Top 15 All-Time Drivers

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Comparing F1 drivers across eras is inherently difficult; the longer schedules and frequently changed points systems of the past 25 seasons compound the unreliability of absolute numbers. These statistics attempt to give a “relative” view of the top fifteen Formula One pilots of all time, and offer a few revealing surprises.

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W05-2014
All drivers through 2015 season.
GP Wins By Percentage
Rank Driver Races Wins Percent
1 mapJuan Manuel Fangio 51 24 47.06%
2 mapAlberto Ascari 31 13 41.93%
3 mapJim Clark 72 25 34.72%
4 mapMichael Schumacher 306 91 29.74%
5 mapJackie Stewart 99 27 27.27%
6 mapSebastian Vettel 158 42 26.58%
7 mapLewis Hamilton 167 43 25.75%
8 mapAlain Prost 199 51 25.63%
9 mapAyrton Senna 161 41 25.47%
10 mapStirling Moss 66 16 24.24%
11 mapDamon Hill 115 22 19.13%
12 mapNigel Mansell 187 31 16.59%
13 mapTony Brooks 38 6 15.79%
14 mapNiki Lauda 171 25 14.62%
15 mapFernando Alonso 252 32 12.70%

Pole Positions By Percentage
Rank Driver Races Poles Percent
1 mapJuan Manuel Fangio 51 28 54.90%
2 mapJim Clark 72 33 45.83%
3 mapAlberto Ascari 31 14 45.16%
4 mapAyrton Senna 161 65 40.37%
5 mapLewis Hamilton 167 48 29.34%
6 mapSebastian Vettel 158 46 29.11%
7 mapStirling Moss 66 16 24.24%
8 mapMichael Schumacher 306 68 22.22%
9 mapDamon Hill 115 20 17.39%
10 mapJackie Stewart 99 17 17.17%
11 mapAlain Prost 199 33 17.12%
12 mapNigel Mansell 187 32 17.11%
13 mapJochen Rindt 60 10 16.67%
14 mapMika Häkkinen 161 26 16.15%
15 mapJames Hunt 92 14 15.22%

Average Starting Grid Position (5+ GPs through 2014)
Rank Driver Seasons Races Ave.
1 mapJuan Manuel Fangio 8 51 1.78
2 mapNino Farina 6 34 3.12
3 mapAyrton Senna 11 161 3.15
4 mapJim Clark 9 72 3.46
5 mapAlberto Ascari 6 32 3.72
6 mapAlain Prost 13 201 4.16
7 mapJackie Stewart 9 100 4.50
8 mapLewis Hamilton 10 149 4.49
9 mapJose Froilan Gonzalez 9 26 4.58
10 mapStirling Moss 11 66 4.76
11 mapMichael Schumacher 19 306 4.87
12 mapEugenio Castellotti 3 14 4.93
13 mapSebastian Vettel 10 140 5.30
14 mapJuan-Pablo Montoya 6 95 5.37
15 mapMike Hawthorn 6 46 5.85

Laps Led Per Grand Prix
Rank Driver Laps Led GPs Ave./Race
1 mapAlberto Ascari 926 31 29.87
2 mapJim Clark 2,089 72 29.01
3 mapJuan Manuel Fangio 1,348 51 26.43
4 mapJackie Stewart 1,921 99 19.40
5 mapAyrton Senna 2,987 161 18.55
6 mapStirling Moss 1,181 66 17.89
7 mapMichael Schumacher 5,111 306 16.70
8 mapSebastian Vettel 2,614 158 16.54
9 mapLewis Hamilton 2,424 167 14.51
10 mapAlain Prost 2,684 199 13.49
11 mapDamon Hill 1,358 115 11.81
12 mapNigel Mansell 2,089 187 11.17
13 mapGiuseppe Farina 338 33 10.24
14 mapNiki Lauda 1,592 171 9.31
15 mapMika Häkkinen 1,488 161 9.24

