Scheckter’s top two are Vettel and Hamilton

2012 F1 season

Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Circuit of the Americas, 2012Jody Scheckter named Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton as his top two drivers in F1 at the moment.

The 1979 world champion was asked to name which drivers he’d pick if he were running an F1 team.

“I always put Vettel and Lewis together as the top two,” said Scheckter. “And I probably have to put Alonso into that but I would probably pick those two drivers, yeah, put two bulls in at one time and try and make them work together in a mature way.”

Speaking to MotorSport, Scheckter said he hadn’t supported his Ferrari successor during 2012: “No, not for Fernando, no. I think what he did when he was at McLaren [in 2007] has just put me off him for life, I suppose.

“I think he drove well this year, there’s no question about that, he’s doing a good job on that, but when somebody does something like that you lose respect for them.”

Scheckter praised Hamilton’s attacking style, saying: “When he came his first year and a half, two years, it was brilliant. I mean no one comes in and has that sort of performance with so little things going wrong. It was incredible.

“And last year he was not even making mistakes by being over-aggressive. He was just making mistakes that were completely stupid.

“I rate him as the best driver in heavy traffic. I used to rate Jenson as one of the worst but he’s become quite good in traffic now. But Lewis has been for me in the first years fantastic. He did some manoeuvres in traffic that were just… and got away with it most of the time except for last year. I’m definitely a fan of his.”

Scheckter also criticised the current F1 rules which impose grid penalties of drivers for engine and gearbox failures.

“The thing that I think is most unfair about Grand Prix at the moment is when they get these penalties for a gearbox that had to be changed and had to go back. And I just think that’s dreadful.

“I know there’s an opinion that they say ‘well you can’t separate the driver and the car’ and stuff like this. But I think on the track if a driver makes a mistake and crashes that’s the car and driver.

“But when it’s a gearbox rather take it off the constructors’ points and leave the drivers. I think that, for me, because it really spoils some races completely from a viewing point of view.”

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144 comments on Scheckter’s top two are Vettel and Hamilton

  1. i’d pick Vettel & Hamilton too and for the same reasons McLaren 2007 Alonso showed how immature he can be. And that reflects poorly on him being a team player… it’s all about himself or the team can go to hell. Alonso is no doubt a great F1 driver or the greatest ever but as a team i would like both drivers getting good points fighting for the wins. You need both drivers working for the team, but with Alonso the case is you have the team & the other driver working strictly for Alonso only. Both Hamilton & Vettel have shown that they can deal with a Button / Webber win, they then look where they went wrong & try to better their team mates on track in the next race.

    • Klaas de Vries said on 21st December 2012, 14:36

      i’d pick Vettel & Hamilton too and for the same reasons McLaren 2007 Alonso showed how immature he can be.

      Oh, come on. You mean that Hamilton showed maturity when he posted McLaren’s telemetry on twitter? And that JUST to show the world that his teammate was faster than him only due to another car part.

    • You can pick whoever you want when you have your own F1 team … LOL

  2. Michael (@freelittlebirds) said on 21st December 2012, 13:33

    He’s fundamentally saying that Hamilton, Vettel, AND Alonso are the 3 best F1 drivers. I think we all know that. We also know that Alonso can act badly when threatened. We also know that. I don’t think there was anything controversial to his opinion other than the fact that he still has not forgotten Alonso’s behavior in 2007.

  3. Nirupam (@nirupam) said on 21st December 2012, 15:20

    And one more thing, just for the fact, at least 8 out of the 10 team principals and 50% of F1F readers do not agree with Scheckter. He is judging based on a certain 2007 year, whereas the same could have been said for Hamilton and Vettel, his two pick. Turkey…I don’t need to say anything, lot of comments here already, Silverstone last year-Webber forced to sacrifice his front wing because Vettel broke his own. Now, had Christian Horner declined giving those front wings, what would have been Vettel’s reaction? And if JS was a team Principal, and Lewis had leaked the telemetry data to the whole world, how would have he reacted?
    I don’t find anything worth discussing about his personal opinion which in my view is nothing but some attention grabbing bytes.

