Which driver was the most naturally talented in F1? – Against Hibernation Vol. 1
I overlooked a Media Law essay and a 300-word political article for this. If I fail them, Drivetribe owes me 3 months pay. You are my witnesses
Which driver was the most naturally talented in F1? (Not necessarily the best overall) Respect others opinions here.
Hello and welcome to my first piece away from current F1 stories.
Is it a trivial discussion? Does it really matter what my take is? Can I put my #essereFerrari on a side and be objective on this subject?
More importantly, can drivers from different eras be judged? And how? Are numbers enough?
Before I start, you should know Gilles Villeneuve and Michael Schumacher are my two favourite drivers. Emotions, that is how they touched my heart. Gilles was pure. Gilles drove like I cook: to the max and without taking any notes. Every race, as every recipe, was different and personal. It could last a few meters and make history. No other driver ever reached that level of connection with the fans. Mansell came close to it. And Schumacher, too. It is easy to judge Michael by those seven championships and 91 victories. I judged him based on six seasons of the 11 he spent in Ferrari: 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2005, 2006. I judged him on chase and on defeat. That is how he took my heart.
So, let us dig into the topic. What is my method? I only considered the drivers in the poll. I separated the history of F1 in decades. Some drivers will feature in two decades. This made me irregularly split the decades: 1950-1958; 1959-1971; 1972-1981; 1982-1993; 1994-2001; 2002-2006; 2007-2013; 2014-2018; 2019-onwards. I looked at significant results. What are those? Seasons where the drivers compared raced in similar cars, and races where they both reached the finish line without suffering issues. Basically, head to head results. At a certain point, I also started considering results were the driver did not reach the flag but entered the classification. That happens when a driver covers a certain distance, usually 90%, before retiring. I did that after F1 abolished ground effect. I considered that the sport started to feature more restrictive rules and cars started to be similar in concepts. Also, more reliable, less nervous and easier to drive. I also looked at pole positions and fastest laps. But the ultimate data was peers’ opinion. If Sir Stirling Moss says that Juan Manuel Fangio was better than him, who am I to say otherwise? If Jackie Stewart says that Jim Clark was better than him, who am I to say otherwise? And if all the drivers say that Fangio was the best of all time, who am I to say otherwise? That is why I voted Fangio as the best in the poll. But Fangio was only the 6th preference.
And that is why...
Like having Le Mans and F1 on the same grid
Judging the 50s was not easy. Drivers could retire, then their teammate would stop and give them their cars. Position was held by the car, not by the driver. And drivers were likely to change teams during the season. It also was the easiest because Juan Manuel Fangio won five championships in four different cars. It is quite difficult saying that Ascari and Moss were better than Fangio.
The three drivers I examined were Fangio, Ascari and Moss. Ascari and Moss never had a significant head to head. Ascari's life was cut short by a crash during a test in Monza. Fangio would retire before the end of the decade. Moss would keep trying his luck until 1961: he is still regarded as the best driver to never win a championship.
Fangio wins over Ascari and Moss. In the poll, Fangio was ahead with a 5%, Moss 2%, Ascari less than 1%
Front or rear engine? Does a horse push or pull a cart?
F1's second decade starts with Sir Jack Brabham, born in Hurstville, NSW, Australia. Which is also where I currently live. He debuted in 1955 and won his first two championships in 1959 and 1960.
He clashed against Sir Stirling Moss in 1959. They raced with the same car, but different teams, achieving two victories each. Moss obtained more pole positions and fastest laps, but he failed to reach the chequered flag in four of the seven GPs.
In 1960, Stirling Moss switched to a Lotus chassis from Race 2, winning that race. He did not score points due to either DNS, DSQ or did not enter, in four occasions which Brabham won. Jim Clark entered the sport in this season, scoring points twice in six races. First podium for Graham Hill, who debuted in 1958, in his first season in BRM.
Cooper started its decline in 1961, costing Jack Brabham his chance to defend the title, while Moss kept racing in for Walker in a Lotus chassis. Moss, with two victories, was a contender for the championship, but was forced to retire on three occasions, and failed to score points in another two. Clark scored his first two podiums. Hill, on BRM, scored points twice.
