Motor racing is the ultimate sport for those who love the thrill of driving at tremendously high speeds and experiencing the adrenaline rush from doing so. Formula One fans will all have their favourite driver, but it’s difficult to decide who is the best F1 driver ever, as there have been so many great sportsmen over the decades.
Take a look at Capital Karts’ choice of the top 10 F1 drivers ever and see if you agree:
1. Michael Schumacher
Making his debut in the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher went on to win seven F1 World Championship titles, in 1994, 1995 and consecutive titles from 2000-2004. He won by a massive margin in 2004, winning 13 of the 18 races. He is the only driver to have won five consecutive F1 championships in history. He won a total of 91 races during his career until he retired in 2012.
2. Ayrton Senna
The fastest of all F1 drivers in the ’90s, Ayrton Senna made his debut at the 1994 Brazilian Grand Prix. He first won the title of F1 World Champion in 1988. He won the title again in 1990 and 1991. He won his final race at the 1993 Australian Grand Prix. Tragically, he died following a horrific accident during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.
3. Manuel Fangio
Argentinian F1 driver Juan Manuel Fangio first won the drivers’ championship in 1951 and then won four consecutive titles from 1954 to 1957. During his career, he achieved 29 pole positions, 23 fastest laps and 35 podiums. He still holds the highest percentage of wins in F1 history. He died in 1995, aged 84.
4. Jackie Stewart
Hailing from Scotland, Jackie Stewart started his F1 career in the 1965 South African Grand Prix. Nicknamed the “Flying Scot” by the media, he competed in F1 until 1973, winning three world championships and twice achieving runner-up over the nine seasons. He held the record for 19 years for most wins by a British F1 driver.
5. Alain Prost
French driver Alain Prost had the record for most Grand Prix victories from 1987-2001, participating in 202 races throughout his career. He won the F1 Championship four times, in 1985, 1986, 1989 and 1993. He retired after his last win. During his career, he achieved 768 F1 points, won four world championship titles and had 106 podium finishes.
6. Niki Lauda
Austrian F1 driver Niki Lauda was Formula One World Champion in 1975, 1977 and 1984. In August 1976, he suffered serious injuries in a terrible crash at the German Grand Prix. He returned to driving just six weeks later, reclaiming the championship in 1977. After claiming his final race win in 1985, he retired from F1 at the end of the season.
7. Mika Häkkinen
Finnish driver Mika Pauli Häkkinen participated in 165 F1 races from 1991 to 2001. He made an amazing comeback after a life-threatening injury in 1995, winning the F1 Championship title in 1998 and 1999. During his career, he achieved 420 career points, 51 podium finishes, 20 wins and 26 pole positions. His last victory was in the 2001 USA Grand Prix.
8. Sebastian Vettel
German F1 driver Sebastian Vettel made his debut in the 2007 USA Grand Prix. He won the F1 World Championship title in four consecutive years from 2010 to 2013. In his career to date, he has achieved 39 Grand Prix wins, 45 pole positions and a hefty 1,549 career points.
9. Lewis Hamilton
British driver Lewis Hamilton, from 150 Grand Prix starts, has achieved an astounding record of 34 wins, 72 podium positions and 40 pole positions. Only 33 drivers in F1 history have made 150 starts and only three have beaten Hamilton’s tally at the same stage of their career: Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost. Hamilton was the F1 World Champion in 2008, 2014 and 2015.
10. Fernando Alonso
Spanish F1 driver Fernando Alonso drove his first race in the 2001 Australian Grand Prix. He won the F1 World Championship at the age of 24 years and 58 days on 25th September 2005, making him the youngest F1 champion in history at the time. He won the title again in 2006. He is regarded by many racing experts as the greatest all-round driver in Formula One.