    • Cristian (@cristian) said on 21st December 2012, 16:02

      Every driver in the history of F1 has had bad reactions when something went against them. Some of them swear, some of them crash into others, some post their telemetry on twitter, but nobody has ever done what Alonso did in 2007.

      • Brace (@brace) said on 21st December 2012, 17:39

        What did Alonso do?

      • Klaas de Vries said on 21st December 2012, 20:05

        what Alonso did in 2007

        What did he do? He’s not responsible for the team’s huge fine because the FIA based their case against McLaren on Stephney’s confession. Blackmail? – Nobody except Dennis ever confirmed it. Blocked his team-mate in qualifying? – Hammy lied to the FIA in 2009. Both infringed the rules at some point. But one is considered good other evil based on what?

        • Cristian (@cristian) said on 21st December 2012, 21:16

          I was refering to the blackmail. Is just disgusting for someone to do something like that under any circumstances

          • Macca asked Alonso to sign a non-disclosure upon his release. This is not howan innocent party behaves.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd December 2012, 1:58

            Non-disclosure agreements are common legal tools in commercially sensitive lines of work. In Formula One, where enormous amounts of money are being spent and the potential value of information is huge (as Spygate showed), I expect they’re de rigueur.

          • @Keith
            A reporter asked Alonso when he was at Renault about his thoughts on spygate. Alonso mentioned that he had a non disclosure agreement tied in with his release. I personally think it reflects rather poorly on McLaren, as logically speaking, one doesn’t expect innocent parties to behave as such. Ron was going on about blackmail and what not, then why silence Alonso? I smell a rat!

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd December 2012, 10:58

            As I just said, every F1 team wants to avoid rival teams learning their secrets: whether it’s how they operate, the details of the design of their car, budget, plans for the future, whatever. An NDA is probably one of several ways they do that. And top teams like McLaren will be especially sensitive about doing so.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 22nd December 2012, 16:28

            Given that McLaren has long had one of the best simulators and loads of other things they would like to keep secret, its perfectly normal to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
            And even if they did not have that, I have rarely seen ANY contract being signed without such clauses actually, and those are lots of contracts!

          • @Keith
            So you see nothing wrong with them gagging Alonso on Spygate? NDA could have excluded spygate, or at the very least allowed him to answer allegations on blackmailing Ron etc. The comprehensive gag is definitely a hint at something amiss from what Ron sold the world.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd December 2012, 22:45

            I’m not following you in jumping to the conclusion that there is specifically one about ‘spygate’. I suspect teams have a standard NDA for outgoing drivers or top team personnel, such as when Pat Fry joined Ferrari.

          • @Keith
            Alonso mentioned he has a NDA that doesn’t let him speak about it. How much more specific does he have to be? Where am I jumping to conclusion here? While it doesn’t have to be an agreement specifically for that, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t there as a clause/ subclause forbidding him to speak about it, especially when the man who signed the dotted line says as much. We have heard from FIA, WMSC, McLaren, Ron, but never from Alonso. you think this could be the reason why? I think McLaren silenced him by the way of a contract as too much dirt may ruin their image for sponsors. Which is ok by itself, but it means there’s more to the story than most know, and this is what Alonso may have been hinting at. Certainly Ron/ McLaren weren’t very forthright about the entire affair, be it for whatever reasons.

    • Whilst I disagree with Scheckter, the fans and team principles’ rankings don’t mean anything. It’s all opinion and nothing more.

    • mnmracer (@mnmracer) said on 21st December 2012, 18:26

      Team principles pick the best driver, not the driver they most want in their teams…
      Besides, the TP vote doesn’t say ‘how much better’ they consider Alonso. If they believe Alonso is 0,001 second faster, he is still the best, but would you rather have 1/1000th of a second or someone who keeps your team together?

  4. Scheckter should go back to his organic farming and milk farm animals and suchlike… has clearly lost his marbles.

  5. vuelve kowalsky said on 21st December 2012, 16:16

    some fans can’t forgive alonso for what he did, even tough the 100 millions penalty was not becase of what he could have said to the fia. It was more a political vendetta against Ron dennis.
    Scheckter seems to be one of them.

