Ayrton Senna vs Jack Brabham

Champion of Champions

Posted on

| Written by

Ayrton Senna and Jack Brabham each won three world championships – but these two drivers had very different careers.

One interesting similarity is they both won the championship and then lost it to their team mate the following year. Although it happened in rather different circumstances.

Brabham’s third championship in 1966 was remarkable because he won it at the wheel of a car he’d built himself. But the following year team mate Denny Hulme took the title off him, then left the team.

The tension between Senna and Alain Prost (a fellow Champion of Champions quarter-finalist) at McLaren was on a whole other level.

Senna won the championship in 1988 but the following year Prost beat Senna to the title. The championship was decided after Prost controversially collided with his team mate at Suzuka.

It’s hard to put Brabham’s achievement of winning the title with his own entry into perspective today, when even the smallest teams have hundreds of staff. Senna’s technical abilities have sometimes been underestimated but even so its difficult to compare any driver with Brabham on this benchmark.

Senna’s career came to an end far sooner than it should have. Although Brabham started fewer races his career stretched across 16 seasons; Senna was killed in his 11th.

The superstar status Senna had in the later years of his career was not something ‘black Jack’ would have envied – he was well-known for spurning the increased attention that inevitably accompanied his success.

The engineering wizard and the master of the pole position. These are two very different thrice-champions.

Which of these drivers should go through to the next round of the Champion of Champions? Vote for which you think was best below and explain who you voted for and why in the comments.

Ayrton SennaJack Brabham
Titles1988, 1990, 19911959, 1960, 1966
Second in title year/sAlain Prost, Alain Prost, Nigel MansellTony Brooks, Bruce McLaren, John Surtees
TeamsToleman, Lotus, McLaren, WilliamsCooper, Brabham
Notable team matesAlain Prost, Gerhard Berger, Mika HakkinenBruce McLaren, Dan Gurney, Denny Hulme
Wins41 (25.47%)14 (11.38%)
Poles65 (40.37%)13 (10.57%)
Modern points per start111.687.63
% car failures220.5034.96
Modern points per finish314.7011.74
NotesWon three titles in four years with McLarenBack-to-back titles for Cooper in 1959 and 1960
Controversial clash with Prost sealed second titleThen became only driver to win a championship in his own car
Killed in third race for Williams in 1994Runner-up in 1967 to team mate Denny Hulme
BioAyrton SennaJack Brabham

1 How many points they scored in their career, adjusted to the 2010 points system, divided by the number of races they started
2 The percentage of races in which they were not classified due to a mechanical failure
3 How many points they scored in their career, adjusted to the 2010 points system, divided by the number of starts in which they did not suffer a race-ending mechanical failure

Round two

Round one

Which was the better world champion driver?

  • Jack Brabham (17%)
  • Ayrton Senna (83%)

Total Voters: 524

 Loading ...

You need an F1 Fanatic account to vote. Register an account here or read more about registering here.

Read the F1 Fanatic Champion of Champions introduction for more information and remember to check back tomorrow for the next round.

Have you voted in the previous rounds of Champion of Champions yet? Find them all here:

Champion of Champions

Browse all Champion of Champions articles

Images © Williams/Sutton (Senna), Peter Denton (Brabham)

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

119 comments on “Ayrton Senna vs Jack Brabham”

  1. Can’t see to many people voting for Jack here, great driver that he is ( and thank god he beat Hamilton!)

    Senne is easily top 3 , so deserves to go through.

    If only because I’m sentimental and he’s the last person to win a race for team Lotus :P

    1. Bu but but.. he won with his own car!! I am voting for Jack. Senna didn’t win with his own car; no comparison!

      1. Sir Jack might not win the champion of champions contest but he would win the mosted underappreciated driver contest hands down.

        I voted for Jack.

      2. I don’t see how the fact that he was racing with a team he owned has anything to do with it?
        If it’s about being your car then we would have votes for Ron Dennis and Montezemolo, heck even Bernie.

  2. The man who relied on Prost’s relentless testing (sometimes taking Ayrton’s place because he refused to turn up) for his championships or the guy who won one in a car he built himself? No contest.

    1. …you’re right on the money

      1. You see now this is just it, I think Brabham deserves a good amount of votes here.

        Senna was a brilliant driver until he threw the safety rulebook out the window and smashed into Prost. I hate the way he is looked at through rose-tinted glasses every time he is mentioned when all he did was bully people on the track and complain when Prost showed him how to race.

