Who is the best Formula 1 driver in history?

Published on 16 May 2023 at 20:00

The best Formula 1 driver is a controversial topic that provides an interesting debate. Many driving legends have been produced since the modern Formula 1 started in 1946. From their unique, cutting-edge driving style to their record-breaking performances.

The Legends of the sport are endless. Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton. All with extraordinary talent and dedication.

How to evaluate ‘The best Formula 1 driver’ is a challenge. Some may lean towards their chosen team. Others prefer the driver as an individual. However, the results can’t lie. So, let's go through them.

Championship wins

Time progression and cars have been upgraded, which makes the leader board interesting. For example, Sir Lewis Hamilton has a more modern and devolved car compared to Michael Schumacher, but they have won an equal number of championships. One could argue it was talent, or perhaps it came down to their car being the best on the grid at the time and them being the most tactical driver.

Sir Lewis Hamilton missed out on his 8th world title that would have broken the joint record with the German driver. He was narrowly beaten in the 2021 championship by Max Verstappen.

Sebastian Vettel remains the youngest Formula 1 champion when he won his first world championship with Red Bull in 2010. This was also an era where Red Bull was a dominant team, much like the last few years.

Championships are hands down the most intense part of race results. Everyone wants to be the best, and it comes down to the wire. The closest-ever championship was won by just half a point. Niki Lauda beat his McLaren teammate Alain Prost in 1984 by 72 points to 71 ½ points.


Race wins

Sir Lewis Hamilton comes out on top again. He has an impressive 103 wins in his career. It continues as his contract with Mercedes Petronas is still active.

The two German drivers, Michael Schumacher and newly retired Sebastian Vettel are next. However, there is a significant difference in race wins, with Schumacher pulling ahead.

It is clear that Hamilton and Schumacher are way above the average. Both once Mercedes drivers, could the link be the teams as well as the driver's ability?

The famous battle of teammates made it to the top five. Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna were teammates at McLaren. They challenged each other throughout their careers, and the results weren’t far different, with only 10 race wins separating them in the history books.


Championship points

The championship points leader board is made up of active or recently retired drivers. Each driver had been a part of different teams throughout their career. They made it clear that their talent included adapting to new machinery.

Sir Lewis Hamilton once again finds himself number 1 on the leader board. Sitting thousands of points above the others. The other top 5 have at least 1 world champion title, but only 2 remain active. Max Verstappen is in the prime of his career. Only 2,379 points separate him and his 2021 rival.


In conclusion, the best driver is defined by many factors. If you are a stickler for results, Sir Lewis Hamilton seems to be the modern hero, but with past icons such as Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, rivalry may take your top spot.


Megan Taylor

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