Each Formula One fan will have their own favourite F1 driver, and sometimes this isn’t determined by the number of victories, pole placements or podiums they’ve acquired.
It can come down to a driver’s personality, the country they are from, the team they drive for and more.
Like all sports, there will be great debate around who is considered the best F1 driver of all time. You can create the list yourself or you can turn to the internet for advice and other top ten lists for inspiration.
For instance, you can check the 10 best options for many services such as the best car loan companies so that you can buy your own car and one day appear in a list like this one!
Here is our list of some of the most prolific and best F1 drivers to date.
1. Lewis Hamilton
One of the biggest names in F1, Lewis Hamilton is a British race-car driver who boasts great success. Currently, Hamilton owns the F1 record for career race victories, is tied with Michael Schumacher for the most drivers’ championship wins, and is the first black driver to win the F1 World Drivers’ Championship in 2008.
Hamilton started his F1 career by signing with McLaren, and in his rookie season, he came second, losing out by one point to Kimi Raikkonen. However, his victories tied with Jacques Villeneuve and his four wins, making him one of the most skilled rookies to date.
2. Sebastian Vettel
The German driver who is currently titled the world’s youngest F1 driver to win the F1 World Drivers’ Championship. He continued to win the title in the years 2011 through to 2013. What’s interesting about Vettel and his F1 career, however, is how he followed in the footsteps of his idol, Michael Schumacher. Much like Schumacher, Vettel was spotted by track owner Gerhard Noack, who supported them both during their karting careers. Vettel was then sponsored by Red Bull Racing and moved to Renault before his F1 race debut.
3. Michael Schumacher
The German is still considered one of the best F1 drivers of all time, with many aspiring F1 drivers looking towards him as a figurehead in the industry. Schumacher is prolific in F1 and has 155 podiums and 68 pole positions to his name. Furthermore, he has one of the best comeback stories of all time as he managed to return to racing after breaking his leg in a crash and winning in the next championship.
4. Jenson Button
The British driver who is known for winning the 2009 Formula One World Drivers’ Championship. After retiring from F1, he started racing in the Super GT Championships and currently races for Team Kunimitsu. Button continues to make a name for himself and as it stands, he has an impressive net worth of around $150 million in 2020.
5. Fernando Alonso
Spanish racing car driver Alonso won his first World Drivers’ Championship in 2005 and then his second in 2006 with Renault. He has also driven for Minardi, Ferrari and McLaren. Like all F1 drivers, he won many karting championships and showed promise from a young age. At the height of his career, Alonso set five records.
6. Kimi Raikkonen
Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen, also known as ‘The Iceman,’ is one of the longest standing F1 drivers, having debuted his F1 career in 2001 and continuing to race in the current season. Raikkonen currently races for Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN; however, he has also raced for Sauber and McLaren. He was also a teammate for Fernando Alonso.
7. Nico Rosberg
Much like Raikkonen, Rosberg is of Finnish descent, an F1 driver who followed in the footsteps of his father, Keke Rosberg. Rosberg won the 2016 F1 World Championship while driving for Mercedes. Even before he had formally won the 2016 championship, Rosberg contemplated retirement and discussed the possibility of doing so with his wife. And after he cinched the win, Rosberg bowed out of his two-year contract extension with Mercedes so that he could spend more time with his family.
During his retirement, Rosberg has explored engineering and soon became an eco-entrepreneur and has proposed an all-electric racing series which he has considered naming ‘Formula E.’
8. Jackie Stewart
Legendary across the globe but more so in the United Kingdom, Scottish driver Jackie Steward can still be found spectating F1 races. Stewart has driven 100 races and has secured an impressive 43 podiums, but after the death of his teammate Francois Cevert during qualifying, he decided against driving what would have been the last race of his career.
9. Alain Prost
Also known as ‘The Professor,’ Alain Prost is a French race-car driver best known for his rivalry with the renowned Senna. Unlike many of the drivers on this list, Prost didn’t secure a championship win right away. Rather, it took him six seasons before he was top of the podium for the 1985 World Drivers’ Championship.
10. Ayrton Senna
The legendary Brazilian is known by many and is considered to be the best racing driver ever. While Senna managed to secure three World Drivers’ Championships, he is also known for his erratic driving style that saw him often pushing his car to the limit and causing him to spin off the track or being caught in an accident. Sadly, Senna’s career and life ended after he succumbed to a fatal injury during the San Marino Grand Prix on May 1st, 1994.
F1 is a fast-paced and exciting sport for many to enjoy. Due to its competitive nature and characterful drivers, it comes as no surprise when you consider the sport’s popularity. Whether you are a supporter of Vettel or consider Senna an unbeatable race car driver, you cannot deny that all the drivers on this list are impressive.