Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen, Monza, 2015

How F1’s 32 champions compare at the beginning of 2016

2016 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine


Alain Prost, Williams-Renault FW15C, Hockenheimring, 1993
Prost’s 51 wins is Hamilton’s next target
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel passed the same major milestone last year as they reached and exceeded Ayrton Senna’s haul of 41 race victories.

That leaves just two others – Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost – with more races wins than today’s two most prolific winners. It’s also a bitter pill for Fernando Alonso, who began winning before either of them and once looked as though he would be the next driver to scale such heights.

But Alonso, like fellow world champion Jenson Button, endured what has to be one of the worst wastes of title-winning talent ever seen in F1. A fifth, a sixth, two eights, a ninth and a tenth was all the points-scoring finishes the pair counted thanks to the slow and unreliable McLaren-Honda MP4-30.

Hamilton and Vettel also gained on Senna in terms of their adjusted average points per available race finish – Vettel posted a slight rise from 14.43 points per race 12 months ago, while Hamilton gained more ground having previously been on 13.23. This year he overtook Jochen Rindt and Mike Hawthorn and is poised to move ahead of Schumacher if he has a strong 2016.

Pos Name % Wins (#) % Poles (#) % Fastest laps (#) % Car failures Points/finish*
1 Juan Manuel Fangio 47.06% (24) 56.86% (29) 45.10% (23) 17.65 20.79
2 Alberto Ascari 40.63% (13) 43.75% (14) 37.50% (12) 18.75 17.15
3 Jackie Stewart 27.27% (27) 17.17% (17) 15.15% (15) 32.32 16.55
4 Jim Clark 34.72% (25) 45.83% (33) 38.89% (28) 29.17 16.45
5 Giuseppe Farina 15.15% (5) 15.15% (5) 15.15% (5) 15.15 15.96
6 Alain Prost 25.63% (51) 16.58% (33) 20.60% (41) 16.58 14.96
7 Ayrton Senna 25.47% (41) 40.37% (65) 11.80% (19) 20.50 14.70
8 Sebastian Vettel 26.58% (42) 29.11% (46) 09.49% (15) 08.86 14.46
9 Michael Schumacher 29.74% (91) 22.22% (68) 25.16% (77) 10.78 14.25
10 Mike Hawthorn 06.67% (3) 08.89% (4) 13.33% (6) 22.22 13.37
11 Jochen Rindt 10.00% (6) 16.67% (10) 05.00% (3) 55.00 13.26
12 Lewis Hamilton 25.75% (43) 29.34% (49) 16.77% (28) 05.99 14.14
13 Fernando Alonso 12.70% (32) 08.73% (22) 08.33% (21) 09.92 11.54
14 Niki Lauda 14.62% (25) 14.04% (24) 14.04% (24) 34.50 11.99
15 Nigel Mansell 16.58% (31) 17.11% (32) 16.04% (30) 32.62 11.98
16 Jack Brabham 11.38% (14) 10.57% (13) 09.76% (12) 34.96 11.74
17 Mika Hakkinen 12.42% (20) 16.15% (26) 15.53% (25) 24.22 11.33
18 Denny Hulme 07.14% (8) 00.89% (1) 08.04% (9) 25.89 11.33
19 Damon Hill 19.13% (22) 17.39% (20) 16.52% (19) 14.78 11.13
20 Nelson Piquet 11.27% (23) 11.76% (24) 11.27% (23) 24.51 10.96
21 Phil Hill 06.38% (3) 12.77% (6) 12.77% (6) 27.66 10.74
22 Kimi Raikkonen 08.70% (20) 06.96% (16) 18.26% (42) 13.48 10.51
23 John Surtees 05.41% (6) 07.21% (8) 09.91% (11) 44.14 10.58
24 Jody Scheckter 08.93% (10) 02.68% (3) 04.46% (5) 18.75 09.85
25 James Hunt 10.87% (10) 15.22% (14) 08.70% (8) 29.35 09.68
26 Emerson Fittipaldi 09.72% (14) 04.17% (6) 04.17% (6) 25.69 09.29
27 Graham Hill 08.00% (14) 07.43% (13) 05.71% (10) 33.14 09.00
28 Mario Andretti 09.38% (12) 14.06% (18) 07.81% (10) 39.84 08.71
29 Alan Jones 10.34% (12) 05.17% (6) 11.21% (13) 28.45 08.52
30 Keke Rosberg 04.39% (5) 04.39% (5) 02.63% (3) 38.60 08.50
31 Jenson Button 05.28% (15) 02.82% (8) 02.82% (8) 10.56 07.20
32 Jacques Villeneuve 06.75% (11) 07.98% (13) 05.52% (9) 22.70 06.77

