Max Verstappen, race winner and 2022 F1 World Drivers Champion, celebrates with his team after the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on October 09, 2022 in Suzuka, Japan.
© Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
F1

The 10 most successful F1 drivers of all time

Based on their percentage of race wins from race starts, who are the sport's greatest-ever drivers?
By Philipp Briel
5 min readPublished on
Max Verstappen was crowned 2022 Formula One World Champion in a dramatic finale. In doing so, the Flying Dutchman reached F1 Hall of Fame status. During the 2022 season, he won an impressive 20.12% of all races in which he started. But, who are the most successful Formula 1 drivers of all time?
It's difficult to compare the best drivers in the history of F1 with today's drivers. Therefore, we've created a list of the top 10 drivers is based on the percentage of races won versus race starts. The results might surprise you...
01

10. Alain Prost – 25.25 Percent

Alain Prost talks to Christian Horner at the 2017 Australian Grand Prix

Alain Prost is one of the most successful F1 drivers, ever

© Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

'The Professor' was one of the greatest F1 drivers of the 1980s and 1990s -- especially during his memorable battle against Ayrton Senna. Alain Prost was active in Formula 1 between 1980 and 1991 and competed again in 1993. In 1997, he took over the traditional French racing team Ligier, renamed it Prost Grand Prix, and competed in the Formula 1 World Championship until 2001.
Prost raced 202 times in Formula 1 and achieved 51 race victories. During his active career, he was crowned F1 world champion four times (1985, 1986, 1989 and 1993).
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02

9. Ayrton Senna – 25.46 Percent

Picture of Ayrton Senna on the Red Bull Ring Walk of Fame

Ayrton Senna is an icon of the sport

© GEPA pictures / Red Bull Content Pool

Ayrton Senna is one of the greatest names Formula 1 has ever known. The three-time world champion (1988, 1990 and 1991) competed in 161 races in the premier class, claiming 41 victories before his tragic passing in 1994.
03

8. Jackie Stewart – 27.00 Percent

Sir Jackie Stewart chats to David Coulthard and Christian Horner at the 2009 Bahrain F1 Grand Prix.

Sir Jackie Stewart, F1 legend

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Sir Jackie Stewart was active in Formula 1 between 1965 and 1973 and competed in exactly 100 races, and winning 27 of them. Following his successful career, Stewart remained faithful to Formula 1 and entered his own racing team in 1997, which was later sold to Jaguar. In 2005, Red Bull Racing emerged from the Jaguar team.
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04

7. Michael Schumacher – 29.55 Percent

Michael Schumacher congratulates Sebastian Vettel at the 2012 Brazilian F1 Grand Prix

Michael Schumacher talks to Sebastian Vettel

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Michael Schumacher was the most dominant Formula 1 driver of the 1990s and 2000s and secured several records during his active time. With seven world championship titles for Benneton (1994 and 1995), and Ferrari (between 2000 and 2004), MSC will forever hold a place in the Formula One history books.
Despite being one of the most successful Formula 1 drivers of all time, his race wins-to-race starts ratio is only enough for 7th place in this list. Schumacher raced 308 times in Formula 1, winning 91 races.
05

5. Bill Vukovich and Lee Wallard – 33.33 Percent

Bill Vukovich at the 1952 Indianapolis 500

Bill Vukovich at the 1952 Indianapolis 500

© IMS

The two Americans Bill Vukovich and Lee Wallard share 5th place in our list, as both were able to win a third of the races they entered. Both were active in the 1950s and competed much less often than any of the other riders on our list.
Vukovic has made six Formula 1 starts, of which he won two races. Wallard, on the other hand, only competed three times and won one Grand Prix.
06

4. Jim Clark – 34.25 Percent

Jim Clark driving for Lotus

Jim Clark driving for Lotus

© Lotus

The great Scot Jim Clark was active in Formula 1 between 1960 and 1968, before suffering a deadly accident at the F1 Grand Prix of Hockenheim, aged just 32 years old. In 1963 and 1965 he was crowned world champion while driving for Lotus. In total, Clark Jr. competed 73 times, winning 25 races.
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07

3. Lewis Hamilton – 35.76 Percent

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen talk after Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2021

F1 icon Lewis Hamilton with his fierce rival Max Verstappen

© Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Sir Lewis Hamilton is the most successful F1 driver in the sport's recent history. He's started 288 Grands Prix in Formula 1 and has won an incredible 103 races, finishing on the podium 182 times.
He entered the F1 scene in 2007 and had equalled Michael Schumacher's record by the 2020 season after being crowned Formula One World Champion seven times.
In 2021, Hamilton narrowly missed out on his eighth title, before Max Verstappen snatched the victory on the last lap of the season.
08

2. Alberto Ascari – 39.39 Percent

Alberto Ascari

Alberto Ascari

© Ferrari

The two-time World Champion from Italy was one of the biggest F1 stars of the 1950s and was active for Ferrari, Maserati, and Lancia. Alberto Ascari won 13 of his 33 races.
At the same time, Ascari is one of only two F1 World Champions from Italy, along with Giuseppe Farina, and is the only Italian to win the world championship for Ferrari.
09

1. Juan-Manuel Fangio – 46.15 Percent

A photo of Mercedes F1 driver Juan-Manuel Fangio.

Juan-Manuel Fangio

© Mercedes

Born in 1911, Argentinean driver Juan-Manuel Fangio was known as 'El Maestro', and for good reason. He is the most successful Formula 1 driver of all time. Fangio was named world champion five times while racing with four different teams.
In 52 F1 races, Fangio took 24 race wins and finished on the podium 35 times.

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