  6. I’d pick Hamilton and Vettel as well, simply because they’re both faster than Alonso over one lap. With those two on my team I’d be guaranteed (assuming an at least competitive car) of locking out the front row more often than not. Qualifying position has a direct impact on finishing position. I did the numbers once and the race winner starts on pole around 50% of the time, and on the front row 75% of the time.

    Vettel has started on the front row in 48% of his races, and Hamilton in 43%. They’re by far the two best qualifiers in F1 at present, in a completely different league from anybody else – including Alonso.

    • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 21st December 2012, 20:09

      They’re by far the two best qualifiers in F1 at present, in a completely different league from anybody else – including Alonso.

      BTW Vettel was beaten by Webber 9 times this season in qualifying

      Vettel has started on the front row in 48% of his races, and Hamilton in 43%

      They started there because they were always having one of the best car on the grid if it isn’t the best (except 2009 for Hamilton)
      Funny i don’t know from where some people got the idea of Alonso isn’t a good qualifier
      if he can squeeze the car in all the race distance so how about a single lap
      Jarno Trulli was also a master over one lap

      • Cristian (@cristian) said on 21st December 2012, 20:59

        Are you saying that Vettel had a great car at Toro Rosso? And Webber is a better qualifyer than Alonso, in fact much better.

        Funny i don’t know from where some people got the idea of Alonso isn’t a good qualifier

        From his performances, I guess

        • vuelve kowalsky said on 22nd December 2012, 10:08

          the toro rosso was a good car. in fact, at monza when vettel won, given de right circumstances bourdais was on the pace, and could have been on the podium. Nobody wins in a bad car in f1, that’s a fact.

          • Cristian (@cristian) said on 22nd December 2012, 10:31

            Toro Rosso was a good car – so you think this year’s Ferrari was great?
            Anyway, what was I saying was that it was not just 2009 McLaren that wasn’t a one of the best cars on the grid.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 22nd December 2012, 13:24

            vuelve kowalsky – Except the telemetry showed Bourdais to be 43 seconds slower than Vettel in the race. Bourdais also started behind Webber, who wasn’t anywhere near the podium.

            Plus, if “Toro Rosso was a good car”, then how can anyone justify any of Hamilton’s cars, or any of Alonso’s cars as being bad cars?

      • Brace (@brace) said on 21st December 2012, 21:26

        Notion that qualifying is his weak spot is ridiculous. It’s a matter of an impression one gets because Alonso didn’t have a real title challenger since 2007, and yet he always managed to make something out of every race, giving impression that he isn’t getting all out of the car in quali. Quite contrary, I think he is just as good in quali. Whenever car had the pace, he nailed it to the front. It’s just that Vettel’s car gives him quite a margin for error in quali. Alonso is quite good at delivering when it’s crunch time which is essential in quali.

        Each time this year, when it rained (when car had the pace), he got pole. In 2010, one mistake from Vettel in Singapore and Alonso was on pole. I think he’s actually better in quali then Vettel, but there’s too much difference in car’s pace between Ferrari and Red Bull. In 2006 and 2005 (before McLaren started dominating) he made sure to take pole at every race possible. I don’t remember from the top of my head, anyone else getting poles in 2005 except Alonso, Kimi and Montoya. Fisichella managed one in Australia when Alonso was caught by the rain in the old quali format. I still remember his lap in Monza in 2006, driving without much of the right rear bodywork, setting a 5th time, just over 3 tenths slower then pole position.

        • Notion that qualifying is his weak spot is ridiculous.

          All the data says that qualifying is his weakness. Alonso says so himself, and some people won’t even take HIS word for it. Hamilton in his rookie year comprehensively beat Alonso in qualifying.

          In 2006 and 2005 (before McLaren started dominating) he made sure to take pole at every race possible.

          He took six poles in 2005 and six in 2006, which isn’t a lot in WDC winning years That was his high-water mark – since Hamilton and Vettel came on the scene he’s been pushed further down the grid.

          there’s too much difference in car’s pace between Ferrari and Red Bull.