        I remember when Schumacher arrived and had some battles with Senna, his favourite pass time was complaining about how dirty a move was from him, Schumi just dished out some of Ayrton’s own medicine. He couldn’t beat Prost when they were team mates so that too me shows he was not a true champion. (And no Senna did not beat Prost in ’88)

        1. Of course he beat him. Everyone played by the same rules and Ayrton’s car carried the No.1 the next year.

          1. If the ridiculous “Best 11 finishes” rule had not been in place Senna would be a two time champ.

          2. Exactly, thems the rules and Prost agreed to play by them.

            I take it that you’re just going overlook ’89 when it comes to ridiculous things affecting the title?

        2. Prost showed him how to race? In which way? Being much slower and benefiting from retirements /of Senna at most/? :D
          Prost was better then Lauda, Mansell, Arnoux, Hill or Rosberg, but he clearly had not the abilities of Senna, especially in rain… And results of many fan or expert polls are proving that who they consider as better driver… And btw. on abilities Senna beat Prost in 1988 and even more in 1989… Qualifying battles and laps spent in lead showes the real picture as I don t count luck coming from mechanical retimerents to a special driver ability…

          1. You’re spot on, mate. But haters will hate no matter what. Relying on Prost’s testing? Didn’t beat Prost in 1988?! No use to argue with illogical comments. phhh is all I can say to that.

          2. To finish first first you have to finish; this is one of the most important and fundamental parts of motorsport. Senna evidently was harder on his car than Prost, so it is good driving by Prost to go so quickly but not damage the car, or crash.

            Prost is always cast as the villain of the rivalry, but in my opinion Suzuka 1989 was a racing incident where Prost refused to back down against Senna’s very optimistic attempt down the inside, and 1990 was the most dangerous piece of driving in the history of formula one by Senna. Driving into someone at 170 mph it could have ended so much worse, risking both his life but worst still Prost’s.

            Top Gear in the UK did a feature on Senna where Martin Brundle said that Senna would put his car into a position to pass even if it was not really on, and it was left to the other driver to decide whether they wanted to crash. I guess Prost just had had enough of Senna’s bully boy tactics as he swerved across him the previous year at Portugal, and went against the first corner agreement at Imola.

            I rate them pretty much even, probably with Senna slightly ahead, as Senna is probably slightly quicker overall. However you don’t win championships just by winning pole positions and Prost’s racecraft is arguably superior to anyone else’s in history.

            Senna is overrated by some people (i.e claiming he was much better than Prost) due the circumstances surrounding his death, but over the two years in the same car there was nothing in it.

          3. Hater? That has nothing to do with hating as I am not a fan of Senna… :D
            If you can t see those simple things, it is not my fault… :) Prost is in Stewart, Moss or Ascari league, but Senna is higher, because most of the time he didn t need retirements to drive in lead or to win… (especially in McLaren days with Prost)

          4. Even if the crash in ’89 was 100% Senna’s fault, which I am by no means saying, that’s irrelevant. The car was in a dangerous position, he got it going again with the help of the marshals and he went on to win but was then unreasonably disqualified.

          5. Relying on Prost’s testing?

            Read Malcolm Folley’s Senna v Prost, he (and I) knows what he’s talking about on this matter:

            ‘I had an argument with Ron.’ he [Prost] explained. ‘At times in the season, Ayrton had gone home to Brazil while I was testing all the time. Now, he had flown home to Brazil for three months’ rest. At this time, we were testing a lot and doing a lot of endurance testing. I was driving, driving, driving and very often I was tired. I’d been in Formula One for almost ten years and I always tested a lot. We had been through great tension in 1988…and Ayrton was on the beach for months and I was still testing, testing. I was not very happy.’

            And people have the temerity to talk about McLaren’s favouritism of Hamilton, Ron was practically in love with Senna by that standard.

          6. Marco re-read my comment. I agreed with your previous post entirely. The “haters” thing is meant for comments above yours who are blindly against Senna(and I’m neither Senna nor Prost fan). Cheers

          7. debaser91 I disagree there was nothing in it, in 1988-89. Senna was usually faster than Prost, and although I agree with the “first you have to finish” thing, on many occasions Prost’s only hope of winning was that Senna retires from the race. That doesn’t suggest equality at all. Prost was a great driver but Senna was faster, not only in the wet, when he was miles faster, but in the dry as well and was considered better than Prost even before his death.

          8. To Icthyes: I’m not unaware of what you’ve brought up here. However, going from this to what you’ve said “only relied on Prost’s testing” is a very long way and a mistake IMO:
            1)We’re talking here about an isolated period of three months between 1988-89. Wasn’t SEnna testing as rigorously as Prost before the 1988 season or during it or during 1989?
            2)Senna kept Mclaren on top also in 1990-91 through his testing, not Prost’s. Or do you suggest Berger was developing the Mclaren?
            3)I never saw any mention of Senna being a lazy test driver apart from this isolated episode based on Prost’s words and on this I must say one more thing:
            I admit I’ve never liked Prost. Admired his talent yes, but couldn’t bring myself to like him, and that was not ’cause of his RELATIVELY poor wet weather driving, but for the simple reason that I don’t like politicians and Prost was maybe the greatest politician to ever sit in an F1 car. He would always try to manipulate the team to get behind him, even when he didn’t need to,(I mean Mansell’s a great driver but not one of the best ever, why would he need to that to him, unless political games are in his nature?), so I would take anything he says about Senna and favouritism with a pinch of salt. By the way, he’s not dissimilar to Alonso in that if there’s no favouritism toward him, it automatically meant favouritism to the other side of the garage.

