Surprised no one has mentioned Ronnie Peterson, excellent driver in the 1970′s who finished second twice and third once in the championship. He was the no.2 to Andretti in 1978 and was quicker than him a lot of the time but played his part in the team, probably thinking he would get another chance to be champion, which he unfortunately didn’t before he was killed.
I don’t know enough about it but Gilles Villeneuve while undoubtedly spectacular and brave did have a championship winning car in 1979 and lost to his teammate Jody Scheckter. Anyone who knows, was it similar to Peterson and Andretti in ’78?
If so it would probably explain why Gilles reacted the way he did in 1982 after Imola when Pironi played his games. He’d played his part as the second driver before to Scheckter and now Pironi wasn’t showing the same respect to him.
Berger was a good not great driver, don’t think he was world title material although he was incredibly likeable. He had the world championship car for two years in ’90 and ’91 and was nowhere challenging. Same for Alesi, although he never had a car truly capable of winning the championship. Maybe if they’d been driving the 95, 96 or 97 Williams instead of Hill and Villeneuve they would have had a shot though, who knows.