          Do you have even the slightest shred of evidence for that claim? The way some people go on about how fast the Red Bull’s are one might think we were still living in the 1990’s and the cars were essentially unregulated.

      • @tifoso1989

        Vettel was beaten by Webber 9 times this season in qualifying

        …which shows two things. 1) Webber is a very good qualifier (I’d as better than Alonso) and 2) Vettel is even better than Webber. I don’t think there’s much of a claim for stating anything other than Hamilton and Vettel are clearly the best two qualifiers on the current F1 grid, as I’m sure Hamilton will prove next year with Mercedes (not that he needs to) by likely beating Alonso regularly (unless of course the performance gap is too significant).

        • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 22nd December 2012, 8:41

          If he was beaten 9 times by Webber this year so why Webber doesn’t figure in your list of the best qualifiers who are “clearly ahead” in qualifying

          • Cristian (@cristian) said on 22nd December 2012, 9:19

            Well, Webber is clearly ahead of Alonso in qualifying.
            Comparing him to Vettel, think of 2011 too.

          • @tifoso1989 – what I said was Webber is a very good qualifier (I’d say better than Alonso as it is his “Achilles heel”) and the fact Vettel and Hamilton are better still makes them the best qualifiers. If I have a top 2 every time it will contain those two drivers.

  7. OOliver said on 21st December 2012, 20:56

    The two major problems Alonso had at Mclaren were, the Englkish press, and Briatore who wanted him back.
    In 2007, drivers qualified with race fuel, this meant one driver qualified with more fuel, and one driver had the optimal race strategy, which was Alonso.
    Alonso was rattled by Hamilton’s speed and he wasn’t used to a driver battling with him for position.
    Alonso was the lead driver. Hamilton was promised equality, the team just didn’t expect him to be that fast.

  8. Jorge Lardone (@jorgelardone) said on 21st December 2012, 20:57

    “I think he drove well this year, there’s no question about that, he’s doing a good job on that, but when somebody does something like that you lose respect for them.”

    Yes sir, thats right! And remember also 2008 crash of Piquet on purpose in Singapore so the spaniard can win the race. And this year that unbeliable 5 grid penalty to Massa!
    You can not tespect a driver like Alonso anymore.

    • Brace (@brace) said on 21st December 2012, 21:27

      You sound so offended.

      • Jorge Lardone (@jorgelardone) said on 21st December 2012, 23:26

        Of course! A driver like Alonso is a shame for motorsports.

        • RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 21st December 2012, 23:49

          @jorgelardone I have only seen you post the exact same thing on all topics concerning Fernando Alonso. Never do you credit him, only bringing up the 2008 Singapore GP. As I pointed out to you three times before: Fernando Alonso was never prosecuted for his part in the crash, had no previous knowledge (Ruled by a judge and jury) and expressed his surprise in the press conference afterwards. The fact it was his team that were behind it has no reflection on him as a man.

          I can list negatives about almost every driver that raced in formula 1 in terms of why they are not the greatest etc but to hold this against Alonso is stupid. Provide me with one fact, any source you can find, that Alonso was responsible and knew about the crash beforehand.

          As for the tactics at Austin, they were pretty simple to follow. It made sense for the team and for the championship, if you can not understand that then you are better off not watching F1. To deprive yourself of watching an all-time great due to mis-inform is the only shameful thing i can see here.

        • Did you lose respect for Lewis after liegate, or after Spa?

          • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 22nd December 2012, 8:43


          • Guccio (@concalvez00) said on 23rd December 2012, 22:39

            Alonso wanted to post in India on twitter how he still drove with the same rear wing as in May because Pat Fry said that Alonso should have qualify better, so what is your point exactly and yes Alonso is bad for the sport period!

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 22nd December 2012, 19:50

          @jorgelardone – Oh, come on. While Alonso is hardly an angel, there are hardly any champions that can be described as “angels”. Although I understand that the Singapore debacle can leave a bitter taste in the mouth, it wasn’t proven that Alonso knew about Flavio/Piquet Jr’s plan. Though Alonso’s behaviour in 2007 was fairly poor, I don’t see how that makes him a shame to motorsport in general.

