Who are some of the best Formula One drivers of all time? Working out a top ten can be achieved by looking both at the drivers with the most wins, and at figures from the sport that left an indelible impact upon it. To this end, it’s possible to look at current champions like Sebastian Vettel, classic racers such as Juan Manuel Fangio, and the short lived but brilliant career of a driver like Ayrton Senna. With these criteria in mind, who can be included as examples of the best Formula One drivers ever?
This French driver won four world championships in the 1980s and 1990s, and had a fierce rivalry with Ayrton Senna; Prost’s elegant driving style and competitive streak made him one of the most significant figures in sports during this period, with most of his success coming at Ferrari and McLaren.
Although his career experienced many ups and downs, Nigel Mansell briefly looked unbeatable when driving for Williams in the early 1990s. His rivalry with Senna and Prost was among the fiercest in F1 history, and he even managed to build a second career as an IndyCar driver.
Juan Manuel Fangio
The dominant figure in the early years of Formula One, Fangio won five world championships in seven years during the 1950s. His brave racing style during a period where safety wasn’t always a priority for Formula One makes him one of the most innovative drivers on this list.
With three championships already under his belt, Vettel sometimes appears to be unbeatable in contemporary Formula One. His other records include being the youngest triple champion, and his success has made him the face of the sport, with multiple branded Red Bull and Vettel items available through sites such as Grandprixmerchandise.
Winner of three world championships between 1981 and 1987, Nelson Piquet had a sometimes tempestuous relationship to Formula One, but was one of the leading drivers of the period, with winning performances at Brabham-BMW and Williams.
This Scottish driver achieved success in 1963 and 1965 on the track with Lotus and Cosworth engines, before tragically dying in a race accident during a Formula Two competition in 1968.
The dominant force in Formula One for over a decade, Schumacher won seven championships between 1994 and 2004, and rarely had any serious competition when at his peak, and is still the most successful driver in terms of championship wins in F1 history.
Although Moss was never able to win a Drivers Championship, he represented the gentlemanly side of motorsports in the 1950s and 1960s. His commitment to fair play and driving for smaller teams meant that he remains one of the best drivers in Formula One history not to take a championship.
As a driver for Ferrari and McLaren, Lauda deserves his place on this list for a comeback in the early 1980s that went against expectations to deliver him the last of his three drivers’ championships. Inconsistency and temporary retirement prevented Lauda from becoming a truly great driver, and he retired for good in 1985.
The death of Aryton Senna in San Marino in 1994 represented a tragic end to a stellar career for the 34 year old Brazillian, who won three world championships, and remains one of the fastest and most risk taking drivers in the history of the sport.
Author Bio: Sarah writes extensively on Formula One and motorsports. She regularly visits http://www.