3. Kimi Raikkonen
In only his third year in Formula 1, Kimi missed out on the 2003 WDC by a mere 2 points against Michael Schumacher, and would have won without misfortunes. In 2005, him and McLaren were the fastest combination in the sport, but once again reliability cost him the world title. Eventually, in 2007 he won his long waited and well deserved championship. Although many still feel that a 1 time WDC does not justice his abilities as a driver.
2. Lewis Hamilton
In his rookie year, Lewis shocked the world already. He lead championship throughout the majority of the season, and only lost out at the end in Brazil because of a gearbox issue. One year later in Brazil again, this time he won the championship by the narrowest of margins, overtaking Glock in the final corner to clinch the WDC from the home favorite Felipe Massa. In 2010 Lewis only made a single major mistake all year, and took the WDC to the final race with the 3rd best car. In 2012, Hamilton clearly would have been champion if it wasn’t for his disastrous misfortunes throughout the year.
1. Nigel Mansell
Without a shadow of a doubt, in my opinion, THE single greatest driver to have only won a sole WDC. Unlike many others, Mansell didn’t rise to the top rapidly. He spend the first four years of his career at Lotus where he showed glimpses of talent. In 1985 Frank Williams saw talent in him, and hired him for the Williams team where he won his first race in his first year. In 1986, Nigel lost an easy championship in the final race of the season due a spectacular tyre explosion. One year later in 1987, he once again should have won the WDC, but lost because of more bad luck than his teammate Piquet, and a career-threatening crash in Suzuka. In 1991, once again more bad luck than his rival Senna cost him a potential 3rd WDC. Then finally, he won his long time coming championship in 1992 for Williams, a year he dominated.
Nigel Mansell finished his career with 31 wins, the 5th most in the sport after Schumacher, Prost, Senna and Alonso; and far more than any other 1-time WDC.