Formula 1 has never been more popular with interest in specific drivers also at an all-time high, with that in mind, here are the social media followings for each of the 2023 season drivers.
As Formula 1 becomes more and more accessible to fans, social media has played a huge role in that. Previously, fans would be restricted to seeing their favourite stars solely on a race weekend but thanks to social media, they can follow their adventures on a much more regular basis.
Drivers are seeing their following rise and rise as more fans get interested in the sport and pick their favourites to follow.
But why do they do it and what benefit does it bring them?
Why is social media important to an F1 driver?
To start with, social media allows drivers to get closer to their fans. They can post pictures of what they get up to in their down time, they can host Q&As as well as interacting with other drivers and generally make the sport seem more fun.
But there is also a financial benefit to having a large following online with brands willing to pay a lot of money for drivers to advertise their product to their captive followers.
A good example of this is Cristiano Ronaldo who reportedly gets paid $2.3m per post that he makes to his 535m Instagram followers.
With that in mind, let’s look at which driver has the largest, and smallest, follower count on social media.
Which F1 drivers have the largest followings online?
Lewis Hamilton (Twitter: 7.9m, Instagram: 31m, Facebook: 6m, Total: 44.9m)
Max Verstappen (Twitter: 3.2m, Instagram: 9.4m, Facebook: 2.5m, Total: 15.1m)
Charles Leclerc (Twitter: 2.3m, Instagram: 9.6m, Facebook: 1.1m, Total: 13m)
Sergio Perez (Twitter: 3.5m, Instagram: 5.3m, Facebook: 1.4m, Total: 10.2m)
Fernando Alonso (Twitter: 3.3m, Instagram: 4.8m, Facebook: 2m, Total: 10.1m)
Lando Norris (Twitter: 2.2m, Instagram: 5.9m, Facebook: 1m, Total: 9.1m)
Carlos Sainz (Twitter: 1.9m, Instagram: 6.1m, Facebook: 0.9m, Total: 8.9m)
George Russell (Twitter: 1.7m, Instagram: 4m, Facebook: 700k, Total: 6.4m)
Valtteri Bottas (Twitter: 1.5m, Instagram: 3.6m, Facebook: 0.8m, Total: 5.9m)
Pierre Gasly (Twitter: 1.3m, Instagram: 3.7m, Facebook: 600k, Total: 5.6m)
Alex Albon (Twitter: 800k, Instagram: 1.8m, Facebook: 400k, Total: 3m)
Nico Hulkenberg (Twitter: 1.1m, Instagram: 1.3m, Facebook: 500k, Total: 2.9m)
Esteban Ocon (Twitter: 800k, Instagram: 1.7m, Total: 2.5m)
Lance Stroll (Twitter: 400k, Instagram: 900k, Facebook: 1m, Total: 2.2m)
Kevin Magnussen (Twitter: 900k, Instagram: 1m, Facebook: 200k, Total: 2.1m)
Yuki Tsunoda (Twitter: 500k, Instagram: 1.3m, Total: 1.8m)
Nyck de Vries (Twitter: 100k, Instagram: 700k, Facebook: 700k, Total: 1.5m)
Zhou Guanyu (Twitter: 300k, Instagram: 700k, Total: 1.1m)
Oscar Piastri (Twitter: 300k, Instagram: 600k, Total: 800k)
Logan Sargeant (Twitter: 400k, Instagram:200k, Total: 500k)
Lewis Hamilton remains the F1 king of social media
If there is one takeaway from that list, it is that Lewis Hamilton’s social media supremacy is unmatched in the world of Formula 1. His total followers is almost three times that of second-placed Max Verstappen and he has more Instagram followers than every team on the grid.
Given his large following, Hamilton could stand to make significant money should he choose to advertise but to his credit, he has not chosen to go down this path. Instead his feed is made up of skiing trips, images of his family or celebrating other drivers such as Sebastian Vettel following the German’s retirement.
Elsewhere, Instagram has shown itself to be the most popular social media form for the drivers with every single one of the 2023 drivers having an account, it is only Logan Sargeant who has more Twitter followers than he does Instagram.
Speaking of the American, it is he and fellow rookie Oscar Piastri who are in P19 and P20 when it comes to their followings but expect that number to rise once they make their debut in the sport.
The Brits are the most followed nationality with a combined 60.4m following those who race under a British flag while Sergio Perez is the most-followed non-European on the list, no doubt due to his sizeable support in his native Mexico.
Alex Albon is the most followed Asian and Charles Leclerc is coming close to being the second driver with 10m followers on a single platform.
A special mention should also go to lando.jpg which is Norris’ Instagram account for his photography and currently has 676k followers.
What about the teams?
It is not all about the drivers though with teams also competing to have a large following. Here are the stats for the 10 teams competing in the 2023 season:
Mercedes (Twitter: 4.5m, Instagram: 10.2m, Facebook: 11m, Total: 25.7m)
Red Bull (Twitter: 4.2m, Instagram: 9.2m, Facebook: 10m, Total: 23.4m)
Ferrari (Twitter: 4.3m, Instagram: 10.2m, Facebook: 4.6m, Total: 19.1m)
McLaren (Twitter: 3.5m, Instagram: 10.1m, Facebook: 3.8m, Total: 17.4m)
Alpine (Twitter: 2m, Instagram: 2.7m, Facebook: 2.1m, Total: 6.8m)
Aston Martin (Twitter: 1.8m, Instagram: 2.9m, Facebook: 1.1m, Total: 5.8m)
AlphaTauri (Twitter: 1.5m, Instagram: 2.6m, Facebook: 1.2m, Total: 5.3m)
Williams (Twitter: 1.7m, Instagram: 2.3m, Facebook: 1m, Total: 5m)
Haas (Twitter: 1.4m, Instagram: 2.5m, Facebook: 500k, Total: 4.4m)
Alfa Romeo (Twitter: 1.4m, Instagram: 2m, Facebook: 700k, Total: 4.1m)
As it was with the drivers, it is again Mercedes on top but this time it is much closer with Red Bull only a couple million behind.
Meanwhile, the race for P4 has been won by McLaren in a far more confident manner than on the track as they have over 10m more than Alpine.
Interestingly with the teams, the following on Facebook is far bigger than it is with the drivers as two teams have 10m or more.
Alfa Romeo are bringing up the rear with Haas narrowly ahead of them.
Notable former drivers
There are plenty of F1 drivers not on the grid in 2023 who also have a sizeable following online. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo has 7.7m followers on Instagram, which would be the fourth most if he were on the ’23 grid, and 3.1m on Twitter.
Despite only joining the platform in the middle of the year to announce his retirement, Sebastian Vettel already has 2.6m followers on Instagram while fellow German Mick Schumacher has 3.3m.
His father Michael has 1.2m on Instagram, 360k on Twitter and 1.6m on Facebook.
Stats correct as of December 30 2022