Best Formula 1 Drivers of All Time

richie4life

The Top Ten

1 Ayrton Senna Ayrton Senna Ayrton 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.

Absolutely the best, fast, charismatic and talent driver ever.

Absolutely NO QUESTION! Senna was the best racing driver of all times.

288 Comments
2 Michael Schumacher Michael Schumacher

No other driver in his position and with his standing has volunterry left his winning team to take two steps back with his change to ferrari. His ability to drive the cars on the absolute limit pushes the strategic opportunities to a new level. A level where no other driver could compete against him.

An out of this world driver. Would've loved to see him and hamilton racing at their peak!

Michael Schumacher is the greatest f1 driver in the world

No other driver changed F1 so much. Starting with physical preparation, which today's standards were set by him. Following with his full commitment with his teams (specially in the low moments) and, finally with his capability to drive the car on the limit for as many laps as needed during the races, making strategy a new field to work on. He turned F1 into a professional sport, not just the worldwide show it used to be before.

114 Comments
3 Lewis Hamilton Lewis Hamilton Lewis Hamilton is a British racing driver who races in Formula One for Mercedes AMG Petronas. A five-time Formula One World Champion, he is often considered the best driver of his generation and widely regarded as one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport. He won his first World Championship ...read more.

Lewis get's a lot of hate but a vast majority is not for his performance or any good reason. Some people Do not like him Because they are jealous of his success and he has never driven for their preferred team, or because of his dominance at time's, hopefully that will subside when he retires and he will get more of the respect he deserves, This was the case to a lesser degree with Michael Schumacher. Much of the other criticism revolves around his off track lifestyle, something that in the past has been celebrated with other drivers, Jet setting playboy F1 drivers had previously been part of the sports appeal, but with Lewis, having other interests and a celebrity presence has been frowned upon, I hate to say it but that probably stems from the last reason some people do not like him, his race. A lot of his detractors would never admit it but if Lewis Hamilton was white or maybe even Latin he would probably be at the top of this list. No other driver has ever had so many people make ...more

How can any one think Hamilton is not the best current driver and close to GOAT, world championships speak for themselves, if any Team wins the premier league over the course of the season no one has the right to say they didn't deserve it because they have proved themselves over many games, same goes for Hamilton, he has proven himself again and again, most poles of all time, second most world championships, if he does go on to equal or pass Schumacher why would he not be considered better than him, also how can he possibly be rated below Alonso, when they were racing together he blew Alonso out of the water, some people on her commented Hamilton has always had the best car, a lot of the time he has, but so has his team mate so why didn't the do so well.

I think many people are unjustifiably harsh on Lewis, but the numbers speak for themselves.

Great champions like Lewis can win under any circumstances and raise their game under intense pressure, unlike some ranked higher on this list who can only be relied upon to whine and blame others when the going gets tough, or crack under pressure and make mistakes.

Hell, even the highly regarded Fernando Alonso thinks Hamilton is one of the best ever.

I'd go with Alonso's opinion any day over those biased armchair racers.

If you was to judge the best f1 drivers purely on wins and titles then schumacher is currently top man however we never saw lewis hamilton take on schumacher in his prime but results speak for themselves and hamilton is not done yet as we watch records tumble and history being made I would say that hamilton is on form to take the schumachers records as he is one of the only drivers able to get the best out of a car and he can race wheel to wheel without spinning unlike a driver ranked higher than him no names mentioned
But the skill shown in a f1 car rivals the greatest of all time the likes of senna and mansel or prost graham hill jackey stewart and niki lauda these are names that will forever be talked about as the greatest of all time and I believe we are watching history in the making with lewis hamilton and in my opinion he's fastley becoming the greatest of all time unfortunatly we haven't seen a strong enough rival in alonso due to circumstances alonso did not get a strong ...more

191 Comments
4 Fernando Alonso Fernando 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!

I haven't seen so far any other pilot who has always taken out the best of his car in every single race.
Maybe not the best qualifier but by far the strongest on race of the last 20 years.
He defeated Schumacher and won 2 tittles in a renault.
No other pilot has ever gone out so many times of his comfort zone and squeezed every single inch of his car in order to fight against better cars.
With a decent car...he would have at least +6-8 world championships.
Grande Fernando

Simply the best

No words for Fernando! In equal machinery, he doesn't give a chance!

141 Comments
5 Juan Manuel Fangio

Could place a car with absolute precision every lap and considering the engineering of the day was more like dark ages to what is possible today he managed to handle a car like Michelangelo handled a paint brush. A Master of his work!

