Here are the five most followed Formula One drivers on Instagram on the 2023 grid ahead of the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix on Saturday.
For context, Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams has 1.3 million followers. Aces guard Kelsey Plum has 831,000 followers, and Golden Knights center Jack Eichel has 232,000 followers.
5. Carlos Sainz Jr. — 8.1 million
The 29-year-old Spanish driver certainly gets a small boost from the rabid Ferrari fans, but Sainz has enjoyed a strong 2023 season. He’s the only non-Red Bull driver with a win this season, coming at the Singapore Grand Prix, and is sixth in the drivers’ standings, three points off Lando Norris and ahead of Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc.
Other celebrities with similar numbers of followers to Sainz include NBA MVP and Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles and Travis Barker, drummer of the band Blink-182 and husband of Kourtney Kardashian.
4. Daniel Ricciardo — 8.8 million
Ricciardo is one of F1’s most engaging and recognizable drivers. The eight-time race winner earned his “Honey Badger” moniker for his aggressive driving on the track, but is one of the most personable, friendly drivers off it.
The AlphaTauri driver boasts comparable follower numbers to Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, actor Lily-Rose Depp, musician J. Cole, mixed martial artist Israel Adesanya, comedian and former “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
3. Max Verstappen — 10.8 million
This might be the only ranking in which Verstappen isn’t first this season. The three-time reigning drivers’ champion has won 17 races in a dominating 2023 campaign, obliterating records along the way. He’s a prohibitive favorite to win the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Verstappen’s Instagram followers put him on a similar level as actors Jack Black, Julia Roberts and Heidi Klum, musicians Christina Aguilera, Lana Del Rey and Usher, Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball and boxer Ryan Garcia.
2. Charles Leclerc — 12.9 million
The Monegasque driver ranks second after a title-challenging 2022 campaign. Leclerc has fallen back into the pack a bit in 2023, in seventh place behind teammate Sainz. But Lerclerc has won the pole position four times, including two of the past three races.
Leclerc has a comparable number of followers to musicians Kendrick Lamar, Mariah Carey and Lizzo, seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady, tennis star Novak Djokovic, actors Lindsay Lohan, Viola Davis and Jacob Elordi, YouTube personality KSI, two-time NBA champion and Phoenix Suns wing Kevin Durant and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who agreed to acquire Instagram in 2012.
1. Lewis Hamilton — 35.3 million
The seven-time drivers’ champion stands in a class of his own in terms of Instagram followers. Hamilton’s dominance on the track and endeavors off it have made him one the most recognizable drivers in F1 history. The 38-year-old English driver, who was knighted in 2021, also has a bulldog named Roscoe who has 961,000 followers on Instagram.
Hamilton has a similar number of followers as NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal and a host of musicians such as Olivia Rodrigo, Bruno Mars, Megan Thee Stallion, Ciara, Halsey, former One Direction member Niall Horan, Becky G and 50 Cent.