In 1962, Jack Brabham opened Brabham Racing. Out of the blur, Graham Hill was World Champion on BRM: one pole, three fastest laps, five victories. Jim Clark finished 2nd with six pole positions, five fastest laps and three victories. They had four head to head results, with Clark edging Hill three times. Brabham reached points four times in eight occasions.
Jim Clark dominated the 1963 season, edging Hill 5-2 in head to head clashes. Brabham obtained his first podium with his own car and scored points in three additional occasions. He would score another two podiums in 1964, while Hill and Clark fought for 2nd place in the championship. Clark edged Hill 4-2.
1965 is interesting, as Jackie Stewart debuted as Graham Hill teammate at BRM. In his first seasons, Stewart scored four podiums before achieving his first victory. Four podiums plus two victories for Hill, but in the head to head clashes Stewart wins 4-3. Jim Clark was champion. Brabham scored a podium and another two point places.
Hill and Stewart were teammates in 1966, too. Black Jack Brabham dominated the season: four victories, one 2nd and another point place. He defeated Hill 3-0, Clark and Stewart 2-0. Hill defeated Stewart 2-1, and Clark 2-0. Clark vs Stewart ended 1-0.
In 1967 Hill moved to Lotus with Clark. The two reached the chequered flag together only once, with Clark ahead of Hill. Clark scored four victories and another podium. Two retirements in Germany and Canada cost him the championship. Hill finished three races, two podiums and one point place. Stewart in BRM finished two races, both on the podium. Brabham was 2nd in the standing, with two victories and three additional podiums. However, Clark defeated Brabham 3-1. Brabham scored a 1-0 on Stewart. Stewart scored a 1-0 on Clark.
Clark was killed in 1968, scoring his last victory in his only race of the season. Hill was 2nd to the chequered flag. Then, he won the championship with three victories. Brabham managed to score one point place in a disastrous season. Stewart, now with Matra, skipped two races for a wrist injury. He won three Grand Prix, defeating Hill 3-0. His Matra would prove itself unbeatable in 1969, too, giving him an easy championship with six victories. Hill would be a threat only in the first three races. Brabham scored two podiums at the end of the season. Andretti raced on a few occasions between 1968 and 1969 on Lotus, always retiring.
The new decade opened with Stewart moving to Tyrell and Andretti racing in a STP March, scoring his first podium. He would retire in the rest of his short season. Stewart's season finished with one victory and three other podiums. Same result for Brabham. They finished the race together on three occasions, 2-1 for Brabham. Hill scored points four times. Black Jack retired, picking Hill as replacement in his team. However, Stewart and Tyrell killed the season with six victories. Andretti won his first race, at the first race of the season in a Ferrari. He raced six more times, scoring one point place.
The battle for the 60s ended in 1971, despite Hill kept racing until his death in 1975. The only Triple Crown Champion in history scored points three times in two seasons with Brabham, then opened his own team, scoring once in 1974 and racing with his own chassis in his only 1975 race. Jackie Stewart continued until 1973, winning the championship in his last season.
Between the four drivers, Jim Clark is regarded as the best. Many of his peers point at him as the best driver ever, including Jackie Stewart. Jack Brabham peaked twice, once with his own car.
By looking at my data, I scored Clark over Brabham, Hill and Stewart. You might argue that Stewart had a shorter but richer career than Hill and Brabham, but Black Jack and Hill were better in head to head with similar cars. They also left a bigger mark in the sport compared to Stewart.
My results are confirmed by the poll: Clark 20%, Brabham and Hill 0.7%, Stewart 0.4%
Sex was safe, racing was dangerous
I looked at the names in the poll and at the names in the comment. Rindt and Fittipaldi were not included, as well as Reutemann or Peterson. The drivers for the 70s are Andretti, Lauda, Villeneuve. It made my research shorter and easier. There was less data to check. Also, F1 entered the modern era during this decade. The seasons, rivalry and results are very well documented.
In 1972, Andretti scored points twice for Ferrari.
In 1973, Andretti did not find a seat. Lauda debuted for BRM. He scored points once.