            For those reasons, I maintain that your claim of Senna’s successes being solely the results of Prost’s testing is illogical and comes only from your personal dislike of Senna(of whom I’m no fan by the way even though I prefer him to Prost)

        3. I think Senna came to Mclaren which was Prost team at that time and Senna took 6 pole position immediatly and showed prost what real speed is. Well i’m not 100% sure on the 6 pole thing, but Senna came in and took the team from prost. Prost eventually fled.

          1. @ Montreal 95, fair enough. If everyone had the same opinion on here it would be rather boring :)

            As I said earlier it is clear Senna was the faster driver of the two. Also, I like most people on here prefer the flat out approach of Senna over the more calculated approach of Prost. However quicker over a single lap does not necessarily mean greater IMO.

            Saying Prost only won because Senna retired discredits the ability of Prost to maximise the potential of his car into points and championships. He realised this better than anyone else before or since, having lost to Lauda similarly. Comparing their results as teammates:

            Senna 1 Prost 1

            Senna 14 Prost 11

            Senna 150 (154) Prost 163 (186)

            Senna 26 (this is just ridiculous) Prost 4

            Fastest Laps
            Senna 5 Prost 10

            Average starting position
            Senna 1.25 Prost 2.50

            Average finishing position
            Senna 2.61 Prost 1.81

            I don’t agree that Senna’s death has not elevated his legacy, he was an absolutely incredible driver but if you look at the results over the two seasons as teammates there is nothing to suggest Senna was enormously better, except the massive number of poles. I would wager that Prost drove within the limits of the car on most of these occasions, as he was pretty much guaranteed to be second on the grid regardless.

            I think it is this differing approach to racing that means Senna is rated more highly. Prost would often do the bare minumum whereas Senna would push for every lap he was in the car. How many other drivers in history would have fared so well against probably the fastest driver in Formula One ever (along with Clark)? Very few would have done as well as Prost.

          2. Icthyes,

            For the record, Malcom Folley’s book, which I have read twice (the second time to make sure that it really was as shocking as I thought it was the first time) is arguably the most sympathetic book towards Prost that has ever been written, and it is openly scornful of Senna in places in a way which betrays its author’s bias.

            Keith reviewed it here and found it very credulous and uncritical of Prost’s claims, and for more detail of how it was received in general, read the reviews of it at Amazon for example, where you will find several claims of gross bias:

            Prost can say what he wants about testing, in the forum of a revisionist 2008 interview with an extremely sympathetic author, but it doesn’t really alter the fact that he was serially outpaced in dry weather, and in wet weather was generally not even in the same race.

        4. all he did was bully people on the track

          I agree with much of your sentiment here, but I have to take issue with this throw-away statement.

          If you’ve seen an onboard lap in his car, it’s scarily good. Every twitch, every murmur, every bump every marble I’m sure he could feel and sense through the car. What you really notice, is how much he put his soul in to driving that car, and how on and over the edge he was, and yet continued to drive rescue, nurture and bully his car around the track. He’s one of the few drivers that could take a car beyond what people thought the car was capable of.

          Similar to Jim Clark, the drivers of the day, recognised him as the best, it’s not just a post-era sentimental fantasy.

          Brundle said, If you saw Senna in your mirrors during qualifying, you got out the way, you didn’t want to be the person who stopped his quick lap, not just because of Senna’s reaction, but your would stop what his genius could do in the car.

          The word I really disagree with is ‘all’. As if he was just a bully. He was also big on safety in f1 further on in his career. He gave millions to charity. Frank Williams said “he was an even greater man outside of the car than he was in it.”. He led the drivers after Ratzenburger died.

          I don’t know of many drivers who can do that, and certainly none today have the same near death experience driving, The cars are unbelievable safe, you don’t need to be as ballsy to take the car to the edge. There’s more worry about the financial implications than the safety in the minds of many.

          If he was alive now, Im sure he would be playing a significant role in F1 somehow, but also continuing in the charities for children.

          So while I agree with some of what you say, ‘all he did was bully people on the track’, is not a phrase I would feel comfortable using.