19th is just silly. This is obviously a young person's game!

Senna's a good candidate, but Fangio was the absolute best.

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.

34 Comments
6 Jim Clark

In my opinion, he is quite simply the best racing driver in modern history.

He achieved so much in his (unfortunately) short racing career, displayed efficiency and grace behind the wheel that has not been witnessed since him, and even Senna himself described Jim as "The best of the best".

There is a particular episode in 'The Grand Tour' that goes into depth on this subject but I highly recommend watching it.

Tight one between Jim & Fangio, records don't show just how dangerous racing cars was back then

Hardly ever made a mistake. Always hit apexes and was amazingly quick in every car he drove, especially in the Lotus 25 and the Lotus Cortina and a really nice guy.

In my opinion the best racing driver ever. Could drive any car quicker than others. RIP Legend.

49 Comments
7 Niki Lauda

The only man, who won the championship in two very different eras ( 1975,1977 and the turbo era 1984 ). All the others won in a certain era.

Greatest driver who ever lived

Rest in Peace the Champion.You were the best with Senna.

My all time favorite. A smart, talented, very tough driver!

52 Comments
8 Alain Prost Alain Prost

It takes knowledge to appreciate Alain Prost quality as a racing driver.
The best of the golden era.
The king of the turbo charged mayhem.
The most accomplished F1 driver.
Simply the best, winning his second title in an inferior car with an inferior engine.

I kinda think he should be over Lauda - Disturbedpotato

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.

Awesome driver. Taking into account courage, skills, danger, competition, results and panache :
1. Fangio
2. Prost
3. Senna
4. Schumacher

18 Comments
9 Sebastian Vettel Sebastian Vettel Sebastian Vettel is a German racing driver currently driving in Formula One for Scuderia Ferrari. He is a four-time Formula One World Champion, having won the championship in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 with Red Bull Racing.

Amazing driver deserves more and he is very unlucky

Consistency

Very fast but cracks under pressure

Far better than Alonso and proved it many times, many fans of Alonso are simply jealous.

60 Comments
10 Kimi Raikkonen Kimi Raikkonen Kimi-Matias Räikkönen, nicknamed "The Ice Man", is a Finnish racing driver currently driving for Sauber in Formula One. He was the winner of the 2007 FIA Formula One World Championship in his first season with Scuderia Ferrari. He currently holds the record for the most race wins (21) in Formula One ...read more.

One of the best drivers, can get the best from all cars

He knows what to do.

Gets podiums and wins in different cars and different engines. Not many have done that - Alonso did - and Hamilton only wins in best car.

Kimi no nonsense driver or maker of excuses.

Probably doesn't care what anyone thinks.

68 Comments

The Contenders

11 Mika Hakkinen

The only man MSC fear - Disturbedpotato

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."

He should definitely be higher up on this list. He was the one Schumacher feared more than any other driver!

7 Comments
12 James Hunt James Hunt James 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.

Too high. Won only one WDC and that was because Lauda injury - Disturbedpotato

True grit and determination. To much raw talent to contain and sheer class, entertainment and one of the stars that has made F1 so popular today. Today’s stars have a lot to be thankful to James.

Putting life on the line for win

Banged great looking women plus great driver.

7 Comments
13 Jackie Stewart

Raw talent with grace and dignity!

Have to agree about " before so many computers and not so many gadgets. Plus he raced for smaller teams.

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

Skilled and intelligent, came did the business and retired before the sport took from him. Modern drivers owe him for the safety measures he pushed and pushed and pushed for.

3 Comments
14 Gilles Villeneuve Gilles Villeneuve

A no fear racing genius

The best, as admitted by 2 of the drivers above

The best one

One of the fastest of all time RIP - Disturbedpotato

20 Comments
15 Jack Brabham

Pushed his car 500 yards to win in 1959 and then becomes only driver in HISTORY to win the championship racing in his own team in a car built by himself.

Now nobody would even try to push a car one yard let alone 500 and build their own team like he did.

The only F1 driver to build and race his own car, which puts him ahead of many other drivers...

He built his own car. What a legend

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.

3 Comments
16 Alberto Ascari

He is incredible. Has best Laos lead per race record

Should be up around 8 or 9.

Ascari this low? COME ON PEOPLE MULTI WORLD CHAMP HERE

Unbelievably low.
At least top 10.

