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Author Topic: Top 5 F1 Drivers Of All Time?  (Read 2301 times)

guest3164

  • Guest
Re: Top 5 F1 Drivers Of All Time?
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2019, 08:50:17 PM »
No, I do not believe it.  I have Russell down for 10 wins and Kubica for another 20.

Offline Alonsofan

Re: Top 5 F1 Drivers Of All Time?
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2019, 09:11:38 PM »
Wow!! That's positive thinking....have you been on the Marmite again  ;)

Offline lkjohnson1950

Re: Top 5 F1 Drivers Of All Time?
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2019, 02:24:33 AM »
Comparing drivers from one era to another is difficult and probably meaningless. Would the skill necessary to balance a 600 HP Mercedes 300SLR on a 5 or 6 inch wide tire on the edge of traction accelerating out of a turn translate to the subtlety necessary to prevent scrubbing speed off a 200 HP Lotus 25 in the same corner? Is that translatable to the skills required to balance tire wear and fuel consumption against lap time like modern drivers do? You can't just use wins when today's drivers are likely to do twice as many races in their career as drivers from the 50's and 60's. Modern fans simply pick Schumacher; most wins and most championships, easy. I have to say he doesn't particularly impress me. He is probably the best test driver to ever race in F1. Ferrari had the most sophisticated test track in the world at Fiorano and Michael and his engineers were out there 6 or 7 days a week trying new set ups and parts. It certainly paid off. But his talent never seemed to me to be on a level with Senna, Fangio, or Clark. Prost did his work at the track, driving his mechanics crazy making minute changes to the car to get it perfect. Clark would get in the car, set pole time with no changes, and tell his guys to leave it alone. Fangio never had to worry about having a good car, Ferrari or Maserati sometimes entered 4 or 5 cars in a race. Whoever he wished to drive for would make a spot for him. Would Alonso have more wins if a team could simply enter an extra car for him? Finally, thanks to Jackie Stewart, today's drivers have significantly less fear of dying or suffering a career ending injury than drivers of the past. How many races and championships would drivers like Clark and Rindt have won had they not been killed doing what they loved? I will give you then my list of my favorites, all of whom were great in their way.

    5. Graham Hill. After WW2 he started as a mechanic at Lotus, driving any race in any car he could beg or borrow. He is a 2 time WDC. He is the only man to win the WDC, the Indy500 and LeMans in their career. He was also a genuinely funny man who represented F1 well.
    4. Jackie Stewart. The man who took death if not out of racing, then certainly banished it to the sidelines. How many more races and championships could he have won if he had not spent several years in uncompetitive BRMs and Marches?
    3. Fangio. 5 WDC in 7 years says it all. In addition the other 2 years he was 2ND.
    2. Senna. Pure talent driven by passion for the sport. He too spent a couple of seasons in 2ND tier cars at Toleman and Lotus.
    1. James Dell Clark. "Only" 2 WDC but if the Lotus cars he drove had been more reliable he could have won as many as 5. In '67 he won twice as many races as Hulme but suffered too many DNFs. In '64 an oil leak slowed him in the last race allowing Surtees by for the title. Most remarkably he had 25 wins but only 1 second and 5 thirds in his career. Generally, if he finished he won. He won the Indy500 and the British Touring Car Championship. More than that he was a modest man. His tombstone lists Farmer above World Champion. Once in Australia to run the Tasman Championship (which he won 3 times in 4 years) he was going to stay with an Aussie driver and friend, but when he arrived only his friend's mother was home. Assuming he was the yard man she showed him the lawn mower and left him to it. When the rest of the family returned home they found a shirtless Clark mowing the front yard.
Jackie Stewart said Clark was the best he's ever seen. When asked why he said "He was so smooth, he was so clean, he drove with such finesse. He never bullied a racing car, he sort of caressed it into doing the things he wanted it to do." After his death Chris Amon said "If it could happen to him, what chance do the rest of us have? I think we all felt that. It seemed like we'd lost our leader."
Lonny

Offline Calman

Re: Top 5 F1 Drivers Of All Time?
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2019, 06:40:33 AM »


Great explanation and detail .. I had to dig up the good post smiley!  :good:


Best Regards,
Cal :)
Anyone Have A Decent Pen?