  9. verstappen (@verstappen) said on 21st December 2012, 21:07

    I would take Kimi and Hamilton.
    What Vettel sometimes seems to lack in emotional maturity, Hamilton makes up in driving. And Kimi is the best.

    As for Alonso, from braketests he gave Coulthart and Doornbos, the smell of treason out of being a sore loser at McLaren, not denouncing his Singapore win, not being able to pass petrov, needing teamorders, gearbox changes to win…
    But the man surely can drive anything! However, never in my dreamteam.

  10. Brace (@brace) said on 21st December 2012, 21:33

    To all offended moralists, I suppose no one remembers this.

    But it’s important to put an act for TV, not to be direct like Alonso, because no one likes straight talking people if they have a different point of view.

  11. Brace (@brace) said on 21st December 2012, 22:26

    (first to say, I don’t think McLaren should have been punish even as half as they did for spygate, nor that Alonso should have received a penalty for Hungary quali)

    I can’t really figure out where all these moralists stand.

    If you go by what Ron said (only one who actually knows what happened besides Alonso), he also said that Alonso retracted what he said just moments after.

    And besides that, McLaren did have Ferrari documents, which Alonso had nothing to do with. He neither took them from Ferrari, nor brought them to McLaren.

    So I’m confused, how is Ron Dennis looking like a good guy in this and Alonso like a bad one?
    Also, Ron saying he didn’t know about those, is just **. Half a team knew about it, if not the whole Woking.

    Alonso never snitched on McLaren either. Ron Dennis came to Mosley himself and I don’t see how that was something bad caused by Alonso, if McLaren indeed had Ferrari documents.

    Alonso never really did anything in 2007 except holding stationary in the pits, waiting for a perfect time for final Q3 run, which incidentally prevented Hamilton from completing his final lap, since he broke an agreement, which sent him out of sync with Alonso. Hamilton then proceeded to swear at Ron Dennis, which is perfectly fine it seems.

    British media are masters of **** spinning and if you step back and look at the fact, it’s obvious that Alonso and Ron didn’t have a common goal anymore, since their argument practically put them on the opposite sides, which only harmed Alonso’s chances with McLaren, not much more than that.

    Vettel and Hamilton were basically driving in their daddy’s teams since they came to F1, which is completely different from Alonso’s position. He had to go to completely new environment each time and earn his position.
    But when your boss is like a daddy to your teammate, you know that there will be preferential treatment, even unintentionally.
    Supportive atmosphere is very important and both Hamilton and Vettel abused their position more then once, at expense of their teammates.

    McLaren knew how hard they screwed Alonso, that they went out of their way to make sure to show to public that both drivers will be treated equally when Button joined.

    Alonso is also much more sincere in his talk and perhaps more politically savvy, which is a good thing, since he could have handled 2007 better if he knew back then what he knows now.

    I never cared for the people I admire to bend over themselves to please the others. I do however, among other things, admire them because they are true to themselves even at the expense of being disliked by many.

    As the famous saying goes: “It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for something you are not.”
    I admire him because he’s refusing to put on an act just to satisfy hypocritical and shallow public who think they own him or something and who are “offended” by curse words on TV or nudity in art.

    We can all be better people then we are, but we need to be better because of the people close to us, who deserve it, people who wouldn’t be damning us for who we are in the first place.

    In other words, Alonso owes nothing to the haters, while on the other hand, it’s clear to see that every year, he is being a better man for his team.

    To close it with one more proverb, which shows why I admire Alonso as a man (as far as I can get to know him), and not Hamilton and Vettel:
    “If you didn’t try so hard to be liked by everyone, maybe you would have been truly liked by a few.”

    Go Fernando!

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd December 2012, 0:25


      when your boss is like a daddy to your team mate, you know that there will be preferential treatment, even unintentionally.

      At the Monaco Grand Prix McLaren gave one of their drivers more fuel in qualifying than the other. The lighter car naturally qualified ahead.

