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The perpetual ”top ten F1 drivers” debate

This topic contains 41 replies, has 20 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of mnmracer mnmracer 1 year, 3 months ago.

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  • #132548
    Profile photo of Keith Collantine
    Keith Collantine
    Keymaster

    Autosprint has become the latest publication to produce a list of the ‘top ten F1 drivers ever’.

    BBC did the same thing last year and I have a Top 100 F1 Drivers book on my shelf as well so it occured to me a forum thread collecting them all together would be fun, and provide a space for any other ones that appear in future or some more we can dig up from the pas. Here goes:

    Autosprint, 28th December 2012

    1. Juan Manuel Fangio
    2. Michael Schumacher
    3. Jackie Stewart
    4. Ayrton Senna
    5. Jim Clark
    6. Alain Prost
    7. Stirling Moss
    8. Alberto Ascari
    9. Niki Lauda
    10. Sebastian Vettel

    http://www.auto.it/autosprint/formula_1/2012/12/21-12200/I+10+top+di+sempre+nel+motorsport

    BBC, 20th November 2012

    1. Ayrton Senna
    2. Juan Manuel Fangio
    3. Jim Clark
    4. Michael Schumacher
    5. Alain Prost
    6. Stirling Moss
    7. Jackie Stewart
    8. Sebastian Vettel
    9. Niki Lauda
    10. Fernando Alonso

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/20324109
    (Earlier thread on this: http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/groups/f1/forum/topic/bbcs-top-20-f1-drivers-ever-list/)

    “The Top 100 F1 Drivers of All Time”, Alan Henry, 2008

    1. Stirling Moss
    2. Jim Clark
    3. Ayrton Senna
    4. Alain Prost
    5. Alberto Ascari
    6. Juan Manuel Fangio
    7. Bernd Rosemeyer
    8. Jackie Stewart
    9. Tazio Nuvolari
    10. Mika Hakkinen

    The Top 100 F1 Drivers of All Time – Alan Henry, 2008

    To be clear, this is a thread for top ten driver lists produced by different publications, not for people to suggest their own, or it will quickly become swamped. I’m particularly interested to see submissions from different countries and different points in time.

    #220891
    Profile photo of Journeyer
    Journeyer
    Participant

    Wow. I love that Autosprint list. That’s the closest list I’ve seen published to my personal Top 10. JYS is ranked a bit too high there for my liking, but the rest of the list is pretty much spot-on for me.

    I’ve given my thoughts on the BBC list in the dedicated thread, so won’t go into detail here.

    Alan Henry’s list is a very interesting take, as we see a lot of the pre-modern-era drivers on the list. But I do wonder how it can be an F1 list if people like Rosemeyer and Nuvolari (who raced GPs but never got to race in F1) are on it. Not sure I agree with Moss at #1, either – never mind Schumacher’s absence.

    @keithcollantine F1 Racing commissioned a vote for the Top 100 F1 drivers twice in its history (1997 and 2007, IIRC). That would be a great addition to the lists you’ve featured here.

    #220892
    Profile photo of Slr
    Slr
    Participant

    @journeyer F1 Racing’s top ten in 2008 was:

    1. Ayrton Senna
    2. Michael Schumacher
    3. Juan Manuel Fangio
    4. Alain Prost
    5. Jim Clark
    6. Jackie Stewart
    7. Kimi Raikkonen
    8. Mika Hakkinen
    9. Gilles Villeneuve
    10. Niki Lauda

    This list was created using fan votes so there is an element of bias, although every list has that I suppose.

    In the same issue we get read about some of the driver’s thoughts on the best ever. Stirling Moss’ top five, which I’m sure absolutely no one in the world will agree with was:

    1. Juan Manuel Fangio
    2. Jim Clark
    3. Tony Brooks
    4. Ayrton Senna
    5. Lewis Hamilton

    Rubens Barrichello and Felipe Massa predictably believe Senna is the greatest of all time. Mark Webber in this issue said Michael Schumacher was the greatest ever.