*How many points each driver scored, adjusted to the current points system, as an average of the number of races where technical failure did not prevent them finishing.

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And what about the others?

The graph shows how many wins, pole positions and fastest laps were taken by each of the world champions – and how many were scored by non-champions.

The most successful non-champion in terms of race wins remains Stirling Moss on 16. However Nico Rosberg moved up to 14 last year and could take that unwanted record from him.

2016 F1 season

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67 comments on “How F1’s 32 champions compare at the beginning of 2016”

  1. As always; great information Keith. Real nice insights. Appreciated!

    1. @mayrton You’re welcome :-)

  2. It’s quite remarkable how even compared to Michael Schumacher, the latest batch of champions has a significantly better reliability record.

    That Fangio reigns supreme on the stats is no surprise, the man is rightfully a legend of the sport. That said, Michael Schumacher’s 91 wins were and remain shocking. I don’t think there’s any other word for it. It’s a fantastic achievement.

    1. @cashnotclass By my reckoning Singapore was Hamilton’s tenth non-classification in a race due to a mechanical failure in 161 starts.

    2. Fangio wasn’t that good– He usually had the best car on the grid, and only had to beat Stirling Moss, who was never a world driver’s champion.

      For those who miss the humor in that statement, I apologize. :)

      1. Hehe, he was one of the few who gave his wdc away.

        Fangio was quite something, he started racing an old man. Achieved so much so fast, crashed so little… But times were different.

        He was the best of gentelmen era.

        Then was playboy era and now we have professional sportsman era started by Prost Senna and mastered by Schumacher.

        Boys these days are in coorporate era. Signified by Vettel and Hamilton. Efficient, dominating, entire coorporation working to a goal.

        So direct comparisons are void. But for sure since 1980s cars are essentially aero driven and benefit similar drivestyles.

  3. Nice charts!

  4. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    2nd January 2016, 13:04

    Really good article. Looking at the stats just shows how great Jim Clark really was.

    1. Good is not good enough to portrait Jim Clark. He was the best of all time. That’s my opinion, of course. Look at the failure rate! It’s awesome he had been so successful with the failure rate of almost 30% in 72 starts.

      1. I think because of that it was sometimes suggested his mechanical sympathy was not the best. For me the fact he coaxed a win out of the BRM H16 engine says otherwise. But it seems to me he usually didn’t have to share the best machinery with a top-drawer rival.

      2. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
        2nd January 2016, 22:28

        I agree, I believe he was the greatest of all time as well. It’s a shame we lost him at such a young age. The record books would have been rewritten.

      3. Remember his rivals had the same reliability problems to contend with too. With such bad reliability across the board you would gain as many wins from your rivals as you would lose to them. It was all a part and parcel of f1 in those days. There are some exceptional case like Kimi at McLaren when his car had horrible reliability compared to his rivals.

  5. wow. Hamilton has a ridiculously low number of car failures. Yeah reliability has been getting better over the years, but compare that to Vettel whose reliability is not that better than the likes of Alonso, Button and so on. And Raikkonen is really unlucky. I remember how ridiculous it was in 2005.