In 1974, Andretti raced only the two North American rounds, with poor results. Lauda moved to Ferrari: two victories, two other podiums, nine pole positions, three fastest laps. It was the beginning of his Ferrari golden era. He won the championship in 1975. Andretti raced for Parnelli, scoring points twice in six finished races. 6-0 against Lauda. He moved to Lotus in 1976: one victory, one pole, one fastest lap. All three results in three different races. Lauda was injured in Germany. 1-1 at the end of the season. The two clashed for the championship until the mid of the season 1977, with Andretti winning four times but suffering too many retirements. Lauda won three races and the championship. Andretti defeated Lauda 4-1 in head to head. Gilles Villeneuve made his debut for McLaren, then moved to Ferrari replacing Lauda.
Andretti won the 1978 championship with six victories. Lauda defeated him 3-2 in his new Brabham, scoring two victories. Villeneuve won his first race in Canada, after a podium and two additional point places.
Lauda's 1979 was dreadful, with two point positions and a 0-2 against Villeneuve. The Canadian was 2nd in the standings with three victories and four additional podiums.
The Austrian left the sport at the end of 1979, leaving Andretti vs Villeneuve until 1981. He returned to the sport in 1982 when Villeneuve passed away. As for Villeneuve vs Andretti: 3-0 for Villeneuve in 1980. 3-1 in 1981.
Andretti's career continued until 1982. He managed two podiums between 79 and 82, and six point places. He raced for Lotus until 1980, then moved to Alfa Romeo in 81. He raced only three times in 1982, once for Williams and twice with Ferrari, with his last pole position and podium in Monza.
Prost and Mansell debuted in 1980. The French ended the season with four point places. Mansell finished with two retirements and a DNS. The following season, the English Lion finished five races, scoring his first podium and another two point places. Prost finished six races, with three victories and three additional podiums.
Let us close the 70s here, in 1981.
Lauda is regarded as the driver of the 70s. He left and came back and challenged newcomers, adapting his style and winning another championship with cars that were far from his 70s Ferraris. As for Andretti, he had a great career in America, but it was not as lucky in F1. The head to head results against Lauda in 1977 are proof of his talent, but we also know that Lauda preferred making points and saving the car instead of extracting all its potential for a victory.
I scored Lauda over Villeneuve and Andretti. As for the poll, Villeneuve 3%, Lauda 2%, Andretti less than 1%.
Hey, what did you expect?
Another great decade and another easy analysis. Prost vs Lauda, Prost vs Senna. All clashed with the same car. And then Mansell in Williams, Prost vs Mansell in Ferrari, Prost vs Senna in 1990, Senna vs Mansell in 1991. The poll did not feature Rosberg or Piquet.
San Marino made 1994 the black season of F1. Before it, 1982 was the ugliest season of them all.
A great Ferrari lost his two drivers, Villeneuve and Pironi. Villeneuve passed away during the Belgian weekend. Pironi lost his legs in Germany. The car was so good that Tambay and Andretti took victories and podiums. Pironi finished 2nd in the championship despite skipping six races. Prost took two victories and two other podiums on Renault. Five poles and four fastest laps. Lauda took two victories, one podium and one fastest lap for McLaren. Prost edged Lauda 3-2. As for Mansell, a single podium and one other point place in six finished races.
Alain Prost was 2nd in the championship at the end of the season. It was a no contest between the three. From Race 9, Nigel Mansell's Lotus was equipped with the same Gordini engine as Prost's Renault. With the new engine, Mansell scored a podium and two point positions, plus one achieved with the DFY Cosworth. Lauda had two podiums in the first two races. But his McLaren was not reliable during the rest of the season. He finished a total of five races, with the two podiums and two point places.
And this is 1984. It was Senna's first season and Niki's second last. It was the first of two head to head between Prost and Lauda. It is, in my opinion, the most significant season. I will also include one non-F1 result in my analysis: the Nürburgring Champions Mercedes-Benz Cup. All the F1 drivers raced with the same car, the 190 E. And despite some reports saying that most of the drivers took it lightly, Ayrton Senna took the lead from Alain Prost at the start. The two shared the front row. Then he gave it all and won the race.
With this significant detail, let us see what happened in this 16-race championship.
Niki Lauda was World Champion by .5 point. He finished 10 races. Five victories. Four 2nd place. One 4th. Five fastest laps.
Alain Prost was second at the end of the season. He finished 11 races. Seven victories. One 2nd place, one 3rd and one 7th. Three pole positions and three fastest laps.
Head to head, Prost won 4-3.