Fastest Laps By Percentage
Rank Driver Races Fast Laps Percent
1 mapJuan Manuel Fangio 51 23 45.10%
2 mapAlberto Ascari 31 13 41.94%
3 mapJim Clark 72 28 38.89%
4 mapStirling Moss 66 19 28.79%
5 mapMichael Schumacher 306 77 25.16%
6 mapJose Froilan Gonzalez 26 6 23.08%
7 mapAlain Prost 199 37 18.59%
8 mapKimi Räikkönen 230 42 18.26%
9 mapLewis Hamilton 167 28 16.77%
10 mapNigel Mansell 187 30 16.04%
11 mapSebastian Vettel 158 25 15.82%
12 mapDamon Hill 122 19 15.57%
13 mapJackie Stewart 99 15 15.15%
14 mapNino Farina 33 5 15.15%
15 mapMika Häkkinen 165 15 15.15%

Percentage of Podium (1-2-3) Finishes
Rank Driver Races Podiums Percent
1 mapJuan Manuel Fangio 51 24-10-1 (35) 68.63%
2 mapNino Farina 33 5-9-6 (20) 60.60%
3 mapAlain Prost 199 51-35-20 (106) 53.27%
4 mapLewis Hamilton 167 87 52.09%
5 mapAlberto Ascari 31 13-3-0 (16) 51.61%
6 mapMichael Schumacher 306 91-43-21 (155) 50.65%
7 mapSebastian Vettel 158 79 50.00%
8 mapAyrton Senna 161 41-23-16 (80) 49.69%
9 mapJim Clark 72 25-1-6 (32) 44.44%
10 mapJackie Stewart 99 27-11-5 (43) 43.43%
11 mapDamon Hill 115 22-15-5 (42) 41.00%
12 mapMike Hawthorn 45 3-9-6 (18) 40.00%
13 mapFernando Alonso 252 97 38.49%
14 mapStirling Moss 66 16-5-3 (24) 36.36%
15 mapKimi Räikkönen 230 80 34.78%

41 thoughts on “Top 15 All-Time Drivers

  1. Fangio and Ascari were great, but for the total package, give me Jim Clark. Fast, smart, brae, and a gentleman.

  2. If Ayerton Senna were to have lived to race again, he would have close to ten championships. Given that he was on williams which went on to be the dominant car for 3 seasons. Later could have possibly went back to Mclaren and later on possibly went on to race with Ferrari. Add those totals to the list and I am sure the outcome would equal the best driver all time modern era. He was out poleing the best in the 80’s with an inferior car who has been able to do that ever. Damon hill and my fellow Canadian would not have had those championships with williams most likely. And if the later was to happen as predicted hakkinen and schumacher would be hard pressed to have the championships they hold now. I know I am not that far off.

    1. Senna may have won 10 or even 20 more championships with Williams, McLaren and Ferrari and maybe Red Bull and then Mercedes as well after that. Your statement proves that Senna often drove the best cars of his era and when he didn’t get it, he simply left. Example: Switch from Lotus to McLaren and then to Williams were purely for a chance at more titles in a faster car. On the contrary, Schumacher left the best team with two titles to join an obscure and often mocked B team aka Ferrari. He and others created the environment to make it an A team and this team eventually the most dominant partnership in F1 history. He didn’t chase titles, he chased something bigger than that, and he more than achieved it. That, for me, swings it utterly in favour of Schumacher as the greatest of all time. Not even wading into aspects such as consistency, car control, wet weather driving, timing of blistering laps, car setup, team setup, overtaking, skill in lapping backmarkers, aggression, pure speed, etc. Senna is best compared to his nemesis Prost on these counts since they were often battling it out. Areas where Senna would score highest would be incredible qualifying pace, his play to win approach and his enigmatic personality.

      1. I often hear this argument that MS left Benetton for the Ferrari and because of that he is seen higher than AS as he only went after the best cars. Well let’s talk straight here:

        1 – The move from Lotus to McLaren: In which way was this move a slam dunk in 1988 for him? As anyone with a good memory will recall the Williams Honda of 1986-87 were THE car of the field. If I also recall, Ron Dennis is on record stating that one of the primary reasons he hired Senna (unlike what Prost said that it was because he suggested) was because Ayrton could bring Honda to the team and as we all know Honda were the engine manufacturer of the time. So again, McLaren had lost the previous 2 constructor seasons and in no way was this a sure move that would award him the championship – please watch from minute 9 the real reason why McLaren were so dominant in 1988 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_Wmw4vxPyQ.

