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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 11:48 am 
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I've seen a lot of approaches to this and yours is as good as any . However it's always limited by the same things:

1) Many drivers don't have the results to match their ability
2) as you are spanning all years you end up with drivers being ranked alongside each other without ever having competed directly and not really even doing the same thing. i.e different cars, regulations, length of season, competitors, circuits etc. So how valid that comparison is is open to debate.

Basically any response to your thread will probably come under one of the above.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:56 pm 
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pokerman wrote:
Fiki wrote:
pokerman wrote:
Fiki wrote:
The most difficult driver for me to judge for 'best' and 'great' is Hamilton. Even before Nico left, I had the feeling the team was geared too much in his favour.

Did the 2016 season finale look to be geared in Hamilton's favour over Rosberg?
That is a very good question indeed! No, but then looks are just that; looks.

So that would be a case of putting the tin foil hat on? :)
Only if it were a particularly elegant and fetching tin foil hat. The way the team judged the hard but supposedly fair racing between the two team-mates left me wondering about just how fair their conclusions were.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:47 pm 
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Pullrod wrote:
Johnson wrote:
tim3003 wrote:
A lot of people make the point that success in F1 is car-dependent. Fair enough, but as I think I said, the best drivers tend to get the best cars, so isn't the playing field thus level again?

Maybe it's the statistican in me that wants to define numerically who is the best ! Maybe my way is not the correct way. But if not can we agree on another objective criteria that is? If not then all we have is subjective views, of which there are as many as there are drivers! Surely that's not good enough..


Thats why you take from numerous sources;

1) Raw statistics like you have
2) Team mate head to heads, the true measure of a driver as his team mate has the same car and it removes the biggest variable.
3) Subjective opinion

You add these layers and more and you get a better result. But ultimately, its impossible to tell.


This is certainly the biggest fallacy of this sport called F1.

Look at a driver like Raikkonen who trailed Alonso by 5 - 7 tenths when they were teammates. If your "true" measure is to be used it is fair to say that Alonso would have scored the most poles in 2018 with an average gap of ++5 tenths on Mercedes.

To me best driver means the one who will achieve the best result given the "best" (or a perfectly functioning) equipment. I don't think watching a guy doing better than his teammate in a "difficult" or "struggling" car is enough to pass this kind of judgement.

As I have said many times before, I believe the skills necessary to excel at the sharp end are different to those used to fight for the scraps.
Vettel had a poor 2014 for this reason, but when in front(possibly after a few corners and alone) there is only one guy who can keep up with him.

I watch F1 to see cars at the limit of their performance(Qualifying, rain, hot laps) not to watch a tactician more suited to endurance racing.


So watching Alonso trouncing his teammates in not the best cars is not enough to think that he would do a better job than Hamilton or Vettel with the best cars just like watching Lewis and Sebastian in the best cars winning week after week doesn't mean they would do better than Alonso in a struggling or average car. Different skills. Oh and the "faster" you go, the easier is to make mistakes.

And last but not least, you can luck into the best car for 1 year or 2 but staying in the best car or team is another story and something many if not most fans underestimate.


That is also another fallacy though. If Mercedes quit the sport in 2013, Red Bull would be the best car. Does Vettel magically find 0.3 per lap and beat Ricciardo just because its the best even though its exactly the same car? I doubt it. He struggled that year with the car. Whether it was the best or worst car is irrelevant. Ricciardo also beat Vettels times when testing the 2013 car.

Also, you have taken it way way too far, the team mate thing. We can conclude that Alonso was equal or better to any driver he was ever paired with and much better than nearly all of them bar Hamilton. If you watched 2005 and 2006 you will see Alonso produced two of the finest seasons (1 driver error in 2 seasons whilst being ridiculously quick) ever. Saying Alonso was 0.4 quicker than X so he will be 0.6 quicker than Y is taking it too far. Lets just say there is NO proof any driver Alonso ever raced against was quicker than him, you can't say that about many drivers in the history of the sport. You can't make a case for Raikkonen, Button, Massa being the best ever driving and that is due to there performances against team mates for example. Its clear they are not.

Staying in the best car, involves basically beating your team mate, which takes us back to the start.


Last edited by Johnson on Thu Mar 28, 2019 3:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 3:07 pm 
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mikeyg123 wrote:
I think you've done a very good job of creating a metric for the most successful drivers ever. Best though is a different story. I admire your effort.

I don't need to read any further to know that there is no sense in this thread going beyond this comment. All else is just personal preferences and mental masturbation.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 5:20 pm 
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mikeyg123 wrote:
I think you've done a very good job of creating a metric for the most successful drivers ever. Best though is a different story. I admire your effort.


Well to my mind 'most successful' still = 'best' I'm afraid. How can you claim to be the best at something if you haven't proved it by results?

Perhaps unlike many who have posted I don't have a 'favourite' driver so I am approaching the subject unemotionally. Since the goal of any F1 driver is to win races and championships I still conclude that the best drivers are those who have spent the highest proportion of their careers doing that. Of course luck plays a part as it does in any aspect of life, but that's no justification for saying the achievements of the lucky ones are lessened.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 5:40 pm 
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tim3003 wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
I think you've done a very good job of creating a metric for the most successful drivers ever. Best though is a different story. I admire your effort.


Well to my mind 'most successful' still = 'best' I'm afraid. How can you claim to be the best at something if you haven't proved it by results?

Perhaps unlike many who have posted I don't have a 'favourite' driver so I am approaching the subject unemotionally. Since the goal of any F1 driver is to win races and championships I still conclude that the best drivers are those who have spent the highest proportion of their careers doing that. Of course luck plays a part as it does in any aspect of life, but that's no justification for saying the achievements of the lucky ones are lessened.


Answer me this.

If Hamilton hadn't overtaken Glock on the last lap at Interlagos in 08 would Felipe Massa have been a better driver for it?

Edit - I don't have a favourite driver.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 5:47 pm 
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mikeyg123 wrote:
tim3003 wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
I think you've done a very good job of creating a metric for the most successful drivers ever. Best though is a different story. I admire your effort.


Well to my mind 'most successful' still = 'best' I'm afraid. How can you claim to be the best at something if you haven't proved it by results?

Perhaps unlike many who have posted I don't have a 'favourite' driver so I am approaching the subject unemotionally. Since the goal of any F1 driver is to win races and championships I still conclude that the best drivers are those who have spent the highest proportion of their careers doing that. Of course luck plays a part as it does in any aspect of life, but that's no justification for saying the achievements of the lucky ones are lessened.


Answer me this.

If Hamilton hadn't overtaken Glock on the last lap at Interlagos in 08 would Felipe Massa have been a better driver for it?

