Top 20 Great Drivers

When I ran this post via my sounding board, a man of over 30 years experience watching Motor racing across the world, including Monaco, Interlagos and Donnington, this was his response.

“What? No Kimi? It can’t be! What about Brundle? He beat Senna in F3 1983! And what about Lauda? Fittipaldi? Piquet? Vettel? Rob you can’t post this, you have to put one of the Schumacher’s in. And you can’t include Mike Hawthorn, you just can’t.”

So with a little tweaking, TheTyreWall as a collection of opinion has found its 20 most highly rated drivers of F1 from 1950 to 2010.

  1. Jim Clark  –  The Farmers Son
  2. Ayrton Senna  –  The Soul of Racing
  3. Stirling Moss  –  The Underdog
  4. J.M. Fangio  –  The Godfather
  5. Jackie Stewart  –  The Safety King
  6. M. Schumacher  –  The Stat King
  7. Gilles Villeneuve  –  The Potential
  8. Alain Prost  –  The Professor
  9. Fernando Alonso  –  The New Millenium Professor
  10. Lewis Hamilton  –  The Spitfire
  11. Alberto Ascari  –  The Maestro
  12. Graham Hill  –  The Pilot
  13. Phil Hill  –  The Gentleman
  14. Jack Brabham  –  The Team Owner
  15. John Surtees  –  A Knight of Wheels
  16. Jochen Rindt  –  The Lost Champion
  17. Alan Jones  –  The True AussieGrit
  18. Stefan Bellof  –  The Missing Champion
  19. Keke Rosberg  –  The Flying Finn
  20. James Hunt  –  The Playboy

Clark takes top spot for being the Farmers Son in a sport full of rich kids, and beating everyone. Moss get’s ahead of the Fangio because of his unflinching loyalty and morals. Stewart then pip’s Schuey to round out the top five on the ground of his safety work and the countless lives his work has indirectly saved.

Villeneuve is catapulted to 7th way ahead of a similar Bellof due to a few marvellous drives in circumstances always set against him. Alonso is ranked ahead of Hamilton who does make it to the top ten as I predict these two will be battling at the top for years to come.

Ascari was possibly the main catalyst in the growth and fanatical mentality of the tifosi, inbeing the last Italian World Champion. The Hill come in line astern, both gentlemen of their era and fine brave pilot’s, literally in Grahams case. Next the original and greatest owner/driver, followed by the only king of two and four wheels.

The final five is where a great many names hit the cutting room floor. No Mansell, Hakkinen, Piquet or Vettel. These final few to round off the grid show that it’s not just about the racing craft and skill that make a great F1 pilot. Sometimes it’s a youthful impatience, Bellof, or all out aggression, Jones. And sometimes it’s about failing to keep a safe distance from the glamour of the off track perks; not that I blame him.