Our top ten GP drivers

Everyone has their own list and there are regular polls, so here is ours. To compare drivers of different eras is always hard, and we have elected to go here for Grand Prix drivers rather than F1 so as to include the pre Formula One people. The skills needed today are different to those of the past and the number of wins is not relevant as the opportunity for racing changed has over the years; these days they run three 1950s seasons in a year. Length of career has therefore largely been ignored.

 

A driver’s ability in non GP cars also plays a part in our ranking, and most of our choices enjoyed success over more than one era or formula. This is not about the fastest or the most successful then, but more about those we think are the best.

 

1 Tazio Nuvolari, a man who could win in a car that was not the best in the field.

2 Juan Manuel Fangio, who came to GP racing late in life and still won five titles, but positioned himself with the best teams to do so.

3= Stirling Moss, another man who could beat faster cars with skill and won in different F1 eras (front and rear engined).

3= Jim Clark, whilst his F1 skills were not seen in anything but a Lotus and all of his wins came in Loti that were the class of the field he, like Moss, could win anywhere in anything.

5 Jackie Stewart, not only did he have the raw skill, but he thought about his racing and was the man to beat for six years until his abrupt retirement.

6 Bernd Rosemeyer, whose life was cut short in a speed record attempt, but whose mastery of the GP Auto Union on a range of circuits was peerless.

7 Michael Schumacher, from the modern era and someone who took precision to new limits in exploiting the data logging technology.

8 Mario Andretti, who took pole position on his GP debut and another who won in F1 across different eras as well as being one of the most versatile winners ever.

9 Fernando Alonso, of the current crop he is the one who can do the most with the least, is remarkable off the line and fights all the way.

10 Tony Brooks, who had to play second fiddle to Stirling in his Vanwall days, but has the distinction of having won at Spa, the ‘Ring and Monza in the same season; respect!

 

There are some who came close to inclusion but the 1980s are the only decade not represented here (if you ignore the 1940s, but there was little real GP racing then for obvious reasons). Of the 1980s drivers Nigel Mansell would be top of our list as he beat everyone else from that decade and although he would go wheel to wheel he didn’t feel the need to cheat or push anyone off the track to beat them.

 

Rudi Caracciola came close too and his career covered two decades of winning, Alberto Ascari Jr was in the running; who knows what he might have achieved had we not lost him and Dan Gurney was another that I would have liked to have included; winning for three different teams over two eras and the one that Jim Clark saw as the man to beat. Jochen Rindt is another who just missed the cut.

 

No doubt there will be those who don’t agree just as we often don’t agree with the lists of others, but this is our one.

 

 

 

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