          1. spot on Hare.
            It’s weird how some people percepion of senna have nothing to do with reality. There is a reaction from some people against senna, even without following f1 when he was driving.
            He was the good guy of the picture, but for some reason, some people, want to destroy his legacy.

          2. +1 my thoughts exactly

          3. I certainly disagree with the statement that “all he did was bully people on the track”. It’s a common exagguration for anyone who is noted for being aggressive in their attacking or defending.

            However, having read up on the topic, and heard from people who did follow F1 when he was driving, it’s clear that he wasn’t always “the good guy” as you’re suggesting kowalsky.

        5. RIISE: I’m glad you are rewriting F1 history here on F1fanatic…go on now lad! Also, please remember your beloved Schumi was using an illegal traction controlled car in ’94, (thank you Mr. Briatore) while Williams was on their back foot coming off the ban on active suspension. I seem to remember you saying the ’94 Williams was the superior car.

        6. But, it was in place.

        7. OK, I’ll bite.

          Senna made it very clear before Suzuka ’89 that he would crash into Prost if Pole position was not switched and Prost was leading into the first corner. It was a openly premeditated plan in contrast to Schumacher’s infamous and numerous last second panic reactions.

          Senna was a driver who lived and raced according to his own rigid set of principles, which he did not change to suit the situation as some others do. Senna taught us all what true dedication and determination is. He had such an impact on Sport in general precisely because he started off as a self righteous young charger who made way too many mistakes, but made up for them through sheer will power. It was not until 1991 that he evolved into a true world class racing driver.

          His willingness to extract every little bit of ability out of himself, driving himself to total exhaustion, on his way to becoming the world best racing driver is an inspiration to all who strive to live their dreams.

          1. I find it incredibly shocking (well, not really, but that’s because I see it all the time) that someone who calls themself an F1 fan could justify a move that could ended up in many fatalities just because he’s a fan of the driver.

            If Schumacher fans tried to justify the infinitely more tame move in Jerez on the grounds that Michael was so desperate to win the championship and be the best he would do anything, Senna fans (amongst others) would be the first to howl disagreement.

          2. Let’s not confuse determination and desperation.

          3. I agree with Icthyes.

        8. you probably just trolling around
          so the truth must be said…

          …in 1989 Prost never won a single race while Senna was on track…only after Ayrton’s retirement was he able to win races.

          …not a single race.

          for 1988 now by todays stadards is like Robert Kubica goes next year to Ferrari and beats Alonso in every single race laping 1-2 seconds faster…

          i do not really see how a driver can be hard on his car…an F1 car is made to be driven flat out…the unique throttling technique that Ayrton used and that made him faster than any other driver ever, was probably engine demanding but he never had an engine failure…most of the time was electronics, hydraulics, out of fuel and things like that.
          you cant harm the electronics by driving hard.

          1. To finish first, first you have to finish. It was like when people were saying how Vettel would have easily been world champion if his car hadn’t let him down so many times, forgetting that sometimes it’s the thing that makes you fast that makes you fail too e.g. Hamilton’s daring overtakes sometimes makes him crash out too.

        9. Spot on. Everyone complains about Schumacher but who did he learn from? Mansell once tried Senna’s tactics on him when he first entered F1 and Senna raged about it because he didn’t like it.

    2. I think you may be confusing Senna with Mansell re not turning up for testing. Ayrton showed up for work.

      1. Read Malcolm Folley’s book, Senna once didn’t turn up for 3 months in the winter.

        1. I wouldnt refer to a book that is utter garbage.

      2. I stand corrected (see Icthyes’ posts above and below). I had read only Prost’s complaints about Mansell going off to play golf all of the time.

    3. If Senna relied on Prost’s testing, then it only shows how good Senna was, beating Prost in a car that he had soooo much less testing time in and a car that was developed more in favour of Prost’s driving style.

      1. senna was so superior that he didn’t need testing.
        He rarely did testing in winter, maybe this is what people are talking about. he stayed in brazil all winter, relaxing, Then came back and in a few laps beat the track record.
        In 1991 berger was doing all the testing thinking he was going to have an advantage over the brazilian. They got to phoenix, for the first gp, and in qualy senna was two seconds faster. Berger was destroyed, and eclestone came to the rescue saying. Forget about senna, he is too good, focus on the rest.
        So everybody has part of the truth. Senna only tested when he saw a good reason, otherwise the test drivers did it.
        Sometimes he showed up, and did a few laps if requested, and lower the lap time a second in just two laps. The test driver were not happy at all. ( mostly Alliot, and palmer)

        1. Or perhaps inferior so he needed Prost’s testing to make the car good enough?

      2. Senna did have a brilliant ability to make the car do what he wanted, somewhat like Hamilton but much greater. it didn’t matter whose style the car was set up for, he could take it further. But the car would never have been as good in the first place if it wasn’t for Prost’s hard work.

