Which driver most deserved to win the title in each season?

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    Iestyn Davies

    Inspired by the current WDC deserving another WDC thread, I posted what I felt was an all-time list of WDCs deserved by amount. Here I will list my choices by year and want to see if you agree or disagree.

    1950 – Fangio
    1951 – Fangio
    1952 – Ascari
    1953 – Ascari
    1954 – Fangio
    1955 – Fangio
    1956 – Fangio
    1957 – Fangio
    1958 – Moss
    1959 – Moss
    1960 – Brabham
    1961 – Moss
    1962 – Clark
    1963 – Clark
    1964 – Clark
    1965 – Clark
    1966 – Brabham
    1967 – Clark
    1968 – Clark (Hill)
    1969 – Stewart
    1970 – Rindt
    1971 – Stewart
    1972 – Fittipaldi
    1973 – Stewart
    1974 – Fittipaldi
    1975 – Lauda
    1976 – Lauda
    1977 – Lauda
    1978 – Andretti/Peterson
    1979 – Villeneuve
    1980 – Jones
    1981 – Reutemann
    1982 – Villeneuve
    1983 – Villeneuve
    1984 – Prost
    1985 – Prost
    1986 – Piquet
    1987 – Mansell
    1988 – Prost
    1989 – Senna
    1990 – Senna
    1991 – Senna
    1992 – Mansell
    1993 – Prost
    1994 – Senna
    1995 – Schumacher
    1996 – Senna
    1997 – Senna
    1998 – Hakkinen
    1999 – Hakkinen
    2000 – Schumacher
    2001 – Schumacher
    2002 – Schumacher
    2003 – Montoya
    2004 – Schumacher
    2005 – Raikkonen
    2006 – Alonso
    2007 – Alonso
    2008 – Raikkonen
    2009 – Button
    2010 – Vettel
    2011 – Vettel
    2012 – Hamilton

    In making my choices, I tried to take factors out of the equation that are unlucky/outside of the driver’s control. This can range from reasonably unlucky retirements to career/life ending incidents. But I tried to see if I could arrive at a point that justifies most people’s opinions on the best drivers to have been in F1.

    This leaves me with –
    6 – Fangio, Clark, Senna
    5 – Schumacher
    4 – Prost
    3 – Moss, Stewart, Lauda, Villeneuve
    2 – Ascari, Brabham, Fittipaldi, Mansell, Hakkinen, Raikkonen, Alonso, Vettel
    1 – Rindt, Andretti/Peterson, Jones, Reutemann, Piquet, Montoya, Button, Hamilton

    You could easily change 1968 to Graham Hill, going with Clark’s death, and perhaps give Moss one of Fangio’s championships (don’t really know the 50’s period well), and I think this would then line up very neatly with what most people identify as say a list of the best 25 F1 drivers, e.g. the BBC list (the one I prefer, incidentally).

    The list also lines up periods of dominance very neatly, and it looks like we will enter the Vettel vs. Hamilton struggle now, as the Alonso vs. Raikkonen period ends. I see it as periods of dominance by: FANGIO-MOSS-CLARK-STEWART-LAUDA-VILLENEUVE-PROST-SENNA-SCHUMACHER-ALONSO-VETTEL; with periods of being runner up in the history books going to: ASCARI-BRABHAM-FITTIPALDI-PIQUET-MANSELL-HAKKINEN-RAIKKONEN-HAMILTON-BUTTON/ROSBERG.



    That’s an interesting post and I commend you for going through every year and picking the driver that you felt deserved the WDC. At the same time, I don’t see how folks can measure Clark, Fangio, Ascari and others unless they were there to watch them. Even today with the advent of HD and the wealth of coverage of all races, qualifying, and practice by folks who really know their stuff it’s still very hard to measure drivers.

    But my main question is this one:-) How could you pick Alonso over Hamilton in 2007? Any rookie that loses the championship by a point and at the same time ties a 2-time WDC deserves to win in my book.


    Iestyn Davies

    It’s a good question, and I can only really comment on 1997 onwards as that is the time in which I have seen F1 live on the TV.