        2 – The move from McLaren to Williams: Any good Senna biography will tell you that Ayrton was already in negotiations to move to the Williams for the 1992 during 1991 season. He stayed in the team after Honda’s founder asked him and because he was loyal to the founder who would soon die he lost the next 2 world titles. Think about that for minute. Imagine AS with 5 titles (+60 wins and +90 pole positions) in 10 years and all of the comparison between him and Michael goes down the drain. Moving on, when AS was already hired by the Williams he had stated to a personal friend (Galvao Bueno) that his dream was to drive for Ferrari and because he did not win the championship for 2 seasons , he was going to drive for the Williams in 94/95 to match Fangio’s titles and then he was going to make his final switch. If you don’t believe me please check Luca di Montezemollo’s own words when he spelled the beans that on April 27 1994 he and Senna met to discuss this move. He waited 20 years to reveal this to the world. However if you are Brazilian you would have known this already for the past 20 years. This is why hearing such rationale from MS fans is a bit amusing to say the least because if you guys think it was impressive for Michael to leave Benetton for Ferrari after 2 titles then how do you put into consideration that Senna was going to leave the car of the decade to drive for the Ferrari in 1996 and as we know thus giving up winning potentially very easily the following 2 championships.

        The fact the he died and could not carry on his final desire was something that destiny took care of and the question should then be, would both of these guys have been team mates at Ferrari in 1996? I highly doubt that, especially considering that MS never wanted to have strong team mates and in fact he directly hand picked poodles to stop the competition from challenging him. However this was also Ferrari’s philosophy brought over by Jean Todt. So we have to ask ourselves, since Ferrari was never a team of 2 top drivers who would they have preferred to hire for 1996 – a 5 times world champion or a good prospect for the future? Judging by how soon Luca me with Ayrton already in 1994 we can see that what Schumy fans hold most dear from Michael’s career, would have NEVER happened and very likely his successful 5 year run 2000-2004 would have most likely never occurred too. In short everything would have been different.

        I hope you can understand my message and see that there is really nothing that Michael has done that in life Ayrton wouldn’t have made. Sadly, we were all robbed to see a good 3-5 title wins by Senna as he was on the peak of his game and planned to retire by 2000.

        Thanks.

      2. “That, for me, swings it utterly in favour of Schumacher as the greatest of all time. Not even wading into aspects such as consistency, car control, wet weather driving, timing of blistering laps, car setup, team setup, overtaking, skill in lapping backmarkers, aggression, pure speed, etc. Senna is best compared to his nemesis Prost on these counts since they were often battling it out.” I could write a lot to debunk every aspect of your rationale. Instead, have a look at what 2 of the greatest drivers ever said “what if” AS had lived – http://www.grandprix.com/ft/ftdt046.html. Sorry, I do realize the truth can hurt.

      3. Using numbers, which frankly I don’t think is the best way to judge drivers but a lot of people like to, here are some fascinating figures.

        How many years did each of these drivers had a competitive car to win the championship during 10 years:
        MS – 1994/1995/1997/1998/2000/2001 = 6 years and 4 titles – 66% win ratio
        AS – 1988/1989/1990/1991 = 4 years and 3 titles – 75% win ratio

        Net title results in 10 years. Both Senna and Schumacher were involved in dirty maneuvers that resulted in a title win – however Schumacher NEVER lost s title due to cheating whereas Senna did – 1989. So “net net” the results are:

        MS 1995/2000/2001 – 3 titles = 50% win ratio with competitive car
        AS 1988/”1989/1990″/1991 – 3 titles = 75% win ratio with competitive car

        MS’s results during his first 161 GP’s:
        4 titles (2 against Hill 94/95 (Senna’s number 2 in 1994) – 1 against Hakkinen 2000 (Senna’s test driver and number 2 in 1993) and 1 against Coulthard 2001 (Senna’s test driver in 1994).

        52 wins, 42 poles, 44 FL and 2 grand slams (that came the year Senna died, the first being in Monaco).

