Best Formula One Drivers of All Time

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 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 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.

He almost never loses and laps all the time. He could overtake anytime.

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2 Michael Schumacher Michael 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.

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

Schumacher is the greatest.. Anything else is based on subjectivity or speculation

Just look at the numbers, there is no close second place. He won so often in inferior cars it is hard to believe.

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3 Juan 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.

Should be way further up the list.
Dominated the sport in the 50's

The ace in the pack!

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4 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!

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.

Simply the best

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5 Jim 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)

You had to see Jim Clark to appreciate his absolute skill. Modern day drivers have no idea what driving at speed on the seat of your pants is! Modern technology plus tyres makes it no comparison.

Great driver!

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6 Niki 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.

The most impressive thing on Lauda, concerning strictly his abilities (and not is bravery, which is admirable), regards his logic reasoning. On the track, the guy was a general mastering what or not to do, which risks to undertake or races to complete. Off the track, his reasoning was brilliant on the evaluation of the car, and the necessary adjustments. To this we should add the period in which he competed, facing Hunt, Prost, among others. He may not have the biggest number of tittles, but by far, in my opinion, was the biggest genius on F1.

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

This is must be top 1

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7 Alain Prost Alain 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!

He should be in the top 3 to 5 at least

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8 Lewis Hamilton Lewis Hamilton Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton is a British Formula One racing driver from England, currently racing for the Mercedes AMG Petronas team.

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.

How does Lewis have only 5% of the vote? I don't want to be 'that guy' but I personally believe Senna is overrated and put on a pedestal after his heartbreaking death, look at what Hamilton has already achieved and it's clear he's not losing his touch, he will continue to smash records and win consistantly. Easily the best driver or current times and will just keep getting better.

Simply the best!

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9 Sebastian Vettel Sebastian 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?

Vettel is 3rd best in my opinion

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10 Jack 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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The Newcomers

? Pierre Gasly

The Contenders

11 Sir 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

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.

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

Jackie had it, he had a grate talent... simply the best.

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12 Gilles Villeneuve Gilles Villeneuve

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

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

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

Drivers should be judged by driving skills,not by points and/or victories.
Gilles was the best in his racing years,and no one ever matched him,in driving skills.
This Gentleman,did things with crap cars,that others couldn't ever dare doing with superior machines.
Ferdinand Porsche said that : Nuvolari was the best driver of the past,the present and the future... He would have said the same about Gilles,had he lived to meet him.
My Favourite without a doubt.

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13 Kimi Raikkonen Kimi Raikkonen Kimi-Matias Räikkönen, nicknamed "The Ice Man", is a Finnish racing driver currently driving for Ferrari in Formula One.

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.

"He is awesome and always tries his best in every race even though he came 5th in the championship which is good" Christian Ward

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14 Mika 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."

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

Coolest driver. perfect sportsman.

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15 Sir Stirling Moss

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

The greatest all around driver ever

16 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.

Putting life on the line for win

Biggest balls in history right after niki

Banged great looking women plus great driver.

This man was probably the greatest driver that ever lived in terms of raw ability. I will cite several examples to show this, besides what is often recognized at face value.

1.) James Hunt despite coming from a middle class background, paid for his racing on his own, and was not a mechanic. He still succeeded, and often was broke, but still kept pressing on.

2.) He won the 1974 trophy race at Silverstone- a 40 lap race- in which he started on pole position, but burnt the clutch on the line, and ripped the gear lever off. He fell back to 16th during the opening lap. With 11 laps remaining in the race he made his pass for the lead that clinched victory, by going flat out through the final corner at woodcote making the pass on Jean-Pierre Jarier. Shifting gears without the gear leaver was like holding a knife in his hand.

3.) At the 1975 Dutch Grand Prix he won the race driving the Hesketh 308B beating Niki Lauda in his Ferrari, which had a v-12 engine. James had a ...more

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17 Nelson Piquet




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.


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18 Nigel Mansell

Best in class in a period of greats which included Senna, Prost & Piquet. Beat them all for out and out pace and tactics but could not, for driver or car reasons, derive as much success with reliability.

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

best ever

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19 Nico 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.

One of the best drivers... Eventhough he has won only a single championship he deserves to be in the top 10... But he should have taken his career a bot more seriously since he retired very soon... I am sure that he would have won a few more championships if he was still active...

Nico deserves the top 10 as he won the championship despite the doubters, love Rosberg

He actually has won a world championship

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20 Max Verstappen

Extremely talented, but time will tell

Biggest talent of the era, he will be in top 3 in ten years time I guess

Really talented already won a race amazing

Time will tell

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21 Alberto Ascari

Should be up around 8 or 9.


Unbelievably low.
At least top 10.

