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Best of 2001


During the month of December 2000, NewsOnF1 ran a poll where the readers voted for their top 5 Formula 1 drivers of all time. With over 2100 votes from readers all over the world, it was Ayrton Senna who was by far the most popular choice with over 82% of the readers placing him in the top 5. He was followed by Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost. Juan Manuel Fangio and Jacques Villeneuve made the top 5. 

Top 15 drivers of all time
(as voted by you)


Total Votes Average

1) Ayrton Senna

2) Michael Schumacher (14.4%)

3) Alain Prost (11.5%)

4) Juan Manuel Fangio (8.8%)

5) Jacques Villeneuve (6.7%)

6) Mika Hakkinen (4.8%)
7) Jim Clark (4.2%)
8) Niki Lauda (3.8%)
9) Jackie Stewart (3.4%)
10) Nigel Mansell (2.1%)
11) David Coulthard (1.9%)
12) Giles Villeneuve (1.4%)
13) Eddie Irvine (1.1%)
14) Ralf Schumacher (1.1%)
15) Damon Hill (1.0%)













The percentage is based on the number of votes weighted by their rank.
(1st gets 5 points, 2 gets 4 points, etc ...)
The average position is based on the weighted number of votes divided by the number of votes

Readers Comments:

(Ayrton Senna - Juan Manuel Fangio - Gilles Villeneuve - Niki Lauda - Jim Clark)
Non ci sara' mai piu' nessuno come Ayrton - I miss you Ayrton - Dany - Italy

(Alain Prost - Damon Hill - Ayrton Senna - Nigel Mansell - Gerhard Berger)
I have chosen Alain Prost because four FULL world Titles is a big acheivement. I would've chosen Fangio but they were short seasons then. Damon is great he won 1 title nearly 2 because if schumacher didn't do what he did in 1994 I'm sure Damon would of won at Adelaide. Senna was reckless but he managed to get 3 titles so I can't argue - Tom B. - England

(Ayrton Senna - Jim Clark - Jackie Stewart - Juan Manuel Fangio - Michael Schumacher)
No comment - They don't need it! - Tales A. - Brazil

(Michael Schumacher - Ayrton Senna - Alain Prost - Jim Clark  - Jackie Stewart)
Schumacher is on top because year after year has moved to the top with less than perfect equipment - George G. - USA

(Ayrton Senna - Niki Lauda - Alain Prost - Michael Schumacher - Gerhard Berger)
Ayrton Senna will always be the best driver, there really is no competition. He had the passion, dedication, devotion and of course the talent. Many would also add arrogance and maybe he was, just a touch anyway but only in a way that Senna could use it and still be damn popular and a brilliant driver - Sharon - Australia

SENNA - Magical
CLARK - Natural
FANGIO - Strength
PROST - Composure
Matt M - Australia

(Juan Manuel Fangio - Jackie Stewart - Jim Clark - Ayrton Senna - Mario Andretti)
Just think what Fangio, Stewart, Clark and Andretti could do in today's F1 cars - Tom P - USA

(Michael Schumacher - Eddie Irvine - Keke Rosberg - Niki Lauda - Alain Prost)
Schumaher iz number 1 - Buppy - Australia

(Ayrton Senna - Juan Manuel Fangio - Gilles Villeneuve - Jackie Stewart - Alain Prost)
SENNA on the top without any doubts. A complete race driver, fast and consistent under any circumstances, sun shining or rain, race or qualifying, he could take 110% from the car to make it go as fast as possible. A proof of it are his record 65 poles. There are no words to define Senna.
JM FANGIO right behind him, cos he won 5 titles in an era where racing was extremely hard and dangerous. A legend.
GILLES for 3rd, due to his amazing talent, and also because he didn't fear nothing and nobody. He dared to push the car over its limits to try an overtaking maneuver or anything else. Absolutely fantastic.
STEWART for 4th, well, he won 3 titles in a tough era with lots of great driver racing with him. Another legend, without doubts.
and, PROST end my top 5 list, due to his consistency and opportunism. He'd never miss a chance to win a race or score points. Great driver, and great battles with Senna.

