14 best Formula 1 drivers of All Time (Ultimate Toplist)

Best F1 drivers of all time

Formula 1 is arguably one of the most popular motorsports in the world. The high-octane sport draws in huge crowds from all corners of the globe, all eager to see the best drivers in the world go head-to-head.

But who are the best drivers in Formula 1 history? This is a hotly contested topic, but we’ve compiled a list of the 14 best F1 drivers of all time.

From multiple world champions to record-breakers, these drivers have cemented their place in Formula 1 history. 

Here are the 14 best F1 drivers of all time.

These drivers have shown their skill and dedication to the sport and have left a lasting legacy.

14. Max Verstappen

Number 14 on our list is Max Verstappen. The Dutchman is currently driving for Red Bull Racing and is widely considered one of the most talented drivers on the grid. He is widely regarded as one of the best drivers in the sport and has already achieved a great deal in his young career.

Verstappen is known for his aggressive driving style, which has earned him praise and criticism from the Formula One community. Nevertheless, there’s no doubting his talent behind the wheel, and he is unquestionably one of the best drivers on the grid today.

Achievements and success on the track

Verstappen has been highly successful since his debut in Formula 1. Here are some notable achievements:

  • As of the Hungarian Grand Prix 2022, Verstappen has achieved 28 victories and 16 pole positions.
  • In 2016, he became the youngest driver in history to win a Formula One Grand Prix at 18.
  • The FIA has presented him with several awards, such as FIA rookie of the year, FIA personality of the year, and FIA action of the year, to name a few.
  • Verstappen holds the record for most podium finishes(18) in a season(2021).

 

13. Nelson Piquet

Number 13 on our list is Nelson Piquet. The Brazilian driver was one of the most successful and controversial drivers of his generation, winning three Formula One World Championships during his career with two different teams between 1978 and 1991.

Nelson Piquet’s parents were not supportive of his racing career, so he adopted his mother’s surname to hide his racing career from his family. Piquet began his racing career in karting before moving up to single-seater cars in 1976. He quickly made a name for himself, and by 1978 he was already racing in Formula One.

Achievements and success on the track

Nelson Piquet was a very successful Formula One driver, winning three World Championships during his career. Here are some of his other notable achievements:

  • During the 1980s, Nelson Piquet won three World Championships, including the 1981 title by one point against Carlos Reutemann.
  • He won 23 Formula One Grands Prix in total, which puts him 13th on the all-time list of winners along with Nico Rosberg.
  • He was the first Brazilian driver to win a Formula One World Championship, doing so in 1981.

 

12. Nigel Mansell

Number 13 on our list is Nigel Mansell. Nigel Mansell’s racing career can be summed up in one word: determination. He was raised in Birmingham, UK, as the son of an engineer.

The British driver was active in Formula One for over a decade and is widely regarded as one of the best drivers of his generation. He faced reliability issues throughout his career, and in 1988 he finished second twice, had chicken pox twice, and retired 12 times.

Mansell made his Formula One debut with the Lotus team in 1980, and he quickly established himself as a talented driver. He moved to the Williams team in 1985 and won his first Formula One World Championship the following year.

Achievements and success on the track

Mansell is one of the most successful British drivers in Formula One history. Here are some of his notable achievements:

  • Mansell was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year twice, in 1986 and 1992. Only four other people have won this title twice.
  • Mansell was victorious in 31 Grand Prix races across 19 different courses.
  • In 2005, Mansell was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
  • Mansell won the Hawthorn Memorial Trophy seven times as the best British or Commonwealth driver in Formula One.

 

11. Mika Hakkinen

Number 11 on our list is Mika Hakkinen. The Finnish driver is a two-time Formula One World Champion and is widely considered to be one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport. 

Mika Hakkinen was born within the racing industry. At the early age of five, he began driving go-karts and has since won several regional and national championships. In 1991, he made his Formula One debut for the Lotus team before moving to McLaren in 1993.