        1. Winter testing is all about setting up the car for the season. Not even Senna or Prost could fight for a championship in a **** car, so the argument that Senna didn’t need the tests is false, he didn’t needed to test himself, but it was essential for him that someone did it, or else he wouldn’t be able to fight for the Championship. Senna admited (in his 1990 playboy interview) that he benefited a lot from Prost’s skills.

          As for Suzuka 89, it was Senna’s fault. Look at Lauda’s statement on that:

          “Why should Prost let Senna pass without a fight? Alain drove the normal fight-line, not zig-zag, we know that from Patrese. Alain did not at all drive unfair, the driver, who is behind the other is always guilty at accidents. Prost is absolutely innocent!”

          Manu pointed out that Prost only won when Senna DNF in 89. However, in some races Prost was already leading, and Senna sometimes spun off or crashed. Also, he did had engine failures, more than Prost. If you compare onboard videos on the same tracks, you’ll see Senna struggled much more with the car, while Prost seemed to barely move the steering. Jackie Stewart said that.

          While Senna got the poles, Prost totally dominated the races. In each season they raced together, Prost scored twice as many fastest laps as Senna. He was also much more consistent than Senna. Senna’s average start position (in 88/89) was 1.5, and his average finishing position was 2.5. Prost’s stats are exactly the opposite. Prost was just quicker. In an interview to Autosport, Prost said Ayrton was unbelievable in qualifying, but he never impressed him during races. If Senna was better than Prost, why he couldn’t match his pace during races? Prost beat Senna both seasons and he made it look like he wasn’t trying too hard

          1. I can’t understand how anyone can blame Senna for Suzuka ’89.

            He made a legitimate attempt to pass Prost, Prost took the opportunity to take his title rival out of the race. I really don’t think there’s any more to it than that.

            Suzuka ’90, on the other hand, was obviously Senna’s fault.

          2. ok m8 seems like you study the 89 season out of the wikipedia table…Senna lost the 89 championship not because of failures but because he was rammed 3 times…twice by Ferrari drivers. one of them was a blackflagged Nigel Mansell in Estoril and one time by his teammate Alain Prost

            Prost was the first and only driver in f1 history who rammed a teammate in order to win title

            Senna was the man who turned driving to art…he managed to express his emotions to all of us using a steering wheel and a gas pedal.

            testing is for test drivers not for artists.

          3. Roberto…i think you really miss the point, however this video may help you

            Prost vs Senna in Suzuka 1989 side by side comparison
            1.7 secs gap in Q
            as a matter of fact Senna’s mclaren in 1989 was faster than Coulthards mclaren in 1999 in Suzuka

            Senna 1989 1.38.041
            Coulthard 1999 1.38.239

            if hope you get my point


          4. @Keith- Agree. There is no question in my mind that Prost turned into Senna. I’ve watched over and over and can’t see it any other way.

          5. Prost was faster then Senna in races? :o Because he had one lap faster? So, then by this logic Räikkonen was the man of 2008 season having 10 or how many fastest laps in total… 1 single fastest lap means NOTHING… Senna just often controlled the situation in lead and didn t need to go any faster… Prost was better then many his previous teammates, but he was short on Senna… And I am looking at performances, not results, which are affected by external things like luck or misfortune… If we should concentrate only at results, then Marques was better then Alonso in 2001! But, no he wasn t, he just had luck in key races…

          6. Senna’s average start position (in 88/89) was 1.5, and his average finishing position was 2.5. Prost’s stats are exactly the opposite. Prost was just quicker.

            No, Senna was quicker, Prost was better at bring the car home.

  3. An easy one I think, Senna.
    After Clark lost vs Schumacher, this will be an easy fight for Senna till the end. I will vote for MSC (later on) because I think he is the most complete of them all, not the fastest, not the most fair, not the best overtaker, not the best defender, but still overall Schumacher is the one that gets most total points.
    Congrats to Senna, his death made him immortal.

    1. And Keith, can you tell me, till now, which driver won the highest number of votes in a single comparison so far? That could be a good marker too for the competition.

      1. The winning numbers are:

        01 Schumacher (R1-609) (R2-602)
        04 Alonso (R1-570)
        05 Mansell (R1-434)
        07 Clark (R1-568) (R2-516)
        09 Prost (R1-568) (R2-504)
        11 Hakkinen (R1-642)
        13 Lauda (R1-566) (R2-314)
        15 Ascari (R1-458)
        17 Fangio (R1-538) (R2-488)
        19 Fittipaldi (R1-433)
        21 Stewart (R1-509) (R2-524)
        23 Raikkonen (R1-532)
        25 Senna (R1-642) (R2-477)
        27 Hill (R1-326)
        29 Brabham (R1-510) (R2-397)
        31 Hamilton (R1-595)

        1. Thank you for the info, interesting numbers, if I am not wrong Hakkinen is the one with the highest number of votes.

        2. And Senna :)

        3. And the Champions in number of comments are Hamilton and Schumacher.

      2. I think percentages would be better.

    2. I’m not sure about the ‘not the best defender’, he was pretty damn good (maybe Trulli has him beat though?)

    3. how a driver who is not the fastest, the best overtaker, nor best defender, and agreed not the best sport, is the most complete?!!
      Are you on something?