    #220893
    Profile photo of andae23
    andae23
    Participant

    In December 2009, Autosport asked 217 F1 drivers to rank their top 10 greatest drivers in history. Then they combined their lists to make a top 40. The top 10 is listed below:

    Autosport, 10th December 2009

    1. Ayrton Senna
    2. Michael Schumacher
    3. Juan Manuel Fangio
    4. Alain Prost
    5. Jim Clark
    6. Jackie Stewart
    7. Niki Lauda
    8. Stirling Moss
    9. Fernando Alonso
    10. Gilles Villeneuve

    Formula 1′s Greatest Drivers

    #220895
    Profile photo of andae23
    andae23
    Participant

    Just a few random top 10s I found using Google:

    The Sun, Mark Gilbert, 25th July 2012

    1. Michael Schumacher
    2. Alain Prost
    3. Ayrton Senna
    4. Juan Manuel Fangio
    5. Jim Clark
    6. Jackie Stewart
    7. Jack Brabham
    8. Niki Lauder (that’s how he spelled it)
    9. Nelson Piquet
    10. Lewis Hamilton

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/top10s/2708606/.html

    SPEED, 31st August 2012

    1. Ayrton Senna
    2. Jim Clark
    3. Juan Manuel Fangio
    4. Michael Schumacher
    5. Jackie Stewart
    6. Fernando Alonso
    7. Alain Prost
    8. Stirling Moss
    9. Niki Lauda
    10. Nigel Mansell

    http://formula-one.speedtv.com/article/f1-speeds-all-time-greatest-formula-one-drivers/

    #220896
    Profile photo of Keith Collantine
    Keith Collantine
    Keymaster

    8. Niki Lauder (that’s how he spelled it)

    Ouch…

    #220897

    I think this thread proves just how difficult it is to judge and compare Formula 1 drivers between eras.

    #220898
    Profile photo of mnmracer
    mnmracer
    Participant

    Not sure what Alan Henry was smoking, but while Mika is definitely a big name, no way is he in any list above Schumacher. Not even now, but most certainly not after his first career?

    #220899
    Profile photo of kunteper
    kunteper
    Member

    Seeing Alan Henry’s top ten, whom I don’t know much about, the first thought came to me is, one would sell more books by making a crazy list rather than one seems plausible to any F1 fan. As you see in the related story, the first thing F1 Fanatic editor said about the book is “Some guy made a top 100 list and Michael is not in the top ten!” But of course this is just an impression as I don’t know his reasons. It may well be a work that breaks the routine with strong arguments.

    #220900
    Profile photo of Girts
    Girts
    Participant

    I have the Top 100 that was published by F1 Racing in 1997. The editors of the magazine as well as many experienced journalists, famous F1 drivers and team principals had participated in the survey. Here’s the top 10:

    1. Ayrton Senna
    2. Juan Manuel Fangio
    3. Jim Clark
    4. Alain Prost
    5. Michael Schumacher
    6. Jackie Stewart
    7. Stirling Moss
    8. Niki Lauda
    9. Nelson Piquet
    10. Nigel Mansell

    The rest of the top 100 is even more interesting. It’s noteworthy that the whole list included 13 of the active drivers and some of the positions now make me think that current drivers probably shouldn’t be included in similar lists today:

    20. Damon Hill
    29. Jacques Villeneuve
    34. Gerhard Berger
    41. Jean Alesi
    57. David Coulthard
    58. Mika Hakkinen
    66. Heinz-Harald Frentzen
    67. Olivier Panis
    74. Mika Salo
    84. Gianni Morbidelli
    89. Eddie Irvine
    93. Johnny Herbert

    #220902
    Profile photo of the_sigman
    the_sigman
    Participant

    @girts The most interesting is Michael Schumacher in number 5 despite being a two times champion at the time.

    #220903
    Profile photo of dot_com
    dot_com
    Participant

    I think of all those top tens, the SPEED list is probably closest to the one I would personally pick. Jim Clark might be bumped down a couple of spots, but other than that it’s pretty good. I’m not sure I like that Autosprint list – Stewart over Senna? Vettel over Alonso? Nah…

    #220904
    Profile photo of craig-o
    craig-o
    Participant

    I think I agree with @slr ‘s post about F1 Racing in ’08 as my closest top 10, I’d just remove Villeneuve, add Brabham perhaps and move things about a bit.

    #220906
    Profile photo of kunteper
    kunteper
    Member

    @the_sigman Yeah, after all the legends of the 80s retired and Senna was killed, Michael was kinda seen as “the last one of the great old ones” at that time. “Williams / Mclaren is the best car, Schumacher is the best driver” was a common quote from Murray Walker in the late 90s.

    #220907
    Profile photo of Journeyer
    Journeyer
    Participant

    @kunteper @sigman1998 Murray was right. Of course, the implied conclusion there is “Schumacher is the best driver, Newey is the best designer.”

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