    1. Yes, Kimi had a lot of car failures back in his McLaren days. All I can remember from 2002 is a smoking Mclaren (obviously Raikkönen’s) every second race. He only had once in 2003 tough, when he was leading the European GP. Shame, maybe cost him the title. First half of 2004 was the same as 2002 in the beautiful but not very “cool” MP4/19. Then several grid penalties and DNF’s from the lead in 2005. Next year at Monaco he was all over Alonso, then the Mercedes PU given up behind the safety car… So yeah, quite unlucky period :)

    2. I remember how ridiculous it was in 2005.

      And of course things like his series of grid penalties that season are not reflected above so it’s only a partial picture.

    3. I think that is a sign of a good driver, but I must admit Hamilton is in a league of his own.

      1. Are you kidding? “Car failures” are about being a “good driver” now? LOL
        If anything, you would think that Vettel being just as successful as Hamilton with a lot more car failure and a lot less dominant cars would make him more successful. I picked those 2 because they came into F1 around the same time, but you can make similar comparisons about other contemporary drivers as well.

        1. RaceProUK (@)
          3rd January 2016, 22:37

          You mean a driver’s mechanical sympathy doesn’t matter?

  6. I almost hope that Rosberg wins a title one day just to protect Moss’s place as non-champion with most wins. It’s still very impressive that in days with such poor reliability and fewer races he was able to take so many wins. But then again the poor reliability is generally what cost him at least 1 title, and maybe as many as 3.

    1. By my count, these drivers exceeded Moss’ tally before ultimately becoming champions.

      Damon Hill 20
      Alain Prost 21
      Nigel Mansell 29

  7. The article never say that if you put all those 32 champs in 32 WO6 or SF15T or 32 RB10’s Alonso wins 8 out of 10 times.

    1. I hope thats sarcasm or im missing something because i don’t see any evidence that would be the case?

    2. Hamilton did defeat him in the same car.
      Only going for facts!

    3. You put all 32 in the cars fangio drove I am not sure if any of the new age jockeys will finish a race.

  8. Simon Woodward
    2nd January 2016, 15:41

    A funny story from Nigel Mansell is when he won his 17th race, Stirling phoned him to thank him for taking the record off of him at last. When Mansell won his world title, he phoned Stirling back to congratulate him on getting his record back.

    I can see Stirling calling Nico at some point next season, but I’m not sure if Rosberg will ever get to call him back.

  9. In my opinion, Stirling Moss will always be the best driver never to win a world championship, even if Rosberg undeservedly overtakes him. Stirling was a great driver, and 16 wins in an era where cars were prone to unreliability and with much less races in a season is very good. Rosberg on the other hand, is average in a great car with a much less chance of death and cannot challenge Hamilton at all when it counts. Stirling however was just driving a very unsafe car with a high risk of death, and with a gear lever, like a real man, not stupid paddles for novices.

    1. Were it not for his outstanding sportsmanship in 1958 he would have had a championship as well. I can’t imagine anyone on the current grid doing what Moss did at the Portuguese Grand Prix and defending a rival effectively handing them the championship.

      1. Totally agree with you Philip. moss could have had the title that day instead of Phil Hill

    2. RaceProUK (@)
      2nd January 2016, 18:27

      It never ceases to amuse me that someone who consistently outclassed a seven-time world champion can be considered merely ‘average’.

    3. @ultimateuzair
      Rosberg has spent exactly 2 out of the 10 seasons in his career in great cars. Moss also had a great car in 1955, he just got dominated by Fangio.

      But yes, Moss is statistically the best driver to not win a WDC.

      I don’t know if he was actually the best driver behind the wheel though, because I really don’t rate the drivers of 50 years ago anywhere near as high as the drivers of today. Back then, an overweight 45 year old man was dominating the sport. F1 is far too competitive today for that to happen.

      1. @kingshark I don’t rate Rosberg that high but I surely agree with below. I think if we’d send a Hamilton or Vettel back into the past they wouldn’t have to much problem with destroying the field.