        AS results during his total career of 161 GP’s:
        3 titles (2 against Prost 1988/90 (considered the 4th greatest driver in F1 history according to 217 drivers in Autosport 2009 poll) – 1 against Nigel Mansell 1991 (against what was to be the car of the decade + Senna won while driving a stick when Mansell had semi automatic gearbox and the fastest engine + even if Mansell won every race that he retired, AS would have still won the title by 8 points)

        41 wins, 65 poles, 19 FL and 4 grand slams

        Wet races:
        MS 55 races and 19 wins (34.55%)
        AS 21 races and 14 wins (66%) (excluding Monaco 1984 which the FIA robbed him to give the win to Prost) – https://f1metrics.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/who-was-the-best-wet-weather-driver/.

        Laps led per GP:
        MS 5,111 in 306 races = 16.7%
        AS 2,987 in 161 races = 18.5% .

        Total races in which led every lap:
        MS 11 races in 18 years
        AS 19 races in 10 years

        Head to head title fight in which he won:
        MS 1994, 1997,1998, 2000,2003 = 1/5 in 2000
        AS 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991 = 3 /4 in 1988,1989,1991

        For me, the best comparison is the following – Senna competed for 6 years and 96 GP’s at the McLaren (his main team), so let’s look at MS’s performance also during his 96 GP’s at the Ferrari:

        MS 96 GP’s at Ferrari (1996-2002) – 2 titles (2000/2001) and 36 wins
        AS 96 GP’s at McLaren (1988-1993) – 3 titles (1988/1990/1991) and 35 wins

        All of these figures are on record, I didn’t massage any of them and have provided links to back this up. Some may say that yes MS lost the 1999 title due to his accident in Britain – that’s absolutely true. But if anything he would have had the SAME titles as AS during that period. If we look at just their period when they drove with their main teams and factoring in the HUGE competition gap between Senna’s era and that of Michael than I honestly cannot see where (apart from MS undeniable advantage on Fastest Laps) Schumacher was a more complete driver then Senna. The numbers simply DO NOT support that argument at all.

        1. Now that we got the myth that MS was a more complete (as the numbers clearly show AS was far more complete even though he battled greater competition) driver then AS out of the way let’s simply look at each of these drivers best races. When people remember them, they talk about their greatest performances:

          AS
          1st Estoril 1985 – First win already on the 2nd race with a decent car + the only driver in history to win his maiden GP by setting a grand slam)

          2nd Donington Park 1993 – considered by many the greatest race ever and certainly the greatest 1st lap in history. Senna made Schumacher, Hill and Prost look like amateurs in the wet. Combined all of these drivers won 12 world titles. Heck imagine if instead of Andretti and Hill we had Mansell and Hakkinen on that race, his win would have been seen even more spectacular.

          3rd Interlagos 1991 – The guy won the race with 6th gear only, in the wet and with slick tires for the last 10 laps. He lost a whopping 35 seconds in 8 laps to Patresi, and in fact it was thanks to the rain that he won the race. During the last 2 laps, he clocked with 6th gear only times that were nearly identical to that of Patresi. Check out what his mechanic said about that event https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gK4ELXOflA

          4th Monaco 1984 – Everybody knows that the FIA helped Prost by terminating this race right as Senna was going to take the lead. The absolute proof is…….Estoril 1985. Even to this day drivers can’t even pass in the dry and Senna overtook 11 cars in his first ever season, in the wet, with one of the worst cars on the grid and with one of the few cars that had NO power steering.

          5th Suzuka 1988 – The very first time the title came to a head to head fight and after losing 14 spots after the start Senna caught Prost before half way of the race and overtook the TOP DOG of the time in the SAME CAR to clinch a spectacular first drivers world title.

          6th Suzuka 1989 – There has never been a win like this. We’ve seen all kinds of race wins, but NONE in the same fashion as when a race and title are absolutely OVER and a driver brings the car back to win the race with an overtake in the exact same spot as where Prost said it was HIS corner. Funny, I never knew corners belonged to drivers) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cqmXjGiDWc.

          7th Monaco 1992 – The greatest defensive win ever. Won the race with no grip (according to Senna it was like driving on ice) and running 4-5 seconds a lap slower than NM. Just look at what the guys said after the race – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kyr_kRLWvWc.

