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.
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…
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%|
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
Least Races To First Win
|Giuseppe 'Nino' Farina||1|
|Juan Manuel Fangio||2|
|José Froilán González||5|
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
Statsf1.com, Formulapoints.com, Formula1.com, Racing-statistics.com
Only drivers with more than 10 career points (adjusted) or 21 GP starts (length of 2019 season) were considered.