Achievements and success on the track

Mika Hakkinen is one of the most successful drivers in Formula One history. Here are some notable achievements:

  • Hakkinen received the 1998 Autosport International Racing Driver Award.
  • Mika Hakkinen scored points in his third F1 race with Lotus. He finished 19th in the season-ending Australian Grand Prix, the shortest ever.
  • Hakkinen has 25 fastest laps and 30 podiums to his name. In addition, he has been the recipient of 5 hat-tricks and ten wins from the pole position.
  • In 1992, Mika Hakkinen finished the Brazilian Grand Prix in ninth position in the Lotus.

 

10. Jim Clark

The next driver on our list is Jim Clark. The Scottish driver was one of the most successful and popular drivers of his generation, winning two Formula One World Championships during his career. Clark won both world titles with Lotus during his eight seasons with the company in 1963 and 1965.

He started racing in 1960 after gaining experience in local rallies and hill climbs around Scotland. Later, in the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, he made his F1 debut for Lotus midway through the 1960 season.

Achievements and success on the track

Clark is widely considered to be one of the most significant Formula One drivers of all time, and he is still revered by many fans today. Here are some of his notable achievements: 

  • He won two Formula One World Championships, in 1963 and 1965
  • He won the Indy 500, finished third at Le Mans, and even competed in NASCAR in the United States.
  • Clark’s remarkable career included 33 pole positions and 25 race victories from 72 appearances.

His career was tragically cut short in 1968 when he crashed during a Formula 2 race in Germany.

 

9. Jackie Stewart

Sir Jackie Stewart, another Scottish great to compete in Formula 1, remains a pivotal player on the grid. Often dressed in eye-catching Stewart tartan.

Stewart, a natural racer, spent his adolescence watching his father race motorcycles and his elder brother participate in the 1953 British Grand Prix. Jackie debuted in Formula One in 1965, and his performances were exceptional. As a rookie, he achieved five podium finishes, including his first victory in Italy, and finished third in the championship.

Achievements and success on the track

Jackie Stewart’s accomplishments make him one of the most famous Formula 1 stars. Here are some of the notable achievements of Jackie Stewart:

  • Stewart was the only car racer to win Sports Illustrated magazine’s “Sportsman of the Year” award in 1973.
  • During his Formula One career, Sir Jackie Stewart won 27 races, finished 43 times on the podium, and won three world titles.
  • In 1968, he became an official Rolex Testimonee.

 

8. Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso: What can be said about him? One of the sport’s senior statesmen, Alonso has been a brilliant and charismatic driver from the very beginning.

He made his debut in Formula 1 with Minardi in 2001, and four years later, he won the first world championship of his career. He followed that up with back-to-back titles before switching from Renault to McLaren in an unfortunate move.

He retired from the sport in 2018 and went on to win Le Mans twice. Then, in 2021, Alonso made a surprise comeback to the sport with the team where he had the most success: Alpine, previously Renault.

Achievements and success on the track

Fernando Alonso is one of the best racing drivers. Here are some notable achievements:

  • Fernando Alonso’s record of success in 18 seasons and almost 300 Grands Prix was 32 victories, 22 poles, and 97 podiums.
  • Fernando Alonso is well known for setting the quickest lap time in 2017. For this, he was named the 2017 Fastest Rookie.
  • He was also named the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year.

 

7. Niki Lauda

There are several reasons why three-time Formula One world champion Niki Lauda is regarded as one of the sport’s best drivers.

Niki Lauda, an Austrian Formula One superstar, was a three-time world champion with a phenomenal career that featured 25 wins from 171 world championship F1 starts. Throughout his incredible career, he was referred to as a hero and a villain. The battle-scarred champion who overcame both odds and tradition is remembered as a sports icon.

Achievements and success on the track

Nikki Lauda is one of the best racing drivers of all time. Here are some of his notable achievements:

  • He won three Formula One world championships in 1975, 1977, and 1984.
  • He had 25 race wins, and 24 podium finishes from 171 world championship F1 starts.
  • He is one of only seven drivers to have won at least 25 races, three world championships, and two Monaco Grands Prix, yet he had the third-fewest starts of any of them.
  • Nikki received the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year award in 1977.

 

6. Juan Manuel Fangio

Fangio, also known as El Chueca, was an Argentine F1 race car driver who was widely recognized as the first and most respectable champion in history. He won the Grand Prix International Championship in his maiden match in 1938.