Edit - I don't have a favourite driver.


Massa winning the title could have given him a boost in performance going forward, and could have led to Hamilton being viewed as a perennial after fluffing 07 n 08 titles!


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 6:19 pm 
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Rockie wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
tim3003 wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
I think you've done a very good job of creating a metric for the most successful drivers ever. Best though is a different story. I admire your effort.


Well to my mind 'most successful' still = 'best' I'm afraid. How can you claim to be the best at something if you haven't proved it by results?

Perhaps unlike many who have posted I don't have a 'favourite' driver so I am approaching the subject unemotionally. Since the goal of any F1 driver is to win races and championships I still conclude that the best drivers are those who have spent the highest proportion of their careers doing that. Of course luck plays a part as it does in any aspect of life, but that's no justification for saying the achievements of the lucky ones are lessened.


Answer me this.

If Hamilton hadn't overtaken Glock on the last lap at Interlagos in 08 would Felipe Massa have been a better driver for it?

Edit - I don't have a favourite driver.


Massa winning the title could have given him a boost in performance going forward, and could have led to Hamilton being viewed as a perennial after fluffing 07 n 08 titles!


You've deliberately misunderstood the point. It may have given Massa a platform but the actual act of Hamilton passing Glock doesn't effect how good an F1 driver Massa was.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 7:10 pm 
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tim3003 wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
I think you've done a very good job of creating a metric for the most successful drivers ever. Best though is a different story. I admire your effort.


Well to my mind 'most successful' still = 'best' I'm afraid. How can you claim to be the best at something if you haven't proved it by results?

Perhaps unlike many who have posted I don't have a 'favourite' driver so I am approaching the subject unemotionally. Since the goal of any F1 driver is to win races and championships I still conclude that the best drivers are those who have spent the highest proportion of their careers doing that. Of course luck plays a part as it does in any aspect of life, but that's no justification for saying the achievements of the lucky ones are lessened.

Number of races per season, scoring systems, being allowed to take over your teammates car, etc. means that drivers can't be compared across era's.

The OP showed Fangio at the top of the list and Schumacher second. Drivers separated by roughly 40 years, and countless changes in the sport, when they were active. Both were great drivers but there's no common criteria with which to objectively compare their careers, so we're only left to put our own subjective appraisals forward.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:46 pm 
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tim3003 wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
I think you've done a very good job of creating a metric for the most successful drivers ever. Best though is a different story. I admire your effort.


Well to my mind 'most successful' still = 'best' I'm afraid. How can you claim to be the best at something if you haven't proved it by results?

Perhaps unlike many who have posted I don't have a 'favourite' driver so I am approaching the subject unemotionally. Since the goal of any F1 driver is to win races and championships I still conclude that the best drivers are those who have spent the highest proportion of their careers doing that. Of course luck plays a part as it does in any aspect of life, but that's no justification for saying the achievements of the lucky ones are lessened.


No.

Most successful by results is to a large extent determined by the quality of the machinery.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:59 pm 
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Judging a driver like Fangio, a guy who took part when F1 was still largely well off gentlemen having a bit of bravado for a weekend hobby, versus the fully professional grid today.

Its incomparable.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 11:01 pm 
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Paolo_Lasardi wrote:
tim3003 wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
I think you've done a very good job of creating a metric for the most successful drivers ever. Best though is a different story. I admire your effort.


Well to my mind 'most successful' still = 'best' I'm afraid. How can you claim to be the best at something if you haven't proved it by results?

Perhaps unlike many who have posted I don't have a 'favourite' driver so I am approaching the subject unemotionally. Since the goal of any F1 driver is to win races and championships I still conclude that the best drivers are those who have spent the highest proportion of their careers doing that. Of course luck plays a part as it does in any aspect of life, but that's no justification for saying the achievements of the lucky ones are lessened.


No.

Most successful by results is to a large extent determined by the quality of the machinery.


Agreed... Mark this date down, Paolo...It is our once a year agreement!
:lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 11:05 pm 
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Badgeronimous wrote:
Judging a driver like Fangio, a guy who took part when F1 was still largely well off gentlemen having a bit of bravado for a weekend hobby, versus the fully professional grid today.

Its incomparable.

Plus Fangio was in his 40s, but still I think you have to respect each generation equally.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 4:42 am 
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tim3003 wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
I think you've done a very good job of creating a metric for the most successful drivers ever. Best though is a different story. I admire your effort.


Well to my mind 'most successful' still = 'best' I'm afraid. How can you claim to be the best at something if you haven't proved it by results?

Perhaps unlike many who have posted I don't have a 'favourite' driver so I am approaching the subject unemotionally. Since the goal of any F1 driver is to win races and championships I still conclude that the best drivers are those who have spent the highest proportion of their careers doing that. Of course luck plays a part as it does in any aspect of life, but that's no justification for saying the achievements of the lucky ones are lessened.


Abd therein lies your problem, as many others do not. They are not synonyms

To go away from motorsport as an example: Jesse Owens' World Record for 100m was 10.2 seconds - a time now regularly achieved by many US college sprinters. Would you consider that each of those is better than Owens? Or would you think that, just possibly, training facilities, equipment, computer analysis, nutrition, types of track run on, etc, etc, might have some bearing on results? And that is a sport that, though individual, has changed much less than F1 has over the years

Or, away from sport altogether, The Osmonds have sold more records than Stevie Wonder, so you could say they are more successful. But I'm confident not many would say they are better

Just using the above to demonstrate that, for many, "best" and "most successful" are not the same thing. As you state, you consider that they are but that belief, ironically, is just an opinion.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:12 am 
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Johnson wrote:
Pullrod wrote:
Johnson wrote:
tim3003 wrote:
A lot of people make the point that success in F1 is car-dependent. Fair enough, but as I think I said, the best drivers tend to get the best cars, so isn't the playing field thus level again?

Maybe it's the statistican in me that wants to define numerically who is the best ! Maybe my way is not the correct way. But if not can we agree on another objective criteria that is? If not then all we have is subjective views, of which there are as many as there are drivers! Surely that's not good enough..


Thats why you take from numerous sources;

1) Raw statistics like you have
2) Team mate head to heads, the true measure of a driver as his team mate has the same car and it removes the biggest variable.
3) Subjective opinion

You add these layers and more and you get a better result. But ultimately, its impossible to tell.


This is certainly the biggest fallacy of this sport called F1.

Look at a driver like Raikkonen who trailed Alonso by 5 - 7 tenths when they were teammates. If your "true" measure is to be used it is fair to say that Alonso would have scored the most poles in 2018 with an average gap of ++5 tenths on Mercedes.

