The history of Formula 1 is not built around Michael Schumacher, who is undoubtedly a legend of this sport. In our top list, we will consider who among the best pilots of the twentieth century is worth mentioning and who among the modern racers have already secured a spot in the Formula 1 hall of fame.
Top Five Best Formula 1 Drivers
Sports car racing was especially cool, spectacular and (what is very important) popular even before the 50s. The boys were dreaming of becoming famous racers, and their fathers built self-made cars for them or allowed them to drive a real car.
Most of the legendary Formula 1 drivers have interesting paths to glory, and some of them died during the race. We have compiled a list of the best and most famous racers based on their achievements and other criteria such as an extraordinary talent or a unique driving style. These racers are:
- Michael Schumacher;
- Lewis Hamilton;
- Sebastian Vettel;
- Alain Prost;
- Ayrton Senna.
Let’s get acquainted with each of them closer and find out about the most important achievements that made these racers legends.
Photo source: drive2.ru
This legendary racer opens our list of top five Formula 1 drivers. Ayrton Senna is a prime example of the fact that there are people born to be racers. Many publications consider Senna as the best race car driver in the entire history of Formula 1.
It is fair to say that Ayrton started driving since he was in nappies. Senna was born in 1960 in Brazil, and at the age of three, his father gifted him a homemade car. After that, the boy was mastering driving day by day. He lived to be 34 and spent almost all of these years on the track. Ayrton died in a terrible car crash at the Grand Prix in San Marino in 1994.
Senna’s career was brilliant and outstanding, as evidenced by the fact that only a few racers managed to surpass his achievements even 25 years after his death. During his career, the Brazilian was driving for Toleman, Lotus, Honda, McLaren, and Renault. He had always been associated with complete superiority on the track during bad weather. Ayrton won such races without any difficulties, for which reason he was nicknamed the "Rain Man".
Senna became the Formula 1 champion three times: in 1988, 1990 and 1991. Despite the fact that the athlete’s performance in this class of races lasted only ten years, he managed to win 41 races and 65 pole positions. The Brazilian race car driver is often mentioned with regard to his rivalry with Alain Prost, who occupies the next position in our ranking.
This man became the main rival of the legendary Senna in the early 90s. At that time, fierce competition between these guys actually made the Formula 1 ratings and popularized sports car racing.
They were similar in their devotion to motor racing and the highest driving skills combined with talent. However, if Senna dedicated his life to races and non-advertised charity, then Prost loved scandals and popularity.
By the number of trophies, Alain settled in the third position, right after the father of motorsport, Juan-Manuel Fangio and the legendary Michael Schumacher, who, together with Lewis Hamilton, broke all records of the French racer in the twenty-first century. A while back, Alain was called the "Professor." Such nickname was attributed to the athlete because of his prudence, elaboration of the strategy and accuracy during the races.
In total, Prost was a Formula 1 racer for thirteen seasons, during which he won four championships (1985, 1986, 1989, 1993), as well as ranked second four times.
After completing his racing career, Alain established his own team called the Prost Grand Prix. However, it failed to win any significant trophies and was closed 4 years after the foundation.
Formula 1 is not the same as it was in the 50s, in the era of the great Juan Fangio. Undoubtedly, his contribution is hard to underestimate, as well as the contribution of other prominent racers. However, every year new sportsmen who are ready to rewrite the Formula 1 history appear on the tracks. That is how such names as Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton got into the list of the best racers of all time. The point is not that the German or the British is better than Fangio, but rather that their achievements are difficult to be objectively compared.
But let’s move on. Please welcome: Sebastian Vettel – a Ferrari race car driver. The 32-year-old Michael Schumacher’s compatriot occupies the third position in our rating, but he ranks second among the racers who are currently performing in Formula 1.
Since 2015, the German has been racing for Ferrari after shifting from Red Bull Racing. He had been racing for this team for seven years, but constant engine failures during the last season there forced Vettel to reconsider his team selection and sign a contract with Scuderia Ferrari.
However, it was during his performances for Red Bull when the driver was the strongest in Formula 1: the German repeatedly became the Formula 1 champion starting from 2010. In the last year of his driving for the “bulls”, the 32-year-old German took only the fifth position due to the technical problems described earlier. Thirst for trophies led the racer to change the team, but this time Lewis Hamilton was the one to prevent him from becoming number 1.
Vettel won all his races in Formula 1 only after starting from the top three places.
During his "golden" period in the "Formula 1", Sebastian participated in the Race of Champions, where he represented the national team together with Michael Schumacher. Between 2007 and 2012, they were undeniable winners of this tournament. In 2015, Vettel won the Race of Champions by himself.
He won 114 trophies, which is 26 prizes less than the nearest competitor. By the way, there was a funny incident during the last Canadian GP award ceremony, which perfectly describes all the years of rivalry between Vettel and our next racer.
The Mercedes team racer beat his opponent from Germany not only in the aforementioned race in Canada but also in our top list. Let's be frank: it is well-deserved.
This guy is gunning for the title of the best racer of the 21st century. The 34-year-old Briton ranks first in the Formula 1 standings for 2019. By the way, Hamilton’s idol is Ayrton Senna, which is why he has a similar driving style – rough and sometimes even aggressive. Lewis’s yellow helmet is another tribute to the legendary Brazilian.
Hamilton is a five-time world champion, who won the Formula 1 Grand Prix Races 77 times for 13 seasons. He is the only Formula 1 driver, who managed to win at least one race during each season on the highest level, including the very first one in his career.
Lewis always knew that he would become a racer. Almost everyone has heard the story of how Lewis, at the age of 10, told Ron Dennis (McLaren’s team racer) that he would drive his car in the future. This turned out to be true, and now this is his family’s favorite story.
In addition, the Briton heads the rating of the 50 most popular athletes in the field of advertising. There is a wax sculpture of him In Madame Tussauds Museum, and Queen Elizabeth II awarded Hamilton the Order of the British Empire.
Let’s get back to Formula 1. In fact, the racer spent his entire career (13 seasons) in the Mercedes team. By the number of trophies, Hamilton immediately follows the legendary Schumacher, who is only 15 winnings ahead. Most likely, Lewis will soon beat this record. However, will he manage to surpass the great German’s achievements?
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This is the man whose last name has become a definition of a fast and skilled driver. However, life has prepared a challenge for Michael. After a terrible accident at the end of 2013, when Schumacher suffered a severe head trauma, the motor racing legend has been confined to bed and remained isolated from society.
The best Formula 1 racer’s biography is full of interesting stories and facts, but we will consider the period of Schumacher’s performance for Ferrari, which he joined in 1996.
When Michael came to the team, it was going through tough times. Signing a contract with the most promising racer revived Scuderia Ferrari because Schumacher’s results were incredible.
In the 2000 season, he won nine races, which allowed the sportsman to become a champion ahead of time. A year later, Michael again became a Formula 1 champion and even broke the record for the number of trophies in a single season. During the next three years, Schumacher won three more championships and became the five-time world champion in a row and the seven-time world champion in total.
After this, there was no serious success in the racer’s career – the German failed to get another trophy. In October 2012, Schumacher announced the end of his career and at the end of 2013, there was that terrible accident at the ski resort in the Alps, where Michael had been on vacation with his family.
Recently it became known that Schumacher Sr. had dreamed of becoming a mentor to his son Mika, who is now a promising Formula 1 racer.
Michael Schumacher is a Formula 1 record-breaker in the number of championships won (seven, five of which are in a row). He has 91 wins (72 of which were for Ferrari), 155 runner-ups, and about 20 other achievements that no one has yet managed to surpass or repeat.
As mentioned earlier, Sebastian Vettel expressed a confident opinion that safety should be on the first place in Formula 1 competitions.