Fastest Formula 1 Driver: Revised Edition

When Formula 1 and AWS released their ‘Fastest Formula 1 Driver’ analysis, they broke the internet. Judging by the number of meltdowns in the comments on Facebook groups, if their goals were simply to get more people talking about F1 and to get more people taking notice of the sport, it was Mission Accomplished.

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However, the results had a lot of people scratching their heads.

Heikki Kovalainen in eighth place?

Juan Pablo Montoya and Kimi Raikkonen not on the list?

Thankfully, not everyone took the figures as gospel, and numbers began to get crunched…

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So, to see how drivers stack up against each other and add some weight to the debate, the team at money.co.uk analysed the performance of drivers from the last 70 years to see how they performed across nine different factors including career win percentage, championship points per race (adjusted for the current scoring system), and 2nd and 3rd place podium finishes to rank, on balance, the best drivers of all time.

To account for manufacturer reliability and performance, they also included the percentage of races where drivers were forced to retire due to mechanical issues and the average number of points per race (adjusted) Vs teammates.

Here are the findings!

Top 10 Greatest Drivers Of All Time

Juan Manuel Fangio 88.6 points
Michael Schumacher 79.2 points
Lewis Hamilton 75.7 points
Jim Clark 65.5 points
Alberto Ascari 65.3 points
Alain Prost 64.2 points
Ayrton Senna 58.9 points
Jackie Stewart 58.3 points
Sebastian Vettel 57.9 points
Niki Lauda 50.9 points

See the full list of the Top 50 Fastest Formula 1 Drivers




Top 10 Drivers By Career Win %

Juan Manuel Fangio 47.1%
Alberto Ascari 40.6%
Jim Clark 34.7%
Lewis Hamilton 34.5%
Michael Schumacher 29.6%
Jackie Stewart 27.3%
Alain Prost 25.6%
Ayrton Senna 25.5%
Stirling Moss 24.2%
Sebastian Vettel 21.6%

Most Total Career Points (adjusted)

Michael Schumacher 3,961 (12.9 per start)
Lewis Hamilton 3952 (15.5 per start)
Sebastian Vettel 3,223 (13.1 per start)
Kimi Räikkönen 2,816 (8.8 per start)
Fernando Alonso 2,761 (8.8 per start)
Alain Prost 2,502 (12.6 per start)
Rubens Barrichello 1,906 (5.9 per start)
Ayrton Senna 1,875 (11.6 per start)
Jenson Button 1,844 (6 per start)
Nico Rosberg 1,757 (8.5 per start)

Most 2nd & 3rd Place Finishes

Kimi Räikkönen 82
Lewis Hamilton 68
Sebastian Vettel 67
Fernando Alonso 65
Michael Schumacher 64
Rubens Barrichello 57
Alain Prost 55
David Coulthard 49
Valtteri Bottas 42
Ayrton Senna 39

Least Races To First Win

Giuseppe 'Nino' Farina 1
Juan Manuel Fangio 2
Tony Brooks 3
Emerson Fittipaldi 4
Jacques Villeneuve 4
Clay Regazzoni 5
José Froilán González 5
Lewis Hamilton 6
Jacky Ickx 7
Bruce McLaren 7




The Methodology

The team analysed driver performance on a range of data points that are typically associated with success (detailed below) across the duration of their careers.

To mitigate manufacturer bias (i.e. cars with superior engineering) they took into consideration drivers average points per start vs their teammates.

They also looked at the % of races where drivers were forced to retire due to a mechanical fault to account for improved reliability.

Findings were scored and weighted using a min-max normalisation formula with final rankings weighted towards championship wins, reliability, and team performance to emphasise performance against peers and avoid manufacturer bias.

Win %, Championship Wins, Points Per Start, Podium %, Pole %, Fastest Laps, Mechanical DNF %, Average Points Vs Teammate

Sources

Statsf1.com, Formulapoints.com, Formula1.com, Racing-statistics.com

Caveats

Only drivers with more than 10 career points (adjusted) or 21 GP starts (length of 2019 season) were considered.

Fastest Driver - Pole Position Graphic