Red Bull Racing celebrates Max Verstappen's F1 drivers' world title in the 2021 season
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F1

The 10 most successful Formula 1 drivers of all time

Based on their percentage of race wins from race starts, who are the sport's greatest-ever drivers?
Written by Philipp Briel
5 min readPublished on
Last year, Max Verstappen was crowned 2021 Formula One World Champion in in dramatic circumstances. On the final lap of the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi, he grabbed the points he needed to secure the title. In doing so, the Flying Dutchman joined the ranks of some true F1 hall of famers. But who are the most successful Formula 1 drivers of all time?
The most successful Formula 1 drivers of all time
It is difficult to compare the best drivers in the history of F1 with current drivers. Therefore, our top 10 is based on the percentage of races won compared to race starts. The results might surprise you...
01

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
'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 and renamed it Prost Grand Prix to compete in the Formula 1 World Championship until 2001.
Prost competed 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

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
Ayrton Senna is one of the greatest names Formula 1 has ever produced. The three-time world champion (1988, 1990 and 1991) competed 161 times in the premier class, claiming 41 victories before his career was ended far too soon by his tragic death in 1994.
03

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
Sir Jackie Stewart was active in Formula 1 between 1965 and 1973 and competed in exactly 100 races. He won 27 of them. But even after his end as an active driver, Stewart remained faithful to Formula 1. In 1997 he even entered his own racing team, which was later sold to Jaguar. In 2005, Red Bull Racing emerged from the Jaguar team.
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04

Michael Schumacher – 29.55 Percent

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

Bill Vukovich and Lee Wallard – 33.33 Percent

Bill Vukovich at the 1952 Indianapolis 500
Bill Vukovich at the 1952 Indianapolis 500
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

Jim Clark – 34.25 Percent

Jim Clark driving for Lotus
Jim Clark driving for Lotus
The great Scot Jim Clark was active in Formula 1 between 1960 and 1968, when he died in a tragic accident at the F1 Grand Prix of Hockenheim, aged just 32. In 1963 and 1965 he was crowned world champion while driving for Lotus. In total, Clark Jr. competed 73 times, winning 25 races. Rank 4 in our list.
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07

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
Sir Lewis Hamilton is a giant of F1 and the most successful driver in the sport's recent history. He has started 288 Grands Prix in Formula 1 and has won an incredible 103 races, finishing on the podium 182 times.
He first raced F1 in the 2007 season and equalled Michael Schumacher's record in the 2020 season by being crowned Formula One World Champion for the seventh time.
In 2021, Hamilton was very close to securing an eighth title before Max Verstappen snatched victory on the last lap of the final race of the season.
08

Alberto Ascari – 39.39 Percent

Alberto Ascari
Alberto Ascari
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. 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 the only Italian to win the world championship for Ferrari.
09

Juan-Manuel Fangio – 46.15 Percent

A photo of Mercedes F1 driver Juan-Manuel Fangio.
Juan-Manuel Fangio
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 became world champion five times for four different teams, and never finished a Grand Prix in lower than second place.
In 52 Formula 1 races, he took 24 race wins and finished on the podium 35 times.