Who is the greatest driver ever?

Who is the greatest F1 driver?


  • Total voters
    17

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Jackie Stewart once stated that a truly great F1 driver should win at least 1 in 4 of the races they started. Unsurprisingly very few drivers have managed this feat in fact (excluding the Indy 500 winners from the 50's) there have only been 8 but, given who is on the list, it does reinforce Stewart's argument.

I've compiled a list of the top 10 drivers with the highest start to win ratio and it's down to you to vote as to who you think is the greatest of them all. It would also be interesting to know the reasons for your choice.

The ratios they have achieved are:

1. Fangio 47.1%
2. Ascari 40.6%
3. Schumacher 35.5%
4. Clark 34.7%
5. Stewart 27.3%
6. Prost 25.6%
7. Senna 25.5%
8. Moss 24.2
9. Hamiton 23.3%
10. Hill 19.1%

In case you are interested 11-20 are:

11. Nigel Mansell
12. Tony Brooks
13. Nino Farina
14. Fernando Alonso
15. Niki Lauda
16. Luigi Fagioli
17. Mika Hakkinen
18. Sebastien Vettel
19. Kimi Raikkonen
20. Nelson Piquet
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff member
FB said:
Jackie Stewart once stated that a truly great F1 driver should win at least 1 in 4 of the races they started.
Isn't that criteria unfair on any driver who doesn't have a car capable of winning races in any season?
So for example Alonso in his first year and in 2009, Hamilton in the first half of 2009, Schumacher this year, etc?

I think to make it fair that those starts should be removed and then we would see a fairer reflection of who should be in the list.

We have done this a few times before though.
Gribbli did a more comprehensive table based on various stat's in this thread: http://cliptheapex.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1074&start=30#p10441

But only for the last decade 2000-2009.

Again though you would need to factor out/in cars capable of winning/getting pole.
 

snowy

Champion Elect
All races in all classes and only those whose careers are over... :whistle:

Which Hill is that by the way? :thinking:
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Damon Hill...

Miserable buggers, it took me 10 minutes to cut and paste all the figures out of Wiki into an Excel sheet LOL

One of the problems with a winning car is that it is subjective. Ayrton Senna made a car win when at Lotus that certainly wasn't the fastest on the grid. Schumacher in 2004 had a car that was so much better than the rest of the grid do we discount those wins? I was intrigued to see Damon ping up in 10th even given his relatively barren years at Arrows and Jordan he still managed a pretty good start to win ratio.

Anyway, up to you if you want to let the thread run Bro. I suppose the test will be if people vote.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff member
FB said:
Miserable buggers, it took me 10 minutes to cut and paste all the figures out of Wiki into an Excel sheet LOL
LOL

One of the problems with a winning car is that it is subjective. Ayrton Senna made a car win when at Lotus that certainly wasn't the fastest on the grid. Schumacher in 2004 had a car that was so much better than the rest of the grid do we discount those wins?
Agreed, it's extremely difficult to come up with a "formula" which is fair for all drivers across all eras.

Anyway, up to you if you want to let the thread run Bro. I suppose the test will be if people vote.
Well I'm certainly not going to delete it chap, everyone is free to post about what they want.
Well, within reason of course ;)
 

snowy

Champion Elect
I know a lot of drivers come off really bad when compared statistically but I can't help remarking on the fact that Graham Hill has a frighteningly poor ratio of wins to race starts. Yet fundamentally he was as heroic and competitive as any of his contemporaries, possibly not as naturally gifted (though his son and grandson's talents belie that myth), he gets short shrift whenever these sorts of polls or discussions arise.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff member
I must admit I thought it was Graham Hill and not Damon in FB's list but if I'd taken a second to work it out then as you state Snowy, it couldn't be Graham due to his low win/start ratio.
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
As is frequently pointed out, it is impossible to accurately compare drivers of different eras-there are too many variables.The number of races in a season today versus in the 50s through 70s can hugely skew the numbers. Clark won 7 out of 10 races one season. Today that number could have been 14 to 17 out of 20! The depth of talent in the fields of the day can have a large impact on the stats as well.

In polls such as this, I always limit myself to the drivers that I have actually seen plying their trade. I am not old enough to have seen Fangio, Brooks, Moss etc, but did get to see everyone from Clark onwards (lucky me!). And of those that I have seen, Clark is the best by far.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
I am never going to vote on a poll like this. There are too many variables and no reasonable way of comparing, especially since I didn't even see Damon Hill's most productive era of F1!

So, I'm sorry.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff member
I'm sure you've all seen this before but this is the list of greatest drivers as voted for by F1 drivers themselves.

http://f1greatestdrivers.autosport.com/?driver=1

They have the top 10 as:

  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
 

Muddytalker

Points Scorer
FB said:
I wonder how many times Schumie voted for himself LOL
It raises a valid point. 4 of those in the list (and many of their contempories) can't vote, and who's to say they wouldnt have voted for Ascari, G Hill, Mario, Mansell, or any others not in that top 10.
 

Enja

isn't dead.
Valued Member
It's impossible to come up with a "definitive" best.

But, on a personal level, it has to be Senna. He exemplifies everything I value in racing.

I dearly love Lewis Hamilton but it would be too early to say he is the greatest ever, although I think he has the ability to get close.
 

RickD

Pole Sitter
Lists like this are nearly pointless in modern F1, what about the seasons spent in a dog of a car that had no chance in hell of getting to the end, let alone winning?

An example that immediately springs to mind is Button, he spent years in a car that had no chance of winning (except the 2004 BAR, but due to the Ferraris that year, there was still hardly any chance). Yet since last year, when he finally got a decent car, he has won 8 out of 25 races, which is more than 1 in 4. I am sure there are many other drivers in the same situation.

So, can you add a none of the above.. LOL
 

LifeW12

Podium Finisher
Drivers of different eras can't be compared because they drove completely different cars on far different circuits and the races were much longer up until the late 50's. Fangio's drive at the Nurburgring, Senna at Donington, Ascari's 9 in a row, Jim Clark dominating 1963, Stewart winning by 4 minutes are not comparable.

Would Fangio have won in the dominant Ferrari, Senna in Clark's Lotus or Schumacher in Ascari's Ferrari? Not likely as each era placed different demands on drivers.
 

dave

Rookie
I do agree with whats been said in that it's almost if not impsible to properly compare drivers of different eras because of all of the variables that are different for each driver.

The best best way to do it is probably to just group the best drivers from each era, but even then whats the criteria to be the 'best' driver of an era
 

Dartman

Podium Finisher
That is based on seasons, earlier seasons had less races, Fangio had a long career but Hamilton must be getting near to Fangio's career length, Max should exceed it, it took Hamilton 12 years to beat Clarks British GP record he set in 7 years, statistics are to prove what you want to prove, arguments over statistics are based on boredom.
 
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