They raced two different seasons. Lauda could not compare with Prost's raw speed in qualifying. He focused on Sundays. Most of the time, he had to recover from the back of the grid. But he ended up winning the championship. It was his 3rd championship. The first and only after his second entrance in the sport. It was won nine years after his first championship with Ferrari. Very different cars. It was the second peak of Niki Lauda. What made the difference in 1984 was the Monaco Grand Prix that was red flagged at Lap 29. Ayrton Senna finished 2nd on a Toleman and Bellof finished 3rd. Prost took the victory, but half points were awarded as they raced less than the 75% of the GP.
Despite Toleman not having the same pedigree of Lotus, Senna managed to achieve better results than Mansell. Senna made three podiums and two point places in six finished races. Mansell finished five races, with two podiums and three other point finishes. They had one head to head in Canada, fighting for 6th place. Mansell took that point position.
Lauda retired in 1985, with three races finished: one victory and two other point positions. Senna replaced Mansell in Lotus. Nigel moved to Williams. Prost walked to the championship. Lauda defeated Prost at the Dutch Grand Prix. The series ended 1-1 in 17 races.
With a new engine and chassis, Senna scored six pole positions. Two victories. Four other podiums. One pole for Prost. 5-2 for the French in head to head results. Senna scored his two victories on Prost in the last four races, when Prost had already won his championship over Alboreto's Ferrari. Michele's Ferrari started having turbo reliability issues from Monza, when Enzo himself decided to change from the German KKK turbos, same as the McLaren-TAG, for the American Garrett. Alboreto, which is not in the poll, never had a better chance to become champion.
A new Honda engine helped Mansell score two victories, one additional podium and one pole position in the last four races. The Lion scored five additional point places. On head to head, Senna and Mansell finished 3-3.
In 1986, Mansell and Prost fought for the championship until the last race in Australia. The title was a three-guy race, with Mansell's teammate Piquet ready to win. The superiority of Mansell's Williams over Prost's McLaren was proven by the 8-2 head to head in favour of the Lion. The title went to Prost in the last race: despite Mansell's five victories, two 2nd places and two 3rd, Prost scored four victories, four 2nd places and three 3rd. His constancy on the podium paid off.
The last race was a cliff hanger: Rosberg in front, followed by Piquet, Mansell and Prost; Rosberg suffered a tyre failure and lost the lead; Mansell suffered a tyre explosion while chasing Piquet for the victory and the championship; Piquet was recalled for fresh tyres; Prost took the lead, Piquet on the chase. But the race was over, and Prost was champion.
As for Senna's season, he took eight pole positions, two victories, six podiums and two additional point places. 4-4 against Prost, 6-3 victory against Mansell.
Williams' superiority was even stronger in 1987, with Piquet and Mansell fighting for the championship. Mansell was injured in Japan and the title went to Piquet. Mansell was 5-2 on Senna and on Prost. As for the two future teammates, Senna defeated Prost 6-3.
It was the end of the line for Williams, that lost their Honda engine supply. It went to McLaren, which finally signed Senna as Prost teammate. McLaren-Honda was unbeatable and won every race but Monza in the 1988 season. Senna was World Champion, 7-5 on Prost. Mansell's season ended with two only finished races, both in 2nd place.
1989 was a repeat of the previous season. Senna edged Prost 7-1, but he also failed to score points in eight occasions against Prost's three. For pole positions, Senna defeated Prost 13-2. Prost won 5-3 in fastest laps. He took the World Championship in Suzuka when the two collided at the Triangle chicane.
As for Mansell, he moved to Ferrari and finished only six races: he won two, 2nd in two, 3rd in two.
In 1990, Prost moved to Ferrari: a perfect occasion to score him against Mansell, his teammate. 3-0 in pole positions for Mansell; 3-2 in fastest laps; five victories for Prost, one for Mansell. 5-3 for Prost in head to head.
Senna was World Champion when he collided with Prost's Ferrari in Turn 1 in Japan. 5-3 for Senna. 10-0 in pole positions for Senna, 2-2 in fastest laps, 8-5 in victories.
In 1991, McLaren and Williams fought for the championship, which was won by Senna. Mansell moved back to Williams. Prost was fired by Ferrari before the end of the season. Williams appeared to be a better car than McLaren, with Mansell taking on Senna 6-3. Senna did better in pole positions, 8-2. Mansell did better in fastest laps, winning 6-2. The deciding factor was the unreliability of Mansell's gearbox in the first three GPs.
