F1 boss Domenicali: 'Surprised Verstappen was on top and not Hamilton'

28-10-2021 09:53 | Updated: 28-10-2021 11:01
by GPblog.com
F1 News
F1 boss Domenicali: 'Surprised Verstappen was on top and not Hamilton'

Max Verstappen was recently named the most popular driver in Formula 1 after a global poll of over 167,000 fans from 187 different countries. The Dutchman stayed ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Formula 1 boss Stefano Domenicali, however, had expected a different outcome.

Verstappen and Norris most popular

The fact that the two title rivals emerged from this survey will not have surprised anyone. The two drivers are the absolute favourites of this season. Verstappen received 14.4 percent of the votes, Hamilton 12.5 percent. The Mercedes driver, however, is 'only' in third place. McLaren driver Lando Norris was slightly more popular than his countryman and came in second behind his Dutch friend.

That Hamilton was not at the top of the list did cause Domenicali some surprise. "Well, I have to say, yes, in a way," says the F1 boss at Motorsport.com. He does think the age of Verstappen and Norris played a part, though. "If you think about the demographics of the people who are more involved in this kind of voting, I think you can understand why Lando has a large audience. It has more to do with the fact that he has an approach with them that is fresh, in a way that is closer to the people who follow that. That's my personal opinion."

Impact of Drive to Survive

The last time there was a major popularity poll was in 2017, when Hamilton was still voted the most popular driver. According to Domenicali, Netflix series Drive to Survive has brought many new fans to the sport. "Certainly, Drive to Survive had a big impact, especially on those who were not really that avid fans of Formula One. They saw other storylines related to the sport. So it definitely had a positive impact."

The fact that young drivers like Verstappen and Norris, in particular, are so popular shows, according to Domenicali, that the future of Formula 1 is in good shape. "We have an incredible group of young, very talented and very good drivers who are of value to Formula 1. We have no problem with drivers for the future."

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