The true greatest driver in Formula One history
Numbers don't always mean everything
The question of 'who is the greatest F1 driver of all time' has floated around for decades. There are many successful racers that have come and gone, and everyone seems to have a different opinion. Of course, those who win the championship at least once deserve to be recognised as one of the greatest racers ever, but without a good car a brilliant driver won't be able to reach their full potential. Therefore, numbers aren't always important when it comes to this question.
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And so, here is my answer to the question: Robert Kubica. He never had the fastest car on the grid, yet amassed an impressive 273 points between 2006 and 2010. The Polish driver managed to score his first podium in only his third race, at Monza. It was obvious that BMW-Sauber was good enough to have a chance against the mighty McLarens and Ferraris, and Kubica's ability to extract so much out of the car earned him twelve podiums and one win in just 5 years.
In fact, Robert was so good at racing that he finished 4th in the 2008 Driver's Championship, ahead of Fernando Alonso in the Renault, tying for points with Kimi Räikkönen in the Ferrari, and 15 points ahead of his teammate Nick Heidfeld. Kubica could have actually had a shot at winning the Driver's Championship if BMW-Sauber hadn't turned their attention to developing their 2009 car in the remainder of the season, finishing only 23 points from champion Hamilton.
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Despite so much focus on 2009, BMW-Sauber did not have a good enough chassis to compete well in the season, and BMW withdrew at the end of the year, selling the team back to original owner Peter Sauber. Kubica secured a place at Renault the following year, his consistency (and three podium finishes) earning him 8th out of 27 drivers. He was a massive 109 points ahead of his teammate Vitaly Petrov and placed the midfield Renault far higher than anyone expected.
Robert's performance in the Renault certainly proved his skill, and it was revealed in 2018 that he had managed to sign with Ferrari for the 2012 season. This was a move that could have given him another shot at winning the title, but a terrible crash while rallying in 2011 left him unable to compete in Formula 1 for the foreseeable future. Could he have claimed the championship with Ferrari, or maybe even with Lotus Renault in 2011? Absolutely. His abilities were astonishing.
Despite being told that he could never race again, he had already returned to full-time rallying by 2013, with first place in the WRC-2 series. After a few years of racing elsewhere and a bit of testing in Formula One, Kubica returned to the sport with Williams. He only managed to score one point in the 2019 season, but when considering the circumstances, his racing was brilliant. Without his injuries, and with a good, more reliable car, he could've performed much better.
In the present day, he is a test and reserve driver for Alfa Romeo Racing, previously known as BMW-Sauber, the team he raced with between 2006 and 2009. Sometimes, life doesn't always work out the way you want it to, and Robert Kubica's career remains, to this day, an interesting 'What If?' in the world of motorsport. His incredible legacy spanning many years in racing lives on and, in my opinion, he is the true greatest Formula One driver in the history of the sport.