Formula One's most overrated driver


World Champion
Not meaning to be bias

Sebastian Vettel - give him a clear track he will blitz everyone but stick him in the middle of the pack and ask him to race to the front - he's almost guarantee to come second best in wheel to wheel racing. Sunday was further evidence why Ferrari dropped him and why Mercedes should not be forking out $30million for him

Ralf Schumacher - To sum him up as DC said about Toyota " They signed Schumacher but the wrong one"!" He clearly cashed on his brother's fame.. 3 wins on superior tyres Williams decided he should get a bumper pay rise. Then the second time they said "No" and he went to the only team who were stupid enough to pay him $20m a year - Toyota because of his name and nationality

Michael Schumacher - His stats would probably not be as good if he had a teammate who was allowed to race him. 2005 was an utterly embarrassing for him marred by the disgraceful win at Indy

Jacques Villeneuve - Bernie got him in F1 because of his name . He thought he was a superstar and Button promptly ended his career when his bullying tactics did not work. No one has gone backwards like he did in F1

Kimi Raikkonen - his career seems to go downhill once his signed for Ferrari back in 2006 even though he was world champ in 2007 but he seems to be motivated by money or it seemed to have taken his hunger away

Nelson Piquet -- 3 world titles but relied heavily on superior equipment. His unpleasant reactions to both Senna and Mansell after they could get more out of the same machinery discredited him even further along with taking the money rather than choosing competitiveness in his latter career

Lance Stroll - So the guy gets into F1 by playing F1 on a Playstation. Might be remembered for bringing down Williams

The Artist.....

Champion Elect
I think that there have been periods in drivers‘ histories when they’ve been massively overrated.

Jacques Villeneuve is one that comes to mind; he was highly rated whilst at Williams, (albeit after having his ass handed to him by Hill in 1996 - the only reason he was in contention in the final race was because Hill kept throwing it away).

Once he was out of a Williams, many could see what he was - all mouth. The nail in his reputation was 2003 - although some still clearly rated him, as the return to Renault and Sauber proved...

The Pits

Harumph. Again.
Valued Member
Mike Hakkinen for me.

I actually really like the guy, but he benefitted from so much going in his favour from the end of 97 onwards.

The Newey car of 1998 was the class of the field, lapping every other car in Australia, with Schumacher (in for me at least, one of his best seasons, with little actual memory of it!!!) Struggling to keep pace.

99 the car advantage was less, but still there, and despite Schumacher breaking a leg, he still made it a far closer race than it should have been.

I would humbly suggest that many other drivers have achieved as much or more and still not been nearly as highly rated as him.


Super Hero And All Round Good Guy
Sebastian Vettel. He is very good at 1 thing, going fast on cold tyres with clear track ahead of him at the start of a race. His 4 world titles is massively out of proportion to his talent. He won 4 world titles because Mark Webber was a lacklustre midfield driver and his car was exceptional. Even in these dominant years he crashed several times into MW and others. He lacks race craft. As soon as Ricciardo showed him up to be the midfield driver that he is he ran away to Ferrari. OK he had an edge over Kimi (also overrated) but Leclerc very quickly made Ferrari realise he was now the no.2 driver. Ferrari then over the winter realised he isn't even a no.2 driver his on track behaviour just makes him a liability.

The Artist.....

Champion Elect
A driver who hasn't been mentioned, but usually is in these discussions is Lewis Hamilton - who I think is very difficult to quantify.

He is certainly one of the top drivers in F1 at the moment - I think that the only drivers who come close are Verstappen, possibly Leclerc. Why is he difficult to quantify? For many, the fact that he has raced in a dominant car since 2014 runs the risk of de-valuing the championships (in the same way as Schumacher's championships from 2000 - 2004 have, to a certain extent, been devalued). We can't blame Hamilton for that, but it makes it very difficult to say whether he is the greatest of all time, or, an exceptional driver who has benefited from being in the best car. (But the best F1 driver also ensures that they are in the right place at the right time!)

Johnny Carwash

World Champion
Juan Manuel Fangio

Fangio must be the only World Champion who had no worries about leaving a team mid season,to join another team if he thought he had a better chance of winning that year. Also he had race results shared with his teammates after his car suffered technical issues, and he used there car to finish the race.


