The Greatest F1 Drivers of All Time

Best F1 Drivers

Max Verstappen

The current F1 champion, Verstappen, made his F1 debut at the age of 17 and became the youngest F1 driver ever who pushed the limits of his vehicle, his opponents, and the sport’s record books. With his natural ability to race, the baby-faced Dutchman with the heart of a lion grabbed hold of the Toro Rosso and then the Red Bull.

Upon making his Red Bull debut in Barcelona 2016, the youngest points scorer in Formula One history went on to become the sport’s youngest race winner, clocking in at 18 years and 228 days. His driving was calculated and opportunistic. A spectacular drive in Brazil from the rear of the pack to the podium on a hazardous wet track demonstrated his skill as a wheel-to-wheel racer, further solidifying his reputation as a winner.

Verstappen became the first Dutch driver and the 34th driver overall to win the Formula One World Drivers’ Championship after winning 10 Grands Prix in the 2021 season. In 2022 and 2023, he emerged victorious in the following two Formula One titles. Verstappen has 56 wins, 34 pole positions, and 31 fastest laps as of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in 2024.

He not only holds the record for the youngest Grand Prix winner but also for the most victories in a season, the greatest percentage of wins in a season, and the most consecutive wins in Formula One. After agreeing to a contract extension, Verstappen will stay with Red Bull through at least the conclusion of the 2028 campaign. 

Max Verstappen Records

  • The highest percentage of wins in a season
  • Most wins in a season
  • Most consecutive wins
  • Most wins from pole in a season
  • Most consecutive wins from pole position
  • Most hat-tricks in a season
  • Most points in a season
  • Most podiums in a season
  • Most consecutive top-two finishes
  • Most laps led in a season
  • Most pitstops by the winning driver in one race
  • Most races left in a season before clinching the championship.

Lewis Hamilton

Despite Mercedes’ difficulties in the 2022 season, Lewis Hamilton is still racing at a championship level. He’s considered a legend in the history of the sport and holds many world titles thanks to his incredible driving style and driving skills. His championship triumph in 2020 was outstanding; Hamilton and the Mercedes W11 ran in perfect sync all season, which allowed the British driver to tie the legendary Michael Schumacher with seven world crowns.

In the 2023 Formula 1 season, the seven-time world champion from Britain is keen to break his barren run and has no intention of finishing the season without a victory. Hamilton has been Max Verstappen’s closest rival in recent races, even though he hasn’t won since the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in 2021. 

In the current ground effect era of Formula One, Hamilton has not been able to win races with Mercedes, despite having over 100 race victories, and finished second to Max Verstappen in the championship in 2021. Starting in 2025, Hamilton will race for Ferrari. 

Lewis Hamilton Records

  • Most wins in Formula 1
  • Only driver to win a race in every season completed
  • Most points in Formula 1
  • Most consecutive race starts
  • Most entries with a single engine manufacturer
  • Most consecutive points finishes
  • Most podium finishes
  • Total races finished in the points
  • Highest average points per race started
  • Most consecutive race finishes
  • Total laps led

Sergio Perez

Contrary methods to Grand Prix racing have been the foundation of Perez’s F1 fame. He is, on the one hand, a strong fighter who fights his way through the pack and into the points. Even his teammates can’t help but feel the fire from the Mexican when it comes to his on-track interactions; he’s never hesitant to spice things up.

Perez, on the other hand, is a deft operator and an expert at controlling tires to squeeze out more performance and give him an advantage in strategy. Once he left Sauber, McLaren, Force India, and Racing Point, Perez became a grid favorite and developed into a smart racer and team worker.

Over his F1 career, the Guadalajara native and proud Mexican has accumulated more points than any other driver from Mexico. By winning the checkered flag in Sakhir 2020, he also emulated his countryman and hero Pedro Rodriguez. This achievement earned him a spot beside Red Bull, the reigning champions.

He added five more victories to his career total there in addition to assisting Max Verstappen’s championship-winning efforts in the 21/22/23 seasons. While Verstappen’s presence on the squad may make Perez’s title push less likely, he still needs to race with all of his heart and work hard. 