17 Stirling Moss

A gentleman

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

Brilliant driver and a true gentleman

Has never won a championship. All the top ten have

1 Comment
18 Max Verstappen

He is outperforming his car consistently, and his latest "360" on the track, making sure his rear wheels kept spinning, so he would make the full 360 and would be able to keep driving, tells me there is somebody special driving this car. Lewis can do that to. These guys are outside category. It depends on the car but both of them would dominate in good car.

Entering at 17 years old and driving among older and more "experienced" drivers. He got inside everyone's mind, outperformed many cars in better conditions. This is it, the next generation future Goat is among us. 21 now and he's got 5 years behind him, every year he treats us with something special. A catch-up race in the rain at Brasil, round the outside's, impossible overtake inside curbs at U.S. vs Kimi, crazy defendings, Introducing a 'Max Verstappen Rule' and many more impressive drives.

Different to every other driver on the grid. On raw talent, entertainment value and massive potential there is already an argument for him as the best ever, even though the stats are not yet there.

He is in an inferior auto while Lewis is in the superior car and Max still is able to win several races

58 Comments
19 Damon Hill

Robbed of two titles by a German driver and Italian team boss, fact!

If Schumacher was supposed to be so good, then in a fair season, Hill was better. Hungary in the Arrows just proved how good he really was.

Maybe lacked the arrogance to think its okay to cheat to win which senna and shumi had, if that’s a good thing.

The best driver after Senna! He was terribly robbed for the title in 1994! For me this guy is at least twice world champion and great gentleman! And yes - faster than Schumacher the knocker!

I can't believe he is so far in the list.
I personaly believe he was a great driver and should be miuch highier in the list

He was a good driver for his age. But unfortunatley his personality off of the T.V. is horrible. If you've meat him that is

20 Daniel Ricciardo

What you mean his way to high. This guy passed both mercedes and ferrari with a RED BULL and won the race

A positive guy who outscored vettel and a driver extraordinaire driving a ordinary car.

Give him a better car and boom! number one driver ever

WAY too high - Disturbedpotato

13 Comments
21 Bruce McLaren Bruce McLaren

Great driver and builder

Top 10at least brilliant driver

To come from where he came from and to leave a legacy that still exists on the F1 racetrack, is quite incredible

22 Nelson 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

Obviously many voters are too young. He was the best F1 driver of the 80s and easily top 5 of all time. Could win on any engine and wheel. No other champion has done what he did. Also despite havng less fastest qualifiers than Senna, has raced more fastest laps in race.

Great driver, a real legend.

Very underrated

14 Comments
23 Emerson Fittipaldi

Great driver, and a thoroughly nice person. Great ambassador for the sport

Great Driver

Durst brasiliana Champion um Formule one

Great driver, would have won more championships if he wouldn´t have moved to copersugar - Disturbedpotato

2 Comments
24 Robert Kubica

His accident was unlucky - Disturbedpotato

Great talent. Thought guy

First Cyborg in F1
badass through and through

Good man

9 Comments
25 Nico Rosberg

Great driver

Won the WDC 2016 because hamilton's engine failure in malaysia - Disturbedpotato

overrated - Disturbedpotato

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.

16 Comments
26 Nigel Mansell

He was fantastic, I just loved to watch him, my favourite.

Amazing driver. Indycar 1992 was amazing, who else could do that fromF1

He who dares wins...or breaks the car..

Nigel had 5 world champion team mates. His 31 victories were against Senna Prost Piquet, some were against Shumacher Hakinnen, L auda. Enough said

14 Comments
27 Didier Pironi

Unlucky not to win 1982 WC. Very fast. As good as Senna.

28 Charles Leclerc Charles Leclerc

Really good driver

Watch and see!

Better than Verstappen and any driver on the grid

29 John Watson

Most Underrated driver ever - Rayvok

30 Jean Alesi

Just a beast - deserved a go in a title-capable car.

Well... Check out his first few seasons, as he impressed with Tyrrell with high-place finishes on at best, mid-field cars. Even though he only had one win, it was his ability to drive an underwhelming car that makes him a talented driver, but I wouldn't say he should be on the Top 10, maybe around 11th-15th. - Kwaysar

31 Rubens Barrichello

Superb overtakings and corner braking

326 GP's in Formula One in the best teams, tried Indy and now, are racing in the brazilian Stock Car where he are a champion (won the 2014 title) and beyond that, he's a very competitive kart racer, an very cool and family guy.

Over 300 races and now stil going in indycar he is the only formula 1 driver to beat the stig on top gear and he's a pretty friendly chap to

32 Stefan Bellof

The greatest talent to die before the career really kicked in.

