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Your Top 5 Favourite F1 Drivers of All Time

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Just another silly popularity contest to pass the time and argue about until the racing is back.

Pretty curious to see how everyone's list looks like... And by favourites I mean your personal favourites for whatever reason - not necessarily the best drivers ever. Much appreciated if you include the reasoning behind your choices!

@Tommy @RandoEFC @MUFC @DeadLinesman @Stan @Eco

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1 - Michael Schumacher - purely because it's the driver I was first enjoyed watching when I got in to F1. My brother supported Ferrari and therefore so did I. So it could be classed as a bit of a glory pick given it was late 90s/early 00s when I first started watching it (Thank you Channel 4 for airing races back then :x). 

2 - Rubens Barrichello - linked to the above, we got our first F1 game, F1 2000, on PlayStation and obviously my brother being older got first pick, and that would be Schumi, so I was left with Rubens! A bit of nostalgic, sentimental pick this one!

3 - Kimi Raikkonen - I just love his blunt attitude. His wit, dry humour and personality lend itself to him being a Marmite-esque character. I choose to love, not hate!

4 - Felipe Massa - I think my liking for the support wavered around mid-00s but when Massa joined Ferrari there was just something about him that made me take more of an interest again. I still have sympathy with him for how 2008 turned out. How romantic it would have been to see him win his first title on his home track :( 

5 - Fernando Alonso - his ability to push cars to their ultimate limit is, for me, unique. I always feel like he won more races than he actually did which is probably testament to how good a driver he is, to leave such an impression. 

 

Honourable mentions:
Montoya & Hakkinen - the rivalry with Schumacher/Ferrari and they played their part in the entertainment just as much as Ferrari and their drivers did.

Hamilton - for achievements only!

Daniel Ricciardo - you can't not love the guy. He's a great character to have in the sport. 

 

Other younger drivers like Leclerc & Verstappen are perhaps too young/inexperienced to have in a list like this, but I do like them. 

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Michael Schumacher - a childhood hero and someone who got me properly into F1 in the first place. His driving style, speed, ruthlessness, confidence and extreme dedication was fascinating, he always had that aura of superiority around him and I also loved the controversy surrounding him. 

Niki Lauda - sadly, a bit before the time, but I loved the stories growing up, and watching the old races later just confirmed what an exceptional driver he was. No-nonsense, direct, methodical. The epitome of will power and sheer determination (and balls of steel). Always loved his rebelious nature and bluntness as well.

Mika Häkkinen - pure, unadulterated speed. Loved watching him, especially at the earlier stages of his career when he was driving like crazy and a bit reckless... Definitely my second most favourite driver of my time (after MSC). 

Max Verstappen - it does feel a bit weird to be putting his name along with the legends of the sport, but I absolutely love his aggressiveness, confidence, driving style and controversial decisions, reminds me of the likes of Schumacher and Senna back then. I was losing interest in F1, and he arrived and was a breath of fresh air to the sport which for me was otherwise getting pretty boring both on and off the track. 

Gerhard Berger - I'm biased due to having a very distant relation to him, but thought he was a very unique personality in the paddock. The original joker and prankster of F1, very laidback with a wicked sense of humour, but also a fast and very competitive driver. Also no nonsense, direct, and straight to the point.

 

Honorable mentions:
Kimi Räikkönen - amazing talent and skill, and his stereotypical Finn personality and careless attitude has always been very refreshing in the F1 circus. Somewhat of a "normal person", which makes it easy to relate to.
Ayrton Senna - an incredible driver, so exciting to watch, and a very polarising personality. So would normally tick all the boxes to be included in my top 5, but misses out because I always thought that in his case it was more about arrogance than confidence.
 

 

 

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1. Sebastian Vettel - The first driver I followed from the beginnings. I remember being at a DTM presentation in Düsseldorf, and I saw an F3 or F4 car with the name "S. Vettel" on it, so he must have been around there too but I didn't see him. But I took an interest in him from there on, and of course liked his personality too. Honest, down to earth, and just passionate about the sport. I actually had a tear in my eyes when he won his first title, because he was the first German who won the title after Schumacher, and I didn't expect to see another German Champions relatively soon-ish again. 

2. Heinz-Harald Frentzen - The driver i first liked as a kid and started to watch F1. He was from the area (Mönchengladbach), and just a funny all around ground to earth kind of guy. Also a spectacular driver on a good day. I think it was Peter Sauber who said that Frentzen had more raw talent than Michael Schumacher, but never put in the proper effort. 

3. Kimi Räikkönen - Well, Kimi is just Kimi. I actually played as him in an F1 Playstation game, because I wanted to be teammates with Nick Heidfeld. Became a proper fan when he joined McLaren. Actually met a girl once in a Kimi Räikkönen online forum who then became my girlfriend for a couple of years. 

4. Michael Schumacher - I wasn't a big fan during his Ferrari time as I always perceived him as very arrogant. Just when his retirement came closer I took a liking in him and everything he has achieved. He mellowed a bit character-wise too and wasn't as "cold" and "arrogant" as in his earlier years. 