        Back then, an overweight 45 year old man was dominating the sport. F1 is far too competitive today for that to happen.

        1. @xtwl
          I’ve always maintained that position.

          Hamilton and Vettel began karting at the age of 8. Drivers who had daddies from F1 (Rosberg, Verstappen) began karting at an even younger age. By contrast, most drivers from the 1950’s began their racing career in their 20’s. The drivers of today are much more well-rounded and overall superior. I’d say that any of the top 10 drivers on the grid today would destroy the likes of Fangio and Moss in the old cars.

          The runners of today are clearly faster than those of 60 years ago, as are the swimmers, etc… I don’t see why racing drivers would be any different. Athletes in general evolve and become better over time.

          1. @kingshark

            I’d say that any of the top 10 drivers on the grid today would destroy the likes of Fangio and Moss in the old cars.

            As long as they didn’t mind tooling around with no helmets or seat belts in genuinely open cockpits, while seeing 1 in 4 of their competitors die each year…

          2. I’ve seen clips of Vettel saying he took to a kart at 3.

        2. @xtwl

          I think if we’d send a Hamilton or Vettel back into the past they wouldn’t have to much problem with destroying the field.

          Vettel wouldn´t have survived the accident in Eau Rouge 2006 (where he nearly lost his finger) if it was in the 50ies/60ies and therefore he wouldn´t have made it to F1. Hamilton might have survived for his first title, but had several accidents since that would have prevented titles 2 and 3.
          Yes, the drivers of today are physically fitter, and they are faster, but that doesn´t neccessarily mean they would have gotten along well in the 50ies. It´s just too different to compare.

          1. As long as they didn’t mind tooling around with no helmets or seat belts in genuinely open cockpits, while seeing 1 in 4 of their competitors die each year…

            @uan Seems irrelevant to me. I doubt a crash helmet of today would sufice to save drivers their lives in crashes with cars of the ’50s.

            @crammond In a time where F2 raced at the same time there is hardly any relevance in comparing the current way of getting into F1 to that of the ’50s. Though one could also argue those crashes would have never happened because drivers were more carefull as they knew the chance of death at a crash was much higher, or the other way around drivers are much more at ease with pushing and having a crash because they know they will survice.

      2. @kingshark
        Another way to look at ’55 is that Fangio beat Moss 2/3 times in races where both finished in the car they started, in a year where Moss had his first real taste of a full competitive season.

        Had the cars the back then required a greater level of fitness to drive, I’m sure most drivers would have had no problem meeting it. Are current drivers good because they’re fitter than their competitors or more talented? It’s surely the latter.

        1. @matt90
          Fangio had 3 pole positions to Moss’ 1 in 1955, and was also leading comfortably in Monaco before his car failed.

          The qualifying gaps were much, much larger back then than they are today. This suggests to me that the current crop of drivers are much closer in talent, and a lot more drivers are able to drive very close to the limit of their car. Back then, 2 seconds between teammates in qualifying was he norm. Today, that is almost unheard of.

          1. @kingshark
            I wonder how much of that has to do with the far more scientific approach to set-up and construction of the cars, and how many hours modern drivers get to practice on simulators. I’m not saying that the faster driver wouldn’t have generally been in front, but F1 is now so focused on removing the variables that I’m not surprised in larger differences back then.

            In this particular case the difference between Fangio and Moss ranged from -0.2 to +0.8 seconds, with Moss probably averaging around +0.3, which is fairly typical for the modern era. The +0.8s case was from a 4 minute lap of old Spa, which makes me wonder how much the percentage lap times were generally different between drivers of the era too.

          2. I wonder how much of that has to do with the far more scientific approach to set-up and construction of the cars, and how many hours modern drivers get to practice on simulators. I’m not saying that the faster driver wouldn’t have generally been in front, but F1 is now so focused on removing the variables that I’m not surprised in larger differences back then.