You might be asking: "How do you dare not to put Schumi on the top 5????" I'll say why. Because for me he is simply a good driver, but not a great one, neither a legend as many people think. There are other drivers out there who can easily beat him, all they need is a chance to drive a Ferrari. Jacques Villeneuve, Mika Hakkinen and Jarno Trulli are some of these drivers - Eduardo - Brazil

(Ayrton Senna - Michael Schumacher - Alain Prost - Jim Clark - Juan Manuel Fangio)
I have seen many drivers, so I think I am able to compare. For me personally Senna is the best driver of all time. Schumacher against Senna would have been very interesting, but I think in the end Senna would be number one, because of his natural speed and his ability to focus on a special lap - Bern G - Austria

(Ayrton Senna - Alain Prost - Michael Schumacher - Jim Clark - Gilles Villeneuve)
Senna was a legend already when he was alive. Who knows how much he could have achieved if there hadn't been Imola 1994. He is always the best -
Minna - Finland

(Ayrton Senna - Nigel Mansell - Jim Clark - Niki Lauda - Alain Prost)
AYRTON is absolutely the first. His races, his poles, his battles were so great. I were in Spa and above all in Monaco in 91 and 92: and I saw a real race of Formula One, with a wonderful battle with Nigel and AYRTON.
And what about the 1988 season, the last races before 1988 and Brazil 91, Donington 93 and all his races. Ayrton is the greatest racing driver. I know He would have won other titles and so many victories and poles.
The Foundation He wanted to create, exists right now and helps so many children -
Letellier D - France

(Ayrton Senna - Juan Manuel Fangio - Jim Clark - Niki Lauda - Alain Prost)
Senna, the greatest driver ever!! Ayrton is in my blood, he is part of my life - Bernhard - Austria

(Ayrton Senna - Jim Clark - Juan Manuel Fangio - Gilles Villeneuve - Stirling Moss)
a Driver drives... but a Racer races... and there is a big difference between the two... - Isis - Australia

(Ayrton Senna - Michael Schumacher - Sterling Moss - Ralf Schumacher - Juan Manuel Fangio)
Ayrton Senna - so talented, so ruthless, so passionate - he was 'the' driver of the 80s/90s - he showed that a great driver can be seen when he is driving a less than competitive car and can still win and win convincingly.  He was taken away from us too early, he had so much left to contribute to the sport - he will always be No.1 in my eyes - Samantha Y. - Australia

(Michael Schumacher - Ayrton Senna - Juan Manuel Fangio - Alain Prost - Gilles Villeneuve)
I really don't think that there is much of a difference in performance from M Schumacher and Ayrton Senna. It's just a pity that Senna's career didn't last as long as everyone hoped it would be. Now, we can only rate Senna based on the years he had raced, and not on what would have happened if he were still racing. Schumi meanwhile, has reinvented Ferrari and the modern, post-Senna Formula One era. He has brought a struggling team back on top, and in the process, increased the interest in F1. Gilles Villeneuve hadn't won a title, yet he was a personification of the perfect person that would be the perfect champion. Determination, will, faith... and it's good that somehow, these were instilled in Jacques.

I would just like to comment on Jarno Trulli's words on Schumi and Ferrari. Call me biased or whatever, I don't think that Trulli doesn't have the right to say those things he said. Put him in a Ferrari, and I don't think he will succeed just as Michael has. If more experienced guys, like Nigel Mansell and Gerard Berger have driven for the team and not reached the top like Michael has, I don't see Trulli doing any better. Maybe, he should just think about what he says first before throwing around degrading allegations - Therese R. - Philippines

(Juan Manuel Fangio - Ayrton Senna - Alain Prost - Jim Clark - Michael Schumacher)
The depth of talent during the 50's, 60's & 80's made for some exciting racing. My top 4 drivers would walk into any motorsport hall of fame. Schuey unfortunately does not have good opponents to test his mettle - Balu A K - India

(Ayrton Senna - Tazio Nuvolari - Alain Prost - Juan Manuel Fangio - Michael Schumacher)
No doubt for the first. Absolutely the best by far. Nobody knows what he could have achieved. Still from what we've seen until 94, absolutely in his own class - George I - Greece

(Jochen Rindt - Jack Brabham - Jacky Ickx - Niki Lauda - Clay Ragazzoni)
These were drivers, todays breed are aimers! - Roger M - Australia

J.V. is an awesome racer who will always push just a little harder then anyone else taking some risks that often pay off - Jason - Canada

(Jacques Villeneuve - Michael Schumacher - Ayrton Senna - Alain Prost - Gilles Villeneuve)
Only 2 drivers can really add excitement in F1 J.V and M.S they are the only 2 that will pass with the most risk. In F1 we need to extend our visual pleasure with more passes and sling shot effects fuel consumption and more adventure, I think all cars should be standard manual shift to give the driver real credit for driving better than his competitor, this way its man not machine electronic - Alex N - Canada

Good that you are running these polls - my two bit thots on this:

sadly - there are 2 things about these polls that I am sceptical about:

1) I was hoping that these polls find out the age of the voter as well - cos to me - all of us wud tend to vote for the person whom we have seen in our age - meaning - we (folks aged between 18-30) wud vote for the drivers ranging from lets say Prost, Senna, Hill, Mansell to the current MH, MS, JV... my dad (if he was to watch and now vote) wud, i assume, vote for Gilles Villeneuve, Jody Scheckter, Niki Lauda et al (whom I havent seen racing) and my grand-dad wud in all probability chase his son and grand son out of the house cos he wud plumb for a Striling Moss, Fangio, Gurney etc.. so basically - we wud vote for the person whom we are familiar with - which makes sense - and so that it wud also make sense to analyse the results categorically by age.. wud make more sense to the poll (point taken, we'll consider introducing such in future polls, the overall vote though would be exactly what we have now - Editor)

2) there is no way u can compare all time drivers - no way! there have been so many changes - technology being the prime.. there is a sea difference from those days to now.. u cannot simply assess driver skills across time..  whereas it might have made sense to have a poll across certain time boundaries -- like between '84-'94 (the senna-prost era) etc - or simply - between decades.. maybe a bad idea.. but - just an open poll doesnt seem to make sense. (So where do you draw the line ? This poll is for all time, another poll could be for last season only - Editor)

I may be totally wrong - these are personal, indivudual opinions which I thought I cud air as a feedback. no offense intended - Karthik P - India

Whilst there are many great names not on this list, I have only been  viewing Formula 1 for 15 years so it would be foolish of me to pretend to be educated enough about Fangio, Moss, Clark, Lauda, etc to rate them. However, I think since 1985, it would be pretty hard not to have all of these guys in the top 5. Between them they have won 14 championships and 190 Grands Prix and did it a lot of the time against each other. Schumacher will add greatly to his tally of victories and championships before he retires as I don't believe there is anyone at the moment that can match him on equal terms

Below is the reason for the order I've put them in:
1. AYRTON SENNA - Just tips out Michael Schumacher for the number 1 position. For sheer driving skill. I have not seen a better driver, very fast always in qualifying and race condition, supreme in the wet, impeccable through traffic, technically superb, extremely determined, consistently fast driver.
2. MICHAEL SCHUMACHER - Almost a carbon copy of Senna when you talk about driving skill just shaded by Senna on the technical side
3. ALAIN PROST - Probably the shrudest and most calculating race driver ever, never wasted an opportunity for a victory or a championship point. In minimising the risk whist maximising the machinery, he was unsurpassed, just shaded by sheer driving skill by Senna and Schumacher
4. NIGEL MANSELL -  Extremely courageous and competitive driver as well as being very fast. 1 World Championship is not a fair reward for 31 victories.
5. NELSON PIQUET - Similar to Prost, never wasted an opportunity. 3 World championships from 23 victories is testimony to that. Had some great duels with Mansell - Mtolcon - Australia

(Juan Manuel Fangio - Michael Schumacher - Ayrton Senna - Alain Prost - Jackie Stewart)
It is never easy to compare drivers of different eras to each other.  Each driver had a different style however only the best can win with a car that may not be the best performer on the grid - Steven P - Australia

(Juan Manuel Fangio - Michael Schumacher - Ayrton Senna - Alain Prost - Tazio Nuvolari)
I really like to vote for one of best drivers in Formula 1, Francois Cevert,  but he had to rest in front of the first 5 in my opinion. Actualy I believe he is well fitted for 6th place. My best regards,  Marian - Romanian living in the US

Nigel Mansell is the only driver in the world to hold both the F1 Championship and the Cart Championship at the same time - Susan V - USA

(Damon Hill - Michael Schumacher - Ayrton Senna - Niki Lauda - Alain Prost)
Hill @ top coz he's a nice guy and a good driver! He's done well during his time in F1 - Phill A - England

(Ayrton Senna - Jackie Stewart - Michael Schumacher - Juan Manuel Fangio - Alain Prost)
For first place - no contest

Thereafter it is a 'toss up' - many great drivers - Dunder - Hong Kong

(Michael Schumacher - Ayrton Senna - Alain Prost - Juan Manuel Fangio - Niki Lauda)
Michael Schumacher achieved what he did without ever been in the best car. Ayrton raced for many years in the best car. Both phenomenal racers! - Johan K - Canada

(Ayrton Senna - Juan Manuel Fangio - Niki Lauda - Alain Prost - Jochen Rindt)
Schumacher doesn't deserve to be in top five as I consider Schumacher to be a bad Sport. He's got a lovely nickname which is "ChopSchuey"!! - Malinovsky - The Netherlands

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