To me best driver means the one who will achieve the best result given the "best" (or a perfectly functioning) equipment. I don't think watching a guy doing better than his teammate in a "difficult" or "struggling" car is enough to pass this kind of judgement.

As I have said many times before, I believe the skills necessary to excel at the sharp end are different to those used to fight for the scraps.
Vettel had a poor 2014 for this reason, but when in front(possibly after a few corners and alone) there is only one guy who can keep up with him.

I watch F1 to see cars at the limit of their performance(Qualifying, rain, hot laps) not to watch a tactician more suited to endurance racing.


So watching Alonso trouncing his teammates in not the best cars is not enough to think that he would do a better job than Hamilton or Vettel with the best cars just like watching Lewis and Sebastian in the best cars winning week after week doesn't mean they would do better than Alonso in a struggling or average car. Different skills. Oh and the "faster" you go, the easier is to make mistakes.

And last but not least, you can luck into the best car for 1 year or 2 but staying in the best car or team is another story and something many if not most fans underestimate.


That is also another fallacy though. If Mercedes quit the sport in 2013, Red Bull would be the best car. Does Vettel magically find 0.3 per lap and beat Ricciardo just because its the best even though its exactly the same car? I doubt it. He struggled that year with the car. Whether it was the best or worst car is irrelevant. Ricciardo also beat Vettels times when testing the 2013 car.

Also, you have taken it way way too far, the team mate thing. We can conclude that Alonso was equal or better to any driver he was ever paired with and much better than nearly all of them bar Hamilton. If you watched 2005 and 2006 you will see Alonso produced two of the finest seasons (1 driver error in 2 seasons whilst being ridiculously quick) ever. Saying Alonso was 0.4 quicker than X so he will be 0.6 quicker than Y is taking it too far. Lets just say there is NO proof any driver Alonso ever raced against was quicker than him, you can't say that about many drivers in the history of the sport. You can't make a case for Raikkonen, Button, Massa being the best ever driving and that is due to there performances against team mates for example. Its clear they are not.

Staying in the best car, involves basically beating your team mate, which takes us back to the start.


Yes I was around in 2005 and 2006, where the tyres manufacturers would decide the race winner and those Renault cars where certainly the best(Constructor championship winners in 2005 and 2006) so it is not like Alonso was driving the second best car(he scored most of his poles in those cars).
Fisichella was able to win in the same cars before Briatore started his old tricks.


And no, I don't think staying in the best car is only about beating your teammate, but beating him whilst encouraging a positive and competitive environment. A healthy rivalry.
Do you think telling to the press after every Q3 how you trounced your teammate by 5 tenths will help your team?
The best car today could be the second best or worse if the team stay still.
Do I believe the Mercedes would be a different team TODAY(not in 2014 or 2015) with different drivers? absolutely YES.

There are drivers who excel when the championship is involved, and some of them tend not to do their best when the prize is different. I myself was a student that if I could not get an A++, I will withdraw and retake the exam the next time because I was not interested to any other grade. We are all different and psychology is an important aspect.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:46 am 
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Argentum wrote:

Abd therein lies your problem, as many others do not. They are not synonyms

To go away from motorsport as an example: Jesse Owens' World Record for 100m was 10.2 seconds - a time now regularly achieved by many US college sprinters. Would you consider that each of those is better than Owens? Or would you think that, just possibly, training facilities, equipment, computer analysis, nutrition, types of track run on, etc, etc, might have some bearing on results? And that is a sport that, though individual, has changed much less than F1 has over the years

Or, away from sport altogether, The Osmonds have sold more records than Stevie Wonder, so you could say they are more successful. But I'm confident not many would say they are better

Just using the above to demonstrate that, for many, "best" and "most successful" are not the same thing. As you state, you consider that they are but that belief, ironically, is just an opinion.


I don't know how you come to the conclusion that I rate Owens as less than say Bolt. My method explicitly ignores the evolutionary changes in the sport. Of course, putting a middle-aged Fangio in a Merc next to Hamilton today would leave him slaughtered. I didn't say that makes him less great than Hamilton..

As for the music comparison. When you're dealing with art, no-one with any knowledge would say sales outweighs artistic merit. I don't think you can compare art with sport. In sport it's winning that counts; in art merit is earned over time.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:53 am 
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DOLOMITE wrote:
I've seen a lot of approaches to this and yours is as good as any . However it's always limited by the same things:

1) Many drivers don't have the results to match their ability
2) as you are spanning all years you end up with drivers being ranked alongside each other without ever having competed directly and not really even doing the same thing. i.e different cars, regulations, length of season, competitors, circuits etc. So how valid that comparison is is open to debate.

Basically any response to your thread will probably come under one of the above.


1) I'd say they do. Being a driver is about getting into the best car as much as winning. Eg Alonso, who wasted the last 4 years of his career. That's his fault, no-one else's..
2) Same in any other sport. You can't directly compare Federer with Laver as athletes, but in terms of their total titles you can compare their achievements. Whoever has more titles is better IMHO.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:08 am 
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tim3003 wrote:
DOLOMITE wrote:
I've seen a lot of approaches to this and yours is as good as any . However it's always limited by the same things:

1) Many drivers don't have the results to match their ability
2) as you are spanning all years you end up with drivers being ranked alongside each other without ever having competed directly and not really even doing the same thing. i.e different cars, regulations, length of season, competitors, circuits etc. So how valid that comparison is is open to debate.

Basically any response to your thread will probably come under one of the above.


1) I'd say they do. Being a driver is about getting into the best car as much as winning. Eg Alonso, who wasted the last 4 years of his career. That's his fault, no-one else's..
2) Same in any other sport. You can't directly compare Federer with Laver as athletes, but in terms of their total titles you can compare their achievements. Whoever has more titles is better IMHO.


BIB - I think that's where you are on your own.

Raikkonnen was more successful than Alonso over the last 4 years. I think you are probably in a tiny minority if you think he was the better driver.


Actually - that's a good point - using your methodology, how would it rank drivers solely from the last 5 years worth of results?

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:19 am 
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Herb wrote:
tim3003 wrote:
DOLOMITE wrote:
I've seen a lot of approaches to this and yours is as good as any . However it's always limited by the same things:

1) Many drivers don't have the results to match their ability
2) as you are spanning all years you end up with drivers being ranked alongside each other without ever having competed directly and not really even doing the same thing. i.e different cars, regulations, length of season, competitors, circuits etc. So how valid that comparison is is open to debate.

Basically any response to your thread will probably come under one of the above.