            If anything, the fact that testing has been virtually banned recently, while testing was unlimited and unrestricted in the old days should, in theory have resulted in the drivers being much more well-rounded back then as they had almost unlimited track time.

            You only need to go back to the late 80’s for enormous qualifying gaps between teammates. The average qualifying difference between the best (Senna) and second best (Prost) driver of this era in equal machinery was 0.6 seconds, and sometimes regularly above 1 second in normal, dry conditions. This was back when testing was unlimited. Drivers didn’t use simulators, because there was no point. Why use them when you can test the actual cars?

            Rosberg and Hamilton are much, much closer and more evenly matched in qualifying than Senna and Prost ever were, and I doubt anyone thinks that Rosberg is the second best driver of this era.

          3. @kingshark

            If anything, the fact that testing has been virtually banned recently, while testing was unlimited and unrestricted in the old days should, in theory have resulted in the drivers being much more well-rounded back then as they had almost unlimited track time.

            The testing era was mainly in the 90ies and early 2000s (until the ban). Before then, most teams never had the money nor saw a reason for so much testing. Until the mid 80ies, the majority of the field weren´t doing as much testing as nowadays (even with the ban / the given number of official test-days), with McLaren likely being the team that first did anything like modern testing-regimes.

          4. @kingshark

            You only need to go back to the late 80’s for enormous qualifying gaps between teammates. The average qualifying difference between the best (Senna) and second best (Prost) driver of this era in equal machinery was 0.6 seconds, and sometimes regularly above 1 second in normal, dry conditions. This was back when testing was unlimited.

            You’ve contradicted yourself. You seem to say that unlimited testing in the ’50s should have made drivers more rounded and closer in time, yet the fact that 30+ years later the gaps were similar shows that wasn’t especially the case. And in those 30 years motorsport changed, drivers started earlier and a more standard feeder system for F1 developed. And yet the gaps were still similar. That seems to prove my point that discounting drivers back then is dismissive.

            Drivers didn’t use simulators, because there was no point.

            I assumed it was because that simply wasn’t an approach that had been tried before and more significantly that the technology wasn’t up to it.

            Why use them when you can test the actual cars?

            Didn’t teams like McLaren start developing them when testing was still allowed because of practicality/cost?

            Rosberg and Hamilton are much, much closer and more evenly matched in qualifying than Senna and Prost ever were, and I doubt anyone thinks that Rosberg is the second best driver of this era.

            Because wins and championships are better indicators of the best drivers. In that regard Senna and Prost were closer.

          5. @matt90

            Because wins and championships are better indicators of the best drivers. In that regard Senna and Prost were closer.

            No, championships and wins are not a better indicator of how fast a driver truly was. They depend too much on things like car performance and reliability.

            We saw what happened when Prost teamed up with Senna in identical equipment, no excuses. Senna outqualified him 14-2 in both seasons, and was on average 0.6 seconds/lap quicker. The gap between the two in normal, dry qualifying was regularly up to 1 second, and occasionally even more. That sort of gap is unheard of between Hamilton and Rosberg in a normal, dry qualifying session.

            We are talking about the best and second best drivers of their era here, and the qualifying gaps between them is what I’d expect to see between Hamilton and someone like Ericsson. There was unlimited testing back then, and data sharing was already very much a thing. That gap was because of pure skill and talent.

            In today’s F1, I’d wager a bet that no one from the 1989 grid other than Senna would have even been good enough to drive in F1 today. Perhaps Prost, Piquet and Mansell; but even that would be a stretch. I doubt they would be fast at all relative to the drivers of today.

      3. I rate the old drivers more than the modern ones for the fact that those guys actually DROVE the cars without electronic aids. It’s like people driving todays cars with power steering,traction control etc and those of us that did and still do drive cars without all the aids on them.

  10. And some people still swear that Lewis Hamilton is a car breaker…

    1. @david-beau Today’s cars are so sophisticated and the teams have such rich real-time data available to them that the possibility of one driver being harder on the machinery than another is nowhere near as significant as it once was.