Michael Schumacher

Largely considered the greatest Formula 1 driver in history, Michael Schumacher has driven for different teams, including Mercedes, Benetton, Ferrari, and Jordan in Formula One. In addition to his joint record seven World Drivers’ Championship victories with Lewis Hamilton, Schumacher also held the records for the most wins (91) and podium finishes (155) when he announced his retirement from racing in 2012. Hamilton has since surpassed these totals, but Schumacher still holds the records for the most consecutive Drivers’ Championships and the total number of quickest completed laps (77), among other records. 

In the 2000s, Jenson Button, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, and Fernando Alonso were among the first-time champions. Additionally, with Michael Schumacher leading the Ferrari team, it was the decade in which we saw absolute excellence. With two titles under his belt (1994 and 1995), the German was already one of the greatest F1 drivers in the F1 world.

But until 2000, when he eventually won his third crown, he had not triumphed previously. From then on, things became insanely good. 2002 and 2004 were particularly successful years for him. He finished on the podium in all but one of the races leading up to the French Grand Prix, and he established a record with 11 victories. 

Fernando Alonso 

Currently driving in F1 for Aston Martin, Fernando Alonso Díaz is a Spanish racing driver. He has raced for McLaren, Ferrari, and Minardi and won the World Drivers’ Championship for the series with Renault in 2005 and 2006. During his time with Toyota, Alonso won the FIA Endurance World Championship in 2018–19 as well as two 24 Hours of Le Mans victories in 2018 and 2019.

Along with Wayne Taylor Racing, he was the 2019 24 Hours of Daytona winner. Until 2024, Alonso is the only driver to have won both the World Endurance Championship and the F1 World Drivers’ Championship (WDC), even if the World Sportscar Championship is incorporated into the division. 

Alonso appeared to be a potential champion as soon as he entered the grid in 2003. He was able to get up to the top of the lineup and win two races quite quickly.

Alonso joined Lewis Hamilton, who was ready to race right away, at McLaren in 2007 after Hamilton made his racing debut. Throughout the season, Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa’s Ferraris competed against each other in addition to the McLaren drivers. It ultimately came down to the season’s last race in Brazil. By just one point above Hamilton and Alonso, Raikkonen was victorious in both the race and the championship. 

Kimi Raikkonen

Finnish racer Kimi-Matias Räikkönenn, sometimes known as “The Iceman,” represented Sauber, McLaren, Ferrari, Lotus, and Alfa Romeo in F1 from 2001 to 2021. Räikkönen, a Ferrari driver, finished second overall twice and third three times in the 2007 F1 World Championship.

By several measures, Räikkönen is the most successful professional racing driver from Finland. He has the sixth-most podium finishes (103), third-most quickest laps (46), and second-most race starts (349) in the history of the sport. 

Räikkönen made an impression with his skill and tenacity throughout his incredibly successful racing career in the 2000s. Before switching to McLaren in 2002, he made his debut with Sauber in 2001. In 2003, Räikkönen went on to win his first race and take second in the drivers’ championship while racing for McLaren.

After joining Ferrari in 2006, he won the World Championship title in his first year there. Räikkönen became known as “The Iceman” because of his cool manner and steady performances. His accomplishments throughout these ten years have cemented his place among the leading drivers of his cohort. 

Ayrton Senna

In 1988, 1990, and 1991, Brazilian racer Ayrton Senna da Silva—driving for McLaren—won the Formula One World Drivers’ Championship. Having won 41 Grands Prix and 65 pole positions, the former of which stood as a record until 2006, Senna is one of three Brazilian drivers in the World Championship of Formula One. After leading the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix while racing for the Williams squad, Senna passed away in an accident, which was one of the greatest tragedies in Formula 1 history.

The decade of the 1990s was an extreme one. Over those years, there were high points and low points, but eventually, the late Ayrton Senna emerged as one of the finest and most devout racers in history.

When he made his debut and joined the grid in the middle of the 1980s, his abilities were already well-received, but he wasn’t able to race at the front until he moved to McLaren in 1988. In addition to his 1988 title, he also won two more in 1990 and 1991.

Senna was a driving pro, particularly during wet weather and during qualifying. His unprecedented six victories in the Monaco Grand Prix demonstrate his unshakable genius under trying conditions. 