He was World Champion five times (with four different teams) and runner-up twice in seven complete Formula One seasons. His stellar record features built on some of the most incredible feats of ability and courage ever witnessed. Fangio accomplished it all with flair, grace, dignity, and an unrivaled sense of honor. He died on July 17, 1995, at the age of 84.

Achievements and success on the track

Juan’s career was full of achievements. Here are some of notable achievements of a legendary person:

  • He has the best winning percentage in Formula One, with 46.15 percent, having won 24 of 52 Formula One races. 
  • Fangio is the only Argentine driver to have won the Argentine Grand Prix four times, more than any other driver in his career.
  • He won the World Drivers Championship five times, a record that remained for 46 years until it was broken by Michael Schumacher.

 

5. Alain Prost

Alain Marie Pascal Prost is a former Formula One racer and team owner from France. From 1987 until 2001, he held the record for the most Grand Prix wins until Michael Schumacher overtook Prost’s tally of 51 victories during the 2001 Belgian Grand Prix.

He won the Formula One Drivers’ Championship four times between 1985, 1986, 1989, and 1993. His last title was the 1993 German Grand Prix. In the same year, he declared retirement following his 2nd place finish in the Australian Grand Prix.

Achievements and success on the track

In addition to winning F1 title 4 times, here are some of the notable achievements of Alain Prost:

  • During his illustrious career from 1980 to 1993, he earned 768.5 career points, 4 world championship titles, 106 podium finishes, and 33 pole positions.
  • Prost is ranked 7th among the best 10 Formula 1 drivers of all time.
  • World Sports Awards of the Century named Alain as the finest driver of the twentieth century in 1999.

 

4. Sebastian Vettel

Despite his recent struggles in Formula 1, Sebastian Vettel used to be unstoppable.

It was in 2007 that Sebastian Vettel made his Formula One debut, and in the three years that followed, he won nine races and finished second in five others. In the next four years, he rose to prominence as Formula One’s face, winning four straight titles and becoming the sport’s youngest ever world champion.

Achievements and success on the track

Here are some of notable achievements of Sebastian Vetter:

  • He won his first F1 World Championship at the tender age of 23. He has won 4 titles in total.
  • Vettel holds the record for most victories in a season with 13 wins, tied with Michael Schumacher.
  • With 17 podiums in a single season, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, and Michael Schumacher have the most podiums in a single season.
  • Vettel ranks second in terms of career points i.e 2,901.
  • The Formula One driver is also third in terms of Grand Prix victories.

 

3. Ayrton Senna

Known for his raw talent and charisma, Ayrton Senna is one of motorsport’s legends.

The Brazilian Formula One champion was faster than anyone of his time. Ayrton Senna made his professional debut at the Brazilian Grand Prix in 1984, qualifying 17th on the first lap of the race. In 1985, he finished second in the Portuguese Grand Prix, gaining an important first point in the World Championship.

Due to his commitment to a lap and his desire to push the limits for more, Senna holds a special place in the hearts of many racing fans. It’s hard to imagine what he might have been if he hadn’t died in the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994. Senna has an unusual blend of natural speed and restless ambition.

Senna won the World Championship for the third time in FIA F1 racing in 1991, making him the youngest three-time world champion. Senna won the last race of his racing career, the Australian Grand Prix, in 1993.

Achievements and success on the track

Here are some of the notable achievements of a legendary driver who will be forever remembered by his fans:

  • Senna is one of three Brazilian Formula One drivers to have won the World Championship, having won 41 Grands Prix and 65 pole positions.
  • He won three World Championship titles in 1988, 1990, and 1991.
  • Senna became the youngest ever triple world champion in 1991, at the age of 31, after dominating the season with seven victories.

2. Michael Schumacher

There is no doubt that Michael Schumacher is the best F1 driver of all time. Up until Hamilton rose to prominence, Schumacher was the face of Formula 1 dominance. And for obvious reasons, he has won seven titles out of which five were consecutive, A lot of victories, and relentless competitiveness – Michael Schumacher changed the face of Formula One.

Eddie Jordan offered him a chance to compete when Bertrand Gachot was jailed for attacking a taxi driver in the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix. He completed the balance of the season with Benetton, with whom he had gained traction in the early 1990s.

