Who is the greatest driver ever?

Who is the greatest F1 driver?


  • Total voters
    17

Angel

Happy to help.
Contributor
Statistics can prove anything depending on how you present them, but I did find that really interesting all the same.
 
Who is the greatest driver ever? Gilles Villeneuve!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm surprised that you guys rated Stewart ahead of Clark, Senna; Fangio and Moss (all of which I'd personally rate far ahead of Stewart in terms of pure driving), with the other drivers, either because they're still alive (Prost) or because they are from the modern era any comparison is problably a bit more tricky.

Besides which Hill are you referring to? Phil? not such a great driver. Graham? not very good driver, great racer and great charachter. Damon? Great driver but not a great racer (still one my favourite drivers)
 
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Angel

Happy to help.
Contributor
In case you hadn't noticed Publius Cornelius Scipio this thread was started back in 2010, not that it makes a huge amount of difference I guess. The last few posts, starting with the post from Greenlantern101 are current.

You're right, in people's opinions sometimes the greatest driver isn't the one with the most points or most wins or anything, it's about how they make you feel when you watch them. :)
 

220

Learner
So what qualifies you as the greatest F1 driver, surely not killing yourself in a race car would be high on the list. That would eliminate a few possibilities and a lot of the current drivers if they were racing in the 50's, 60's or 70's or do more modern drivers take more risks because of the increased safety,
Is it just ability behind the wheel or does more come into it, ability to set up a car or bring together a team.

Like most I dont think it is possible to pick a GOAT just to many variables to compare them fairly. You can probably make a valid case for 20 or more drivers. One that never gets mentioned is Brabham, 3 titles, race wins in 3 decades, still features in many top 10 stat lists and that is before you look at what he did from a engineering perspective. Instrumental in the introduction of the biggest change in f1 cars with the change to rear engines. Won a title in a car of his own manufacturer and with a engine carrying his own name.
Was 29 before he even raced a GP and 33 by the time he raced his 10th GP yet went on to win 3 titles over the next 8 years and was still winning races until his retirement 4 years after that. Not something that you achieve by simply turning up as a driver he has to be up there with the very best.
 

Dartman

Points Scorer
You often hear on Sky that F1 has the best drivers in the world (Martin Brundle) they may be the quickest, but not the best or the fastest, (fastest belongs to Andy Green and must be undisputed) the rest may be disputed:D
Oh while we are at it 220 not all drivers killed themselves, many were killed by the car or other drivers inadvertently.
 
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F1Brits_90

Race Winner
as in all sport you can only judge who is best of that generation. because there was so many variables i can really only judge probably 90s onwards. & im sure their are many drivers that i dont know about that were fantastic but careers cut short, wasnt Stewart's teammate who cevert? supposed to be a future multiple champion

i think Alonso deserves to be on that list fantastic if flawed driver some of individual performances show he better than 2 world championships he got & i still state if you had said in Brazil 2006 that he would never win another championship you be called mad

Schumacher i know he 7 times champ but hes not the greatest. he cheated twice to win in 94 unconfirmed in 95 1-1 v hakkinen & 01 02 04 werent competitive as teammate couldn't challenge him because of contract & no one else could get close ie Mercedes 2014

Hamilton deserves to be on that list soon to be 6 times world champion, won races in 2 cars in 3 different specs & has produce so many special drives & qualifying laps. i know people say that perfection is impossible but that Singapore lap is rivaling senna monaco 88 as both are close as your every going to get

i can really only talk about generations for me what ive seen
last generation Hakkinen Schumacher Montoya Kimi
this generation Alonso Hamilton Vettel
next Generation (so far) Verstappen Leclerc Hamilton
 
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siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
Sorry, but IMO, none of the drivers of the last 25 years or so would have had the cojones to have driven in the 50s,60s, and 70s, where errors were all too likely to result in injuries or worse, rather than only result in a slightly longer lap time due to the huge runoff areas that now prevail. Thus comparisons to earlier epochs is farcical.