1) I'd say they do. Being a driver is about getting into the best car as much as winning. Eg Alonso, who wasted the last 4 years of his career. That's his fault, no-one else's..
2) Same in any other sport. You can't directly compare Federer with Laver as athletes, but in terms of their total titles you can compare their achievements. Whoever has more titles is better IMHO.


BIB - I think that's where you are on your own.

Raikkonnen was more successful than Alonso over the last 4 years. I think you are probably in a tiny minority if you think he was the better driver.


Actually - that's a good point - using your methodology, how would it rank drivers solely from the last 5 years worth of results?

I understand what he is saying the F1 game has always been about the best drivers trying to manouevre themselves into the best cars and that started from day 1 with Fangio.

In respect to Alonso I think it's fair to say he made quite a few wrong decisions, he could have signed for Red Bull just before they started to dominate F1, it wasn't for the lack of opportunities that left him achieving less than what he should have done.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:28 am 
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Herb wrote:
tim3003 wrote:
DOLOMITE wrote:
I've seen a lot of approaches to this and yours is as good as any . However it's always limited by the same things:

1) Many drivers don't have the results to match their ability
2) as you are spanning all years you end up with drivers being ranked alongside each other without ever having competed directly and not really even doing the same thing. i.e different cars, regulations, length of season, competitors, circuits etc. So how valid that comparison is is open to debate.

Basically any response to your thread will probably come under one of the above.


1) I'd say they do. Being a driver is about getting into the best car as much as winning. Eg Alonso, who wasted the last 4 years of his career. That's his fault, no-one else's..
2) Same in any other sport. You can't directly compare Federer with Laver as athletes, but in terms of their total titles you can compare their achievements. Whoever has more titles is better IMHO.


BIB - I think that's where you are on your own.

Raikkonnen was more successful than Alonso over the last 4 years. I think you are probably in a tiny minority if you think he was the better driver.


Actually - that's a good point - using your methodology, how would it rank drivers solely from the last 5 years worth of results?


No, I am with him.

Alonso(as an example) has managed to have a very public confrontation with Horner and Dr. Marko (over the -lack of- interest claims) and the F1 top dogs few days ago(over Montezemolo words).
Do you think with this kind of attitude he will easily find himself in the best car? Who will be stupid enough to take a driver who thinks he is bigger than you?

I know of people who were deemed as future geniuses but failed to fulfill their potential because of their attitude. That's not the definition of best in my book.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:36 am 
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Very hard to compare individuals of different eras, I tend to put them into tiers. Who is better than who within each tier is down to personal preferences and circumstances.

Tier 1 - Superstars - Have absolutely blitzed the field and worth multiple WDC - Hamilton, MSC, Senna, Alonso, Hakkinen etc.
Tier 2 - Champions - Not quite in the top tier but deserve a WDC - Button, Kimi, Rosberg, Damon, Montoya*, Mansell
Tier 3 - Race winners - Not really WDC material but worth a couple of wins in the right car - DC, Rubens, Massa, Webber, Bottas, JV*, Berger, Alesi, Ralf

*I'm well aware that JV is a WDC and JPM isn't.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:39 am 
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Pullrod wrote:
Herb wrote:
tim3003 wrote:
DOLOMITE wrote:
I've seen a lot of approaches to this and yours is as good as any . However it's always limited by the same things:

1) Many drivers don't have the results to match their ability
2) as you are spanning all years you end up with drivers being ranked alongside each other without ever having competed directly and not really even doing the same thing. i.e different cars, regulations, length of season, competitors, circuits etc. So how valid that comparison is is open to debate.

Basically any response to your thread will probably come under one of the above.


1) I'd say they do. Being a driver is about getting into the best car as much as winning. Eg Alonso, who wasted the last 4 years of his career. That's his fault, no-one else's..
2) Same in any other sport. You can't directly compare Federer with Laver as athletes, but in terms of their total titles you can compare their achievements. Whoever has more titles is better IMHO.


BIB - I think that's where you are on your own.

Raikkonnen was more successful than Alonso over the last 4 years. I think you are probably in a tiny minority if you think he was the better driver.


Actually - that's a good point - using your methodology, how would it rank drivers solely from the last 5 years worth of results?


No, I am with him.

Alonso(as an example) has managed to have a very public confrontation with Horner and Dr. Marko (over the -lack of- interest claims) and the F1 top dogs few days ago(over Montezemolo words).
Do you think with this kind of attitude he will easily find himself in the best car? Who will be stupid enough to take a driver who thinks he is bigger than you?

I know of people who were deemed as future geniuses but failed to fulfill their potential because of their attitude. That's not the definition of best in my book.


Well Alonso managed to get back into Macca. Considering how he left from there and the bridges he demolished, that was quite an accomplishment!


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:45 am 
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Banana Man wrote:
Very hard to compare individuals of different eras, I tend to put them into tiers. Who is better than who within each tier is down to personal preferences and circumstances.

Tier 1 - Superstars - Have absolutely blitzed the field and worth multiple WDC - Hamilton, MSC, Senna, Alonso, Hakkinen etc.
Tier 2 - Champions - Not quite in the top tier but deserve a WDC - Button, Kimi, Rosberg, Damon, Montoya*, Mansell
Tier 3 - Race winners - Not really WDC material but worth a couple of wins in the right car - DC, Rubens, Massa, Webber, Bottas, JV*, Berger, Alesi, Ralf

*I'm well aware that JV is a WDC and JPM isn't.

Yeah the tier system is I think the best way of doing it.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:46 am 
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Siao7 wrote:
Pullrod wrote:
Herb wrote:
tim3003 wrote:
DOLOMITE wrote:
I've seen a lot of approaches to this and yours is as good as any . However it's always limited by the same things:

1) Many drivers don't have the results to match their ability
2) as you are spanning all years you end up with drivers being ranked alongside each other without ever having competed directly and not really even doing the same thing. i.e different cars, regulations, length of season, competitors, circuits etc. So how valid that comparison is is open to debate.

Basically any response to your thread will probably come under one of the above.


1) I'd say they do. Being a driver is about getting into the best car as much as winning. Eg Alonso, who wasted the last 4 years of his career. That's his fault, no-one else's..
2) Same in any other sport. You can't directly compare Federer with Laver as athletes, but in terms of their total titles you can compare their achievements. Whoever has more titles is better IMHO.


BIB - I think that's where you are on your own.

Raikkonnen was more successful than Alonso over the last 4 years. I think you are probably in a tiny minority if you think he was the better driver.


Actually - that's a good point - using your methodology, how would it rank drivers solely from the last 5 years worth of results?


No, I am with him.