5. Mika Häkkinen - Extremely fast and talented guy. His fights with Michael were legendary. His relationship with Michael always seemed full of respect too. 

Honorable mentions: 

Sergio Perez - Spectacular driver on a good day who was always a joy too watch when he snatched a podium in an inferior car. 

Nico Hülkenberg - The "what could have been". Was hailed as the next Schumacher but never really showed his true potential over a longer period of time. His height stood in the way of joining a top team when he was actually considered for one. Very funny guy too. 

Charles Leclerc - His spectacular drives in the feeder series' peaked my interest early on. Charming guy too, really. :x

Felipe Massa - Michael's loyal companion. It's a shame that he was never the same after the big Hungary accident. World Champion of our hearts 2008. :ph34r:

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Oh I also forgot to mention Alexander Wurz :( 

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@Tommy, any love for Timo Glock?

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2 hours ago, Stan said:

Hamilton - for achievements only!

I should have put him in mine, to be honest. The best driver in a loooong time and definitely one of the all time greats. I used to find his social media and entertainment biz obsession extremely annoying, but I've warmed up to him quite a bit and actually like him these days.

Good call on Alonso too, not only because of his skill and talent but also because for me, he's the ultimate racing driver in a sense that he's mad passionate about racing. His ability to adapt to different cars in different racing series is something I respect and admire a lot.

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14 minutes ago, nudge said:

I should have put him in mine, to be honest. The best driver in a loooong time and definitely one of the all time greats. I used to find his social media and entertainment biz obsession extremely annoying, but I've warmed up to him quite a bit and actually like him these days.

Good call on Alonso too, not only because of his skill and talent but also because for me, he's the ultimate racing driver in a sense that he's mad passionate about racing. His ability to adapt to different cars in different racing series is something I respect and admire a lot.

Yep I realised after I posted I didn't even put his other talents. I don't even how hard it is to even adapt to other codes of motor-racing but it sure can't be easy.

I've never actually minded Hamilton even though his social media presence can grate on me at times - he's doing what he loves and we can't commend Alonso for his passion and then not do the same for Hamilton. You don't get to his standard of class and tallies of wins/championships/accolades when you don't enjoy what you're doing and have the discipline to stay at the top, too.

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Posted (edited)

Am going to go from when I first started watching F1. Was late 80s but I had to re-watch them races as I never fully understood them as a 8 to 10 year old.

1 - Aryton Senna - Not just his championships and what he did at Mclaren. He really did extract so much from the Lotus. His style was exciting, his qualifying was top notch and his race craft required no introductions. Later in his career he complained a lot about the introduction of electronic drivers aids. Am glad he did, as stated he said the additional support doesn't show the drivers full potential/abilities. I also commend him for his charity work for kids in Brazil. It was only in recent years where it was made public the tens of million he'd left behind for underprivileged children in Brazil. What  moved me about this his approach was that he kept it quiet. Unlike Beckham and posh spice who would have advertised it to the world.

2 - Nigel Mansell - People forget how good of a driver and how courageous of a driver Nigel was. He more than held his own in an era which included Senna, Prost, Lauder, Piquet and Schumacher. More than held his own and a single title doesn't do his career justice. It should have been at least 2 or maybe 3. Brave on the track, daring overtakes, never intimidated by Senna and was a monster when coming from further back on the grid. Obviously he could be difficult and was a cock at times. On and off the track there was always drama. His style brought non-F1 fans to the sport.

3 - Mika Häkkinen - Very quick driver and underrated in my view. As nudge said his recklessness was exciting. This is what makes us enjoy the sport more. My only disappoint is the 2000 season. Respect is important in F1 but I felt he shown Schuey too much respect over the course of the season. Maybe during the 2000 season, if he was more care-free like his younger years and had a more I don't give a fuck attitude, he may have come closer or even have won the title.

4 - Sebastian Vettel - A baron few years but lets not forget what's he's brought to the sport. Along with Max he's made F1 exciting these past 3 years. Won a race with Torro Rosso, gave us 2 thrilling title finales. The one in Brazil is an all time classic. Very quick driver on track and in qualifying. Made mistakes these past few years but that's because he isn't afraid to take risks. Like Senna said, if you see a gap and don't make a move, you should consider retirement.

5 - LEwis Hamilton - The driver I support is in at number 5. Great body, beautiful skin and a great driver. He is still exciting to watch even so he plays the percentages more and only takes calculated risks now rather then unnecessary risks. For me his McLaren years were his most exciting. These are the years where he had the most crashes, took risks galore and pulled off some daring moves. Should have won the title in the 2007 in China during his rookie season, but crashed in the pit-lane. To this day I have no idea why they kept him out for all them extra laps. If they brought him in, he'd have had the title in his rookie year. Has also won a race in every season he has drove. Even Alonso said he managed to win races in the Mclaren which he had no right to win.

Honorable mentions - Jolyon Palmer, Stoffel Vandoorne and Pascal Wehrlein.

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1 hour ago, nudge said:

@Tommy, any love for Timo Glock?