      1. He is talking in the same manner Alonso talks about himself on today’s grid; not the fastest, not the best in the wet, but sufficiently good in all areas to be the best on today’s grid. That’s where he’s coming from with regards to Schumacher in this contest.

        This isn’t a statement of agreement on my part, just clarifying what the other person said.

        1. Yup, that’s what I said. ;)
          Hakkinen was faster than Michael, very precise in driving little mistakes, and he also had a better car (’98,’99); Senna is a bigger talent than Michael, but sucks when it comes to controlling his emotions, Prost was perfect in the dry but only with a perfect car, and better than MSC in those conditions, Hamilton is a very good overtaker in my opinion better than Michael, Alonso is a very good defender; but if you take the sum of all these characteristics Michael is the best.

          Its like saying that Aston Martin is the prettiest car, Ferrari the fastest, Toyota the most reliable, Rolls Royce the most luxurious, Lamborghini the scariest, but Mercedes wins because it has most of all these characteristics combined.

          1. senna was the fastest, a good overtaker, imposible to overtake in the same car. the best in the rain. Good at setting up the car. The best spare mental capacity. The most carismatic. I would say he is a more complete driver than schumi.

          2. @kowalsky. Inevitably there’ll be disagreement. Senna was the best qualifier, and by a small amount, the best overtaker. Prost and Schumacher were less likely to allow their emotions to got the better of them and were better at finding the limit of their car, without pushing over it to the extent that they don’t bring it home. Prost was probably inferior to the other two in the wet, while Schumacher the most likely to make an unnecessary decision (Jerez 97, Monaco 2006).

            Senna had individual attributes that beat Schu and Prost, but the latter 2 are better all round drivers IMO.

  4. Brabham. Easy.

    Just kidding, Senna.

    1. Senna. Easy.
      Not kidding, Senna.

      1. I voted Brabham, despite my huge comment defending Senna above. Anyone who can build his own car.. AND race it, AND win with it, has done an almightily good job. No one had done that before, no one is likely ever to do it again.

        Plus, someone’s gotta stick up for him! :)

        1. forget about my post congratulating you before. Brabham?!! Not that matters, because he is walking it.
          But this is one of the easiest so far.

        2. Hear Hear! That’s why I voted Brabham too.

          1. why? because you like the underdogs?

          2. Anyone who can build his own car.. AND race it, AND win with it…No one had done that before, no one is likely ever to do it again.

            I think that’s a little more impressive than not even showing up for winter testing for 3 months. Don’t you, kowalsky?

  5. Ooh, just imagine if LH had got through. Would have been the first and only time we got to see Senna vs. Hamilton! (Although, I did vote for Brabham)

    Still would’ve been a Senna win though I think.

    Please note: I’m referring to A. Senna here, not nephew Bruno


    1. P.S Vote goes to Senna

      P.P.S. Keith, I’m sure someone’s mentioned this before, but have you though about an edit button (for your own posts of course) so that when I’m a clot and forget something, I don’t have to reply to myself. Just a thought, it might be hard to implement, I’m not good on website design. :)

    2. I thought the same thing!

      for this one, I go with Senna. He´s a childhood hero of mine, so it´s tough not voting for him.

      1. What, Senna vs. Hamilton, or that I’m a clot?

        Only kidding :D

        1. lol Senna vs Hamilton!

  6. This for me, is the toughest one yet. On the one hand you have Senna who many believe is the greatest driver of all time, and then you have Brabham who built his own cars and one his own championships. Tough choice but I have to go with Jack

    1. It was tough for that exact reason.

      then again, the thing that tipped it for me was Senna won the hearts and minds of his entire nation and others around the world…

  7. I like Senna a lot, but the fact that Jack built his own car and won in it just takes him to another level to me. That is a remarkable achievement regardless of era and hard to match such a potent mix of skills.

  8. i voted for hamilton before. Not because he is better than brabham at the moment, but because i see some potencial to be better in the future.
    So can you imagine who my vote went to on this one?
    I think senna is my champion of champions, and it will be good to see who he goes against in the finals.

  9. With all due respect to Brabham, this one isn’t even close in my opinion. This is another one where statistics don’t lie. Senna over 40 percent poles! and over 25 percent wins. The number of poles always stand out to me. He was able to wring the best out of a car (even if it wasn’t the best in the field) in the high pressure of qualifying.