Alonso(as an example) has managed to have a very public confrontation with Horner and Dr. Marko (over the -lack of- interest claims) and the F1 top dogs few days ago(over Montezemolo words).
Do you think with this kind of attitude he will easily find himself in the best car? Who will be stupid enough to take a driver who thinks he is bigger than you?

I know of people who were deemed as future geniuses but failed to fulfill their potential because of their attitude. That's not the definition of best in my book.


Well Alonso managed to get back into Macca. Considering how he left from there and the bridges he demolished, that was quite an accomplishment!

A McLaren in decline desperate for a top driver to appease Honda.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 12:05 pm 
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pokerman wrote:
Siao7 wrote:
Pullrod wrote:
Herb wrote:
tim3003 wrote:

1) I'd say they do. Being a driver is about getting into the best car as much as winning. Eg Alonso, who wasted the last 4 years of his career. That's his fault, no-one else's..
2) Same in any other sport. You can't directly compare Federer with Laver as athletes, but in terms of their total titles you can compare their achievements. Whoever has more titles is better IMHO.


BIB - I think that's where you are on your own.

Raikkonnen was more successful than Alonso over the last 4 years. I think you are probably in a tiny minority if you think he was the better driver.


Actually - that's a good point - using your methodology, how would it rank drivers solely from the last 5 years worth of results?


No, I am with him.

Alonso(as an example) has managed to have a very public confrontation with Horner and Dr. Marko (over the -lack of- interest claims) and the F1 top dogs few days ago(over Montezemolo words).
Do you think with this kind of attitude he will easily find himself in the best car? Who will be stupid enough to take a driver who thinks he is bigger than you?

I know of people who were deemed as future geniuses but failed to fulfill their potential because of their attitude. That's not the definition of best in my book.


Well Alonso managed to get back into Macca. Considering how he left from there and the bridges he demolished, that was quite an accomplishment!

A McLaren in decline desperate for a top driver to appease Honda.

Yes, but as I said, considering how he left it is a little miracle that RD agreed to get him back


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 12:15 pm 
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tim3003 wrote:
DOLOMITE wrote:
I've seen a lot of approaches to this and yours is as good as any . However it's always limited by the same things:

1) Many drivers don't have the results to match their ability
2) as you are spanning all years you end up with drivers being ranked alongside each other without ever having competed directly and not really even doing the same thing. i.e different cars, regulations, length of season, competitors, circuits etc. So how valid that comparison is is open to debate.

Basically any response to your thread will probably come under one of the above.


1) I'd say they do. Being a driver is about getting into the best car as much as winning. Eg Alonso, who wasted the last 4 years of his career. That's his fault, no-one else's..
2) Same in any other sport. You can't directly compare Federer with Laver as athletes, but in terms of their total titles you can compare their achievements. Whoever has more titles is better IMHO.


So Graham Hill and the same ability as Jim Clark, and Vettel is significantly better than Alonso. Done

The post was about trying to show is best - not who achieved the most - you just go to a list of drivers by count of titles if you want that.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 12:20 pm 
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Siao7 wrote:
pokerman wrote:
Siao7 wrote:
Pullrod wrote:
Herb wrote:
BIB - I think that's where you are on your own.

Raikkonnen was more successful than Alonso over the last 4 years. I think you are probably in a tiny minority if you think he was the better driver.


Actually - that's a good point - using your methodology, how would it rank drivers solely from the last 5 years worth of results?


No, I am with him.

Alonso(as an example) has managed to have a very public confrontation with Horner and Dr. Marko (over the -lack of- interest claims) and the F1 top dogs few days ago(over Montezemolo words).
Do you think with this kind of attitude he will easily find himself in the best car? Who will be stupid enough to take a driver who thinks he is bigger than you?

I know of people who were deemed as future geniuses but failed to fulfill their potential because of their attitude. That's not the definition of best in my book.


Well Alonso managed to get back into Macca. Considering how he left from there and the bridges he demolished, that was quite an accomplishment!

A McLaren in decline desperate for a top driver to appease Honda.

Yes, but as I said, considering how he left it is a little miracle that RD agreed to get him back

Like I said though it was my understanding that Honda wanted Alonso and wasn't it Honda that paid Alonso's wages?

Now going forward it's believed that Honda have blocked Alonso in Indycars, he will be using a chevy in the Indy500, and then the rumours of neither Mercedes or Ferrari being interested in Alonso because of past dealings with him.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 12:26 pm 
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Pullrod wrote:
Johnson wrote:
Pullrod wrote:
Johnson wrote:
tim3003 wrote:
A lot of people make the point that success in F1 is car-dependent. Fair enough, but as I think I said, the best drivers tend to get the best cars, so isn't the playing field thus level again?

Maybe it's the statistican in me that wants to define numerically who is the best ! Maybe my way is not the correct way. But if not can we agree on another objective criteria that is? If not then all we have is subjective views, of which there are as many as there are drivers! Surely that's not good enough..


Thats why you take from numerous sources;

1) Raw statistics like you have
2) Team mate head to heads, the true measure of a driver as his team mate has the same car and it removes the biggest variable.
3) Subjective opinion

You add these layers and more and you get a better result. But ultimately, its impossible to tell.


This is certainly the biggest fallacy of this sport called F1.

Look at a driver like Raikkonen who trailed Alonso by 5 - 7 tenths when they were teammates. If your "true" measure is to be used it is fair to say that Alonso would have scored the most poles in 2018 with an average gap of ++5 tenths on Mercedes.

To me best driver means the one who will achieve the best result given the "best" (or a perfectly functioning) equipment. I don't think watching a guy doing better than his teammate in a "difficult" or "struggling" car is enough to pass this kind of judgement.

As I have said many times before, I believe the skills necessary to excel at the sharp end are different to those used to fight for the scraps.
Vettel had a poor 2014 for this reason, but when in front(possibly after a few corners and alone) there is only one guy who can keep up with him.

I watch F1 to see cars at the limit of their performance(Qualifying, rain, hot laps) not to watch a tactician more suited to endurance racing.


So watching Alonso trouncing his teammates in not the best cars is not enough to think that he would do a better job than Hamilton or Vettel with the best cars just like watching Lewis and Sebastian in the best cars winning week after week doesn't mean they would do better than Alonso in a struggling or average car. Different skills. Oh and the "faster" you go, the easier is to make mistakes.

And last but not least, you can luck into the best car for 1 year or 2 but staying in the best car or team is another story and something many if not most fans underestimate.


That is also another fallacy though. If Mercedes quit the sport in 2013, Red Bull would be the best car. Does Vettel magically find 0.3 per lap and beat Ricciardo just because its the best even though its exactly the same car? I doubt it. He struggled that year with the car. Whether it was the best or worst car is irrelevant. Ricciardo also beat Vettels times when testing the 2013 car.