Champion Elect
lewis hamilton can never be called overrated The Artist..... . all the records he has, the caliber of teammates he beaten, has won a race in every season he has competed in & has some fantastic drives through the field


Champion Elect
the main one i can think of is Vettel, he performance over his career, do make him look very out of place because he is not the equal of Prost, & he not better than Stewart, Lauda, Senna. that the world titles make him out to be. he drove very well at monza that was brilliant win, he was very good with blown diffuser 2011 & 2013 was very dominant but with disheartened teammate who knew is chance was gone. & for a 4 time world champion you'd expect him to be better than 1 trick pony who cant be good in any other type of car.

really been very fortunate otherwise he could & shouldve been a 2 time world champion, i some some disagree but at critical moments in his career he has made some shocking decisions, whether that was pressure only he knows. but i know 1 thing you put lewis hamilton in that ferrari last 3 years he wins it the last 3 years.
2010 - he won the title because webber crashed in korea & wasnt forgotten about as red bull & Ferrari were so focused on covering each other they forgot about vettel & with DRS Vettel comes 3rd in the championship.
2012 - alot like hakkinen v irvine in 1999, despite a hugely superior car over the season gets taken to title decider by alonso, his racecraft lets him down & even horner to this day says he doesnt know how the damage to the radiator didnt cause him to have to retire
2017 - went into the summer break with a 14pt lead. tie for victories with hamilton 4-4, then after the summer break outscored by 70pts only won 1 more race & crashed into max verstappen in singapore when he should gave him a wide berth
2018 - he crashes from the lead when he is cruising on a damp track in germany & was on for 21pt lead, then lockout monza front row but again far too impatient trying to get it done on lap 1 not wait for the other 52 laps. problems just snowballs from there
2019 - outclassed by a guy in only his 2nd season & rookie year at ferrari. his actions in singapore & sochi were embarrassing


Champion Elect
Is it too easy to say every British driver?

With the exception of JB, obviously, because he's a lovely boy 😁

heres a thing for you, i believe that since F1 has been broadcast on TV (so last 45yrs) Jenson button is greatest 1 time world champion. i think talent wise he is better than Hunt, Andretti, Scheckter, K & N Rosberg, Mansell, Hill, Villenueve & Raikkonen
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Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
I'm terribly sorry, but to suggest that Jenson Button is a better driver than Mario Andretti is simply ludicrous. Take a look at the roll call of things Mario has won. He is, without doubt, one of the greatest and most versatile drivers of his generation, and probably of all time.

The Artist.....

Champion Elect
Jenson Button is overrated. He had a purple patch and is a lovely guy but he's not one for the greats section.

The thing with Button is that for much of his career, he had people telling him that he was not as good as...

When he signed a contract for McLaren, he had rentagobs (People like Jackie Stewart) queuing up to tell him that he'd made a massive mistake, and that Hamilton would bury him.

Button showed that, more regularly than any other teammate that Hamilton had, he could go up against Hamilton, and beat him, even when they didn't have the best car.

Either Button was being underrated early in his career, or Hamilton was overrated at that stage of his career (or both(!)).


Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Valued Member
Well folks I have to say there are some eyebrow raising names on this list.

You have named every world champion from 1981 onwards with the exception of Lauda and the Rosbergs.

If we take Andyoaks post at face value regarding "all British drivers" then so far, at least one of you thinks the following world champions are over rated:

G Hill
D Hill
J Villeneuve
M Schumacher


Not a Moderator
Valued Member
Juan Manuel Fangio

Fangio must be the only World Champion who had no worries about leaving a team mid season,to join another team if he thought he had a better chance of winning that year. Also he had race results shared with his teammates after his car suffered technical issues, and he used there car to finish the race.

Fangio was contracted to Mercedes for 1954 but the car wasn't ready, so rather than score zero points he asked Maserati if he could drive for them for the first two races. Unless you're thinking of another example I don't think it was quite as you describe.

You certainly have a point on shared drives!

He's also the only man to win championships with 4 different constructors, and it's hard to see anyone taking that record soon, if ever.


Not a Moderator
Valued Member
James Hunt is, to me, the same as if Eddie Irvine had won the world championship in 1999 after Schumi had his leg break at Silverstone. A decent driver but not world champion material, who benefited from a superior driver's massive misfortune.


Lance Stroll Fan. Alfa Romeo Fan.
All the Fittipaldis except Emmo
All the Russians
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