Worst driver ever to win a championship?

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    These days many of you defined John Surtees “the best driver ever to win a championship”. So, in your opinion, what’s the worst driver ever to win a championship? Is there really anyone who didn’t deserve to win a championship?

    Don’t be too harsh. :)


    obviously the definition of surtees was “the best driver NEVER to win a championship”…


    John Surtees won the world championship in 1964, either Stirling Moss or Gilles Villeneuve are usually described as the best driver to never have won a world championship


    I think it’s between Jenson Button and Damon Hill.

    Sorry to say it, but…


    If there was any doubt about Button’s worthiness to be world champion he’s removed it with he two wins so far this season, he was simply magnificent in China and Australia and he has matched Hamilton through the rest of the season and leads Lewis in the WDC. It still baffles me that people doubt Jenson’s ability.

    As for Damon Hill you may not have been watching F1 back in the mid-90s to remember why Damon was a very worthy Champion but there is plenty of evidence:

    Excibit A: Suzuka 1994 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/andrewbenson/2009/09/your_classic_japanese_grand_pr.html

    Excibit B: Hungary 1997 http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8161309.stm

    Damon also put in some brilliant performences in the 1993 season and compared very well whilst the team mate to Alain Prost who was one of the greatest drivers of all time.

    I don’t like getting into a debate about who was a ‘less worthy’ champion because if you scored more points than anyone else in the season you’re a worthy champion. But even if we were to start picking out names Button and Hill certainly wouldn’t be the worst.


    I won’t even bother debunking the Damon Hill one…

    If I had to choose, I would still say no-one. Everyone who has won the world championship deserved to do so.


    who was the worst driver to win a world championship?

    Micheal Schumacher. morrally of course, he in no way deserved to win the 1994 world championship, he panicked and took out damon hill, quite obviously deliberately.


    I don’t think Schumacher did 1994 on purpose but 1997 yes.

    It’s hard to say the worst driver ever to win a championship, you’d say it was by luck but you win races by luck, not whole championships


    I don’t want too call my choices worst drivers. I think I’ll use luckiest to find themselves the drives that they had. My two choices would be Phil Hill and Damon Hill.

    Phil Hill would not have won the 1961 championship if either his car was not so dominant or if Ferrari had had an actually someone like Sterling Moss, Jack Brabham, Graham Hill, etc. on their team. The same would go for Wolfgang von Trips had he won the championship rather than tragically dying at Monza. Again I don’t want to call either of them “worst” because I believe both Phil Hill and von Trips were accomplished sportscar drivers. I just don’t think they were of the extra high caliber or perhaps type of talent usually needed for winning a championship if F1.

    I definitely don’t think Damon Hill was the best World Champion ever. I think he was a very fast driver in terms of a hot lap, but I don’t really think he had the racecraft. Furthermore, I think the steely nerves one needs while being under pressure in a race, either to keep the lead or pass for the lead, just was not something that came naturally to him. He really had to work hard at it to become consistent and even still I don’t he ever really completely gained the consistency. I don’t think anyone can use 1994 to gauge his talent because of all the “goings-ons” surrounding Benetton. Four of the races Damon Hill won, Schumacher was either disqualified or missing. I therefore think that that famous moment in Adelaide creating the 1 point championship was rather artificial in terms of how close the championship should have been. Additionally, I would not quote Suzuka 1994 as a great race. Considering it was determined on aggregate times it seems rather silly that it would be called Damon Hill’s best race considering the kinds of races people usually quote as the best races of world champions. I think 1995 is the best season to gauge Damon Hill’s worth. He was soundly beaten by Schumacher even though Hill had what was widely considered the superior car. When he finally won the world championship in 1996, he had one of the most dominant cars of the decade, and even still his rookie team mate Villeneuve pushed him hard to the championship.

    To speak to Jenson Button, I was skeptical of his worth as a champion during 2009, but I think his performances so far in 2010 have definitely showed his talent and perhaps his own particular racing genius in judging conditions and saving tires that make him a worthy world champion.


    Personally, out of all of the previous champions, I would argue that Jacques Villeneuve was one of the worst champions. As Nutritional said in the previous post, he did not rate Hill and only just beat the rookie Villeneuve to the 96 championship but you have to remember, JV was a distinguished driver in the US at a time when racing over on the other side of the pond was about at its peak (although about 96 it was starting to dwindle due to the IndyCar/ChampCar split about that time). Just look at after JV won it though, ended up going off into obscurity, and failed attempts to get back into the sport through just not being fast enough (he even tried this year dont forget!).


    It’s been said already but all World Champions deserve their title. I would add though that just like we’ll never no the worst, we’ll never no the best, in almost any sport but this one in particular. We can only know whose best at the time because of the differance in the machinary of the era’s.

    An there are five stand out names in F1, who are widely agree’d to have been the best of their era, with one great rivalry, we all know there names: Fangio, Clark, Prost and Senna and of course Schumacher. We’ll never know whose the best out of these five though. Fangio was the master of the four wheel drift, not something Schumacher would have had to have worked hard at.


    I wrote a long reply and then changed my mind. Part of me wants to say Kimi because I just don’t think that he deserved that 2007 championship as much as either Hamilton or Alonso. Kimi was fantastic for most of his career, but 2007 wasn’t that year in my opinion. Should have been 2005. Its just a gut feeling that I have thats all.

    But the question being asked is not who was least deserving in the year that they won, instead its worst driver. The simple answer I think is that there really isn’t a worst driver who won the championship. They all made the most of their equipment and beat their teammate, who should have been capable of winning too. JV and Hill certainly made a meal out of winning their championships but i’m a self confessed Williams fanboy so I can’t bring myself to say either of them :p.

    I’ll instead say who I thought would have been the worst champion if he had won (and he did come close) which was Irvine. Is that allowed? ;)


    I’m Canadian, but BenH has a point. Villeneuve definitely seemed to flash in the pan and disappear in obscurity.


    Button.. I’m basing this on his performance in 2009. He was a driver who won in the fastest car only at the beginning of the year. Miles ahead of the other teams. Had it not been for the massive advantage at the beginning of the season no way he wins the Champ last year.. You can also say he had great strategy, but I’d chalk that up to Ross Brawn more than JB. I think had Brawn not been on board as the Shot-caller Brawn GP would have been left even farther in the dust that they would have been by RBR and Mclaren at the end of last year. JB’s extreme luck to be in the faster car with the best strategist leaves him as the Luckiest Champion ever. And Luck does not make you are great driver. Just a guy who was in the right place at the right time.

    Sure he’s redeemed himself this year, but this year has nothing to do with his performance last year.

    Dan Thorn

    Red Bull have/had a much bigger car advantage than Brawn did last year and they haven’t got anything like as big a lead as Jenson had. Last year Button raised his game enormously by comfortably outpacing Barrichello when over the last couple of season they’d been fairly evenly matched. Jenson fully deserved his title, and just because a driver had the best car does not make them an unworthy champion.

    In my opinion, ALL of the champions are fully worthy because they’ve all either made the most of or surpassed the capabilities of their machinery to beat their opposition. Some, such as Damon and Jacques, made it more difficult than it perhaps should have been but both proved their worth during their careers.

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