    1. 65 poles really is an amazing record. But his pole-to-win conversion rate isn’t great. That’s a demerit against Senna in my book.

      1. Yes I’m sure he’s spinning in his grave because he got a de-merit in ‘your book’..

        1. If he was actually worried about what anybody said about him on the internet, I’d have absolutely no respect for him :P

      2. do you suggest that he was not fast enough during a race?

        in 1987 he was able to win poles and races with Lotus-Honda… in the very same car next year Nelson Piquet finished most of the races 1 lap behind Senna.

        Senna was not able to convert Poles to wins simply because he won most of the poles in an inferior car.

        by todays stadards is like Robert Kubica with Renault winning 5 poles per season.

  10. Ayrton…..for sure. But Brabham is very important person for F1 in general. Is like Frank Williams and Nelson Piquet in one!!!! Don’t get me wrong, Sir Frank is the greatest privateer in F1 ever … but Brabham is one of the first. And is the one who had that it takes to be a WC in his own car.

  11. Well, the knockout competition – for me – will now align with the top four in my list. For the record, neither Brabham nor Hamilton were in my top sixteen (16)! If Lewis can keep up his success rate, he has a chance to move into the “sweet 16” bracket in a few years – but that’s off-topic now.

    For this round, it’s Ayrton Senna.

    I had mentioned in an earlier post that no matter how Keith had set up the brackets and seeding, there would always be a group that would get their collective noses out of joint. No big deal, in a knockout competition, it all eventually works out.

    What amazes me is the lingering rancor and vitriol that persists.

    1. What amazes me is the lingering rancor and vitriol that persists.

      What did you expect? This is the internet after all :)

  12. Ayrton Senna. I think he was the best of them all.

  13. I voted in Senna, and for me he will always be the best

  14. *chuckle*

    No vote either way. Both were brilliant at what they did. I have as many reasons to vote for Black Jack as I do for Senna. My (very old) heart always leans towards the old guys, but that’s not valid reason to call Jack better.

    I’ll sit this one out boys. And sulk that Hermann the German beat out my beloved Jim Clark.

    1. I know what you mean Digi. With heavy heart, every few years I move some of the “old greats” on my list to make way for the “newer” stars. “Newer” being a relative term. But I still have Fangio, Clark and Stewart in my top six. And there are also several older non-WDC’s that I rate very highly.

    2. Hey digi, hey luvin- this is b&b. Nice to see you guys here.

      Unlike most folks here, I don’t see much between these two. IMO championships are the bottom line and they both have three. So I voted for Jack. Can’t blame anyone for voting for Senna, though.

  15. In 1966, at the Dutch GP in Zandvoort, Sir Brabham, 40 year old and tired of hearing the press mocking his ‘old age’, turned up on the grid with a long false beard and a cane, then went on to win the race, one lap ahead of Graham Hill (BRM), and two laps ahead of Jim Clark (Lotus-Climax) and Jackie Steward (BRM).

    That same year, while winning F1 WDC and WCC with the car he ‘built’ around an old Oldsmobile V8 (Repco), he also won 10 out of 16 international F2 races, in a Brabham-Honda.

    The guy is clearly an alien. And I am human, so people will say I’m biased if I vote for Senna.


    1. Somewhere in my collection of things, somewhere on this planet I have a copy of a Road and Track with Brabham on the cover… I think it was titled something like “The Old Man that Wins”

    2. Hill, Clark, and Stewart were running cars with two liter engines in them. Even those three couldn’t overcome that.

      Of course, this speaks to the technical side of Brabham’s genius.

  16. even though Senna is one of the greatest but also Brabham. Brabham’s long career and his own team+title is very unique. If I have to choose 4 greatest driver, I would choose Senna, Brabham, Stewart, Prost. It’s shame he’s not even close.

    1. sorry I forgot Schumacher.

  17. Now that the contenders are shaping up, I wonder who on earth can possibly beat Senna. I’m predictig Schumacher and Fangio to make it into the penultimate round, and it’s very likely one of them will be squaring off against him. But I still reckon Senna will win. It was almost a given since this series began; we’ve really been playing to see who comes second.

    1. nobody can beat the brazilian.
      Only schumacher if he had been more decent during his career could have a chance.
      Senna paid the ultimate price, and that makes him so special in people’s minds.
      And let’s not forget how he died. From pole flat out leading the pack.

  18. It is a vote for the best driver, so it has to be Senna. However Brabham winning a world championship at 40 in a car he helped designed using an Australian made engine, it’s clear he’s one of the best in F1, and it’s hard to vote against him too.