      1. It’s sad that just one wire coming lose can stop a driver’s race through no fault of his own.

  11. Joe (@melondancer)
    2nd January 2016, 18:26

    Great table, as always with the detailed stats.

    It has just occurred to me though, that we could only have 2 former champs in 2017. That is a big it, I know, Rosberg could pull it out of the bag, and McLaren-Honda could do enough to convince JB & FA to stay. But, 2 ex champs can’t be that far fetched. Can’t decide whether it would be for the better or worst, but it would be a big drop from 6 a few seasons ago.

  12. I’m sorry, but prior to 2009 Jenson has never shown that he had what it took to be a WDC. And he could’ve so easily loss the championship that year as well had Seb not ran out of engines which forced him to sit out practice sessions. The guy won 6 of the first 7 races and did not win another race until he joined McLaren.

    So I wouldn’t say he was a worst waste of title winning talent.

    1. @kgn11 In 2004 Jenson was very good and was only beaten by the dominant Ferraris in the championship.

    2. The guy won 6 of the first 7 races and did not win another race until he joined McLaren.

      I think the fact that you phrased that in such a way shows that you aren’t being impartial. You could have said ‘rest of the year’, but the other way sounds more ambiguous, like it was somehow longer. By and large Brawn lost it’s competitive edge once the meagre budget prevented development. As pointed out by Uzair, 2004 was a fantastic year for Button, and other stand out performances such as his first win and how he faired against Villeneuve showed his potential was at least deserving of something better than the last couple of Hondas.

    3. As has been pointed out, if not for the utter dominance of Ferrari, Button may well have won the title in 2004.

      Regarding 2009, as far as I’m concerned, the fact that Button was able to hold on and win the title after the Brawn development budget of 50p had expired early in the season, is far more impressive than any of Hamilton’s last 2 titles.

      And FYI, once Button got into a truly competitive car in 2009 and up until the disaster that was the 2013 McLaren, he won more races than anyone on the grid bar Vettel and scored more points than anyone on the grid other than Vettel and Alonso.

      He is also the ONLY driver to ever beat both Hamilton and Alonso as team mates over a season and has destroyed EVERY new young gun that came in that was supposedly going to show him up.

      Honestly, how much more does Button have to do to be recognised as one of the very finest drivers currently in F1???

  13. This whole “unreliability argument” about how, because the cars of the past were less reliable and hence, the achievements of the drivers in the past are more impressive; is fundamentally flawed.

    Drivers don’t just lose because of unreliability, they also gain. From the top of my head, Senna gained Monaco 1993 from Schumacher’s car failure, all three of his wins in 1992 came from car failures of either Williams (or both), he gained Brazil and Belgium 1991 because of Mansell’s car failure; and gained San Marino because of Patrese’s car failure. Those are 7 race wins that he gained in the final 3 seasons of his career alone.

    It wasn’t just Senna who had a more unreliable car back then, it was everyone.

    I would say that Vettel and Hamilton are just as good as Senna and Prost. I really don’t see a convincing reason to believe otherwise.

    1. Yep, point well made @kingshark. Though the whole idea of comparing across eras is too difficult anyway IMO. They used to make a lot more mistakes too, for example. Senna wouldn’t win in the modern era for that reason alone… but if he were driving in the modern era he wouldn’t make them! He’d train differently, eat differently, and have a different approach.

      The only way would be to clone them all and start from scratch. Then we’d miss the parents’ contribution with the upbringing, though…

    2. You have a point, but still unreliability makes it harder for the best pilots to win what they would deserve. If unreliability hits more or less randomly, it doesn’t mean that it tends to affect everybody equally, the best pilots have a lot more to lose and less to win from it. Random unreliability makes for noisier rankings. Even if the greats may sometimes benefit from it, they are more likely to be punished by it. So it is stil true that higher unreliability makes domination more difficult and therefore more impressive.

