Best driver to have won just one championship

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    We already have a thread to discuss who is the best driver to never win a race, to have won just one race, and the best driver to have never won a WDC.

    Now here is a new topic to discuss. Who is the best driver ever to have won just 1 championship, and deserved to win more championships then he has on his name?

    Cast your opinion.


    3. Kimi Raikkonen
    In only his third year in Formula 1, Kimi missed out on the 2003 WDC by a mere 2 points against Michael Schumacher, and would have won without misfortunes. In 2005, him and McLaren were the fastest combination in the sport, but once again reliability cost him the world title. Eventually, in 2007 he won his long waited and well deserved championship. Although many still feel that a 1 time WDC does not justice his abilities as a driver.

    2. Lewis Hamilton
    In his rookie year, Lewis shocked the world already. He lead championship throughout the majority of the season, and only lost out at the end in Brazil because of a gearbox issue. One year later in Brazil again, this time he won the championship by the narrowest of margins, overtaking Glock in the final corner to clinch the WDC from the home favorite Felipe Massa. In 2010 Lewis only made a single major mistake all year, and took the WDC to the final race with the 3rd best car. In 2012, Hamilton clearly would have been champion if it wasn’t for his disastrous misfortunes throughout the year.

    1. Nigel Mansell
    Without a shadow of a doubt, in my opinion, THE single greatest driver to have only won a sole WDC. Unlike many others, Mansell didn’t rise to the top rapidly. He spend the first four years of his career at Lotus where he showed glimpses of talent. In 1985 Frank Williams saw talent in him, and hired him for the Williams team where he won his first race in his first year. In 1986, Nigel lost an easy championship in the final race of the season due a spectacular tyre explosion. One year later in 1987, he once again should have won the WDC, but lost because of more bad luck than his teammate Piquet, and a career-threatening crash in Suzuka. In 1991, once again more bad luck than his rival Senna cost him a potential 3rd WDC. Then finally, he won his long time coming championship in 1992 for Williams, a year he dominated.

    Nigel Mansell finished his career with 31 wins, the 5th most in the sport after Schumacher, Prost, Senna and Alonso; and far more than any other 1-time WDC.


    http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/groups/f1/forum/topic/best-single-time-champion/ This is already a topic. But assuming this doesn’t get closed then the three you mentioned are standouts. Jochen Rindt also, there are rumours he promised his wife he’d retire if he won the world title but if he’d stayed in the sport and not been killed then he would have been challenging surely through the 70’s.

    But if you’re going by the best single time champion driver then Mario Andretti is ahead of everyone else, he could and did win in essentially everything he ever drove. Other drivers have more pedigree in Formula One itself, but I think I’ll go with Andretti.


    There are lots of contenders for this one. I would probably go for Mansell if i had to choose but a list of the best one-time drivers for me would have to include(in no particular order, with of course a slight preference for Mansell as i’ve said) Mansell, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Rindt, Andretti and Surtees…


    It’s an impossible choice between Jochen Rindt & Nigel Mansell for me. With better luck both of them had won more than just 1 champion. What makes it impossible to choose is the fact that Rindt was just 28 when he died, and he could have been like 10 more years in the top had he kept racing, and we will never know what he had achieved. Mansell won his champion with completely dominant car, but he should have won the champion at least 3 times, and driver who often beat drivers like Senna and Prost can’t be very bad. So it’s tie between these two gentlemen for me. Then it’s a big cap and then comes Lewis Hamilton & Kimi Räikkönen.

    One thing I’ve always wondered is why Mario Andretti is so highly rated among the F1 fans. Yeah he has won almost everything in America but I don’t think he was that great in F1. He won one champion with the revolutionary and dominant Lotus 79 which was by far the best car that year. The whole team was built around him and his team-mate Ronnie Peterson didn’t have right to fight against him, so he faced no competition, and next season his new team-mate Carlos Reutemann collected 25 points against Mario’s 14. I’m sure he was great racer, but I don’t think he was that miraculous in F1.


    Yeah, I was expecting Mansell to be a majorities vote, and rightfully so. Raikkonen and Hamilton are up there too, though not quite on the same level as Nigel yet.

    Jochen Rindt, I don’t know much about him, but from what I’ve heard he was a talented driver who died in his prime.

    As for Andretti, I’m not sure where all the votes come from. This is specifically about F1.


    Only 3 names come to mind Raikkonen , Mansell and Hamilton.


    It surely has to be Nigel Mansell, 5th on the all time winners list and plenty of standout performances. Though unfortunately I never saw Mansell drive live in a race. The other names must Raikkonen and Hamilton.

    R.J. O’Connell

    My vote goes to Mansell just on the numbers alone – retired as the 3rd winningest driver in F1, close calls in ’86 and ’91 and it took a truly unbeatable machine for him to get there.

    re: Andretti – I’ve heard plenty of arguments that Jacky Ickx is the best non-champion using all the accomplishments outside of F1 as their basis, I have no idea why it’s suddenly awful for people to use that reasoning to nominate Andretti as a great one-time champion.


    Rosemeyer (OK, he won the European Championship, but still).

    Not that I’m putting the Canadian up there, but I do wonder, what if Villeneuve stayed with Williams, perhaps moving to a top team (i.e. Flavio. How ridiculous would a duo of JV and FB (not Facebook) be in the media…) in ’04 or perhaps ’06 (not Tyrrell)?


    Personally, I think that Mansell is a good shout, he was in an incredibly strong era. Ditto Hamilton.

    I know that I’ll get pilloried for this, but I think JV is a reasonable contender. Yes, everyone always remembers his appalling performances in the early 2000s, he was brilliant in 1996/7. I would certainly rate him above 1996 team-mate Hill and above Button.


    At the moment. Best driver without even points or a victory is Valtteri Bottas. Without a title i would say Heikki and Robert. Sadly they aren’t in F1 anymore..kinda.



    Please tell me you’re not serious. It’s far too early to be judging Bottas (even though he is looking solid compared to race winner Maldonado).

    As for Heikki being the best driver without a title is by far one of the silliest things I’ve read on this forum. Heikki was garbage at McLaren and only really looked good in Caterham due to prehistoric Trulli.

    Fred Pink

    I feel like most of the more recent one time champions could have been 2 or 3 times winners with a bit of luck. I think that being a multiple champion is often more about having a certain state of mind and luck rather than necessarily being that much more talented.

    For instance Denny Hulme was never the same driver after Bruce McLaren died and became more cautious after winning his title. John Surtees was a difficult man and falling out with the Ferrari team manager and leaving the team when he could surely have won another title. Running his own team after this also torpedoed his chances.

    I think the multiple champions have a cooler more focused side to them that makes the difference. Drivers like Mansell and Surtees were maybe too emotional and firey compared with the control of drivers like Prost and Vettel. Too often it seemed that Mansell was at war with his team or his team mates to get the support needed to win more than once.

    Even though he won two titles I think Emerson Fittipaldi could probably have won up to 5 titles but followed his heart to form a Brazilian F1 team with his brother and never won again.

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