Offline lkjohnson1950

Re: Top 5 F1 Drivers Of All Time?
« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2019, 07:29:42 AM »
Thanks
Lonny

guest3164

  • Guest
Re: Top 5 F1 Drivers Of All Time?
« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2019, 01:12:06 PM »
I think it would be interesting to try to get some sort of comparison between age groups.  I am sure those who saw drivers like Hill and Clark race live will have a much better depth of knowledge of them than someone like myself (a young 'un at 35) who grew up with the likes of Schumacher so hold them in perhaps higher regard (whilst acknowledging their shortcomings of course).  To me a lot of what Lonny says about Schumacher is very valid, but then how much of his hard work led to the pure speed of the Ferrari.  It is something of an unknown, I know.  He is not a mercurial driver like Clark, not charismatic like Hill, not as important as Stewart in looking after the greater good, but he was great in a different way.  Like Hamilton, I am no fan of his, but he is the driver of his generation and his stats speak for themselves. 

Anyway, random musings over.  I love seeing people's views, it makes for a great thread.

Offline Alonsofan

Re: Top 5 F1 Drivers Of All Time?
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2019, 02:06:18 PM »
I agree it is hard to bridge the generations but I am loving seeing the choices and reasons behind them! I am also interested that no-one  has picked a four time WDC in Vettel....out of interest would he have made anyone's top ten even??? I will admit he wouldn't make mine.

Offline Jericoke

Re: Top 5 F1 Drivers Of All Time?
« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2019, 03:14:12 PM »
I agree it is hard to bridge the generations but I am loving seeing the choices and reasons behind them! I am also interested that no-one  has picked a four time WDC in Vettel....out of interest would he have made anyone's top ten even??? I will admit he wouldn't make mine.

It's hard to dismiss 4 championships.  He's certainly skilled.  However, there are dozens of drivers from different eras who are just as good.  If he was in someone's top 10, I wouldn't disagree, if he wasn't, I wouldn't be surprised.

That's why on my list I focused on drivers who left the sport different than they found it.  That's the difference between 'very good' and 'great'.  What happens off the track is the easiest way to differentiate drivers from different eras and opportunities.

I think that Vettel still has room to enter 'greatness'.  2018 was a learning opportunity for him, we'll see if he's learned the lessons or not. 

Offline cosworth151

Re: Top 5 F1 Drivers Of All Time?
« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2019, 04:29:24 PM »
I pondered a while to chose between Schumacher and Vettel. The choice was made harder for me by the fact that I like Vettel & was never a fan of Schumacher. Like Jeri, I think that Vettel has the ability to outdo Schumacher.

A very good post by Lonny.  :good: Jim Clark was an amazingly talented driver. He was also a mentor to the young Jackie Stewart. Other drivers sometimes jokingly called them Batman & Robin.

Fangio also missed may years of racing due to World War II. He started driving F1 at an age when today's drivers have long since moved on.

I'm really surprised that nobody included Pastor Maldonado???  :D

I'm still a big fan of Super Aguri, but I didn't mention Yuji Ide  ;)
“You can search the world over for the finer things, but you won't find a match for the American road and the creatures that live on it.”
― Bob Dylan

Offline lkjohnson1950

Re: Top 5 F1 Drivers Of All Time?
« Reply #24 on: January 14, 2019, 06:00:58 PM »
I agree it is hard to bridge the generations but I am loving seeing the choices and reasons behind them! I am also interested that no-one  has picked a four time WDC in Vettel....out of interest would he have made anyone's top ten even??? I will admit he wouldn't make mine.