    For 2007, I agree that Hamilton did a really amazing job, same with 2008, but 2007 in particular for being his debut year. But, I feel that with the team’s backing (I felt they religiously backed Hamilton at the time), Alonso would have picked up more points and been the team’s best chance of a DWC, vs. Raikkonen. Mainly, I feel that the penalty Alonso got at Hungary was very harsh – I found it a team matter and nothing for the FIA/race stewards to intervene in (if they do so there, why not now about a lack of timed laps in Q3). The team said something about Hamilton not letting Alonso past in the fuel burn phase and I guess that was payback by Alonso (in a Schumi-esque style!). Admittedly, Hamilton looks likely to get pole anyway – but Alonso being on the podium here means he has only 4 non-podium finishes for the season, in contrast to Hamilton and Raikkonen’s 5. I concede that this is slightly spurious – as Hamilton was particularly unlucky in China to end up in the pit lane gravel trap (what on earth were the team doing?!).

    2007 is definitely one of the hardest years to rate! I imagine Raikkonen would win under the current points system – 25 for a win and so on. I consider Hamilton’s 2007 to be similar to Raikkonen’s 2003 – a lot of consistency and front running which established a new talent as a sure-fire championship contender, and one who could consider themselves unlucky to lose out at the final race.



    Define “deserving”. Is a driver who has one or two reliability issues considered unlucky, but a driver who has to drive a slower car not considered unlucky?

    These were, in my opinion, the best drivers each year, and only lost out because their car was inferior one way or another (whether reliability or speed).

    I’m only going to list the post-2000’s since those were the years in my age group/generation.

    2000 – Michael Schumacher
    2001 – Michael Schumacher
    2002 – Michael Schumacher
    2003 – Kimi Raikkonen
    2004 – Michael Schumacher
    2005 – Fernando Alonso
    2006 – Fernando Alonso
    2007 – Kimi Raikkonen
    2008 – Felipe Massa
    2009 – Sebastian Vettel
    2010 – Lewis Hamilton
    2011 – Sebastian Vettel
    2012 – Fernando Alonso

    Those were, year by year, the best drivers of the season.


    Iestyn Davies

    I suppose my list is more towards the former – it takes the whole picture into account, and that often means heavy team emphasis. I would say your list is more logical when placed squarely on driver ability – heck, I would probably agree with you on it, to be honest. I have a soft spot for Kubica and saw on here Keith rated him number one for 2008.

    I also think that with a few changes of luck, your list is also feasible as a WDC list, perhaps more so than mine! For a Raikkonen win in 2008, my list would require Ferrari to keep him as number one driver, develop the car around him rather than Massa, and then beat Lewis to WDC by winning such races as the controversial Spa 2008 (which I still feel he was robbed of, but what a hectic lap that was!), France 2008 exhaust loss etc.

    I think the ranking of Schumacher – 4, Alonso – 3, Raikkonen, Vettel – 2, Massa, Hamilton – 1 is a fair reflection of the 2000-2012 years. I would be tempted to look at whether JPM could challenge Schumi for one of those years, likely 2001 or 2003.



    How can you NOT have Alonso in 2005, 2010 or 2012? 2007 is 50/50 as he was screwed over by a dubious penalty. Also how can you have vettel in 2009. Crashes while second in Aus, spins in Malaysia, drive thru+drives over kerb damaging his gearbox/diffuser in Singapore among the many driver mistakes he made that year while driving the fastest car in the grid (Yes, the red bull was faster than the brawn over the course of the season).

    2000-2002 Schumi
    03 Raikkonen
    04 Schumi
    05-07 Alonso
    08 Hamilton/Massa. I’d say Hamilton (ferrari were faster than McLaren in 06-08)
    09 Button
    10 Alonso
    11 Vettel
    12 Alonso
    13 Vettel so far



    From the time I have followed F1, I’d say:
    1999: Frentzen
    2000: Schumacher
    2001: Schumacher
    2002: Schumacher
    2003: Räikkönen
    2004: Schumacher
    2005: Hmm, difficult one, since both Alonso and Räikkönen were fantastic that year. Can’t decide really.
    2006: Alonso
    2007: Hamilton
    2008: Kubica
    2009: Vettel
    2010: Vettel
    2011: Vettel
    2012: Alonso



