Since the 1920s, Formula One has been arguably the greatest motorsport in the world–and it’s undoubtedly the fastest. And in a sport as competitive as this, there are drivers who have proven themselves as legends of racing. Here are the five greatest Formula 1 drivers of all time.
Called “Le Professeur”, Prost was a silky smooth driver who made poetry with his driving skills. He won four world championships–in 1985, 1986, 189 and 1993–and had 51 wins and 106 podiums in his career.
Prost was all about precision; his driving was so smooth and precise that he never seemed to be driving that fast. And he had an unforgettable rivalry with Ayrton Senna.
They were rivals as teammates in McLaren, and became even greater rivals when Prost joined Ferrari in 1991. They pushed each other to their limits and beyond. And F1 became all the more glorious for it.
Clark was a natural, and the greatest driver of his era. He won two championships, in 1963 and 1965, and had 25 wins throughout his career.
It might not seem that impressive today, but his victories were a record at the time, not to mention he got these wins in just 72 starts–a record that has only been surpassed twice. Until his fatal accident in 1968, he was the driver everyone wanted to beat but simply couldn’t compete with.
The German is a modern F1 legend. In terms of pure statistics, he’s the most successful driver in the history of Formula 1. He has won 7 championships, 91 total wins and 155 podiums from 306 starts.
He’s the kind of driver who drove relentlessly and passed other drivers in corners. Throughout his career from the late 90s to the 2000s, the only person who could seriously compete with him was Mika Hakkinen.
Schumacher’s career is also full of controversy, especially because of his questionable tactics in defense when he was starting out. But that aside, Schumacher grew into a driver who can seriously challenge the best F1 driver of any era.
Juan Manuel Fangio
Fangio was the first real legend of F1. He won five championships–four of them consecutively from 1954 to 1957–and won 47% of the races he started in.
His percentages are so impressive that it’s virtually impossible for anyone to ever beat them. Fangio never seemed to try that hard to win. Well, except for his most iconic win: in the 1957 German GP on the Nurburgring, he came from behind to win, breaking the lap record a number of times in the process.
Senna is regarded as the greatest Formula 1 driver of all time, and with good reason. He won 3 championships and 41 wins and 80 podiums from 161 starts.
From his first race to his last, Senna tested his limits and pushed himself in a way few drivers have ever done. His competitive spirit earned him a rivalry from Alain Prost, himself an F1 great.
When they were in the same McLaren team, they completely dominated, winning 15 of the 16 races. Senna tragically died at Imola, when he was trying to stay ahead of a young Michael Schumacher and crashed into a concrete wall at 190mph. Senna truly was a “staggering talent”.