Errrr yea, he's alright. Consistent driver with a standout drive every now and then. Nothing incredibly special though. Nice guy though and a good pundit on TV. 

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2 minutes ago, MUFC said:

2 - Nigel Mansell - People forget how good of a driver and how courageous of a driver Nigel was. He more than held his own in an era which included Senna, Prost, Lauder, Piquet and Schumacher. More than held his own and a single title doesn't do his career justice. It should have been at least 2 or maybe 3. Brave on the track, daring overtakes, never intimidated by Senna and was a monster when coming from further back on the grid. Obviously he could be difficult and was a cock at times. On and off the track there was always drama. His style brought non-F1 fans to the sport.

Great call, and somone I would gladly put in my top 10. Certainly ruffled some feathers, loved it xD Great driver as well.

4 minutes ago, MUFC said:

3 - Mika Häkkinen - Very quick driver and underrated in my view. As nudge said his recklessness was exciting. This is what makes us enjoy the sport more. My only disappoint is the 2000 season. Respect is important in F1 but I felt he shown Schuey too much respect over the course of the season. Maybe during the 2000 season, if he was more care-free like his younger years and had a more I don't give a fuck attitude, he may have come closer or even have won the title.

Glad to see Mika getting the love he deserves. As for him not being as carefree as he used to in his younger years, I think his crash at Adelaide changed him quite a bit in that aspect, understandably...

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1. Ayrton Senna 

Bit like MUFC, it’s my major memory growing up watching him battle it out with Prost. I remember when he died. My uncle had a heart attack and was hospital in Shrewsbury. We were visiting and it came up on the news. I can still remember how quiet it was in that room. Can’t believe I’m older now than he was when he died. He was absolutely fearless in a time when drivers had to fight to control the cars. True great.

 

2. Lewis Hamilton

I’ve almost grown up properly getting into F1, understanding the intricacy, whilst watching Lewis grow and rise through the ranks. For all his faults, I think he’s a genuine guy who wants the best for the sport and the world. Like Senna, he has a raw talent that just can’t be tamed. He’s almost the Messi of F1, whereas I’d describe Schumacher as the Beckham, and here’s my reasoning........

 

3. Michael Schumacher

The bloke was basically a machine. Mostly cool, calm and calculated whenever he was in the cockpit and ready to literally run people off the track to win. It seems that with Michael, it was necessarily a raw talent, but this determination to always be the best no matter what through practice, practice, practice. Beckham wasn’t naturally talented, but was always the first on the pitch and last off it. I imagine Michael was the kind of driver that would tuck the car into bed at night, having an almost intrinsic knowledge of every nut, bolt and screw that went into making the machine so he could push it to the absolute limit. 
 

4. Damon Hill

The emotion when he won that title was overwhelming for me as a 12 year old in ‘96. After those battles with Schumacher in the proceeding years, it was the biggest build up for a British racing fan. Doing it with Williams was even sweeter as i loved the team back then. I was so fucked off when they dropped him after his winning season that I immediately became an Arrows fan and then Jordan xD

 

5. David Coulthard

That chin! That car! He was the ultimate playboy back in the day. I never wanted to be any other racing driver more than Coulthard. Not for his skill, but for the life he seemed to lead.

 

Honourable mentions : Mansell, Barichello, Eddie Irvine and Jenson Button

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Oooh Jenson is a good shout. He deserves to be in my honorable mentions as well. Proper Gentleman and the relationship with his father was always great to see. It was truly a sad moment when he passed away. 

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Also honorable mentions to Gerhard Berger and Jean Alesi. When I started watching F1, they were always the "duo" because I believe the drove for the same team twice, no? And they were always in the mix.

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14 minutes ago, Tommy said:

Also honorable mentions to Gerhard Berger and Jean Alesi. When I started watching F1, they were always the "duo" because I believe the drove for the same team twice, no? And they were always in the mix.

I used to watch it with my dad when I was young and I thought the commentators were saying get a hard burger.

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17 minutes ago, Tommy said:

Also honorable mentions to Gerhard Berger and Jean Alesi. When I started watching F1, they were always the "duo" because I believe the drove for the same team twice, no? And they were always in the mix.

I have Berger in my top 5 :P Have you heard the story where he once secretly replaced Senna's passport photo with a dick pic and that got Senna into a 24 hour detention by immigration officials in Argentina? xD 

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6 minutes ago, nudge said:

I have Berger in my top 5 :P Have you heard the story where he once secretly replaced Senna's passport photo with a dick pic and that got Senna into a 24 hour detention by immigration officials in Argentina? xD 

I knew that he was quite the prankster, but I haven't heard of that one yet. :4_joy:

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I've only been watching since 2008 and I wouldn't include anyone I haven't seen race so basically I'm not going to do this properly. When I tried to think of five I got as far as Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen and couldn't really add any more that I've enjoyed as much. I was fond of Webber, Barrichello, Rosberg and Kubica in his first stint.

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After a long and thoughtful time of reconsideration, I have changed my opinion regarding Number 1 and 2. 

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