Best Formula One Drivers of All Time

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There have been many great F1 drivers since the start, but only one can be the best.. It's up to you to decide who gets the honor!

The Top TenXW

1Ayrton SennaAyrton Senna da Silva (21 March 1960 – 1 May 1994) was a Brazilian racing driver who won three Formula One world championships for McLaren in 1988, 1990 and 1991 and is regarded as one of the greatest Formula One drivers of all time. He was killed in an accident while leading the 1994 San Marino Grand ...read more.

Brilliant, ruthless, determined, fast and charismatic. Just some of the superlatives that some up the greatest driver Formula 1 has ever seen.

Ayrton ushered in a more professional approach to fittness and absolute dedication to the sport. He had to win and be the best... as Jo Ramirez said in the documentary "Right to Win", "For him it was nothing but winning - to him him coming second was to be the first of the losers. "

Senna, also possessed the supreme ability to utilise every part of the track and find speed from absolutely nowhere. He was unquestionably the best driver ever in wet weather conditions. One only has to remember Donnington in 1993 where Ayrton went from fifth to first before the end of the first lap!

Obviously the numbers favor Schumacher, but those who followed Senna's career know that his talent was phenomenal. Outqualified the very talented Prost by up to 1.5 seconds in the same car, was otherworldly in the wet, amazing nerve, drive and car control, the like of which we have never seen before, and may never see again. Certainly the fastest F1 driver ever, not always the best strategy, went for wins rather than places points, "as a professional race car driver I am programmed to win" won a Formula 3 (against other F1 up and comers) with no front brakes, many almost unbelievable stories about the guy, but they are true.

Just look at how close he gets to the wall in Monaco and how much he dominated in the wet. Seeing him drive drive one of the scariest race cars ever, the McLaren mp4-4 so effortlessly and setting blisteringly fast qualifying times was amazing.
Apart from Senna being first, I am not impressed with this list. Where are Juan Miguel Fangio, Damon Hill, and James Hunt? What is Fernando Alonso doing so high up and what is Vettel doing on here at all? Kimi Raikkonen should be the only current driver in the top five or ten. Then maybe Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Paul di Resta should be top 25. Stirling Moss should be higher too.

The best always

V147 Comments
2Michael Schumacher

Schumacher has shown over the years, that he is a brilliant driver with great talent and skill - proven by his constant wins. He beats both Senna and Clark hands down.

Schumacher broke more F1 records than Senna. He won many races, and I think it is more than Senna wins. - 09ShamsulBahriel

He Is The Most Successful Formula One Driver And He Became Successful In A Time When The Competition Was The Closest, The Technology And Innovation Was Transforming At It's Highest Rate. So Why Shouldn't He Be #1? - 12cc

He's very good

V53 Comments
3Juan Manuel Fangio

He should be higher up if overall performance is the rating. But consider that the era these racers were in can not really be fairly compared to other eras with such different equipment, rules, etc. To me anyone of them that were top runners is the best in their era.

There are so many good pilots, but Fangio is simply the best. When you read about what he did, you understand no one else can do that. And the most important he was a gentleman.

Was totally dominant in an era where Formula One was the most raw and deadly as it has ever been. One in Alfa Romeo, Mercedes, Lancia-Ferrari and Maserati. I think his talent surpasses Schumacher's.

I think that this guy is the best ever driver.

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4Fernando Alonso

The best of all f1 drivers currently racing. It is his skill and ability to get the best out of the car even though the package is not good. And also his ability to grab the podiums even after starting far behind the top three makes him one of the best in the ultimate f1 drivers list combo!

Up there with Ayrton Senna in terms of talent and race-craft, probably not as fast as Senna on a single lap, but I would say he is the most complete race driver ever because he knows how to handle pressure, he know how to get the most out of the shopping trolleys that they build him of late and he is utterly relentless! Similarly to Ayrton Senna, he has spent most of his career if not all of it without sitting in the best car. In a nutshell: Give him the second best package on the grid and he'll win you the championship.

A great driver. Still has a long time to win even more. He's 5th on wins list. He needs to be ranked among the greats. He also beat schumacher in head to head in 2006.

The best driver for sure in the current era. Perhaps not the best in all aspects but the best in overall. Fast, very skilled and more intelligent.

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5Jim Clark

Jim Clark was probably the greatest natural talent ever seen in any form of motor racing. Just as importantly, he was a gentleman racer who didn't have to block other drivers to stay in front. Relatively shy outside the car, he had a natural affinity with the machinery, and was less hard on the equipment than virtually anyone else. His smoothness belied his quickness; he did everything behind the wheel with such grace that he was simply in a class by himself. He could adapt to an ill-handling machine in short order and get the most from it, and he could drive and win in anything. Simply the best ever. I'd pick either Fangio or Senna second, and the other third. Schumacher couldn't compare with Clark.