    3. I agree with you on this occasion.

    4. I think only problem with that is some drivers really don’t inherit the same amount of race wins as they lose from reliability. Take Vettel for example, he has like 10 wins lost from lead due to car failure, but he only ever inherited 1-2 race wins. It’s like the complete opposite with Alonso, and other champions today all have a balanced scale in that respect since they lost almost as much as they won. But I agree with your point as well.

  14. If in the 1980s they had as many races as they do now per season, senna and prost would have had about 70-80 wins to their name, and fangio over 100.

    1. While you’re right that their numbers would surely go up, I think that’s an exaggeration. Fangio would have taken part in maybe slightly fewer than 3 times as many races and Prost/Senna around 1.25.

  15. Thanks Keith for such an interesting information.

  16. Nice!

    MSchumacher’s percentages were significantly (2-3%) lowered by his unsuccesful comeback. If it wasn’t for that, I think he should have been above Prost in the standings.

    1. In this respect it is interesting to see what Andrew Bell’s mathematical model shows (data only up to 2014). Considering the whole career of Michael Schumacher , he comes out as only the 9th best pilot ever (after Fangio, Prost, Alonso, Clark, Senna, Stewart, Piquet and Fittipaldi). However, considering Schuey before and after his retirement as 2 different pilots, the precomeback MS is 3rd, only after Fangio and Prost, while the comeback MS doesn´t make it to the top 20.
      So still the precomeback MS wouldn’t have beaten Prost, but it was very close (if you look at Figure 3, there is a considerable overlap of the confidence intervals and very little difference between Prost and the precomeback MS, while Fangio beats both by a wider margin).

      Two more comments: I definitely like this model; ranking Fangio, Prost, Schumacher, Alonso, Clark as the top 5 really makes sense to me (although I would have never ranked Senna ahead of Stewart and wouldn’t have included Piquet in the top 10 either). About the question of the present pilots being above the oldies, the model doesn´t quite agree, only Alonso (4th or 5th, depending if you consider or not the comeback Schumacher as a different pilot), Vettel (10th) and Hamilton (12th) show up in the top 20. None of them beats Prost and only Alonso beats Senna (well, of course…).

      In an earlier post, @raceprouk wonders how can “someone who consistently outclassed a seven-time world champion can be considered merely average”. Well, I do not think we need a model to notice that the comeback MS couldn’t compare to his earlier self, so outclassing him wasn’t so terribly impressive IMHO.

      1. Vettel 10th just ahead of Hamilton 12th makes sense, Prost is underrated and 2nd makes sense here, Senna is overrated and 5th looks too good, I’m not sure what Piquet is doing there and I wouldn’t put Fittipaldi there either, Schumacher definitely deserves a top spot, I’m not sure where Alonso belongs as he’s really really good but he’s also really overrated too.
        But in any case, I would LOVE to see Vettel and Hamilton in the same car. If they were equally comfortable with their team and didn’t have any other problems, that would be REALLY interesting to watch. I imagine Prost vs Senna or something better than that.

  17. Personally I agree that it is hard to compare eras but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still things to compare. It is a fact that the cars and tracks were much more crude before, the drivers less athletic, the cars less reliable overall.

    For me it is not a question of whether today’s drivers could run circles around the drivers of the past in cars gone by, it is would they? It is moot but I do question who among today’s drivers would have even pursued the sport if it was stil so dangerous, and who would have done what if there was a much heavier psychological burden on and off the track.

    1. Meant to add…who would have done what under much more dire conditions for a relative pittance of money?

  18. Hehe, well MSC is really hurt by his 09-12 sunday driver stint. Atleast in these stats. He only gained one fastest qual, not even a pole. In 60ish starts. But first time around he was second to none. More victorious than most teams.

    Hard to measure who is best, but we all know Vet, Ham, Alo are drivers of the era, Alo fast becoming driver of older era.

    Stats confirm it. But Also suggest only two worth mentioning after MSC are Vet and Ham…

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