In this year, Schumacher debuted in the sport from the Belgian GP.
Prost took a sabbatical in 1992. Mansell walked to the championship, scoring almost double the points of his teammate Riccardo Patrese. It also was the first chance of a head to head between Schumacher and Senna on similar cars. The Honda V12 showed his limits in the previous season. Senna edged Schumacher 5-2, but finished behind Michael in the championship due to his seven retirements.
Mansell took a sabbatical in 1993. Prost replaced him to the championship. Williams remained the top car and Prost took his 4th championship. After it, he retired. Senna replaced him in Williams. The move cost him his life in Imola.
Schumacher defeated Senna 3-1. Senna finished 2nd in the championship, Schumacher 4th. The German suffered seven retirements. The race he finished, he finished them on the podium, with a single victory.
This is when we close the 80s: we have Lauda, Prost, Mansell and Senna.
Based on my method, Senna wins. 2nd place for Lauda, then Prost and Mansell. I felt that Lauda's double peak was worth more than Prost talent and incredible understanding of the sport. Having an old gun as Niki edging a fresh Alain was an incredible feat. I love Nigel, he still eats free when he is in Italy. He is the modern Villeneuve. Lots of speed, but not enough to be as good as the other three. As for Senna, he won the poll. He is regarded as the best driver of the 80s and only his death stopped him to showcase more of his talent and style.
So, Senna, Lauda, Prost, Mansell. In the poll, Senna wins with a 29%, Lauda 2%, Prost 1%, Mansell less than 1%
Yes, I know: it is getting personal
Schumacher dominated the scene from 1994 to 1997. Damon Hill, not in the poll, was his main rival. In 1997, Jacques Villeneuve replaced Hill in that role. Michael took the championship in 1994 and 1995. In 1996 he moved to Ferrari. Between 1991 and 1993, Ferrari won zero GPs. In 1994 they won one, with the same result in 1995. In 1996, they won three with the German. In 1997, they lost the championship in the final race.
A young Finnish made his return to F1 in 1994. Mika Häkkinen debuted in 1991 for Lotus, racing the whole season. He broke in the sport before Michael Schumacher. He raced for the whole 1992 season, then took a spot as test driver for McLaren. But when Michael Andretti left McLaren, Mika took his seat for the last three GPs. In 1994, Häkkinen's McLaren reached the chequered flag eight times. He was on the podium six of those eight. Two podiums in 1995, four in 1996, two in 1997 plus his first victory during the European Grand Prix. There are two versions of the story about that victory. I might keep them for another article.
Häkkinen vs Schumacher was the feud of the 90s. The two clashed with similar cars between 1998 and 2001, the year were Mika said enough: why keep chasing a driver that was so much better than him?
Peer opinion and numbers can give you the result but let us take a more detailed look to those four seasons.
In 1998, Häkkinen won the championship at the last race. He beaten Schumacher 6-5 in head to head. The decider in Japan saw Schumacher failing to start from pole and being moved to the back of the grid. He rampaged to 3rd when he suffered a tyre explosion.
In 1999, Häkkinen was world champion. He scored a 4-2 over the German. Schumacher's season was cut short by an accident in Silverstone: he broke his leg and return for the last two rounds of the championship. He returned at Sepang. In the inaugural Malaysian GP, he took pole by .9s from his teammate Irvine, 2nd. 1.1s faster than Coulthard. 1.2s faster than Häkkinen.
Schumacher took also five fastest laps in nine GP against Häkkinen's six in 16.
In 2000, Michael Schumacher became World Champion for the third time. It was the first title for Ferrari since 1979. The title was decided in the second last race, in Japan. Head to head, Schumacher defeated Häkkinen 6-4. 9-5 in pole positions. McLaren's value is highlighted by the whopping 9-2 in fastest laps. Schumacher took nine victories against Häkkinen's four. The Finnish kept the championship alive with one less retirement. Both finished in point places when reaching the chequered flag. Three extra podiums for Schumacher. Seven for Häkkinen.
In 2001, Schumacher vs Häkkinen ended 7-2. The two times Häkkinen edged Schumacher was when Häkkinen won a race. Only two victories for the Finnish, tired and unable to keep up. McLaren was still a great car taking two poles, five fastest laps and a total of four victories. Williams made its return to victory since 1997.