Mika Hakkinen

Mika Pauli Häkkinen, also known as “The Flying Finn,” is a former race driver from Finland. In 1998 and 1999, while racing for McLaren, he took home the Formula One World Drivers’ Championship. Three Formula One drivers from Finland have won the World Drivers’ Championship; Häkkinen is the only one who has done it on multiple occasions. He is a brand ambassador for several businesses in addition to his present job in driver management. 

The ‘Flying Finn,’ Hakkinen, ended the decade with McLaren back on the top row of the grid after the team hadn’t been successful since Senna in 1991.

He had never really contested at any other stage in the previous seasons since he entered the grid in 1993, therefore he was a rather unexpected champion. By the end of the decade, he had become a double world champion, despite having just won his maiden race in the final race of the 1997 season. 

Alain Prost

Alain Marie Pascal Prost, a Frenchman who retired from racing and owned a Formula One team, was a four-time Formula One World Drivers’ Champion, and Prost’s record for most Grand Prix wins stood from 1987 to 2001, when Michael Schumacher overtook Prost with 51 victories in the Belgian Grand Prix.

“Professor” Alain Prost was considered one of the best drivers of his time who had a keen understanding of how the Formula 1 world and cars worked. He was practically able to tap into the car’s mechanical components and identify every single detail that made it run. As a result, he saw significant success and won three of his four F1 world titles in the 1980s (1985, 1986, and 1989).

In past seasons, Prost came dangerously near to winning the title; in 1983, for example, he was defeated by a mere two points. However, he attained success and solidified his status as an all-time great. 

Sebastian Vettel

From 2007 to 2022, Sebastian Vettel participated in Formula One races for BMW Sauber, Toro Rosso, Red Bull, and Aston Martin among others. Four World Drivers’ Championship titles, which he won consecutively with Red Bull from 2010 to 2013, make Vettel one of the most successful drivers in Formula One history. In addition to having the fourth-most race wins (53), third-most podium finishes (122), and fourth-most pole positions—Vettel is the youngest World Champion in Formula One history. 

He won nine races in a row in 2013, breaking the previous record. While he finished second in both of his championship races in 2017 and 2018, Vettel emerged as Mercedes’ and Lewis Hamilton’s greatest rival since joining his new team in 2015 to replace Alonso. After racing for Aston Martin in 2021 and 2022, he left Ferrari after the 2020 season. At the end of the 2022 season, he announced his retirement from Formula One. 

Juan Manuel Fangio

Juan Manuel Fangio was the dominant driver in Formula 1 for the first ten years of the founding of the sport.

In the early years of the new premier motorsport discipline (1951, 1954–1957), after he made his Formula 1 debut, Fangio quickly became known as the original Greatest Of All Time in the newly established sport. He managed to win five world championships, securing his legacy as one of Formula 1’s greatest drivers. Furthermore, he achieved it with four different teams, something no other champion has ever accomplished.

During the early years, the Argentinean was just amazing. However, even though he was the most successful champion for a long time until Michael Schumacher’s supremacy, he narrowly lost out to Giuseppe Farina of Italy to become the first-ever world champion.

Nelson Piquet

As one of the top 10 best Formula 1 drivers of the 1980s since 1950, Nelson Piquet had a tremendously successful career in Formula One, racing for many teams. Although Piquet started his career in 1978 with Ensign, it was with Brabham that he was initially recognised, winning two titles with them in 1981 and 1983.

He departed in 1984 to become a Williams teammate, and in 1987 he won the championship. Piquet had a distinct driving style; he was quick, astute, and technically adept. His prowess behind the wheel earned him the moniker “The Professor.” Talent, consistency, and unquestionable success characterized Piquet’s Formula One career in the 1980s. 

Nico Rosberg

Between 2006 and 2016, Nico Erik Rosberg was an F1 competitor. With Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, he won the World Drivers’ Championship in 2016. 

From 2006 until 2009, Rosberg drove for Williams in Formula 1, where he finished on the podium twice for the team in 2008. He partnered with fellow German and seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher when he switched to Mercedes in 2010.

With his meticulous attention to detail and ability to adjust his driving style to the changes, particularly within a single lap, Rosberg was known for his scientific and technical racing style. The likelihood of winning a title after the 2016 Japanese Grand Prix caused Rosberg, who had signed a two-year contract extension with Mercedes until 2018, to start thinking about retiring from motor racing.

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