    If it were a vote for most influential driver, most important or influential figure in F1, the most technically astute driver, or even who I prefer or who has had more successful racing family members then I would vote Brabham. However, from what I’ve read on Brabham’s racing ability (not having seen him race), he’s very good, but not quite a good a driver as Senna was. This is despite Senna’s obvious driving etiquette failings.

    1. So if you didn’t see him how can you vote for smthing u didn’t see ( as 99 percent of partisans that frequent this site)

      1. Very true. I was following F1 in the mid 60’s, but I didn’t actually see a race until the USGP in 1969 at the Glen. But, we *can* play the game. Seriously, the balls these older guys had to race with little or no driver protection, you might say that NONE of the modern crowd could hold a candle to them. It is one thing to drive 10/10ths in a safe modern F1 car, quite another to do it in something from the 60’s or 70’s.

        But then there’s Senna …

        So … no vote from me, though I’m never shy for a comment!

      2. Well, in this case I didn’t vote.

      3. The first race I saw was the USGP in 1970 at the Glen. But I sincerely question whether I can scientifically and unequivically state that Fittipaldi was the best driver that race – and I saw him win. I enjoy watching old clips because you “see” a lot more than you can see at the track. Being at the right place at the right time in real time is lucky, as well as tricky.

        I read columns and blogs from guys who have been to every race and have to wonder how they possibly come to their conclusions.

        Keith has provided some links in previous round-ups to Peter Windsor’s column, where Peter writes about Patrick O’Brien, his method for comparing drivers, and his 1994 book “Grand Prix: A Century of Racing”. Peter’s posts on that system are very interesting reads – if you’ve got some time. Even though it’s based on a helluva lot more data than I’ve got or will ever have, I believe in my picks – even though I have never seen Clark, Fangio, Ascari, Rindt in person.

      4. that what is happening. Driver for earlier eras don’t get the same number of votes because they are not well known to us.
        But even if this is true, i am impressed how efective this coming out.
        When a journalist does one of these lists, i always considered it to be so personal, and very much influenced by his own experiences. On the other hand this one takes that out of the ecuation.
        And there are some fans here that know a lot about f1.

    2. The original Repcos (in the BT19) were built on Oldsmobile blocks shipped in from the good ol’ USA. Later versions (in the BT20 and BT24) were 100% home grown.

  19. If Senna been not be killed I believe he would have end up beating Prost in every category.

    1. If Senna had not died, he might be statistically better than Schumacher, even in absolute terms – number of wins, WDCs, etc.

      But, sadly, by dying, the legend of Senna became greater than anything he could have achieved in life.

  20. Champion of champions, well if it is solely based on driving you can’t beat the great Senna. But if it is based more on overall racing, which should involve design, engineering and the pursuit of racing foundations; then good old jack is the king! Either way they both represent what a true racing champ is!

  21. Senna, but with a special mention for ‘Black Jack’ for building his own car.

    Why is it that you can still feel the hatred from certain members? Surely they never believed that Hamilton would make it this far, even by cheating?

  22. Hard call as they almost need to be measured on different criteria. But I’d have to go Senna.

  23. Couldn’t make my mind up on this one as it’s such an even call……so I flipped a coin.

    Head= Brabham, Tails= Senna

    Brabham won. But by the looks of it he only won the coin round!

  24. Brabham is an absolute racing legend, who’s position within the annuls of the sports history is cemented forever. A true Champion, an inspiration for anyone in motorsport.

    But Ayrton was the fastest man who ever lived.
    A great driver
    A great champion
    A great humanitarian

    Had he not been killed he would be even more reveered than he is today. And the record books would look a lot different too. Everyone knows it no matter who you are a fanboy of. He would also be most likely running his country too.

    1. faster then Usain Bolt?

    2. Possibly, although I feel that the mantle of best F1 current F1 driver was being passed over to MSC in 1994 just as MSC passed it onto Alonso in 2006.

      1. Who then had it taken off him by a rookie with his mother’s milk still wet on his face.

        Would Schumi have allowed a rookie to beat him? I would have loved to have seen that.

    3. We can decide the Champion of Champions rather easily. Which driver is held out by his peers, past and present, as the best of all time? Which driver is most loved by the fans? Which F1 driver is the most famous and legendary of them all?


  25. Well, now – to be consistent, all those who voted for Brabham over Lewis (supposedly) because the former raced his own car, they have to knock Senna out, and every other driver, for that same reason. After all, it would be entirely abritary to apply that criteria to just one comparison. It would make people think that there was a personal agenda against Lewis….

    Brabham was beaten by many of his teammates. For this, and other, clear reasons, Lewis is better.

    And Senna is better. Senna should win this. Although, I really do wonder how many posters on this site actually saw Senna and others race. It’s really just the myth, the legend, and not the driver, for many.

Comments are closed.