Hakkinen took his final decision when he retired in the Spanish GP. He was leading when his engine gave up in the last lap. Schumacher took that victory.
This is when the 90s ended.
Schumacher over Häkkinen is my result. The poll confirms it: Schumacher 7%, Häkkinen 1%
The 00s - Part I
Alonso showing big balls against Kaiser Schumi
Schumacher vs Alonso
Fernando Alonso debuted in 2001 on Minardi. He moved to Renault as a test driver in 2002. Debuted in 2003: two pole position, one fastest lap, one victory. Defeated 6-4 by Schumacher. The result shows the value of Alonso as a driver, but it also represents a bad season for Ferrari: they won every championship from 2000 to 2004, but their 2003 was a nightmare. Schumacher took that championship by two points in the last race.
In 2004, Schumacher and Ferrari destroyed everyone on their path. 11-2 against Alonso. The Spaniard took four podiums and a pole position. Schumacher took eight pole positions and 14 victories.
Ferrari was then handicapped by rule changing. Renault and Alonso took their first of two championships. They fought Raikkonen, not in the poll, on McLaren. Schumacher lost 9-1 against Alonso, taking victory only at Indianapolis, a race with only six cars on the grid. Four extra podiums. One pole position. Three fastest laps. The two clashed in San Marino. It was one of the most exciting races I can remember. Schumacher chased Alonso, but at Imola is hard to overtake. At the time, the track also featured the Variante Bassa which has been eliminated for the 2020 emergency edition of the Imola GP.
In 2006, Ferrari return a serious contender for the championship. Alonso and Schumacher fought for the title until the last race in Brazil.
Alonso scored 6-4 in pole positions; Schumacher, 7-5 in fastest laps; 7-7 in victories. In head to head, 8-6 for Alonso
What made the difference? The last two races. The two were equals in the championship standings. In Japan, Schumacher's engine blew up while he was in the lead. Alonso took the victory and went +10 on the German. In Brazil, his fuel pump relegated him 10th on the grid with Alonso 5th. Once he recovered in 6th, he suffered a puncture in his rear left while overtaking Fisichella for 5th in Turn 1. After the pit stop, he re-joined last, meters ahead of Felipe Massa, 1st. He made an epic comeback, managing to finish 4th.
His career ended there. And so did the first half of the 00s.
I scored Schumacher better than Alonso. The result is based on the 2006 season alone. It is perhaps unfair to judge them by one season, especially considering that the two faced each other when Michael came back in 2010, but this is the only season where they had an equal car. And despite Alonso edging Schumacher, the German showed more than the Spaniard. Perhaps Alonso peaked early or found himself at the right place at the right time. His 2005 was amazing. His 2006 was not better than Schumacher's.
The poll gives Schumacher 7%, Alonso 4%.
The 00s - Part II
You know The Gospel: at that time, in 1 A.S as After Schumacher, these two rebooted F1
Alonso moved to McLaren where he faced Lewis Hamilton in 2007. It is the first chance to pit them one against each other. I will discuss Hamilton in my next article.
The two lost the championship to Raikkonen on Ferrari at the last race.
Alonso over Hamilton 9-6. Lewis' value is supported by 6 pole positions against 2. 4-4 victories. And a loss of 3-2 in fastest laps. He matched points with Alonso despite missing points in two occasions against Alonso's single. Hamilton paid few errors in his rookie season, like the famous pit entry in China.
The two never shared the box. Alonso moved back to Renault. Hamilton remained with McLaren, winning the championship in 2008. Then rules changed again. In 2009, Brawn GP dominated the championship. Red Bull risen as their championship contender. The Austrian team scored four consecutive championship between 2010 and 2013.
As for Alonso vs Hamilton, Lewis would defeat him with a better car in 2008. From 2009, they had similar cars. In 2009, Hamilton edged Alonso 6 to 5. In 2010 they finished 6-6. Then Alonso 10-6 in 2011, 7-6 in 2012, 11-6 in 2013.
Enter Sebastian Vettel. The German debuted in 2007, scoring points in his first race with Sauber. He was the test driver replacing one of the main drivers after an injury. His performance gave him a contract with Red Bull. The Austrian team parked him in Toro Rosso, their junior team. With the Faenza's team, he raced seven GP, finishing four times, scoring points once.
