Fans favor Formula One star Michael Schumacher In the end, you picked the winner. You broke the tie at the top. And your selection for Driver of the Decade is Formula One great Michael Schumacher.
We applaud your choice. And thanks for getting all of us here at ESPN off the hook.
Here's the official top five:
1) Michael Schumacher: Seven-time Formula One champion.
2) Jimmie Johnson: The only man to win four consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup championships.
3) Valentino Rossi: Motorcycle racer with six MotoGP championships and nine overall Grand Prix world championships.
4) Sebastien Loeb: Winner of six consecutive World Rally championships.
5) Tony Schumacher: Seven-time NHRA Top Fuel champion.
Thirteen members of our racing team at ESPN picked our top five on Driver of the Decade. When those votes were tallied (five points for first, four for second, etc.) the results were a dead heat.
Jimmie Johnson and Schumacher each had 53 points.
Perfect. That meant the fan vote -- the last piece of the puzzle in this honorable prize for the first decade of the new millennium -- would decide the outcome.
The readers' choices accounted for one vote. The final vote. The difference-maker.
No, this wasn't rigged. We didn't deliberately plan it this way to give the readers more power. We just got lucky.
It was all up to you. And, frankly, your votes were a bit surprising.
Schumacher got the most points overall from 4,935 fans who voted on Friday, but not the most first-place votes.
MotoGP star Valentino Rossi easily garnered the most first-place votes among the readers -- 1,863 top votes, compared to 1,270 for Schumi. Johnson was third overall and third in first-place votes with 1,160.
That differs greatly from the ESPN panel, which had six first-place votes for Johnson, five for Schumacher, one for Rossi and one for Sam Hornish Jr.
Our votes were private, but in the spirit of full disclosure, I voted for Schumacher in the top spot.
Despite having almost 600 more first-place votes than Schumacher, Rossi lost a close battle to Schumi in the total count among fans -- 32,087 to 31,075.
Almost everyone placed Schumacher in the top three, but for Rossi, it was all or nothing. More voters placed him first, but many voters left him out of the top five entirely. More at ESPN.com