Before the Title: World Champions

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
World Champions pre-Championship careers tend not to be littered with wins. Here is the amount of World Championship races each World Champion won before their first World Championship season:

Zero

Guiseppe Farina (but we knew that)
Jack Brabham
Graham Hill
Denny Hulme
Keke Rosberg

One

Phil Hill (and it had a mass withdrawal)
John Surtees
Jochen Rindt
Emerson Fittipaldi
James Hunt
Mika Hakkinen (and he was let through)
Fernando Alonso
Jenson Button

Two

Alberto Ascari
Mike Hawthorn
Niki Lauda
Michael Schumacher

Three

Juan Manuel Fangio (although this is scarcely a fair test)
Jim Clark
Nelson Piquet

Four

Jacques Villeneuve
Lewis Hamilton

Five

Jackie Stewart
Alan Jones
Sebastian Vettel

Six

Mario Andretti
Ayrton Senna

Seven

Jody Scheckter

MORE THAN 7:

Kimi Raikkonen (9)
Damon Hill (13)
Alain Prost (16)
Nigel Mansell (21)
 
I remember (when I was a kid) Mario Andretti making a comment about how incredible it was that Prost wasn't already a World Champion. This in the winter of 1983 when Prost fell out with Renault and Ron Dennis immediately snapped him up off the market and paired him up with Lauda.

At that time Prost had already won 9 Grand Prix races and come close to winning the 1983 title...and had lost the title in1982 when (he felt) Renault teammate Arnoux didn't help him by moving over at the French Grand Prix where they (ARN-PRO) finished 1-2.

He then won 7 GPs in 1984 but lost the title to Lauda by 1/2 a point.

Kimi - Well, Raikkonen was let down by McLaren and Mercedes-badged Ilmor engines in 2003 and 2005, i.m.o., and got fed up and signed for Ferrari.

Poor Mansell had that blown tyre at Adelaide in '86 and then crashed at Suzuka in practice in '87.

Fun memories.

PS

If we're to actually go by the letter of the law, those were the number of wins they had in the seasons prior to their WDC season.

If we're to go by the intent of the OP, then they had to wait for more wins before actually winning the WDC...as an example, Raikkonen actually won his WDC after winning 15 races because even after winning his 14th GP, he still wasn't a WDC. Etc.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
If we're to actually go by the letter of the law, those were the number of wins they had in the seasons prior to their WDC season.

If we're to go by the intent of the OP, then they had to wait for more wins before actually winning the WDC...as an example, Raikkonen actually won his WDC after winning 15 races because even after winning his 14th GP, he still wasn't a WDC. Etc.
They are the number of wins prior to their first WDC season. We all know they won races in their WDC season. It means Keke Rosberg had only one F1 win when he was crowned though!
 

Bleu

Points Scorer
I think that gives better view of how successful they were. Let's use 1992 season as an example since it was Mansell's first (and only) title. Riccardo Patrese, the runner-up, scored 56 points in total - Mansell was on level with that after six races (five wins and one second), and surpassed it after eight races (won in France, after having retired in Canada)
 
MORE THAN 7:

Damon Hill (13
Williams were already getting ready to dump Hill before he (Hill) even started his 1996 WDC season! They (Williams and Head and, perhaps, Renault) felt that Hill didn't do a good enough job in 1995 and, having already gotten rid of Coulthard (for Villeneuve), they decided they were going to bring in Frentzen for 1997. So, Hill drove his entire 1996 season never knowing that he was going to be let go regardless of whether or not he won the Championship.

Williams wanted a 'Schumacher Beater' and judged that Frentzen would be that 'Schumacher Beater' given how they'd gone in the junior ranks. They made a mistake (obviously). They quite obviously over-estimated Frentzen and under-valued Hill.
 
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