2nd best F1 drivers ever


Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Valued Member
During tonights Top Gear, JC called Olivia Panis the second best French F1 driver ever and this got me thinking.

Who would you say was each countries second best driver? Obviously there have been plenty of lists and polls for who was the best but who do we think for each country that fell just short of that mark.

Here is my list:

GB - Jackie Stewart
USA - Dan Gurney
France - Rene Arnoux
Australia - Mark Webber
Finland - Kimi Raikonnen
Japan - Satoru Nakajima (or however you spell it !!)
Brazil - Nelson Piquet
Austria - Jochen Rindt
Germany - Sebastian Vettel

Feel free to add to the list or debate the ones I've chosen: C_A_T
Tough one C_A_T, it would be interesting to know who you put 1st.

My list would be:

GB - Stirling Moss
USA - Phil Hill
France - Francoise Cevert
Australia - Alan Jones
Finland - Keke Rosberg
Japan - I can't even think of one who could be in 1st place let alone 2nd!
Brazil - Nelson Piquet
Austria - Jochen Rindt
Germany - H-H Frentzen (I wanted to put Stefan Bellof here but as he never won a GP it would be heart ruling head)
Argentina - Carlos Reutemann

changed to remove the "1st" place drivers - note for those reading down I forgot about Niki Lauda and had Rindt 1 and Berger 2 for Austria.
Tough one C_A_T, it would be interesting to know who you put 1st

FB, I avoided posting who I would place first and tried to focus on who I thought was second best. Hence I forgot all about Black Jack and ended up putting Webber second with (in my head) Jones in first place.

I did think about putting Cevert for France but ended up going with Arnoux for no other reason than my heart over rulling my head. I put Dan Gurney in second place over Phill Hill because Jim Clark (the greatest ever in my opinion) described Gurney as the only driver on the grid who he felt was better than him. You couldn't get higher praise than that.

As for Japan, I would put Sato in first place as their best driver and it was a toss up between Nakajima snr and Aguri Suzuki for second but I plumped for Nakajimi because he was the first Japanese driver to consistantly score points.

I agree with you on Argentina.

As for Austria, I put Rindt second because the man in first place has to be Niki Lauda.
As for Austria, I put Rindt second because the man in first place has to be Niki Lauda.

How on earth could I forget Niki "The Rat" Lauda :oops: I hang my head in shame...
Could perhaps make England and Scotland separate...

Oh and I would definitely have Kimi ahead of Keke Rosberg. Canada - Gilles 1st then Jacques ;)
Could perhaps make England and Scotland separate...

Oooh that would make it tricky.

I would say:

Scotland - Jackie Stewart
England - Nigel Mansell

As for Keke/Kimi I admit it's very tight between them. When you look at it, they both started in teams that near the back of the grid. (Fittipaldi/Sauber), They were both heart on the sleeve style drivers and they both suffered/seem to be suffering from a lack of motivation towards the end of their time in F1. Add to that they both one world titles at the expense of other drivers mistakes (82 Pironis crash and 07 The Alonso/Hamilton thing) and it's hard to pick a winner. I've gone for Keke more because I think he had more round objects than Kimi.

The trick with this thread is to try and forget who you think is best. Put that to one side and don't even post it if possible. That way it makes trying to justify your choice of second more interesting.
If we seperate Scotland and England I would have JYS on the tartan side and Graham Hill with the Morris dancers.
Doh!!! Now I'm forgetting great drivers. Yeah I would have to put Hill ahead of Mansell if only for the fact that Hill also won Le Mans and the Indy 500.

It's hard than it looks. Who started this thread..... Doh!! LOL
Hmm.. I'd disagree with Piquet for Brazils...

Emerson Fittipaldi seems to be more obvious - Piquet just seemed not to be quite as fast as he appeared - see 1988 onwards...

Scotland - Has to be JYS

England - Stirling Moss? Or Nigel Mansell?
yeah, Good call about Emmo. I forgot him as well. If he hadn't have shown superb loyalty to his brothers team he would have surely been a 3 maybe four time world champion. I certainly don't believe if he remained at Mclaren for 76 that James Hunt would have been world champion.
I think Schumie would have beaten almost anyone in similar equipment in his pomp Boga. One thing I could never understand about Barrichello is he signed a contarct as a clear No2, obliging him (I presume) to move over and let Schumie through if required, and then bitches about it years later. IF YOU WANTED TO WIN RUBENS YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO LET HIM PAST >:(

Now, where's my prozac
Uh, how about Italy...

With fear of being shot down, how about my old favourite, Mansell's old leading teammate, Elio de Angelis

Please be gentle...
I have to agree with you FnF on that one. He has to be 2nd best Italian because he didn't win a world title but his record speaks for itself. He managed to do some fantastic things in some not very good Lotus. His debut win at the Austrian GP in 82 was fantastic. I'm a little biased here because he drove for the greatest formula one team ever (in my opinion).

In his debut season with Lotus he managed to out pace Mario Andretti who was the world champion just 2 seasons before and he managed to score a podium in the Lotus 81. A car so poor that Andretti described it as "the perfect car but for last season".

After leaving Lotus in 85 when it was clear that he couldn't compete on Senna's pace for another season he joined Brabham. Had he lived it is unlikely that he would have seen the top step of the podium again unless he could have worked his way back into a top drive.

His death in testing was a tragic example of how complacent F1 can be at times. There is no doubt at all that had that incident occured during a normal race weekend with full stewarding then Elio would have survived.
Yeah, I could go with DeAngelis for Italy, although Alboreto may give him a run for his money. De Angelis beat the pants of "our Nige" in their time at Lotus but this seems to be missed by Mansell's adoring millions.

What about Martin Donnely for Ireland andThierry Boutsen for Belgium? Also, can I nominate Desire Wilson as the 2nd best driver to come out of South Africa? LOL
Thierry Boutson is a great pick for Belgium.

Hmmm, you can have Desire Wilson because I can't think of any one else but it's a tough one.

as for Martin Donnely it depends if we are talking about Ireland as a whole or seperating the republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. If we are talking Ireland as a whole then I would have Eddie Irvine as the second best Irish driver of all time.

I agree with your point about Alboreto but don't forget Ricardo Patrese as well. It would be a close call between those three but I would have it as Elio, Alboreto then Patrese. Thiery Boutson more than had the measure of Patrese at Williams in the late 80's
I'll revise my proposal for Donnely as the 2nd best Ulsterman to drive a Grand Prix car then.
cider_and_toast said:
Thierry Boutson is a great pick for Belgium.
I agree with your point about Alboreto but don't forget Ricardo Patrese as well. It would be a close call between those three but I would have it as Elio, Alboreto then Patrese.

What, no Ascari? Farina? Paulo Barilla?*

Italy's not been blessed with the greatest of drivers lately, but they were quite a force for the first 20 years.

*May have been tongue-in-cheek
Muddy, I would have Ascari in first place because of his two WDC and Elio in Second.

FB, I've got myself all confuesed. Watson, Irvine and Donnely were all from Ulster so I would have Irvine as second best NI driver.

For the republic you can pick from Derek Daly, Ralph Firman, Dave Kennedy or Tommy Byrne. I guess in that case the second best driver from the Republic of Ireland is Ralph Firman.
Top Bottom