F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali admits the results of a global fan survey, which saw Lewis Hamilton rank as the third most popular driver on the grid, came as a bit of a surprise.
The results showed that current World Championship leader Max Verstappen is the most popular driver, particularly for those between the ages of 25 and 34.
While many would have expected Hamilton to come in just behind the Red Bull driver, the seven-time World Champion actually slotted into third spot, with Lando Norris the second most popular.
Although Domenicali was somewhat surprised by the findings, he also offered his thoughts on what may have contributed to the results.
"I have to say yes, in a way," Domenicali told RacingNews365.com and other members of the media on whether the results surprised him.
"But on the other hand, if you think of the demographic of the people that are more involved in this kind of thing through this site, I think that you understand why Lando has a great audience in that respect.
"I think that it's more connected to the fact that he has an approach with them that is fresh, in a way that is more close to the people that are following that. That is my personal view, but of course, we are talking about a very small difference.
"It's a matter of really a couple of votes, so I don't want to give a bigger magnitude than what it is."
Domenicali once again highlighted just how important F1 drivers are to the future of the sport, noting that the series currently has an "incredible group".
He added: "For sure it's a sign. As I always said, we don't have a problem with the drivers for the future. We have an incredible group of young, very talented and very good drivers. That is a value for Formula 1."
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