It's true about fans and eras. Though there was no WDC then, there were great drivers in the 30's yet no one here has mentioned Tazio Nuvolari, Bernd Rosemeyer. Hermann Lang, or Dick Seaman.
Lonny

Offline Alonsofan

Re: Top 5 F1 Drivers Of All Time?
« Reply #25 on: January 14, 2019, 06:18:56 PM »
In my opinion you can't put Vettel and Schumacher in the same category. I mean I hate them both but at least Schumacher had some talent hehe Vettel Has just been very lucky with a team mate always in his pocket.
As for 1930 I will have to take your word for it, I wasn't even a twinkle in my parents eyes....come to think of it they weren't even a twinkle in my grandparents eyes hehe

Offline Jericoke

Re: Top 5 F1 Drivers Of All Time?
« Reply #26 on: January 14, 2019, 08:11:49 PM »

I'm really surprised that nobody included Pastor Maldonado???  :D

I'm still a big fan of Super Aguri, but I didn't mention Yuji Ide  ;)

Of course, one of the other difficulties of comparing drivers of different eras is the approach to motor racing.  Ide and Maldonado were probably in competitive karting before they reached double digit age.  Fangio probably hopped in a car and drove around a farm as a teenager one day and decided it was fun.  Fangio had natural talent that his contemporaries couldn't match.  While we could argue that Hamilton and Vettel are above the rest of the field, it's a narrow gap, they're all professional racers who have already been racing competitively for 10 years before signing an F1 contract.  If you take someone with Maldonado's lifetime of learning to race and pit it against Fangio's raw talent, I'd pick Maldonado in equal cars.

On the other hand, if Fangio had been able to spend a lifetime honing his natural talent, working with an aerodynamicist like Newey, racing for a man like Chapman willing to push the boundaries of what a car should do, who knows what he could accomplish?

guest3164

  • Guest
Re: Top 5 F1 Drivers Of All Time?
« Reply #27 on: January 14, 2019, 08:51:11 PM »
I think you say a key thing though Jeri and that is natural talent.  Fangio handled cars that could and regularly did kill, cars that had none of the technology or driver assists that modern F1 cars have, nor a constant radio feed to his team telling him how to manage situations.

Maldonado in Fangio's era would have died very early on, there is no argument otherwise, even with his years of junior racing.  Maldonado is fast but error prone.  I think Verstappen would be the same.  In a modern F1 car?  Does Fangio get some time to test it?  I think natural ability would win out if he does. 

I do think that the standard of drivers now is probably generally higher than ever, drivers are more professional, more trained etc.  Even the pay drivers are a cut above what came before.  But I think that the real legends of days gone by were probably a notch or two above most of the modern 'stars'.  They not only had to drive fast, but safer in order to literally stay alive.  I also feel we live in an era where, arguably more than ever, the car defines the driver as opposed to the other way around. 

Offline Calman

Re: Top 5 F1 Drivers Of All Time?
« Reply #28 on: January 14, 2019, 08:58:44 PM »
Very good discussion above folks!!

I think at the end of the day (in my opinion) ... you can only 'test the greats' within the era that they raced, so any survey with headings along the lines of "... of All Time!" is not a clear cut comparison of finding "the best".  As many of you have touched on, the dramatic difference of driving skill, car handling and safety over the years, makes this a tough assessment of who indeed, is the best.

Back in the day, it was clearly tough, on the edge and dangerous, nowadays, the cars are dramatically safer, faster, easier to drive, while at the same time, the driver has a million things to do in the cockpit!!!

Just my thoughts.

Best Regards,
Cal :)
Anyone Have A Decent Pen?

Offline cosworth151

Re: Top 5 F1 Drivers Of All Time?
« Reply #29 on: January 14, 2019, 09:14:54 PM »
I agree that it's almost impossible to compare drivers from vastly different eras. It does make for a great discussion though!

I'm trying to imagine certain modern drivers doing 4 wheel drifts on turns. I mean intentionally doing them.

While there was Grand Prix racing in the Twenties and Thirties, Formula 1 didn't exist until 1950. I was tempted to mention Nuvolari myself.
“You can search the world over for the finer things, but you won't find a match for the American road and the creatures that live on it.”
― Bob Dylan

 


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