सेबस्टियन वेट्टल
© व्लादिमीर रिस - रेड बुल कंटेंट पूल
F1

The Top 10 Most Successful Formula 1 Drivers

Find out who are the most reliable drivers to ever compete in Formula 1.
Written by Red Bull UK
4 min readPublished on
Ever wondered who are the greatest F1 racers of all-time?
That question can be trickier to answer since it isn't possible to compare racers from F1’s early days with the modern crop given the technological advancements that have affected the sport.
One metric to run a comparison would be percentage of races won versus number of race entries. So that's the only statistic we are looking at to compile this list of top-10 greatest F1 drivers. Here are the results – and some names might surprise you.

10. Alain Prost – 25.25%

Alain Prost
Alain Prost
The Professor, as he was known, was one of the biggest stars of the 1980s and ‘90s, particularly during his titanic battles with Ayrton Senna. Active from 1980 to 1991, and then again in 1993, Prost won 51 of the 202 races he entered, winning four world championships for McLaren and Williams.

9. Ayrton Senna – 25.31%

Ayrton in his Lotus days
Ayrton in his Lotus days
One of the biggest names ever in Formula 1 racing, Senna was a star in and out of the car. A fiercely intelligent and passionate man, he had won three F1 world championships for McLaren before his premature death in 1994. Senna won 41 of the 162 races he entered.

8. Jackie Stewart – 27.00%

Jackie Stewart with Sterling Moss
Jackie Stewart with Sterling Moss
Sir Jackie Stewart won 27 of his 100 entered races and took home three world championships for Matra and Tyrrell. Although he retired in 1972, he continues to be a well-known figure in F1, having been a leading campaigner for safety improvements in racing, and started his own team – Stewart – in 1997. The team was sold to Jaguar, and then to Red Bull to become Red Bull Racing in 2005.

7. Michael Schumacher – 29.55%

Ferrari's Michael Schumacher
Ferrari's Michael Schumacher
A dominant force in F1 during the 1990s and 2000s, Schumacher arrived in the sport at the tail end of Ayrton Senna’s career, and established himself as one of the best young drivers. He won the world championship for Benetton in 1994 and ’95, and then won five times in a row with Ferrari from 2000 to 2004. He won 91 times from 208 races entered.

6. Bill Vukovich – 33.3%

Bill Vukovich at the 1952 Indianapolis 500
Bill Vukovich at the 1952 Indianapolis 500
Here’s where our methodology starts to throw up unusual results. American Bill Vukovich entered only six Formula 1 races in his career, but he won two of them. All were the famous Indianapolis 500, which in the 1950s was a championship F1 race. Vukovich won in 1953 and 1954 but sadly was killed defending his title during the 1955 race.

5. Lee Wallard – 33.3%

Lee Wallard at the Indi 500 in 1951
Lee Wallard at the Indi 500 in 1951
Another ‘anomaly’ in the top 10, Wallard was another American that specialised in the Indy 500. He entered three times, winning in 1951 at the grand old age of 40 after finishing sixth the previous year. The Indy 500 continued to be part of the F1 World Championship until 1960.

4. Lewis Hamilton – 33.6%

Profile photo of Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton
The six-time World Champion holds several records, including all-time most career points, all-time most pole positions, and most points in a single season. His 84 race wins from 250 entries puts him at the second spot in all-time race wins (behind Michael Schumacher, who also holds the record for most driver championships at seven). Hamilton will be looking to secure more records to his name once the 2020 season gets underway.

3. Jim Clark – 34.25%

Jim Clark driving for Lotus
Jim Clark driving for Lotus
The life of Jim Clark was cut tragically short during a Formula 2 race in Germany in 1968. But prior to his death he had won 25 of the 73 races he entered, and was F1 world champion twice for Lotus, in 1963 and 1965. He was leading the 1968 championship at the time of his demise.

2. Alberto Ascari – 39.39%

Alberto Ascari
Alberto Ascari
A double world champion, in 1952 and ‘53, Ascari was one of the original stars of Formula 1. Driving for Ferrari, then later Maserati and Lancia, he won 13 of the 33 races he entered. He is one of only two Italian F1 champions – the other being Giuseppe Farina – and the only won to win for Ferrari. He died testing a Ferrari sports car at Monza in Italy in 1955.

1. Juan-Manuel Fangio – 46.15%

A photo of Mercedes F1 driver Juan-Manuel Fangio.
Juan-Manuel Fangio
El Maestro claimed five world championships for four different teams in the 1950s, and won 24 of the 52 races he entered. In the seasons where he entered all the races, he never finished worse than second in the championship. He is still regarded as a national hero in his native Argentina.
Profile photo of Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton