In the world of Formula 1, a driver's victory or defeat in a race does not depend solely on talent, but on a number of factors. Over the years, many factors have been decisive agents in world titles: team, driver, weather conditions and accidents. Even during more balanced seasons, such as the 2008 season, unforeseen events changed history: just remember that Lewis Hamilton won that year's title by one point, benefiting from some mistakes by Felipe Massa. Regardless of the variables, there were legendary drivers in each season of the competition. Obviously, lists are always incomplete, idiosyncratic. It is known that, like perception, opinion - which is the basis of most lists - is something individual. The result is not intended to be comprehensive or definitive.
7 Ayrton Senna
Considered to be one of the greatest drivers of all times, Senna was a three time champion, with victories in 1988, 1990 and 1991. French rival, Alain Prost, Senna tested his limits at each race and became a national hero. Senna died in 1994, in a race for the GP of San Marino, in Italy, and caused one of the biggest commotions in the history of Brazil, with great international repercussions. During his career, he collected not only victories and records, but also a legion of fans. After his death, he became a true legend of the sport. Considered “King of Monaco”, he was immortalized as the great idol of Formula 1 in his country of birth, Brazil.
6 Nelson Piquet
Taking into consideration the Brazilian idolatry, Piquet would hardly be ahead of Ayrton Senna. But in addition to being a three-time Formula 1 world champion, Piquet was a driver who used his intelligence to improve his cars, probably because he was a mechanic. He excelled in overtaking competitors and had this ability recognized by his contemporary opponent Niki Lauda, who considered him the most skilled, steadfast and intelligent driver he saw racing. At 39, in 1991, Piquet ended his career, with 204 GPs under his belt. Ayrton Senna is a Brazilian icon, but Piquet, despite not being so charismatic, had the gift of taming a Formula 1 car in his unique way.
5 Lewis Hamilton
Born with talent, he holds five world titles and record collector: this is the career of Briton Lewis Hamilton. To understand the greatness of his achievements, it is enough to analyze that he was world champion in the second year of Formula 1. In fact, Hamilton could have been champion already in 2007, the year of his debut, but his inexperience hindered the plans of what would be the youngest champion in history. The feat was only postponed, because in 2008, at the GP Brasil, the Englishman didn't even need to win the race to win the title. After this unprecedented feat, the pilot went through a bad phase on the tracks and in his private life. But, after structural changes in the category, Hamilton switched teams and returned to the heyday, being champion by Mercedes in 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018; surpassing historic marks of Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher.
4 Jim Clark
Despite having only two world titles, Scotsman Jim Clark deserves a place among the top five Formula 1 racers. The sport's idol in the 1960s was always one of the favorites for the title, despite his constant bad luck and his career marked by accidents. One of them, in 1968, was responsible for getting him off the track for good: running an F2 race in Germany, he hit a tree and ended up dying at the age of 32. Before fatality, he won two world championships with 100% of the valid points: in 1963 and 1965. Intelligent and strategic, he collected 33 pole positions.
3 Alain Prost
The forever rival of Ayrton Senna, the Frenchman Alain Prost had a career marked by constant clashes with the Brazilian. Four-time Formula 1 world champion, Prost said that the competition with the Brazilian served for the two to improve and seek to overcome on the tracks. The beginning of the rivalry began in 1989, at the San Marino GP, when Senna passed the Frenchman on the approach of the first corner, breaking an agreement between them, proposed by Senna himself, by which one could not overtake the other during the first lap. Ignoring the deal, the Brazilian driver started one of the greatest Formula 1 wars. Prost was an extremely agile and intelligent driver and, even though he lived in a period of great adversaries, he managed to stand out, becoming one of the greatest in the history of motorsport.
2 Michael Schumacher
Seven times world champion, the German Michael Schumacher holds not only that record, but also the fastest laps, the largest number of championships, points scored, victories and races won in a single season (2004). However, his prestige is not limited to numbers: his talent, technique and strategy have also made him a great reference in terms of competitiveness. In statistics, he can be considered the greatest driver of Formula 1, but some factors weighed on him: the lack of a rival to match, the powerful team of Ferrari, and his return to the tracks in 2009, when he was no longer able to maintain his position. same performance as before. In 2013, Schumacher was involved in a skiing accident in the French Alps. With serious brain injuries, while he remains alive, his health status is still kept as a secret today.
1 Juan Manuel Fangio
The top of the ranking belongs to the Argentine Fangio, winner of 24 of the 52 races he has competed in his career and five times world champion with four different teams. He competed for ran only eight years, between 1950 and 1958, but he set a standard of excellence that is unlikely to be exceeded. Unlike Schumacher, the Argentine won his last title driving a clearly inferior car. With his Maserati 250F, Fangio conquered the world in 1957. He won five out of seven seasons, leaving behind strong opponents like Stirling Moss and Alberto Ascari. For his unparalleled driving and short-term winning record, Fangio can be considered the greatest Formula 1 driver of all time.