Started the 1984 Monaco race stone dead last on the grid, in the only non-turbocharged car in the field, and by the halfway point in the race, he was up to third and catching both Senna and Prost. He also holds the ultimate lap record of the Nordschliefe.
He was somewhat like Senna, only even faster and more fearless. The ultimate 'what if' story in Formula 1.

Would have won 84' Monaco race if it gone a few more laps.

33 Rio Haryanto

Simply the best

Won many world championships and had a much glorified career with perhaps the most successful team in F1 :Manor Marrussia. He is truly a legend and one of a kind.

34 Narain Karthikeyan

The first Indian driver in F1. He was a talented driver but always had the slowest cars.

35 Ronnie Peterson

Fastest driver ever

Incredible car control

Would have easily won championships if he had not died. Came 2nd in the championship the second year he competed in F1. Also came 2nd the year he died. Very fast and daring driver

Drive it like he stole it - How to drift a Lotus 72 - see Ronnie

5 Comments
36 Carlos Sainz Jr. Carlos Sainz Jr.

Has been great this season for McLaren, would love to see him in top team - Disturbedpotato

El hijo de

37 Jenson Button

He is actually behind Alonso and Lewis, look at his teammate stats. Look at alonso teammate stats.

Some odd results on here

How ia he behind Maldonado - Disturbedpotato

-2009 world champion
-on number occasions beat current world champion (Hamilton) in the same car
-2011 Canada Grand Prix 7th -> 1st in the rain

8 Comments
38 Jacques Villeneuve Jacques Villeneuve

Worst guy ever to win the WDC - Disturbedpotato

Anyone that thinks JV shouldn't be on this list doesn't understand racing or just hates on him. Here's a guy that takes pole on his first race and should have won also. Astonishingly aggressive driver who would make unbelievable maneuvers overtaking other drivers. Was relentless and not intimidated by anyone. Had Schumacher shaking many times with unpredictable pressure.

How can a so spectacular wold champion be so far on the list?

Three words decribe him: a massive dick

2 Comments
39 Jody Scheckter

Admiring his driving style.
Agressive.
Total different driving style.

Great driver - Disturbedpotato

He is a South African. World Champ from nowhere!

40 Gerhard Berger
41 Pastor Maldonado

Phenomenal driver who not only overperformed the slow williams in 2012 but also drove into the chequered flag as the williams latest gp winner.

42 Dario Franchitti

Great driver but not in F1.

He is famous

43 Graham Hill

He's an iconic driver and he won the triple crown, Indy 500, 24h Le Mans and Monaco Grand Prix. Legend.

Has won Le Mans, Monaco, Indy 500

44 Jochen Rindt

There is no doubt Jochen was super quick,the only driver Stewart considerd his equal, after Jim Clark's death. But he tended to relax a bit when the car was not competitive. In F2 where many top F1 drivers including Stewart and Clark also competed he was the King. I was a great fan his best race was the 1969 British GP at Silverstone where he diced with Stewart, they destroyed the opposition, happy days.

Why is he 39? - Disturbedpotato

Only Driver to win World Drivers Championship - posthumously

One of the most gifted in the business.
Who vote these positions. People who never as Jochen Rindt drive!

2 Comments
45 Gunnar Nilsson
46 Giuseppe Farina
47 Alan Jones

Great driver, retired to early from F1 people didn't see how good he was.

Cool, intelligent and underrated

Made Williams the Historic team that it is

48 Nico Hulkenberg

Decent driver but...always when he had chance to get podium he bottled it...Brazil 2012 or Germany 2019 for example, and he hasn't even be that good this season - Disturbedpotato

Amazing put him with Hamilton Hamilton would be embarrrised

He just need the right 'equipment' to make the jump to the top.

He's just the best!

4 Comments
49 John Surtees

Not acknowledged for what he achieved. Only person to win championship on two wheels and four. Too quiet and not glam buoyant enough.

50 Felipe Massa Felipe Massa

True Champion Of 2008!

How is he behind Romain Crashjean - Disturbedpotato

He has made some of the greatest starts in modern f1, and some of the greatest overtakes. A very unlucky driver, deserved a championship, but ferrari mistakes were far too serious. Also a humble sportsman, and a good guy. I hope people will always recognize the talent of this man.

Awesome driver, unfortunately he has never been as good as he was after his accident

3 Comments
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Top Remixes (47)

1. Ayrton Senna
2. Michael Schumacher
3. Jim Clark
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1. Ayrton Senna
2. Michael Schumacher
3. Mika Hakkinen
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1. Ayrton Senna
2. Juan Manuel Fangio
3. Jim Clark
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