IMO, both Schumacher and Hamilton have been HUGELY flattered by having spent lengthy periods in totally dominant cars. At least MS brought the necessary engineering talent with him, while LH lucked into the most dominant car the sport has ever seen. As for the claim that MS was gifted wins because his teammates were forbidden by contract to compete with him, I fail to see how that is different than what I perceive to be the case for LH: he lost a two-car championship to an upper-mid-tier talented teammate, who retired. So Mercedes management decided that, to prevent such an embarrassment again, they would go lower in the talent pool, and come up with a mid-mid-tier talented teammate where orders would not be necessary.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
A little unfair siffert_fan. Those who make it to the top in different eras are who they are, to suggest that Vettel or Hamilton or whoever wouldn't be brave enough to drive the death traps of the 50's and 60's underestimates them as drivers and as human beings. They can only drive the machines they are presented with and the idea of going back to a place where somewhere between 2 and 5 F1 drivers a year should die for our entertainment just to see who is the bravest is unconscionable.
 

Dartman

Points Scorer
I think that those are considered top drivers now were in the 50's to 70's era would have retired or died in their early years, when young most are brave or ignorant enough. Most of them have had accidents that would have killed them in those eras in those cars.
 

220

Learner
Agreed but do modern drivers take more risks because they know the consequences are not what they once were.
Would drivers from the 50/60/70's take far greater risks in a modern car knowing they are safer. just another reason it is impossible to compare eras.
Another thing is something that I heard Brabham say a few times, I cat remember the exact words but it was along the lines of great drivers win by the smallest margins, taking less risks and placing machinery under the least stress needed to get the result. Probably more applicable in his era of fragile cars and high probability of serious injury and death as a result of a mistake but even today we see teams doing exactly the same with drivers driving to a lap time..
 

Dartman

Points Scorer
Most of the drivers always said you have to put the deaths behind you, if you think about it you won't race Jackie Stuart couldn't and when he couldn't control the field he retired, todays drivers have the advantage of not having to think about it consequently they push their luck more hoping the other driver will give way( chicken out?)
 

Bill Boddy

Professional layabout
Premium Contributor
I think that Jim Clark was the best I have seen but I would hesitate to call any driver as the GOAT. However, if it were to be the best taking into account all types of car racing Clark would be very hard to beat.
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
Not only the types of cars that Clark excelled at, but also the depth of talent in the fields he competed against. There were virtually NO pay drivers, unlike today. The various seasons were short enough that drivers competed in several categories each year. Thus you had drivers in F1 who were also competing in WRC (eg "Quick Vic" Elford), WEC (eg Jo Siffert (the absolute master of the Porsche 917)), Indy car (eg Mario Andretti), Can Am (eg Jim Hall) etc.

Plus, F1 cars of that era were so equal that privateers such as Rob Walker, Frank Williams, Lord Hesketh ( I suppose that you could even include Bruce McLaren and Jack Brabham among them) were able to be competitive.

For all of those reasons, I too rate Clark as the best I have ever seen. I must admit, however, that I was too young to have seen Moss or Fangio compete, so I cannot include them in my personal evaluations.
 
Not only the types of cars that Clark excelled at, but also the depth of talent in the fields he competed against. There were virtually NO pay drivers, unlike today.
there were plenty of pay drivers, there were a lot of drivers who actually set up their own team, funding it with their own money, in order to race. I don't want to write a long list of names but only point out that during Clark's F1 career one of the entranets was none other than the "king of pay drivers" (in a respectful way, he was a very passionate man who paid with his life for his passion for racing) Silvio Moser. Some of those pay drivers even won races. Same in the 70s. Same in the 50s. If we go back in time most drivers would today qualify as pay drivers.
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
there were plenty of pay drivers, there were a lot of drivers who actually set up their own team, funding it with their own money, in order to race. I don't want to write a long list of names but only point out that during Clark's F1 career one of the entranets was none other than the "king of pay drivers" (in a respectful way, he was a very passionate man who paid with his life for his passion for racing) Silvio Moser. Some of those pay drivers even won races. Same in the 70s. Same in the 50s. If we go back in time most drivers would today qualify as pay drivers.
And even the least of drivers from those eras weren't totally dependent upon driver aids as are the modern ones. All they had as driver aids were brains, guts and a talented right foot.
 
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