          So in 10 years Senna had 7 spectacular wins that people still talk about and against 4 top dogs – Lauda (one of the greatest 10 drivers ever), Piquet, Prost (one of the greatest 5 drivers ever) and Mansell = 11 world titles

          Now if I am not wrong, Michael has never put a legendary win against a TOP DOG. All of his top 7 races came after Prost retired and Senna died. One must ask how likely would Michael had won his legendary wet races (1995/96/97) against Senna, when Ayrton was a much better wet weather driver then Michael. I have already proven that in number terms – AS won 66% vs MS 34% of wet races. So here is the list of MS top 7 races, I am not sure if the order is fully correct:

          1st – Barcelona 1996

          2nd – Spa 1995

          3rd – Suzuka 2000

          4th – Monaco 1997

          5th – Spa 1997

          6th – Hungary 1998

          7th – Barcelona 1994

          All of these wins came against the following head to head competitors – Hill (1 world title 1996 in which he admitted only happened because Senna died), Villeneuve (1 world title 1997 and as we saw from his career one of the worst F1 champions in history), Hakkinen (2 world titles, won 1st race after 7 years in the sport and in 1999 barely won the title against the almighty Eddie Irvine by 2 points) and Coulthard (0 titles and has also admitted that he only made it into F1 thanks to Senna’s death – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cn_AdLiB9Rc).

          MS is without a doubt one of the top 3 greatest drivers ever, but to say that he was more complete than Senna is factually not true – the numbers clearly sow that. And when we compare these guys top 7 races, and putting the competition factor into it’s proper context, none of Michael’s legendary wins are more impressive than those of Senna. This is why Ayrton comes on top of every credible poll on who was best ever and if MS fans just looked at the info I have just presented here, they would never wonder or ridicule why Senna is still considered the greatest – even by their own idol https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0B6pHOTkf4

      4. ANY PILOT WHO CHANGES FOR FERRARI GOES FOR THE BEST TEAM EVER, PERIOD YOU TELL ME SCHUMY CHANGE FROM BENETTON TO FERRARI WASN’T FOR THE BEST MAKES ME LAUGH, SCHUMACHER AS THE BEST RECORDS BECAUSE HE RUNS ALONE NOT EVEN HIS TEAMMATE COULD CHALLENGE HIM, IF SENNA DIDN’T DIE SCHUMY WAS RESUMED TO MAYBE A FIFTH OF HIS PALMARES…FOR ME SCHUMY ISN´T ON THE TOP 5 BEST EVER….
        SEE WHAT SENNA DID WITH INFERIOR MCLAREN WHEN WILLIAMS DOMINATED, AND SEE SCHUMY GET HIS ASS KICKED ON MERCEDES BY NIKO ROSBERG…

      5. Did you know that Michael had ” things ” in his cars that know body els had and that kind of ” things ” made him
        better then the others!!!

  3. Well, I was born in the Prost era, my youth was at Mansell, Senna era, then along came Schumacher, Hill, Villeneuve, Hakkinen and co, of course at present times you have Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso. To judge the greatest, people have different opinions on what they considered to be necessary but I always believe on and off the track are often hand in hand, because not one driver would be greater than the sport or the competition itself. Having this in content plus on the track, I would consider Schumacher as probably the greatest of all time; he represent the sports nice enough and just because he is not English, that does not make him inferior to other great Englishmans who won the formula one before him, like I would never consider Hamilton as an English gentleman. His charity and community work are probably second to none in the sport history, he is always widely considered as the most pleasant drivers to approach to by the press.

    On the track, you can say he is aggressive and often rough on the track, possibly also dirty at times, anyone would remember the battle he had with Hill and Hakkinen; but you probably cannot find better driver with better tactical approach than Schumacher, what more exciting is that he makes gamble on his tactics which inject the race with excitements that lacks nowadays. Often people forgets, Schumacher is the best rain driver ever seen in any motor sports. Do not think there is any doubts about his greatness.

    1. No… you didn’t lived the Senna-Prost era.
      No… you didn’t watch Senna driving on rain.

      You were probably too young.

    2. you´re so wrong, schumy will never be as great as Senna not even in charity, see what the experts say about who was the best, or see the top gear show on youtube about Senna what jeremy clarkson says in the end….

