7 Extraordinary Formula 1 Racers


February 1, 2012MiscellaneousNo comments

These legendary racers dominated F1 when they were in their prime, and are still remembered as the best in the business.

It’s been over 60 years since Formula 1 was introduced to motorsport fans, and it still remains just as fresh and competitive as it used to be back in the simpler times. Although technology has continually been upgraded in this sport–prompting several rule changes–a team is nowhere without a top driver, and F1 attracts the best in the game.

While there have been several world champions to emerge out of this sport, only a few greats have made F1 what it is today. Here’s our pick of the greatest Formula 1 drivers.

Niki Lauda, Austria

This former 3-time champion dominated the sport during the mid-1970s and early 1980s. In 177 races, Lauda managed to qualify a staggering 171 times, and recorded 54 podium finishes. He also managed to bag 24 pole positions and 25 wins during his 13-year career.

While he raced for several teams, he was at his best in a Ferrari in 1975-76. Even his comeback with McLaren in 1982 was a memorable one, and he soon managed to win a championship with that team as well.

Jim Clark, Britain

This two-time champion was well on his way to win his third championship in 1968. Unfortunately, he died in a Fomula 2 crash in April 1968 at the age of 32. However, in the short time that he graced Fromula 1, Clark left an indelible imprint on the sport. He started 72 of the 73 races he was a part of and managed to win 25 of those! This legendary Lotus driver also clocked 32 podium finishes.

Throughout his career, Clark relied on his driving skills rather than his car’s mechanics to see him through. Little wonder why he’s considered to be one of the greatest raw talents this sport has produced.

Jackie Stewart, Britain

He was called the Flying Scotsman for a reason–and that reason was his ability to manoeuvre the far less sophisticated cars of his era through hairpin bends and tough curves at breakneck speeds. This 3-time champion won 27 out of the 99 races he started.

At the end of a stellar 13-year career, Stewart finished with 43 podium finishes, and till date remains the best driver to come out of the UK.

Juan Manuel Fangio, Argentina

He is one of the pioneers of Formula 1 and dominated the field in the 1950s. After winning his first championship in 1951, he ventured into other forms of racing over the next couple of years. But upon his return to F1, Fangio resumed where he left off and won four straight championships from 1954 to 1957.

The great thing about Fangio was that he won 5 champioships with 5 different teams. He also won 24 out of the 51 starts he made in F1!

Alain Prost, France

Prost was affectionately known as Le Professeur for his highly cerebral approach to racing. Starting his career behind the wheel of a sub-par Renault, Prost relied on strategy rather than speed to win four world titles–3 of which came in a sophisticated McLaren and the other in a Williams machine.

He registered a total of 51 wins and 106 podium finishes during a 13-year career that saw him lock horns with some of the best in the business, including Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna!

Ayrton Senna

When Ayrton Senna was killed in a crash at the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994, he was in a tight clash with Michael Schumacher to get to his fourth world title. Nonetheless, his 41 wins in 161 starts are proof of the fact that he was head and shoulders above the rest of the competition.

Experts believe that had he raced for another few years, he surely would’ve won a few more titles, including the 1994 one!

Michael Schumacher

In his early days, Schumi raced in the shadows of Prost and Senna. But the young German caught everyone’s attention when he won the 1992 Belgian Grand Prix as a 23-year-old upstart. Since then, this 7-time world champion has always been a pre-season favourite. During his lengthy career, he’s managed to win 91 races in 284 starts. He’s also had a podium finish 154 times!

While there’s not much left for this man to prove anymore, he’s still competing against much younger drivers. However, no F1 fan will ever forget Schumacher crossing the line in a cherry red Ferrari race after race–it’s the iconic Formula 1 image an entire generation grew up with!

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