Also, you have taken it way way too far, the team mate thing. We can conclude that Alonso was equal or better to any driver he was ever paired with and much better than nearly all of them bar Hamilton. If you watched 2005 and 2006 you will see Alonso produced two of the finest seasons (1 driver error in 2 seasons whilst being ridiculously quick) ever. Saying Alonso was 0.4 quicker than X so he will be 0.6 quicker than Y is taking it too far. Lets just say there is NO proof any driver Alonso ever raced against was quicker than him, you can't say that about many drivers in the history of the sport. You can't make a case for Raikkonen, Button, Massa being the best ever driving and that is due to there performances against team mates for example. Its clear they are not.

Staying in the best car, involves basically beating your team mate, which takes us back to the start.


Yes I was around in 2005 and 2006, where the tyres manufacturers would decide the race winner and those Renault cars where certainly the best(Constructor championship winners in 2005 and 2006) so it is not like Alonso was driving the second best car(he scored most of his poles in those cars).
Fisichella was able to win in the same cars before Briatore started his old tricks.


And no, I don't think staying in the best car is only about beating your teammate, but beating him whilst encouraging a positive and competitive environment. A healthy rivalry.
Do you think telling to the press after every Q3 how you trounced your teammate by 5 tenths will help your team?
The best car today could be the second best or worse if the team stay still.
Do I believe the Mercedes would be a different team TODAY(not in 2014 or 2015) with different drivers? absolutely YES.

There are drivers who excel when the championship is involved, and some of them tend not to do their best when the prize is different. I myself was a student that if I could not get an A++, I will withdraw and retake the exam the next time because I was not interested to any other grade. We are all different and psychology is an important aspect.


So if a car wins the constructors its the best car? It is debateable if Renault was the best or 2nd best car in both of those season. It certainly wasn't the fastest in 2005 but probably the best overall. 2006 is less obvious, for example, Alonso won 1 race in the last 9 in 2006 and that was inherited when Schumacher blew up in front of him.

As for Fisichella, he won one single race in 2005 due to qualifying in the dry whilst all the other top drivers qualified on a wet track. Lucky win. The only other race he won was because Renault miss fueled Alonso's car at Malaysia in 2006. So no, Fisichella wasn't winning races before "tricks".


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 12:36 pm 
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Johnson wrote:
Pullrod wrote:
Johnson wrote:
Pullrod wrote:
Johnson wrote:

This is certainly the biggest fallacy of this sport called F1.

Look at a driver like Raikkonen who trailed Alonso by 5 - 7 tenths when they were teammates. If your "true" measure is to be used it is fair to say that Alonso would have scored the most poles in 2018 with an average gap of ++5 tenths on Mercedes.

To me best driver means the one who will achieve the best result given the "best" (or a perfectly functioning) equipment. I don't think watching a guy doing better than his teammate in a "difficult" or "struggling" car is enough to pass this kind of judgement.

As I have said many times before, I believe the skills necessary to excel at the sharp end are different to those used to fight for the scraps.
Vettel had a poor 2014 for this reason, but when in front(possibly after a few corners and alone) there is only one guy who can keep up with him.

I watch F1 to see cars at the limit of their performance(Qualifying, rain, hot laps) not to watch a tactician more suited to endurance racing.


So watching Alonso trouncing his teammates in not the best cars is not enough to think that he would do a better job than Hamilton or Vettel with the best cars just like watching Lewis and Sebastian in the best cars winning week after week doesn't mean they would do better than Alonso in a struggling or average car. Different skills. Oh and the "faster" you go, the easier is to make mistakes.

And last but not least, you can luck into the best car for 1 year or 2 but staying in the best car or team is another story and something many if not most fans underestimate.


That is also another fallacy though. If Mercedes quit the sport in 2013, Red Bull would be the best car. Does Vettel magically find 0.3 per lap and beat Ricciardo just because its the best even though its exactly the same car? I doubt it. He struggled that year with the car. Whether it was the best or worst car is irrelevant. Ricciardo also beat Vettels times when testing the 2013 car.

Also, you have taken it way way too far, the team mate thing. We can conclude that Alonso was equal or better to any driver he was ever paired with and much better than nearly all of them bar Hamilton. If you watched 2005 and 2006 you will see Alonso produced two of the finest seasons (1 driver error in 2 seasons whilst being ridiculously quick) ever. Saying Alonso was 0.4 quicker than X so he will be 0.6 quicker than Y is taking it too far. Lets just say there is NO proof any driver Alonso ever raced against was quicker than him, you can't say that about many drivers in the history of the sport. You can't make a case for Raikkonen, Button, Massa being the best ever driving and that is due to there performances against team mates for example. Its clear they are not.

Staying in the best car, involves basically beating your team mate, which takes us back to the start.


Yes I was around in 2005 and 2006, where the tyres manufacturers would decide the race winner and those Renault cars where certainly the best(Constructor championship winners in 2005 and 2006) so it is not like Alonso was driving the second best car(he scored most of his poles in those cars).
Fisichella was able to win in the same cars before Briatore started his old tricks.


And no, I don't think staying in the best car is only about beating your teammate, but beating him whilst encouraging a positive and competitive environment. A healthy rivalry.
Do you think telling to the press after every Q3 how you trounced your teammate by 5 tenths will help your team?
The best car today could be the second best or worse if the team stay still.
Do I believe the Mercedes would be a different team TODAY(not in 2014 or 2015) with different drivers? absolutely YES.

There are drivers who excel when the championship is involved, and some of them tend not to do their best when the prize is different. I myself was a student that if I could not get an A++, I will withdraw and retake the exam the next time because I was not interested to any other grade. We are all different and psychology is an important aspect.


So if a car wins the constructors its the best car? It is debateable if Renault was the best or 2nd best car in both of those season. It certainly wasn't the fastest in 2005 but probably the best overall. 2006 is less obvious, for example, Alonso won 1 race in the last 9 in 2006 and that was inherited when Schumacher blew up in front of him.

As for Fisichella, he won one single race in 2005 due to qualifying in the dry whilst all the other top drivers qualified on a wet track. Lucky win. The only other race he won was because Renault miss fueled Alonso's car at Malaysia in 2006. So no, Fisichella wasn't winning races before "tricks".


I was around at the time and well aware.. after his win, Fisichella has been plagued with problems and the gap was big enough so he became automatically a number 2 driver.
You said "If you watched 2005 and 2006 you will see Alonso produced two of the finest seasons (1 driver error in 2 seasons whilst being ridiculously quick) ever."