He raced the whole 2008 season with Toro Rosso. The STR3, which debuted in Monaco, gave him eight point places and a pole and a victory in Monza. It is the only victory for a Ferrari powered client team.
In 2009 he was moved to Red Bull with Renault engines. He was the only man able to split the two invincible Brawn GP.
In 2010 he fought Alonso at his first season with Ferrari, winning the championship at the last race. Alonso edged him 8-6, but a strategical error gave the championship to the German. In 2011, Vettel won his second championship. He won it again in 2012, when Ferrari fell in a technical crisis after the Italian GP. Vettel won the head to head 9-7. In 2013 he had no rivals.
And this is the end of the 00s: I scored Alonso over Hamilton. The poll disagrees, with Hamilton at 7% and Alonso at 4%.
Separately, I score Alonso over Vettel. I cannot compare Vettel with Hamilton for lack of significant data. In the poll, Alonso 4%, Vettel 1%
The 10s - Part I
I plan to discuss Hamilton in my next article. Should I discuss Vettel, too? Probably not: Malaysia 2015 is still alive in my little broken heart
Hamilton vs Vettel
Considering their career is still on, with Alonso making his comeback in 2021, it is hard for me to draw conclusions. Between 2014 and 2020, Mercedes won seven championship. Six with Hamilton.
Significant data appears from this moment. Ferrari replaced Alonso with Vettel. Alonso moved back to McLaren. In 2017, Sebastian Vettel fought Hamilton for the championship. Until that point, the British had only his teammate Nico Rosberg as a contender for the championship. Rosberg is not in the poll.
11-4 for Hamilton in pole positions. 7-5 in fastest laps. 4-4 in victories up to Round 11. 9-5 at the end of the season. 7-4 for Vettel in head to head up to Round 11. 9-9 at the end of the season. Vettel out of the points twice. Hamilton always inside point places.
The battle resumed in 2018.
5-4 for Vettel in pole positions up to Round 11. 11-5 for Hamilton at the end of the season. 3-3 in fastest laps. 5-5 in victories up to Round 13. 11-5 for Hamilton at the end of the season. 6-6 in head to head up to Round 14. 12-7 for Hamilton at the end of the season. Once out of points for both drivers.
The data shows Vettel being able to stay with Hamilton for half season. Then nerves, team mistakes and car development make the difference.
I score Hamilton over Vettel. The poll agrees: Hamilton 7%, Vettel 1%
I just hope, with every ounce of my being, that the future will not be black or grey or silver
At this point, I must stop. I have split 70 years of F1 in 9 "decades" or eras if you prefer.
The next two names entering the poll are Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc. They represent the future of the sport. However, I cannot put any of them against Vettel or Hamilton. Or Alonso.
Hamilton's Mercedes is not at the same level as Verstappen's Red Bull or Leclerc's Ferrari. I will resume my analysis in the future, when cars performance is less tangible.
Who's Da Man?
Who is the best between Fangio, Clark, Lauda, Senna, Schumacher, Alonso and Hamilton? I have experienced Schumacher, Alonso and Hamilton. I would say Schumacher. He was better than Alonso. And Alonso was better than Hamilton. My dad experienced Lauda, Senna, Schumacher, Alonso and Hamilton. He cried when Senna died, but he would say there was no one like Schumacher. If you watch F1 docus, all the former drivers still alive or recently dead, indicate Fangio as the best of all times. Followed by Clark. Some put Senna in it. Some put Schumacher. There never was a clear winner between the Brazilian and the German.
So, my podium is Fangio over Clark. With Senna and Schumacher in 3rd. Between Lauda and Alonso, I reckon Lauda express better overall skills.
Ops, what did I say? Overall skills? But the poll expressly asked to judge drivers for natural talent and not overall. Well, I did up until Lauda. He changed the sport. Lauda was the first that show how hard work, patience, stamina would defeat the biggest talent. Prost, Senna, Schumacher and Hamilton are Lauda's sons. Andretti, Villeneuve, Mansell and Alonso are Fangio's sons. Or Clark's, you pick.
Overall skills gave those drivers 24 titles. Talent won 12.
Overall skills beats natural talent. It is not romantic, I cannot say I like it, but it is what it is.
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Until next time, I was Lorenzo from "Lorenzo vs" and this is "Against Hibernation".