      Then during the race the driver with the heavier car was not allowed to use his strategic advantage to run longer in an attempt to jump ahead of his team mate.

      Your lengthy discourse on the evils you imagine McLaren committed in 2007 would lead anyone unfamiliar with the situation to assume that the driver who got the lighter car in qualifying at Monaco – the “preferential treatment” – was Hamilton. It wasn’t: Alonso was given a lighter car in qualifying then Hamilton was prevented from beating him on strategy.

      Example such as this categorically disprove your vague, unsubstantiated and obviously nonsensical assertion that McLaren chose to hire a two-times world champion and then seize every opportunity to undermine him. (See this article from the time)

      The fact is Alonso wasn’t the only driver to be taken by surprise by how competitive Hamilton was in 2007. Even Ron Dennis told Hamilton before the year began to expect Alonso would be half a second quicker than him.

      • Brace (@brace) said on 22nd December 2012, 18:20

        You really managed to put words in my mouth that I never said.

        Ron Dennis didn’t expect it, and that’s where the problems started. He said one thing to Alonso, not expecting that it could turn out to be any other way, but then couldn’t stick to the plan coldheartedly, when he saw how good Hamilton is. I suppose, at the start he tried to give both of them what they wanted, but that inevitably meant he was telling them both what they wanted to hear, while it was impossible to make it in reality for both in the same time.

        I actually downplayed much that happened that year and I said that preferential treatment wasn’t even intentional in the beginning but Ron got carried away listening to his heart instead of his head at times.

        Alonso, not being sentimental about Hamilton, seen it differently, although he (as I also stated above) could have gone about it better too, which would have been much better for him in the first place.

        You can make case that they could have walked to championship any way they wanted if they did it properly, but Ron Dennis is the only one who did have it in his job description to know how to manage that situation. Neither Alonso nor Hamilton are supposed to be good managers. Dennis on the other hand IS supposed to be one.
        So you gotta lay blame at his feet for letting it all go to waste.

        They thought they hit the jackpot when they had Kimi + Juan, but that lineup hardly made any fireworks and fell short of most of expectations.
        It was actually Alonso + Hamilton that turned out to be the Senna + Prost combination that they craved. Sadly it turned out even worse for McLaren then the last one.

        Next year they will have Button and Perez and there’s no way one can look at it and think this isn’t a far cry from what Alonso and Hamilton paring could have been.

  12. astonished (@astonished) said on 21st December 2012, 23:54

    Perfectly respectable opinion by JS.
    As respectable would be “My preferred drivers are Hamilton and Alonso, Vettel not because I do not like blond people” or “Alonso and Vettel because I dislike British drivers” or anything along those lines.
    But those qualities are irrelevant to the drivers skills.
    What you like, what you dislike, what lo love, what you hate will always play a role in your choosing, but in your sub-concious self, that you might rationalise afterwards.
    Saying it loud is, well…… funny….

  13. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 22nd December 2012, 2:19

    Jody Scheckter just said my words,for sure Alonso,Vettel & Hamilton are the 3 best driver but like him Alonso doesn’t deserve my respect to what he did in 2007.

  14. Mr. Scheckter is judging Alonso for what he thinks he knows, but does he know all the truth, not only the McLaren truth?.
    Someday we will know what happen in 2007, maybe when Alonso retires.

  15. JB (@) said on 22nd December 2012, 15:53

    That is JS´s opinion and is entitled to it… but seriously… what is the point??? Why bring out 2007??? To me it seems that this is the begining of a campain to tarnish what Alonso did this season…
    I have a feeling that this is just somebody´s way of trying to make him look bad…. Nobody really knows what truly happened in McLaren in 2007…. Maybe one day we will find out but to come out and say something like this…. it is not only rubbish and superfluous….. but it shows a degree of ignorance and a desire of trying to make people bring out their “battle axes” out and start chopping at a really dead horse…. It just seems like a very LOW blow to take….
    I guess some people are upset that most fans are still talking about what a great season Alonso had and not so much about the “3 times wdc”… just saying.

    My Opinion and I know I´m entitled to it as well as many others that have expressed theirs here.

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