BBC’s Top 20 F1 drivers ever (list)


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    Ascari in P11.

    Which means 3 of the current grid are in the top 10, which starts flashing a great big “HOLY CRAP” in my head.

    Obviously Schumacher cannot be left out. Alonso, Vettel (the two I think are most likely to be the two who pop up in BBC’s list) are great drivers, but I wouldn’t call them top 10 of all time just yet. Maybe knocking on the door, but not “in” it yet. If I’m explaining myself well.

    And on that bombshell… good night!


    Vettel definitely should not be top 10. Alonso should but in the lower ranks


    Alberto Ascari in 11th

    If Vettel doesn’t show up in either 10th then this list has lost all its credibility (although 9th ahead of Moss wouldn’t be completely unreasonable). I don’t think Vettel deserves to be in the top 10. 15th at best for him based on what he’s done so far; don’t get me wrong, within 10 years or so he’ll likely be a legend but we can discuss that later.

    Based on how highly the current crop of Formula 1 drivers are rated. The top 10 will likely be;

    10. Sebastian Vettel
    9. Sir Stirling Moss
    8. Fernando Alonso
    7. Niki Lauda
    6. Jackie Stewart
    5. Juan Manuel Fangio
    4. Jim Clark
    3. Alain Prost
    2. Michael Schumacher
    1. Ayrton Senna

    Senna always tops in these lists with Schumacher in 2nd. Third, fourth, and fifth are a toss-up really between Prost, Fangio, and Clark whom are all rated equally high amongst people in the F1 paddock. Lauda and Stewart are in my opinion equal to be the best after the top 5. Then it starts to get tricky, in my opinion Alonso is already on the same height as Lauda and Stewart, but I can’t see him being any higher than 8th. Moss is overrated but he’ll likely (and sadly) be up there. Vettel is really the weakest of the bunch and needs to show up now.


    Here’s a crazy thought. What if it’s NOT Alonso and Vettel out of the current grid? Other than Schumacher 2 of the current grid, we now know, will feature in the “Top 10.” What if it’s 2 other drivers? Or only 1 of them make it to the top 10?


    Who else could they be? Raikkonen? Maybe. With a little twist of faith he could’ve been a triple champion. But his laziness and lack of dedication prevented him from reaching his true potential. He certainly doesn’t belong in the top 10 IMO. Button? Don’t make me laugh.

    Craig Woollard

    Raikkonen could have been a triple champion by now don’t forget, the car was not quite up to it in 2003 and the 2005 edition was very fast but incredibly fragile… He’s also pulled off a few sweet moves in his time… Alonso and Schumacher being in the top 10, maybe even the top 5 does not surprise me.


    @KingShark I don’t think Vettel deserves to be in the top 10 yet (although he probably will one day) and I’ve never got the hype about Moss. I’d never have Senna 1st either but apart from kicking the two I’ve just mentioned out, I’d only jiggle a few names around a bit but I think that list is pretty likely.


    Well, I think we can safely assume that Schumacher and Alonso will be in there.

    So the question is, which scenario is more likely:
    – Räikkönen and Button are considered on about equal terms (the 2 outsiders are 22 and 23) and Vettel is currently considered best or 2nd best of the current drivers (Schumi’s the odd one out)
    – Button and Vettel are considered on about equal terms and Raikkonen is currently considered best or 2nd best of the current drivers
    – Räikkönen and Vettel are considered on about equal terms and Button is currently considered best or 2nd best of the current drivers

    I think we can safely rule out Button being considered top 10 of the best drivers ever, so the question is, who can be considered slightly better or slightly worse than Jenson Button? Kimi Räikkönen, who has driven some amazing seasons in which he sometimes was the fastest driver around, but has also had some underperforming seasons and is not known for having the best work ethics. Or Sebastian Vettel, double world champion, who has been extremely fast in a back-marker car like the TR2 and top-cars alike, but is still only in his fifth full season.


    This isn’t even a question. It’s completely blatantly obvious that it’s Vettel, Alonso and Schumacher to come.

    I don’t think Vettel should be top 10, and if he doesn’t crop up in 10th, then I’ll be annoyed, because he’s already higher than people that (at this stage in his career), he should not be.

    I say top 10 will be….