  4. Comparing drivers across the years is difficult, but Jim Clark’s four consecutive wins at Spa, never starting on pole due to the Lotus being an handling rather than a fast car but winning, often in atrocious rain way way ahead of the competition, scoring the only win for the complex and unreliable BRM H16 engine mounted in the Lotus 43 in the 1966 US Grand Prix, winning at Zandvoort in the Lotus – Ford 49 which he had never seen until the practice and regaining the lead in the 1967 Italian Grand Prix after pitstopping for a puncture only to run short of fuel and finish third, mark him as the greatest driver of his era. What a pity he died at Hockenheim. Modern safety measures came too late for him !

  5. Schumi, is not good against complete drivers who are similar to his driving style, he lost against Prost, Alonso and Rosberg. If you really got to rate top drivers, look at Fangio, Clark, Villeneuve, Ronnie and Senna and decide. I personally favour Senna, because, his raw talent in driving the machine beyond limit is not matched by another driver.

    1. I watched Senna and Prost. Senna simply didn’t have enough fastest laps for me to believe he drove beyond the limit of the machine any more than other greats. Senna was ruthless, but in smooth, open track conditions Prost regularly was the faster driver. Senna was better in rain and traffic, but usually had no advantage over Prost in open track, optimal conditions. For me, Schumacher was the greatest. Senna was a brutal blocker and used ruthless means that are totally unacceptable and penalized today. When Senna was under threat of being passed, he would block harshly, weaving back and forth in front of the trailing car. Today, penalties are enforced strictly for that. Senna benefited from the romantic aspects created by his latin background, passionate personality, and somewhat fearless style. I do not confuse this with absolute greatness.

  6. There is a mistake on the calculation. for Michael Schumacher under Laps Led Per Grand Prix. If you divide 5,111 laps led by his 306 careers races that amounts to 16.70% and not 24.81%. This means in this category he ranks 9th behind Vettel.

      1. Hi Glenn,

        Can I ask you why won’t you release the 3 other messages that I have posted yesterday? I was under the impression that this was an open forum for debate in which, as long as people did not offend each other nor provided incorrect information, one could express his views freely. I have done more than just express my views, I have shown conclusive numbers between Senna’s and Schumacher’s career that a lot of fans from both sides never really came across. By posting these stats I was hoping that people could get a better view on their careers and thus make better judgement on their true performance over the years.

        I would feel very disappointed that a self described “F1 aficionado” would attempt to hold (by not releasing my messages) such info in an attempt to shape or even preserve an erroneous opinion that I see from many MS fans. I hope that this is just a delay on your side and that by now you have truly not managed to “moderate” these posts.

        Thanks,
        Mauricio

          1. HI Glenn,

            I am not able to reply to Randall’s comment on the 11th of May – can you check your website pls? If I write a new message would you be able to allocate it as my reply to his post?

            Thanks,
            Mauricio

  7. Juan Manuel Fangio never will be matched when you stop to look at the fatality list that surrounded his career. Raceing never will see the likes of him when it comes to dominating the track.. Back in the day it wasnt a sport it was a brush with death every Sunday…

  8. Fangio was 39 years old in his first formula 1 season.
    Even drivers like Ralf Schumacher drove a gocard when he was 3 years old.
    I think that you have much much more feeling for a car when you start the sport that age.
    It does not matter if it is tennis, table tennis, formula 1 or another sport. The younger you start, the better you are. And nobody can catch up with you when he starts the sport when is 40 years old.
    So i think Fangio is much overrated as well as all the drivers in that time. He drove in a time where formula 1 was not a sport, it was just a leisure activity for rich aristocratic guys.
    Just my opinion.
    Kind regards
    Andy

  9. Never heard about Fangio and Ascari they give me shot right to my head, they were great looks like I wonna see their racing video!
    But for me Senna is great as a man as a driver!

  10. I can’t understand one why today in F1 old racers sorry like Alonso or Kimmi still driving F1 cars where they a long days ago lost their stats like today they loosing more and more racing is overcoming… I just wonder where the new guys who should get the place and push the gas and got that podium over and over like it did Senna or Shumi of course different guy diff style of driving but talented racers should get that cars, Am I right?