1. Won Indianapollis 500 and World title in same year - only man to do so.
2. Win percentage of 34% (25 wins from 72 starts) - Senna by contrast is only 25% (41 wins from 162 starts) Pole percentage of 45% (33/72) to Senna's 40% (61/162) and Fastest Laps 39% (28/72) to Senna's 11% (19/162)

Almost certainly the best racing driver ever I guess there is a certain conflict if we on the confine the assessment to Formula One. When you look at his ratios in respect of achieving wins per start or front of grid per start or fastest laps he simply outranks everybody by a country mile with the exception of perhaps Fangoi! Stripping out the other races at which he excelled perhaps he is not absolutely the best Formula One driver but it can only come from one of three which would include Fangio and Senna!

He had a very fatal crash.

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6Niki Lauda

The Only real MAN on this list, he got the biggest balls to comeback after just 42 DAYS of his nearly fatal accident. NO ONE has done anything as BRAVE as that.

No one cleverly understood the ins and outs of the reality of formula one car racing then Niki Lauda. Pure genius at his craft!

Lauda had the skill to fight his way up through the field during the race. In those days it wasn't all about getting pole position or the fastest lap, but also getting temperamental cars through to the end of the race. This is something Alain Prost learned from him - and by the way he should be equal to Lauda in the ranking.

Genius. Tough as nails. More courage than anyone else on this list.

V23 Comments
7Alain Prost

Prost should have had at least 5 world championships, if not 6 or 7. In 1982, he was fastest, but bad reliability from the Renault caused him to only win one race and retire many times, In 1984, he had more car reliability problems and lost out to Lauda by half a point (the smallest margin ever).
1988 was the year that him and Senna met on equal terms, driving identical cars, and Prost got more points, but Senna only won the title by a quirk of an experimental ruling system that year.

Every car he ever drove was suddenly the car to have. He was not only a fast race driver, but an excellent development driver. When Senna didn't have a car that would win, he went where Prost was. The Professor was the man!

He is a technical 5 time world champion, as code masters decided to donate his world championship to Senna for no reason at all. Only lost one by half a point. Prost behind Senna, what a joke!

The Professor, the great Alain Prost. The king of consistency, should be higher on list than Alonso.

V9 Comments
8Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton's stats are more impressive than virtually EVERY other driver in history and yet he is still not being recognised for being brilliant. Ayrton Senna may have seemed a better racing driver to many people but he raced in a different era when it was pure racing and less about the car. Many people do not realise just how good Hamilton is because he is not able to drive at the limit (like the old racers did), mainly because of fuel & tyre restrictions and all the endless rules and computer control. Take all of the modern computer/pit crew guidance away from the other less capable drivers and Hamilton would stand head & shoulders above everyone. He was an unbelievably impressive in carting (no computers there) and as a rooky he made Alonso look very average, hence Alonso's teddy's being thrown out of his cot. Max Verstappen is the only driver in Lewis's Hamilton's league but even he has not so far been as impressive as Hamilton was in his first year- but he is much younger ...more

Lewis finished above the driver who is ranked the best of this generation while Lewis was a rookie, Lewis has beaten world reigning champion while in the same team. And Lewis is the only driver on the grid who has won every season he has raced.

Lewis is the only world champion in the current era to have won the title in the second fastest car of the season (McClaren), all the others Vettel, Raikkonen, Alonso, could only win if they were in the fastest most dominant car. He is the full package - incredibly fast, great wheel to wheel racer, virtually never makes a mistake, out brakes everyone, is fearless. He has won a race in every season, even when the McClaren was driving like a mobility scooter! He has had only one really bad season when he kept crashing into Massa ) which was as much Massa's fault as he kept crashing into other people in subsequent seasons. Button would never have beaten him if his head was straight. He would have won two titles at McClaren if it wasn't for Alonso's cheating and the many pit lane mess ups they kept making. Leaving them was the best thing he could have done,

Best after Michael

V67 Comments
9Sebastian Vettel

Four time world champion! Amazing driver and lucky too. The near crash in Brazil could have made Alonso three time champ. Winning the last race in 2010 made Vettel champion for the first time. Alonso could have been three time champ. You have to have the whole package and Vettel does.

Great team, great designer and great driver. He should in top five by now.

Vettel is the Senna in the wet of this generation. He will be the only driver to ever top Schumacher. He is leading Ferrari to another period of glory days. The only reason Lewis Hamfist has won the last two championahips is because Mercedes did such a great job with the car. Any time Lewis gets under pressure he cracks, drives off track. He's a good driver, but he can only win if there is no actual competition or problems for him. Vettel is the best driver after Alonso, who would be at least a 5 time world champion if he didn't keep flocking to a new team right when his old one was getting it together. If he and Vettel were with Ferrari 2016, Mercedes would be done for.

People say Vettel had it easy at Red Bull and anyone could have won like he did, but if that's true why isn't Mark Webber a 4 time world champion?

Fine 5th place finish despite starting last at the singapore track 2016

V35 Comments
10Kimi Raikkonen

He won the title the first year with Ferrari Team, and now with Lotus Team, which isn't a great team, is doing incredible things.

