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Autosport names the greatest F1 drivers of all time

Submitted by on December 15, 2009

Formula One World ChampionshipThe world’s fastest magazine, Autosport, has named Brazilian legend Ayrton Senna the greatest F1 driver of all time.

In a list sure to start heated debate in pubs and offices around the world,  a list of 217 world championship drivers were asked to vote for their top ten “greatest drivers” of the world championship era.

Here is how Autosport polled the drivers…”The definition of the term “greatest” was left open for the voters to interpret for themselves. Each top 10 was then scored on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis to create the overall ranking, with a countback system used to decide the order. It was decided to focus solely on the world championship era, which began in 1950, as there are so few living links to the pre-war years.

Represented in our jury are over 9000 grand prix starts and 270 wins. As well as including current world champion Jenson Button’s vote, our jury includes an astonishing cross-section of opinion.

This includes the earliest surviving world championship grand prix winner, Jose Froilan Gonzalez, the most successful driver of all time, Michael Schumacher, the oldest living driver, Paul Pietsch, and F1’s first child of the 1990s, Jaime Alguersuari.

This poll represents the most comprehensive vote on the greatest world championship drivers. There have been 809 world championship grands prix (excluding the 11 Indianapolis 500s) and starters from all but 10 of these have voted.” (Autosport)

The 40 greatest F1 drivers of all time are as follows:

1. Ayrton Senna
2. Michael Schumacher
3. Juan Manuel Fangio
4. Alain Prost
5. Jim Clark
6. Jackie Stewart
7. Niki Lauda
8. Stirling Moss
9. Fernando Alonso
10. Gilles Villeneuve
11. Nigel Mansell
12. Emerson Fittipaldi
13. Nelson Piquet Sr.
14. Jochen Rindt
15. Mika Hakkinen
16. Alberto Ascari
17. Lewis Hamilton
18. Jack Brabham
19, Ronnie Peterson
20. Mario Andretti
21. Graham Hill
22. Kimi Raikkonen
23. John Surtees
24. James Hunt
25. Keke Rosberg
26. Sebastian Vettel
27. Jose Froilan Gonzalez
28. Dan Gurney
29. Francois Cevert
30. Jenson Button
31. Alan Jones
32. Giuseppe Farina
33. Phil Hill
34. Carlos Reutemann
35. Stefan Bellof
36. Clay Regazzoni
37. Gerhard Berger
38. Jean Behra
39. Riccardo Patrese
40. Jacky Ickx

To see the list with driver biographies visit Autosport’s F1 Greatest drivers site here

Personally, I would not have put Senna at number 1. He is a legend, but my definition of “greatness” does not extend to someone who deliberately crashes into his title rival to win the championship. That move was completely piss weak and not the stuff of a great sportsman.

Jack Brabham at number 18? Being Australian of course I’m slightly biased, but as usual Jack does not get the credit he deserves. Three world titles and a championship in a car he built himself. World Champion at age 40. Can you imagine the energy required to run the team, engineer the car and then go out and win with it? For me he has to be in the top 10.

Sebastian Vettel at 26. Come on!

Let’s get the debate started. Please let us know know your top 10 “greatest” drivers by adding your list to the comments field.

Images: Autosport.com

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