It was the "finest" season for many only because Schumacher was involved and people were tired of Ferrari domination. But I will not describe any of those season as the "finest" when there is such a huge difference between tyre manufacturers and Ferrari was effectively struggling.

Although Alonso's 2012 season was lucky and overrated and even though he didn't win the championship at the end, I will rate it above 2005 and 2006 with no hesitation.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 1:06 pm 
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Pullrod wrote:
Herb wrote:
tim3003 wrote:
DOLOMITE wrote:
I've seen a lot of approaches to this and yours is as good as any . However it's always limited by the same things:

1) Many drivers don't have the results to match their ability
2) as you are spanning all years you end up with drivers being ranked alongside each other without ever having competed directly and not really even doing the same thing. i.e different cars, regulations, length of season, competitors, circuits etc. So how valid that comparison is is open to debate.

Basically any response to your thread will probably come under one of the above.


1) I'd say they do. Being a driver is about getting into the best car as much as winning. Eg Alonso, who wasted the last 4 years of his career. That's his fault, no-one else's..
2) Same in any other sport. You can't directly compare Federer with Laver as athletes, but in terms of their total titles you can compare their achievements. Whoever has more titles is better IMHO.


BIB - I think that's where you are on your own.

Raikkonnen was more successful than Alonso over the last 4 years. I think you are probably in a tiny minority if you think he was the better driver.


Actually - that's a good point - using your methodology, how would it rank drivers solely from the last 5 years worth of results?


No, I am with him.

Alonso(as an example) has managed to have a very public confrontation with Horner and Dr. Marko (over the -lack of- interest claims) and the F1 top dogs few days ago(over Montezemolo words).
Do you think with this kind of attitude he will easily find himself in the best car? Who will be stupid enough to take a driver who thinks he is bigger than you?

I know of people who were deemed as future geniuses but failed to fulfill their potential because of their attitude. That's not the definition of best in my book.

Just goes to show how impossible it is to define "best" as everyone's criteria is so very different.

I get what you're saying but to me it looks like "best" is still being confused with "successful." You can be the best at driving while not being very successful because of your attitude, for example. That doesn't take anything away from your skill at the wheel.

I would tend to agree that Alonso has played a large part in making the bed he's found himself in and he may have found himself in better machinery, and therefore been much more successful, if not for his attitude. But that doesn't really take away from the fact that as a driver he has few peers and has been one of the best around for the last decade or so. Clearly a couple of people disagree on separating this out, but it's going to be impossible to agree on who is the best when the very word is open to such different interpretations.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 3:15 pm 
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Takuma Sato.
The end.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 3:19 pm 
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Excellent list! I think Vettel is a bit high on it and Clark is WAY too low. But, that's the problem with pure results.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 3:19 pm 
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tootsie323 wrote:
Takuma Sato.
The end.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 4:03 pm 
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DOLOMITE wrote:
tim3003 wrote:
DOLOMITE wrote:
I've seen a lot of approaches to this and yours is as good as any . However it's always limited by the same things:

1) Many drivers don't have the results to match their ability
2) as you are spanning all years you end up with drivers being ranked alongside each other without ever having competed directly and not really even doing the same thing. i.e different cars, regulations, length of season, competitors, circuits etc. So how valid that comparison is is open to debate.

Basically any response to your thread will probably come under one of the above.


1) I'd say they do. Being a driver is about getting into the best car as much as winning. Eg Alonso, who wasted the last 4 years of his career. That's his fault, no-one else's..
2) Same in any other sport. You can't directly compare Federer with Laver as athletes, but in terms of their total titles you can compare their achievements. Whoever has more titles is better IMHO.


So Graham Hill and the same ability as Jim Clark, and Vettel is significantly better than Alonso. Done

The post was about trying to show is best - not who achieved the most - you just go to a list of drivers by count of titles if you want that.

:nod:

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 4:20 pm 
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pokerman wrote:
Siao7 wrote:
pokerman wrote:
Siao7 wrote:
Pullrod wrote:
quote]

No, I am with him.

Alonso(as an example) has managed to have a very public confrontation with Horner and Dr. Marko (over the -lack of- interest claims) and the F1 top dogs few days ago(over Montezemolo words).
Do you think with this kind of attitude he will easily find himself in the best car? Who will be stupid enough to take a driver who thinks he is bigger than you?

I know of people who were deemed as future geniuses but failed to fulfill their potential because of their attitude. That's not the definition of best in my book.


Well Alonso managed to get back into Macca. Considering how he left from there and the bridges he demolished, that was quite an accomplishment!

A McLaren in decline desperate for a top driver to appease Honda.

Yes, but as I said, considering how he left it is a little miracle that RD agreed to get him back

Like I said though it was my understanding that Honda wanted Alonso and wasn't it Honda that paid Alonso's wages?

Now going forward it's believed that Honda have blocked Alonso in Indycars, he will be using a chevy in the Indy500, and then the rumours of neither Mercedes or Ferrari being interested in Alonso because of past dealings with him.


There was never any confirmation about who wanted him back at Macca or who paid all or part of his wages. Honda publicly denied blocking him from Indy, as we've been over before. Wolff called Alonso first choice replacement if Lewis didn't sign his extension as well,he didn't seem too concerned of the past when thinking of a Mercedes with no Lewis.

He's just never in a million years putting him next to Lewis in the same team, which is perfectly sensible considering what happened with Rosberg and all that drama.

Ferrari/Sergio did choose Seb over having him back though, that's true.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:00 pm 
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tim3003 wrote:
Argentum wrote:

Abd therein lies your problem, as many others do not. They are not synonyms

To go away from motorsport as an example: Jesse Owens' World Record for 100m was 10.2 seconds - a time now regularly achieved by many US college sprinters. Would you consider that each of those is better than Owens? Or would you think that, just possibly, training facilities, equipment, computer analysis, nutrition, types of track run on, etc, etc, might have some bearing on results? And that is a sport that, though individual, has changed much less than F1 has over the years

Or, away from sport altogether, The Osmonds have sold more records than Stevie Wonder, so you could say they are more successful. But I'm confident not many would say they are better

Just using the above to demonstrate that, for many, "best" and "most successful" are not the same thing. As you state, you consider that they are but that belief, ironically, is just an opinion.


I don't know how you come to the conclusion that I rate Owens as less than say Bolt. My method explicitly ignores the evolutionary changes in the sport. Of course, putting a middle-aged Fangio in a Merc next to Hamilton today would leave him slaughtered. I didn't say that makes him less great than Hamilton..

