of the total), fellow Grand Prix winners Mercedes finished with two. That’s two votes, not two per cent. After largely squandering their early-season form, down the stretch their car was off the pace. That and some occasionally questionable tactics from Rosberg and Schumacher left you cold. To put their result in perspective, HRT outscored them 55-2.

Then again, McLaren – winners of seven Grands Prix – only outscored HRT 61-55. We always knew our readers had a sense of humour…

Far behind Lotus were the group of Ferrari, Red Bull and Sauber, all fairly close together. Sauber’s season was their best since they parted ways with BMW, with four podium finishes and some great strategic calls to put Pérez and Kobayashi on new tyres and in contention at the end of races. Everyone likes to see the little guys do well; in Peter Sauber’s last season on the pitwall, his cars were often fighting at the front. That clearly meant a lot to the veteran team owner, and it obviously made an impact on you too.

Take a look at the new poll on our homepage.

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