Formula One History – the 70 most successful drivers of all time

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    Four hundred and sixty-six.
    This is the number of drivers who have reached a Top 10 position in any Formula 1 World Championship race. That’s in 1006 GPs (I did exclude the Indy 500s in my database). So if you take away the very first race, you get a new driver showing up in this elite group every 2-3 races.
    I just finished this database, where I used the current point system in all seasons and adapted the total points per season in such a way that it is calculated up or down to 16 races per season. With that, it was possible to eliminate the advantage modern seasons get with much more races than the early seasons. Of course, longevity of drivers and reliability of cars has been constantly improving – in the 50s, only around 50% of cars finished races, on average; that is very different today. And with the safer sport, careers have been potentially much longer nowadays. The number 62 is pretty shocking for modern ears – sixty-two drivers of those 466 lost their lives on tracks around the world.
    Still, we get an interesting overview of F1 history, and after 70 seasons, I would like to present the Top 70 drivers in terms of success (so maybe not a ranking of the greatest, but those who achieved the most number of points) in this thread. Let’s see, how far we get 😉.
    To start the series, a few numbers:
    There were 79 English drivers, 8 Scots, 2 Welsh and 2 from Northern Ireland – so the Brits reign supreme in numbers, totaling 91 of the 466, one in five. 65 Italians reached the Top 10 in a Grand Prix at least once, 49 French – and the Americans come in 4th place, even without the Indy races, with 32 drivers. Brazil and Germany are equal on 28 drivers, but Germany has the second highest points total, only behind England. Scotland is 7th behind Finland, who only needed seven drivers to beat the US, Australia, Argentina, Austria and other nations. Brazil is 5th in points behind Italy and France. The second highest average of points per driver in the Nations Ranking goes to New Zealand (behind Finland), with five drivers being enough for 12th place in a ranking that has 39 different nationalities with history of making the Top 10 in a GP. That is impressive for the kiwis, since Belgium with its 16 different drivers ranks 14th.
    Here are the top drivers of their nations who didn’t make it into the Top 70:
    410. Ricky Von Opel, Liechtenstein
    402. Alex Yoong, Malaysia
    379. Zsolt Baumgartner, Hungary
    353. Oscar Gonzalez, Uruguay
    340. Narain Karthikeyan, India
    283. Eliseo Salazar, Chile
    280. Pedro Lamy, Portugal
    225. John Love, Zimbabwe (Rhodesia)
    205. Pastor Maldonado, Venezuela
    157. Prince Bira, Thailand
    141. Kevin Magnussen, Denmark
    132: Daniil Kvyat, Russia
    130. Tom Pryce, Wales
    126. Satoru Nakajima, Japan
    109. Charles Leclerc, Monaco
    80. Robert Kubica, Poland
    78. Sergio Perez, Mexico

    Of the current grid, here are the drivers ranked outside the Top 70:
    337. Antonio Giovanazzi
    244. Lando Norris
    214. Lance Stroll
    195. Alexander Albon
    175. Pierre Gasly
    156. Esteban Ocon
    141. Kevin Magnussen
    132: Daniil Kvyat
    113. Carlos Sainz Jr
    109. Charles Leclerc
    99. Romain Grosjean
    78. Sergio Perez

    Jochen Rindt, in 71st, is the only WDC outside of the Top 70.

    Here, as a bonus, are the Top Ten per decade.

    10. Harry Shell (USA)
    9. Luigi Villoresi (ITA)
    8. Jean Behra (FRA)
    7. Jose Froilan Gonzalez (ARG)
    6. Maurice Trintignant (FRA)
    5. Mike Hawthorne (ENG)
    4. Alberto Ascari (ITA)
    3. Stirling Moss (ENG)
    2. Guiseppe Farina (ITA)
    1. Juan Manuel Fangio (ARG)

    10. phil hill (usa)
    9. danny hulme (nzl)
    8. richie ginther (usa)
    7. jackie stewart (sco)
    6. dan gurney (usa)
    5. john surtees (eng)
    4. bruce mclaren (nzl)
    3. jack brabham (aus)
    2. jim clark (sco)
    1. graham hill (eng)

    10. danny hulme (nzl)
    9. mario andretti (usa)
    8. james hunt (eng)
    7. jackie stewart (sco)
    6. carlos reutemann (arg)
    5. ronnie peterson (swe)
    4. jody scheckter (saf)
    3. clay regazzoni (swi)
    2. niki lauda (aut)
    1. emerson fittipaldi (bra)

    10. riccardo patrese (ita)
    9. elio de angelis (ita)
    8. jacques laffite (fra)
    7. keke rosberg (fin)
    6. rene arnoux (fra)
    5. michele alboreto (ita)
    4. nigel mansell (eng)
    3. ayrton senna (bra)
    2. nelson piquet (bra)
    1. alain prost (fra)

    10. alain prost (fra)
    9. nigel mansell (eng)
    8. eddie irvine (irl)
    7. david coulthard (sco)
    6. ayrton senna (bra)
    5. jean alesi (fra)
    4. gerhard berger (aut)
    3. mika hakkinen (fin)
    2. damon hill (eng)
    1. michael schumacher (ger)

    10. jarno trulli (ita)
    9. juan pablo montoya (col)
    8. ralf schumacher (ger)
    7. felipe massa (bra)
    6. jenson button (eng)
    5. david coulthard (sco)
    4. fernando alonso (spa)
    3. rubens barrichello (bra)
    2. kimi raikkonen (fin)
    1. michael schumacher (ger)

    10. mark webber (aus)
    9. max verstappen (ned)
    8. jenson button (eng)
    7. daniel ricciardo (aus)
    6. vallteri bottas (fin)
    5. kimi raikkonen (fin)
    4. fernando alonso (spa)
    3. nico rosberg (ger)
    2. sebastian vettel (ger)
    1. lewis hamilton (eng)

    If you have any question that my database might answer about the history of F1, don’t hesitate to ask!
    A final curiosity: Maria Teresa de Filippis and Lella Lombardi were the only woman to make the list. Lella has the same number of points as Giovanazzi.

    Next post in this thread, we’ll start with the driver ranked 70th.

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