As for the music comparison. When you're dealing with art, no-one with any knowledge would say sales outweighs artistic merit. I don't think you can compare art with sport. In sport it's winning that counts; in art merit is earned over time.



To be fair, I did not come to the conclusion that you rate Owens less than Bolt. I asked a question. I asked it because you said:

Quote:
Well to my mind 'most successful' still = 'best' I'm afraid


A lot of athletes now have results that exceed Owens's best, so it seems a legitimate question to ask

Quote:
My method explicitly ignores the evolutionary changes in the sport


Your method does no such thing. It arbitrarily gives WDC twice the points of a second place? why? What if someone else thinks the ratio should be 3:1? Or 7:2? Or any other figure? What if someone says that earlier championships should be weighted because cars then broke down more often? You then multiply those results by the win percentage as if that would make an imprecise figure more precise.

If that sounds like I am being aggresively dismissive of your method, I apologise - your method is as good as anyone else's, but it is my contention that "best", whatever that is, cannot be empirically proven with stats. The fact that your two methods come up with two different answers would seem to demonstrate this. They are all useful tools, but they all contain assumptions of which attributes should be included, and the weightings that each of those attributes should be given. And every single one of those is governed by opinion

Quote:
Of course, putting a middle-aged Fangio in a Merc next to Hamilton today would leave him slaughtered


I don't doubt that for a second. However, If you were to put Hamilton alongside Fangio in a Mercedes W196, surrounded by fuel tanks, with no seatbelts, a leather or cork helmet and, at best, a straw bale between the cars and trees, then the answer may be a little less clear cut.

I put this just to illustrate that trying to compare across eras is not a simple task


Of course, there must be a best ever driver. So, to save everyone the effort of compiling a myriad of stats, I'll tell you now that it's Jim Clark

Mind you, that's just my opinion... ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:48 pm 
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Zoue wrote:
tim3003 wrote:
Thanks for the plaudits!

So how do you define 'best' if it's not the most successful? I didn't say 'quickest'. The phrase GOAT is used these days. (Greatest of all time). Who's the F1 GOAT if not Schumacher or Fangio?

I did expect Alonso's low position to be challenged. However, as was noted re Fangio, one of the skills of an F1 champion is getting into the right car at the right time. Alonso's disasterous gamble with Mclaren surely proved he lacks that skill - why didn't he sign for a year with an option for more? Maybe money played a part? I remember Senna offering to drive for Frank Williams for free to get the 1994 drive..

It's a difficult question to answer as it means something slightly different to everyone.

For me, for instance, it's about being the most capable driver, the most likely to win if put in a competitive car, and the one who will get the best out of any given machinery. Political skills don't register on my criteria at all, although I recognize that they are necessary in order to increase the chance of success. Taking Alonso as an example, I don't see any difference at all between his decision to join (McLaren) Honda and Hamilton's to join Mercedes. Honda sold a pup, whereas Mercedes didn't, but that's not down to the drivers IMO. OTOH, the fact that Alonso seems to leave a trail of destruction in his wake, whether by accident or design, doesn't appear to do him any favours!

But for me best is about driving skill, essentially, and there I would rate Senna and Schumacher as the best I've ever seen. I can't accurately rate either Fangio or Clark, as I've never seen them outside short clips, but I've little doubt both were extremely talented. My GOAT would probably be Senna, although I see the case for Schumacher. One problem I have with this list is it puts drivers like Prost (who Senna beat fairly comprehensively on track IMO), Hamilton and Vettel above Senna and I struggle with that. To have Alonso so far below both Vettel and Hamilton (and Hill!) is a red flag for me, too. They were more successful statistically, perhaps, but that's a different story for me


I agree wholeheartedly with Zoue on every point. Drivers tend not to engineer racing cars (well, except Jack Brabham). Definitely Senna is GOAT for me.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2019 7:53 am 
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I find the best way to grade drivers is opinion. I think it is very hard to grade drivers from the early 70s backwards - the sport in the 50s is incomparible to now, and the footage and knowledge base is sketchy. Where as I think you can start to say modern F1 begins somewhere about that early 70s era.

If the knowledgable posters from this forum, compiled a list of the best from the last 30yrs and we averaged each persons list out to make the PlanetF1 list..... We wouldn't be too far wrong.

Certainly in modern F1, if you found yourself as a top driver in the right car at the right time - you could compile mega stats.

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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2019 9:01 am 
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Pullrod wrote:

I was around at the time and well aware.. after his win, Fisichella has been plagued with problems and the gap was big enough so he became automatically a number 2 driver.
You said "If you watched 2005 and 2006 you will see Alonso produced two of the finest seasons (1 driver error in 2 seasons whilst being ridiculously quick) ever."

It was the "finest" season for many only because Schumacher was involved and people were tired of Ferrari domination. But I will not describe any of those season as the "finest" when there is such a huge difference between tyre manufacturers and Ferrari was effectively struggling.

Although Alonso's 2012 season was lucky and overrated and even though he didn't win the championship at the end, I will rate it above 2005 and 2006 with no hesitation.


And how exactly do you know that the gap to Fisichella just wasn't there natural gap between them?
He won the first race purely due to luck, not pace and Alonso was even the star of that race too. If Australia was a normal race, I'm almost certain Alonso would have qualified and finished ahead as he normally did. No "pulling of the rug" as you suggest, there is no evidence of that.

2006 was against Schumacher in pretty equal packages. Ferrari were not struggling, they won more races than Renault. Schumacher and Alonso were essentially 1st and 2nd in nearly every race.

He is the only man to beat Schumacher to a title in comparable machinery and he did not make a single driving error for the entire season whilst in an extremely high pressure situation in the second half of the year when his car was clearly inferior.

The fundemental difference between Schumacher and Alonso that year was driver errors, Schumacher crashed out in Australia and got involved in a silly collision in Hungary. Alonso kept his head in a close title fight and as far as I can remember its the only season a driver didn't make a driver error when in a close title fight.

Rating 2012 over 2005 and 2006 is fine, it is a matter of opinion. But just because 2012 may have been better doesn't diminish 2005 and especially 2006 or change his performance in those years.


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 Post subject: Re: Best F1 driver ever?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2019 9:29 am 
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Badgeronimous wrote:
If the knowledgable posters from this forum, compiled a list of the best from the last 30yrs and we averaged each persons list out to make the PlanetF1 list..... We wouldn't be too far wrong.

Certainly in modern F1, if you found yourself as a top driver in the right car at the right time - you could compile mega stats.

Interested in starting such a thread? I might try it if not. It would need some limitation of scope - there have been hundreds of drivers over the last 30 years - but I like the concept.

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