    1. Senna
    2. Schumacher
    3. Prost
    4. Fangio
    5. Clarke
    6. Stewart
    7. Lauda
    8. Alonso
    9. Moss
    10. Vettel

    BTW I don’t think Moss deserves to be in the top 10 either… In my mind, Villeneuve, Ascari or Mansell should have made the Top 10 at the expense of Vettel and Moss.


    You say Vettel doesn’t deserve to be there because of ‘the stage in his career’, but you include Villeneuve (Gilles I presume), who had only done 4 seasons.


    @infernojim – I also wouldn’t have had Vettel or Moss in the top 10.

    But out of those three you thought should be in the top 10, I can only agree with Ascari. Gilles was very good, but like Moss, I just can’t rank someone that highly with 0 championships. Stories about speed and racing skill can only take you so far in my eyes. Mansell was good as well, but he had many opportunities (moreso than Gilles or most drivers) to win more championships, yet he didn’t take full advantage of them.

    I think Brabham, Ascari or Graham Hill should have made the top 10. Brabham, not a only a triple champ, but winning for his own constructor, Hill who won the triple crown, and Ascari, still considered 50 years on a legendary name for Ferrari, and Fangio’s main challenger.


    Vettel is really over-rated. He should be somewhere near Lewis Hamilton in the list. And i think Kimi Raikkonen should be above both of them in the list. He suffered from badluck alot in his career. Still the guy has 60 podiums and 35 fastest laps. Alonso should be in Top 5. May be above Fangio and just behind Prost…


    To be honest I don’t think these lists should EVER include a current driver, as it provokes too much debate, not to mention each driver could still do something to change their “ranking” – be it for better or for worse. Imagine if for some reason for the next 5 or so years Ferrari changed Alonso’s teammate every six months to a driver he has never partnered, and it turns out that they all take turns thrashing the living daylights out of Alonso – what then? Does it mean he was flattered by rubbish teammates all this while? Or conversely, imagine if the same happened at Williams, and no one could even get within touching distance of Maldonado’s pace, or even as close as Bruno did? Does that mean Maldonado is actually driving a Toro Rosso-quick car out of its skin?

    I don’t think any of these will happen, but my point being – their “standing” in history is still rather volatile. They could have been “lucky” with all amazing teammates, or all rubbish teammates that flatter the true picture/make it worse. You don’t have the complete picture.

    Unless of course you’re talking of split careers – ie I think it’s fair to judge pre-2010 Raikkonen, and pre-2007 Schumacher.


    It’s very difficult to predict the future. In fact, it’s impossible to predict the future. At the end of 1997, do you really think and Villeneuve and Hakkinen would end up where they did in their respective careers?

    It’s also very difficult to estimate exactly how fast each car is. Who knows, that Ferrari could be as fast as a Caterham, Massa is better than he was in 2008 and Alonso is faster comparative to the rests of the field than Jim Clark was. Or perhaps that Ferrari is actually dominant but Massa is as slow as Karthikeyan while Alonso is really just an average driver.

    Logic however, would tell you that reality is likely anywhere in between the two. That’s what allows us to guess quite correctly on how fast each driver is, and how good their car is.


    @Kingshark “guess” and “correct” are two words that don’t belong in the same sentence. You could guess, and you probably guess that your “guess” is correct. But my point is – these lists should not feature present drivers at all. They should only talk of past drivers, and compare those.

    If you put in today’s drivers in these lists, it is bound to spark debate, no matter what you do. In such context, it is a no-win scenario. When these drivers are no longer active, and no longer have fans actively supporting them, then generally tensions calm down, and people tend to think more rationally, and can do a better comparison. Emphasis on “tend to.”

    Your point brings up another important point – you don’t know. That is the operative phrase. You never know – how good a car is, and by extension, you don’t know how good the car is, because you don’t know how good the car is. As you say – maybe the HRT is actually the quickest car on this year’s grid – and Karthikeyan and de la Rosa are just rubbish drivers. Maybe the Ferrari is the slowest car on the grid and Alonso is working miracles. Who knows? Nobody.

    That even extends to years past though. How do you know that Senna’s Toleman had something particular to his car – whether it be down to setup or design, that just clicked with Monaco 1984? Maybe he was actually driving a car 7s quicker than Prost’s McLaren, meaning he was actually quite a bit off the pace. Maybe, maybe maybe.

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