BBC’s Top 20 F1 drivers ever (list)

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    So the BBC are running a list of their Greatest Drivers of All Time. The list is of 20 drivers which the BBC thinks is best, and I thought it might be fun to follow it and discuss each of the entrants and whether we agree or not. It seems that they are releasing a driver per Race, so plenty of time to read the articles & videos they have (all done by Murray Walker)

    Note of caution, and probably hot potato is 1 particular line which has me a tad worried….

    The BBC list does not pretend to be a definitive all-time top 20 – all such things are in any case subjective, given the difficulty of comparing drivers from different eras.

    But what it does is highlight just what a golden age F1 is going through at the moment. Four of the 20 drivers on the list are racing in 2012. Two other current drivers only just missed out, being ranked in 22nd and 23rd places overall when the lists were combined.

    Say what?! 4 drivers? Really? Dont get me wrong, I think Alonso & Schumacher deserve it so far, but who the other 2 could be I have no idea.

    Anyway, On with the lists thus far!

    Number 20 – Jochen Rindt

    Number 19 – Graham Hill

    Number 18 – Jack Brabham

    Number 17 – Emerson Fittipaldi

    Number 16 – Nelson Piquet

    Number 15 – Lewis Hamilton

    Number 14 – Mika Häkkinen

    Number 13 – Nigel Mansell

    Number 12 – Gilles Villeneuve

    Number 11 – Alberto Ascari

    Number 10 – Fernando Alonso

    No issues with Rindt on the list, none what-so-ever. Criminally forgotten by the BBC in 2010 when they could have made a good feature on the 40th anniversary of his death at Monza (being the only Posthumous WDC and all) but fast, really fast. Before there was Villeneuve & Peterson, there was Rindt.

    Suprised Hills at #19 really, the only holder of the Triple Crown, 5 times Monaco GP winner & double WDC. I’d have had him a lot higher up.

    Which brings me nicely onto Jack Brabham. #18… really? The man won the WDC 3 times, the only man ever likely to be a WDC in a car he made, in a team he owned and all that bore his own name. He raced for over a decade (and won plenty!) in a period when statistically he might not have lived for half of it. Should be up higher like Hill, but further so.



    Going by that, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jim Clark didn’t make the top 20! :-P


    I wonder how much accomplishments account for, or whether it’s based solely on skill.


    Bet Hamilton is somehow in the top 20


    @sam3110 yeah, Schumacher, Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel will most likely be the 4 current drivers in the top 20…


    @necrodethmortem I think Accomplishments count for something, wouldnt the you need to be a great driver to accomplish incredible feats? But regarding the 4 modern drivers, your 4 are my guess exactly. Like I said, Schuey & Alonso aside, the rest shouldnt be near it.

    My top drivers incidently would be Clark (#1), Villeneuve, Senna, Schuey, Peterson, Moss, Fagio, Stewart and aside from Clark & Villeneuve, not nessesarily in that order.


    I guess Hamilton, Raikkonen or Vettel will be top 20 drivers then, more likely Hamilton I reckon (not that I necessarily think that’s fair). With a triple champion so low it’s very hard to predict, and very hard to believe that Hamilton or Raikkonen could be ahead of Brabham or Hill. Until they’ve completed a few more years racing I don’t think either deserves to be that high (and I’m a fan of both). Vettel makes more sense, but I’d hold judgement on him being above Brabham certainly until he’s completed this year. For instance, will Villeneuve (the good one) make it in and beat a load of great champions? If it’s Murray Walker, will he do something silly and put Damon Hill high up?


    @sjm accomplishments are important of course, but where does that put the drivers that died before they could accomplish anything, like Behra, von Trips, Cevert, Peterson, Gilles, Bellof, … ?


    I’d have Both Brabham and G Hill looking around the top 10. As already mentioned they were competitive in the sports most competitive and dangerous era say 58-70. 12 years they were fighting at the front of the grid. Not many more drivers can put up a CV like there. Have a feeling we’ll disagree with alot of the 6-16 picks


    There’s going to be some great drivers ranked low down. There’s 15 double champions, and with Rindt and a current driver already confirmed, it’s likely some of the double champions will miss out on the top 20. As necro says, there are drivers who died early, probably with Villeneuve as most likely to be included. Then there are highly-rated single champions, perhaps Mansell being more likely, and even the chance of Moss, although I expect he’s the only non-champion who had a ‘full’ career (cut short, but not as badly as some) who could possibly be included.


    Maybe the best way would be to take an average of a driver’s best years and imagine those racing each other for 6 seasons in the same car, each season with a different car most representative of each decade and on the tracks on which that car has raced. e.g:

    50s: Mercedes W196, 1955 circuits
    60s: Lotus 49, 1968 circuits
    70s: Ferrari 312T, 1975 circuits
    80s: Williams FW11, 1986 circuits
    90s: Williams FW14B, 1992 circuits
    00s: Ferrari F2004, 2004 circuits

    Would be fascinating, I really have no idea who would come out on top.


    There are 15 double or more champions (2 of them have already been ranked), and 17 places left. They’ll most likely consist of the 13 remaining multiple champions, Hamilton, Mansell, Gilles Villeneuve and Moss.


    I reckon Ayrton Senna will be number one as he’s always first on these lists. I personally think Michael Schumacher is the greatest of all time.



    @Slr He likes Shumi in this video.

    I think Hamilton will be there definitely but I’m not sure he deserves it imo.


    I agree that Brabham is far too low, his achievements were quite remarkable.

    If there are four current drivers on the grid, I would be very disappointed if Hamilton makes the list, as I can’t place him above Kimi, Vettel, Schumacher and Alonso at least, and maybe even Button.

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