F1 racing is one of the most popular sports in the world today. This sport has seen several exceptional drivers come and go or rather race! This highest class single seaterauto racing is a multibillion dollar business today. And it requires skill to be able to drive at speeds up to 350 km/h in challenging circuits with competitors all around. Let’s take a look at some of the greatest Formula 1 drivers who graced the sensational game.
10. Kimi Raikkonen:
He is a Finnish racing driver who began his career in Formula 1 in 2001 for Sauber-Petronas. He joined McLaren Mercedes in 2002 becoming a title contender by finishing runner-up in the 2003 and 2005 championships. It was announced that he wouldn’t be returning to F1 in the 2010 season but he did make a comeback in 2012 and also won Lotus F1’s first race at the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
9. Fernando Alonso:
A two-time World Champion, Alonso is a Spanish F1 driver who currently racedsfor Scuderia Ferrari.He made his debut in the 2001 season with Minardi and went on to become the youngest Formula One World Drivers’ Champion when he won the Formula One World Driver’s Championship title at the age of 24 years in 2005. His maiden pole and victory came in his first year as a Renault race driver in 2003.
8. Sebastian Vettel:
He is a German Formula 1 racing driver who currently drives for Red Bull Racing. After winning the championship in 2010, 2011, and 2012, he is the reigning World Champion. In 2009, he finished as the youngest-ever World Drivers’ championship runner-up. In the next season he became the youngest driver to ever to win the World Drivers’ Championship. He holds several ‘youngest’ records in F1. He is certainly in the league of extraordinary drivers.
7. Mika Hakkinen:
He is a former F1 driver and a two-time Formula One World Champion hailing from Finland who debuted with Lotus in 1991. He later joined McLaren in 1993 in place of Michael Andretti. He made a grand comeback with McLaren after his life-threatening injury in a practice session of the 1995 Australian Grand Prix. He is regarded as one of the greatest opponents in terms of quality by Schumacher.
6. Niki Lauda:
He is an Austrian former Formula One racing driver and three-time F1 World Champion.He resurged with Ferrariin 1974 and his first Grand Prix victory soon followed in Spain. He was also the first and only driver to lap the Nürburgring Nordschleife in less than 7 minutes! He suffered a horrific injury in the 1976 German Grand Prix but returned only six weeks later to finish fourth in the Italian GP.
5. Jim Clark:
He was a British Formula 1 racing driver from Scotland. A winner of two World Championships, in 1963 and 1965, he featured in the Times list of greatest Formula One drivers. He made his F1 Grand Prix debut at the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort in 1960. His 1963 Belgian Grand Prix win under extremely wet, foggy and rainy conditions was one of his best. He was killed in a Formula Two motor racing accident in 1968.
4. Michael Schumacher:
He is regarded as one of the greatest Formula 1 drivers in the world. If statistics had to be considered, he holds a lot of records in terms of most championships, race victories, fastest laps, pole positions, points scored and most races won in a single season. The German made his debut with the Jordan-Ford team at the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix. He retired after the end of 2006 season but returned with the new Mercedes GP team in 2010. Finally at the end of the 2012 season, this great F1 driver again bade farewell to the track.
3. Alain Prost:
He is one of the greatest living Formula 1 drivers in the world. A four-time Formula One Drivers’ Champion, Prost is third in the list of drivers when it comes to most F1 world titles preceded by Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher. He joined the McLaren Formula One team in 1980. His rivalry with Senna and their controversial clashes during the 1980s and early 1990s is still remembered.
2. Juan-Manuel Fangio:
He was an Argentine racing car driver who dominated the first decade of F1 racing. He had won five Formula One World Drivers’ Championships. This record stood for 46 years until beaten by Michael Schumacher. He still holds the highest winning percentage in F1 winning 24 of 52 Formula One races he entered. His first entry into F1 racing came in the 1948 French Grand Prix at Reims. His achievements were at a time when technology was not as advanced as today which further magnifies the stature of his feats.
1. Ayrton Senna:
A winner of 3 Formula One world championships, he hailed from Brazil. His Formula 1 debut was with Toleman-Hart in 1984. He later moved to Lotus-Renault winning six Grands Prix over the next three seasons.He joined McLaren-Honda in 1988 and along with Alain Prostwon all but one of the 16 Grands Prix that year.His turbulent rivalry with Alain Prost was always talked about. His qualifying speed over one lap was exceptional and he held the record for most pole positions for a long time. He died in an accident while leading the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.