Absolutely magnificent - the fastest driver in the world! Awesome personality... With better luck he should be at least a triple World Champion so far!

When he was younger, as good as anyone ever has been.

Awesome personality great driver go kimi racing god

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The Contenders

11Jack Brabham

A legend who rose from the land down under, a country with no previous f1 experience at the time, and hit the big time In a car he built himself, going on to become a triple world champion.

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12Sir Jackie Stewart

Sir Jackie Stewart in my opinion is the best F1 driver of all times because in the times he raced there were not so many computers, not so many gadgets, it was pure tallent and driving skill

Saw him race several times. Certainly in a class by himself. Had 99 starts with 27 wins. He might have raced longer if not for the death of his team mate and friend Francois Cevert. I was at Watkins Glen to see Jackie's 100th start, but after Cevert's tragedy, Tyrell pulled the team out of respect. JAckie was a champion of safety. With his persistence, many F1 Drivers have had safer experiences, thanks to him. A True Champion!

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13Gilles Villeneuve

Right up there with the very best in sheer talent plus incredible nerve and determination. Given better equipment, could have won far more.

Best driver for the ability to manage the race in a difficult situation is talent and to soon

In terms of his actual driving, I don't think anybody has seriously been close to Villeneuve

He was great he would win a championship but he died wish he would still be alive

V8 Comments
14James HuntJames Simon Wallis Hunt was a British racing driver who won the Formula One World Championship in 1976. After retiring from racing in 1979, Hunt became a media commentator and businessman.

Putting life on the line for win

Biggest balls in history right after niki

Banged great looking women plus great driver.

V4 Comments
15Mika Häkkinen

One of the very few F1 drivers that won quietly. He didn't make a fuss or anything, and quite a few drivers should take a hint from him. - Porcupine

Humble, Modest, and ridiculously focused driver. Beat Schumacher twice in the World Championship to claim the overall win. "Yes."

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16Sir Stirling Moss

Repeated podium position in the Championship - should be higher than 16th.

V3 Comments
17Nelson Piquet

I TOTALLY AGREE. iF PEOPLE TAKE THE TIME AND TAKE AN UNBIASED VIEW, THEY WILL TRULY APPRECIATE PIQUETS CAREER. TITLES, THREE DIFFERENT ENGINES, COSWORTH, BMW, HONDA. WINS ON 3 MAKES OF TYRES. IN 85 AND 91 ONLY DRIVER WHO COULD DELIVER ON PIRELLIS. BRABHAM WAS ONLY CAUSE OF PIQUET.

HIS TITLES WERE ALMOST IN 3 DIFFERENT ERAS, IN 81 BEAT. JONES, REUTEMANN, ANDRETTI, VILLEUNEVE AND PIRONI. 83 NEXT GROUP OF TOP MEN, PROST, ROSBERG, LAUDA. 87 BEAT, MANSELL, SENNA AND PROST, THE BEST GROUP OF ALL TIME.

BESIDES THE RESULTS WERE ABSOLUTE TOP 5 OF ALL TIME, HE LIVED LIFE THE WAY A SUCCESFULL SPORTSMEN SHOULD. ALWAYS JOKING AND PLEASANT FOR ALL THOSE AROUND HIM. ONLY IN 86 AND 87 WHEN MANSELL A REAL A HOLE WAS HIS TEAMMATE DID NELSON MOUTH OF ABOUT MANSELL ONLY. LETS NOT FORGET NIGEL, GOT EVERYONES BACK UP. SHOW ME ONE NEGATIVE THING PIQUET EVER SAID ABOUT GREAT CHAMPIONS SUCH AS FANGIO, STEWART, LAUDA, PROST SCHUMI OR ANY OF THE SPORTS BOSSES, ECCLESTONE, BALESTRE ETC. ...more

Won two titles with the small, almost private team Brabham against all the factory teams. Won races on 3x different makes of tires (Pirelli, Goodyear and Michellin. Won races during 10 different seasons. A top driver allround.

Never acted like a big shot, was truly the last driver who exemplified the stereotypical idea of how one sees a racing driver.

Great fast driver and very regular. Very able to contribute to a team's progress. Always fair on track. And a very funny character.

V7 Comments
18Nigel Mansell

Insanely quick but equally as unlucky with reliability which arguably cost him the 1986 & 1987 titles which could easily have seen him become one of the best drivers of all time.

His sheer determination can only be matched by the best in history

He was awesome in my opinion and I will always admired greatness behind the wheel.

Good at qualifying, super lucky, sucks at racing.

V5 Comments
19Nico Rosberg

The best driver to have never won a championship, lost the 2015 championship by bad luck and some of his own doing, he can beat Hamilton to a championship if he just puts a few more things together.

He actually has won a world championship

In 2005-2013 he was in the shadows, consistently scoring points. Best ever driver not to have a WC. Put him in seventh

He is weird I hated him he is on

V11 Comments
20Alberto AscariV3 Comments
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List StatsUpdated 9 Dec 2016

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6 years, 279 days old

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