    I find it very strange that you can say the likes of Villeneuve and Senna deserved to win in 83 and 96/97 given they didn’t compete in either season. You’ve tailored your decision based on how many titles in total you think each driver deserved and then tried to make the numbers fit, its your thread but I don’t think that is the right approach. Ones I would disagree with from the original list:

    79 I think Scheckter deserved that title
    81 Piquet – Reutemann bottled the end of the season, Nelson did what was needed when the time was right
    83 Prost
    86 Mansell
    88 Senna
    89 Prost
    93 Senna
    94 Schumacher
    96 Hill
    97 Schumacher
    99 Frentzen
    03 Raikkonen
    05 Alonso
    07 Hamilton
    08 Hamilton
    10 Vettel
    12 Hamilton


    I’d say that Kubica deserved both 2008 and 2010.



    LOL, how can you say Senna deserved to win 94, 96 and 97….he was dead! He was being roundly beaten by Schumacher in 94 and errrr…..was DEAD in 96/97. Just ridiculous!



    Kubica drove well in 2010, but looked better than he was because Petrov was rubbish in the sister car. Vettel would have walked 2010 if his car had been reliable. 2008 Kubica has a strong claim.


    Iestyn Davies

    I’ll admit I have wanted to see whether their achievements, had they lived, would stack them in an ‘all-time hall of fame’. I do think they would be strong in those seasons (guessing Schumacher would win in 1995, he dominated Hill that year from the looks of it), and I can’t see Schumacher taking out Senna to win the 1994 title! Senna in the modified 94 Williams, 96 Williams and 97 Williams should be unstoppable. In 95 it appears that the Benetton was closer matched to the Williams if not better. But this was all just before I became old enough to follow Formula 1.

    82 & 83 Ferrari won the WDC despite such a tragic year for drivers – hard to see Villeneuve not winning 82, admittedly in 1983 Prost and Piquet would be a huge factor. With the amount of retirements, you would really have to watch the season to guess, but I imagine Villeneuve would hold them both off for the title, given some team orders to help him out, bringing the best of both Ferrari’s points that year.

    81 – I had as Piquet’s until making this thread. I agree that it seems very Vettel-like in that they did what they needed to do to win (good ol’ Bernie). I do feel that Reutemann deserves a WDC though, and there is a lot of controversy that year, including a disallowed GP, and a car in the final race that didn’t seem the same as before, from what I’ve read :).

    I am sure that a pure driver only list would be very different from my list and I would be inclined to agree myself. I notice not much love for Raikkonen in a lot of lists, while I share the admiration for Kubica. I suppose my list is a bit ‘whole-picture’ like, including the team combination. I did support Frentzen in the 1999 season as well!




    I’d say that Kubica deserved both 2008 and 2010.

    How did Kubica deserve 2010 when he couldn’t even beat Rosberg in give or take equal cars? ;-)



    I’m just gonna talk about the last 10 seasons..

    2003 – Raikkonen
    2004 – Schumacher
    2005 – Raikkonen
    2006 – Alonso
    2007 – Hamilton
    2008 – Kubica
    2009 – Hamilton
    2010 – Alonso
    2011 – Vettel
    2012 – Alonso

    That would make Raikkonen and Hamilton double WDCs and Alonso a triple WDC. If only life was this fair




    1999: Frentzen

    That’s probably the first time since 1999 I’ve heard that. Not to attack your opinion, but in my opinion, Frentzen drove really well, but did lack the consistency to win the WDC, while the two who battled for the WDC were pretty inconsistent themselves that year.

    Since I’ve been watching: (plus any other driver who I would have been content with winning)
    1998: Hakkinen (Schumacher)
    1999: Hakkinen (Schumacher)
    2000: Schumacher (Hakkinen)
    2001: Schumacher
    2002: Schumacher
    2003: Räikkönen (Schumacher, Montoya)
    2004: Schumacher
    2005: Raikkonen (Alonso)
    2006: Alonso (Schumacher)
    2007: Raikkonen (Hamilton, Alonso)
    2008: Massa (Hamilton, Kubica)
    2009: Vettel (Webber)
    2010: Vettel (Alonso, Webber)
    2011: Vettel
    2012: Alonso (Vettel)

    2013, so far: Vettel. Alonso and Raikkonen need to step up.

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