F1 Greatest Drivers Who Left a Trail in History


For over 70 years, Formula 1 has thrilled the world with the swish of its engineering marvels and the booming sound of the engines literally reverberating off spectators’ chests.

We’ve all imagined ourselves behind the wheel of these mechanical whirlwinds, cheered as one of the F1 greatest drivers in history

So, buckle up! The race is about to start!

F1 Greatest Drivers of All Time

Stirling Moss

photo source: slrmoss

Born: 17 September 1929
First race: 1951 Swiss Grand Prix
F1 Championships: 0
Number of races: 67
Total career wins: 16
Number of pole positions: 16
Total career points: 186
Brand/Team: Mercedes-Benz, Maserati, Vanwall, Rob Walker Cooper, Lotus, HWM
Net Worth: $20 Million

Sir Stirling Craufurd Moss, one of history’s greatest British F1 drivers, was born on 17 September 1929.

Hailed as the “greatest driver to never win a Grand Prix Championship”, Stirling Moss raced for 14 years—winning 212 of the 529 races he entered.

On Monday, April 23, 1962, Stirling Moss had a crash during the Glover Trophy at Goodwood. After his Lotus collided with the earthen bank at Graham Hill, he ended up severely injured and comatose.

In 1990, he was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame as one of the best F1 drivers in history. Sir Stirling Moss died peacefully on April 22, 2020, in London.

Jackie Stewart

photo source: thegentlemansjournal

Born: 11 June 1939
First race: 1965 South African Grand Prix
F1 Championships: 3
Number of races: 100
Total career wins: 27
Number of pole positions: 17
Total career points: 360
Brand/Team: BRM, Matra, March, Tyrrell
Net Worth: $55 Million

Throughout his nine seasons in Formula One, Jackie Stewart won three World Drivers’ Championships, and he was the runner-up on two other occasions. Going into the 1973 season, Jackie has decided to retire at the end of the season.

After a nerve-wracking crash at Spa in 1996, Jackie Stewart became an outspoken advocate for racing safety in Formula One.

He rightfully took his place among the greatest-ever F1 drivers in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1990.

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Nico Rosberg

Born: 27 June 1985
First race: 2006 Bahrain Grand Prix
F1 Championships: 1
Number of races: 206
Total career wins: 23
Number of pole positions: 30
Total career points: 1594.5
Brand/Team: Williams, Mercedes
Net Worth: $50 Million

Next up, we have a modern racer who only recently became a member of the best F1 drivers of all time.

During his 2006 inaugural start in F1, Nico Rosberg drove for Williams. However, apart from two podium finishes in 2008, he did not see any significant success until he moved to Mercedes in 2010.

The Rosbergs are the only other father-son duo to win the coveted F1 World Championship after Graham and Damon Hill. In December 2017, Nico Rosberg officially joined the best drivers in F1 when he was inducted into the FIA Hall of Fame.

Alain Prost

photo source: thesportslegends

Born: 24 February 1955
First race: 1980 Argentine Grand Prix
F1 Championships: 4
Number of races: 202
Total career wins: 51
Number of pole positions: 33
Total career points: 798.5
Brand/Team: McLaren, Renault, Ferrari, Williams
Net Worth: $100 Million

Indubitably the best Formula One driver to come from France, Alain Marie Pascal Prost was conquering the F1 racing world in the late 80s and early 90s.

After several podium finishes throughout his first season, Prost finally managed to win a Grand Prix in 1981.

By the end of his career in Formula 1, Alain Prost had won four championship titles (1985, 1986, 1989, and 1993) and won a total of 51 Grands Prix.

He retired in 1993 after winning that year’s World Championship with Williams. Soon after that, he received the World Sports Award of the Century for motorsports.

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Sebastian Vettel

Born: 3 July 1987
First race: 2007 United States Grand Prix
F1 Championships: 4
Number of races: 295
Total career wins: 53
Number of pole positions: 57
Total career points: 3048
Brand/Team: BMW Sauber, Toro Rosso, Red Bull, Ferrari, Aston Martin
Net Worth: $100 Million

When talking about the best drivers in Formula 1, Sebastian Vettel is a name that must be mentioned.

Vettel started his F1 career in 2006 as a BMW Sauber test driver. Later that year, he became the youngest-ever participant at a Grand Prix weekend when he tested the cars during Friday’s free practice runs.

Many F1 critics point out that Red Bull built Sebastian Vettel, a car that was instrumental to his extraordinary success.

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Lewis Hamilton

Born: 7 January 1985
First race: 2007 Australian Grand Prix
F1 Championships: 7
Number of races: 305
Total career wins: 99
Number of pole positions: 103
Total career points: 3928
Brand/Team: McLauren, Mercedes
Net Worth: $285 Million

Sir Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton is perhaps the most legitimate contender to Schumacher for the top spot among the F1 greatest drivers in history.

In 2007, Lewis Hamilton made his F1 debut with McLaren as a partner to the two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso. Throughout his first season in F1, Lewis Hamilton broke several records heralding his dominance in the years to come.

The following year, he became the first black driver to win the F1 World Championship by making a dramatic overtake in the last corner to be turned for that season.

As of today, Lewis Hamilton holds several records: most F1 wins (99), podium finishes (171) and pole positions (100). He also shares the record of most championship titles (7) with Michael Schumacher.