Although he retired in 2006, his return to the grid with Mercedes in 2010 stunned the racing community. The last time he finished on the podium was in the European Grand Prix in 2012. Even though he was rarely in the lead, he enjoyed racing just as much as before.

Achievements and success on the track

Michael Schumacher has many records to his name. Here are some of his notable achievements:

  • He was named Laureus World Sportsman of the Year twice, in 2002 and 2004, for his exploits in the 2001 and 2003 seasons.
  • Schumacher has a tie for the most World Drivers’ Championship championships with seven (tied with Lewis Hamilton)
  • When he retired from racing in 2012, he held the records for most victories (91), pole positions (68), and podium finishes (155)—all of which have since been broken by Hamilton.
  • Throughout his career, Schumacher has had 22 hat tricks. This is presently the most hat-tricks in the sport’s history.

1. Lewis Hamilton

It was believed that some records would never be broken. But then Lewis Hamilton showed up.

Number one on our list is none other than Lewis Hamilton and for obvious reasons. Lewis Hamilton holds the record for most career victories and most overall career points in Formula One. The British racer has won in 30 nations, has won a race in every season he has raced in and is presently tied for the world title with Michael Schumacher.

In his debut season with McLaren, he lost by a single point to Kimi Raikkonen. Thirteen years later, he has won seven championships and is fighting for an eight.

Achievements and success on the track

This British racer hold many Formula 1 records, here are some of his notable accomplishments:

  • As of now, Hamilton holds the Formula 1 record for winning the most races with 103
  • Lewis Hamilton retains the record for the most podium finishes. With 183 podium finishes, Lewis is among the sport’s most illustrious names
  • Lewis Hamilton also holds the record for the most cumulative points earned in Formula 1. Lewis Hamilton now holds the lead with almost 4,200 points.

Hamilton holds the record for the most number of entries from a single manufacturer. This is because he has started for Mercedes 292 times in his career.

Which F1 driver has the most victories?

Drivers

Victories

1. Lewis Hamilton

103

2. Michael Schumacher

91

3. Sebastian Vettel

53

4. Alain Prost

51

5. Ayrton Senna

41

6. Fernando Alonso

32

7. Nigel Mansell

31

8. Jackie Stewart

27

9. Max Verstappen

27

10. Jim Clark

25

11. Niki Lauda

25

12. Juan Manuel Fangio

24

13. Nelson Piquet

23

14. Nico Rosberg

23

15. Damon Hill

22

16. Kimi Räikkönen

21

17. Mika Häkkinen

20

18. Stirling Moss

16

19. Jenson Button

15

20. Graham Hill

15

FAQ about the best Formula 1 drivers

Below, we have collected frequently asked questions about the best Formula 1 drivers.

Who is the best F1 driver today?

The best F1 driver today is Lewis Hamilton. He has won the most races and championships of any driver in the history of Formula 1. He has many records to his name and is considered to be one of the greatest drivers of all time.

Who is the coolest driver in Formula 1?

The coolest driver in Formula 1 is probably Max Verstappen. He is known for his aggressive driving style and is a fan favorite. He is also the youngest driver to ever win a Formula 1 race.

Conclusion

There you have it! The 14 best Formula 1 drivers of all time. These drivers have shown their skill and dedication to the sport and have left a lasting legacy. They are considered to be the best of the best and have set records that may never be broken.

14 best F1 drivers of all time

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Michael Schumacher
  3. Ayrton Senna
  4. Sebastian Vettel
  5. Alain Prost
  6. Juan Manuel Fangio
  7. Niki Lauda
  8. Fernando Alonso
  9. Jackie Stewart
  10. Jim Clark
  11. Mika Hakkinen
  12. Nigel Mansell
  13. Nelson Piquet
  14. Max Verstappen

Article sources

We require our writers to credit their sources when publishing articles on Formulapedia.com.

Total
0
Shares
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Prev
This is Aerodynamics in an F1 car (Easy Explained)
Aerodynamics F1 car

This is Aerodynamics in an F1 car (Easy Explained)

In the last decades aerodynamics has played a significant role in the major

Next
This is Apex in Formula 1 (Easy explained)
Apex F1 racing line

This is Apex in Formula 1 (Easy explained)

When it comes to motorsports, the apex of a corner is a term that is frequently

You May Also Like