  11. No cheating and driving a car on a much smaller budget no one even comes close. Colin Chapman was a genius and
    JIM CLARK WAS AND ALWAYS WILL BE NUMBER ONE

    1. So true every one talks about Senna, but for me Clark was the greatest driver in Formula 1 or for that matter greatest driver ever!!!!!

  12. I think that Andy’s comments are wide of the mark ! When Fangio was in his twenties, there was a problem for racing drivers – World War 2 hence Fangio’s age when he first entered F1. During the war, firms such as Mercedes Benz were producing aero engines etc rather than racing cars. For Fangio to win five championships during the 1950s and survive was incredible to say the least – just research the numbers of drivers killed during this period. Records always fall over time and the only man to have beaten Fangio’s five championships is Michael Schumacher and it took a gap of almost forty years before this happened. You also have to take into account that there were few races in the early post-war years of F1. That is why the aces of that era drove in endurance races such as Le Mans, the Mille Miglia and Targa Florio etc.

  13. I saw almost all F1 races from 1978. I think the best driver in F1 was Michael Schumacher from some reasons:
    1. He was the best youngest pilot at his time and was the was youngest F1 title winner.
    2. He won with a weakest car against his opponents (Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and others and against McLaren Honda, Williams best teams in those times). All titans at those times awarded contracts to the best teams but Michael took hire each his team.
    3. He risen two weak teams (Benetton and Ferrari after decades or from down)
    4. He was almost equal with Senna on rain, the same tallent in all situations, but has a better mental and calm.
    5. MS had a very good technical thinking in mechanics like Nikki Lauda and made the best setup in all weather situation.
    6. He had a best intuition about races and conditions and took win decisions before.

    For all I said I consider Michael a complete pilot but especially that he won with weak teams not with the best at a time like all his opponents.

  14. if you saw all f1 races since 78, you’re not paying atention, first schumacher didn’t compeat against Prost, second in the year Senna died benneton was the best car on the grid, then Mclaren wasn’t Honda powered, in 94 was Ford client, that means the official ford was on the benneton, the ford engine on the mclaren was the same as on the minardi for example, the ford on the benneton was thw zetec official most powerful than the others, the following years williams was the best car, and he was beaten for mediocre pilots like damon hill and jacques villeneuve (imagine if Senna drive those williams) and Mika hakkinen on mclaren MERCEDES then when ferrari became superior above the others not even is teammate could challenge him team orders, he was champion racing alone…the Renault rise up with Alonso and he gets his ass kicked by the spanish twice…so my friend i see F1 since 78/79 too and with more understending since 81, you should review those years and pay more attention to see that schumy was good but far from drivers like Senna, Prost or Lauda, not to say he get his ass kicked by niko rosberg on mercedes before he retires….

    PS if you remember Senna begin racing on Toleman, and Lotus not winning teams on those years…schumy after one year was on benneton took 2 years to be the best F1 team in 1994/95 seasons….and Prost on his 1st year on Renault was vice-champion…Lauda was champion on 1st year with Ferrari…if you need more help with history i’ll be around…

  15. About to head to my 16th GP at Monza this year, have have watched most all since the 80’s. Never saw him live, saw Michael several times, a great driver no doubt, as is Alonso. Without a doubt though…Senna. Period, end of story. I suspect in many of our minds, he was the ultimate racer ever.

  16. This documentary says it all…..if you don’t wanna watch the whole thing, just skip to 15min:10sec. Sums it up nicely. God bless

  17. Theirs no doubt at all Senna was a great driver but no one has ever come close to Jim Clark
    Driving cars built on a much smaller budget built by genius Colin Chapman

  18. One parameter never used to compare the F1 aces of different eras is the margins by which they achieved victory. I think Jim Clark and Lotus will come out well by this test.

  19. I think the healthy debate here shows what F1 used to be like and why I became so captivated by it. Cars with better handling racing against cars with more powerful engines. Relatively simple cars which relied on high driver input and skill. It’s also why I no longer bother looking at F1 from a driver perspective. I look at the constructors championship which is the only time it makes sense. I have never seen such a dominant car as the Merc now. It doesn’t matter if there is a grid penalty and it goes to last place on the grid, it will get at least second place. I wish for the days of Clarke, Senna, Prost etc. They were all a joy to watch !! Somehow we have to get those days back !!

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