Fernando Alonso

Born: 29 July 1981
First race: 2001 Australian Grand Prix
F1 Championships: 2
Number of races: 353
Total career wins: 32
Number of pole positions: 22
Total career points: 1919
Brand/Team: Minardi, Renault,  McLaren, Ferrari, Alpine
Net Worth: $240 Million

Fernando Alonso Diaz (born 29 July 1981) is the only Spaniard on our list of the greatest F1 drivers in history to become a world champion or win a Grand Prix.

With Ferrari, he became Vettel’s strongest opponent for the coveted championship titles in the first half of the 2010s—finishing as the runner-up to Vettel on three occasions in very close and challenging seasons.

Fernando Alonso is the first driver to be inducted into the FIA Hall of Fame twice: once as a Formula One champion in 2017 and a World Endurance Champion in 2019.

Niki Lauda

photo source: formula1

Born: 22 February 1949
First race: 1971 Austrian Grand Prix
F1 Championships: 3
Number of races: 178
Total career wins: 25
Number of pole positions: 24
Total career points: 420.5
Brand/Team: March, BRM, Ferrari, Brabham, McLaren
Net Worth: $200 Million

Another legend that rightfully takes his place in our greatest F1 drivers list is the late Niki Lauda.

The infamous Niki Lauda crash that left him disfigured and snatched the 1976 title from him took place at Nürburgring in Nürburg, West Germany, during the season’s tenth round. 

In the sunset of his career, Lauda drove for McLaren, winning the 1984 Drivers’ Championship half a point in front of Alain Prost, before retiring the following year. His final tally counted three championship titles, 25 wins and 54 podiums. 

He was deservedly introduced into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame as one of the best F1 drivers in history in 1993.

Ayrton Senna

Born: March 21 1960
First race: 1984 Brazilian Grand Prix
F1 Championships: 3
Number of races: 162
Total career wins: 41
Number of pole positions: 65
Total career points: 614
Brand/Team: Toleman, Lotus, McLaren, Williams
Net Worth: $100 Million

Senna’s F1 debut came with Toleman-Hart in 1984, and despite the technical failings of his car, he still impressed the public with his extraordinary and risky driving style. He spent the next three seasons with Lotus, where he won a total of six races.

The notorious Ayrton Senna crash that ended both his career and his life took place on 1 May 1994 during the San Marino Grand Prix, which is still known as one of the biggest F1 crashes. Unfortunately, Senna’s was not the only life taken by this racetrack that weekend.

The world remembers Senna as one of the best F1 drivers of all time. To this day, he inspires fans and new drivers alike to fall in love with the sport.

In 2000, he was justly inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

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Michael Schumacher

Born: 3 January 1969
First race: 1991 Belgian Grand Prix
F1 Championships: 7
Number of races: 308
Total career wins: 91
Number of pole positions: 68
Total career points: 1566
Brand/Team: Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari, Mercedes
Net Worth: $600 Million

According to many fans, pundits, and peers in F1, Michael Schumacher is still THE best driver of all time, regardless of Hamilton’s statistical advantage.

Michael Schumacher had his F1 start in a Jordan car at the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix. However, Benetton immediately snatched him up for the following race, despite Jordan’s injunction filed with UK courts.

On the heels of his Benetton success, Schumi moved to Ferrari for the 1996 season. Despite several valiant attempts to win the crown during his first four seasons with Ferrari, his record-breaking run did not start until 2000. Between 2000 and 2004, Schumacher won five consecutive F1 championships, crushing several records and cementing himself among the best F1 drivers in history.

Michael Schumacher and Ferrari managed to break a record that has stood for nearly 50 years: Juan Manuel Fangio’s five championship triumphs.

The man who would push the car to its limits each race had one lap too many when he sustained a severe head injury while skiing in 2013.

Future F1 Drivers/Ones to Watch

Mick Schumacher, Callum Ilott and Yuki Tsonuda are three promising young drivers who are most likely to grab the F1 headlines in the near future.

Mick Schumacher

photo source: motorsport

Born: 22 March 1999

Brand/Team: Haas-Ferrari

First Race: 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix

Son of the legendary Michael Schumacher, Mick was born on 22 March 1999 in Switzerland. At first, Mick Schumacher didn’t race under his surname. Instead, he used Betsch—his mother’s maiden name.

Following in his father’s steps, Mick signed for the Ferrari Driver Academy in 2019. In 2020, Mick Schumacher won the F2 Drivers’ Championship. 

Callum Ilott

photo source: formula1

Born: 11 November 1998

Brand/Team: Red Bull, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo

During his rookie season in F2, Callum Ilott secured one pole position and two podium finishes, ending in 11th position.

By the end of his second F2 season in 2020, however, Ilott improved greatly—he won 3 races and ended the season as the runner-up to Mich Schumacher. 

The following year, Callum Ilott and Ferrari signed a contract for a test driver position. Later in the year, he was also appointed as a second reserve driver for Alfa Romeo. However, he is yet to race in a Sunday F1 Grand Prix.

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Yuki Tsunoda

photo source: scuderia.alphatauri

Born: 11 May 2000

Brand/Team: AlphaTauri

First Race: 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix

The third promising F1 talent on our list is Yuki Tsunoda, a young yet gifted Japanese racing driver who finished third in the 2020 F2 Championship—behind Schumacher and Ilott.

After the first Grand Prix of the 2021 season, Ross Brawn—F1’s technical director—hailed Tsunoda as the best rookie in years.

And the Winner Is…

Since the sport is continuously evolving, the list of the F1 greatest drivers will be updated accordingly.

Nevertheless, one thing will remain true: Our hearts will quicken with every rumble of their engines, we will cheer when they splendidly overtake anyone, and we will sympathise when their racing cars fail them.

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