22 Graham Hill

Has won Le Mans, Monaco, Indy 500

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

23 Nico Hulkenberg

He's good but better than Jackie Stewart? No way

He is a championship material! give him a good car...(Alonso and Hulk) are the best in the world...

Hulkenberg + Good car = Domination

24 Emerson Fittipaldi

He was great, and one of the best pilotos after senna

Emerson was one of the best F1 drivers in that difficult era he drove in.
Calm,focussed,fast when needed, clever, always alert.
Great battles with the also legendary Jackie Stewart.
I wonder if he hadn't make the decision in 1976 to run his own Fittipaldi-F1 team, and had stayed with McLaren or had moved to Ferrari,how many f1-titles he may have won extra!
And further more always a gentleman and a very nice guy!

25 Rubens Barrichello

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

26 Ronnie Peterson

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

Legend and superb driver

So close to the 78 championship and would have gone further but for his fatal Monza crash

Ronnie Peterson is probably the most talented and greatest F1 driver of all times certainly of the 70's together with Senna in the 80's and 90's. Remember that he competed in the 70's with crap safety and manual old gearboxes and allways with the worst crappiest cars on the grid, still managed to be as competitive as possible driving with opposite lock 4-weel slides and impress on everybody in the most dangerous of conditions and win 10
races and several podiums. Politics held him back in -78 to every true race fans disgust. Had it not been for politics he would have polished the tarmac with Mario. He could drive fast and be competitive in the worst cars had he driven the best cars without politics he would have taken 5
championships in the 70's easily.

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27 John Watson

Most Underrated driver ever - Rayvok

28 Juan Pablo Montoya

The best Driver! But he was in a Williams against the best Ferrari in the history

Great driver, great technique, great strength, had to be world champion

Very risky an cold hearted pilot

He knows how to overtake round the outside

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29 Sergio Pérez

Underrated driver; constant and tyre expert

Constant driver and the best in tyre expert care

Fantastic driver

The best

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30 Jacques Villeneuve Jacques Villeneuve

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?

He should be lower then this. It's a disgrace he's even on the list

Bra cause everyone hates him

31 Pedro Lamy

No recurses, no sponsors and a bad car... but good pilot

32 Damon Hill

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!

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

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

33 Didier Pironi
34 Jochen Rindt

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!

WHY IS HE 32? He is one of the few people in F1 to win 5 races in a row!

Won a Monaco gp from 8th with 10 laps to go

35 Roland Ratzenberger

He would of had a great career

Not even heard of him terrible

36 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.

37 Esteban Ocon
38 David Coulthard

Was very fast in the early 2000's and if not for Schumacher, he would have been champion in 2001. Not as fast with Red Bull, but he was still quicker than Mark Webber. In my opinion, he is one of the best drivers not to win the championship.

Hopeless driver. Crashed so often and blamed team

Never a fan of him as a racer! But love him as a F1 commentator! Brilliant!

He is bad at his job f1

39 Jules Bianchi Jules Bianchi Jules Lucien André Bianchi (3 August 1989 – 17 July 2015) was a French motor racing driver who drove for the Marussia F1 Team in the FIA Formula One World Championship.

Great member for the team and possibly future world champion.

He is a quick guy and deserve to join ferrari.

Beautiful angel

He is terrible he does not deserve to join farari. so bad riciardo is

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40 Kevin Magnussen

He took a second on debut and will come back stronger

Have high hopes..

41 François Cevert
42 Rene Arnoux
43 Alan Jones

Made Williams the Historic team that it is

44 Valtteri Bottas

Bottas has a good chance to come high in the championship.

He is not doing very good this year ( 2016) he is still fast and good at overtakes bring on (2017)

Bottas is proving how much awesome he is

Good, but needs to win races to avoid being new Kovalainen.

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45 Romain Grosjean

He beats loads of the mid in a terrible haas car he is amazing

46 Jean Alesi
47 Tiago Monteiro

Took a podium in a Jordan

48 Carlos Reutemann

He never had a team working for his world title's conquest.

49 Felipe Massa Felipe Massa

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

The best driver ever

One of the most underrated F-1 driver

50 Jenson Button

A champion and gent! He has beaten all his world champion team mates in the same car and beaten young hot shots in the same car too! That speaks for itself! If Button had the right car more often he would be multiple champion without doubt!

Ultra smooth and intelligent. Give him the another Brawn and Vettel can kiss goodbye. Only bad contracts and lack of concentration in his younger years will bring him down.

Great man. Not the quickest over a lap but his race pace and general intelligence usually makes him finish higher up. He has had to fight for his carear, benetton/renault and honda, yet came out on top. His personality is brilliant. He should be in the top 10 and at the very least higher then hamilton

Very consistent and some of his wins could only be won by greats showing great dominance and skill, especially with Canada 2011 and Brazil 2012

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65 listings
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