I did this Sporcle quiz today, and boy was I mortified. This was Motorweek's 100 greatest F1 drivers, and I strongly disagreed with some. I have only watched F1 since 2005, but even I knew that there was severe prejudice toward minorities and deceased drivers in doing this. I have done my analysis over these years, and I decided to do my own ratings, and point out the ones I disagreed with the placement of. My analysis is based on not only stats, but also on character, which is very important to me.
Go ahead and traumatize yourselves with the above link.
2. Michael Schumacher- I disagree here because there is just no comparison. Schumi went up against Hill, Villeneuve, Hakkinen, Coulthard, Barrichello, Alonso, and Raikkonen in his title years, and still won 91 races and 7 titles. There is just no comparison here. To say Senna is #1 is to say Earnhardt is #1 based on the fact that they died racing, but that doesn't make them great; it makes them tragic victims of their profession. Schumi, however,has major character flaws; even when severely outclassed by his teammate, he has to have the lower number as the number 1 driver on the team.
3. Ayrton Senna- I only give Senna the edge because he can't speak for himself. He was a jerk on the track, but he had passion. Off of the track, he was described as an incredible person. His 65 poles is astounding, and shows he knew how to click of quick ones when needed. 41 wins and 3 titles. I can't place Senna #1 for his racing flaws. Another edge for Senna is 6 Monacos, the trickiest race going.
4. Alain Prost- 51 wins and 4 titles. I make him 3rd to Senna on the character flaws. If Alain Prost and Senna were truly the greatest, at least one of them would have stepped forward and made reconciling their differences a priority. Even now, whenever he is interviewed, I see Prost as arrogant. On the track, he lived up to his nickname Professor; he was able to just pick a track and dominate.
5. Sir Jackie Stewart- he was a great example of a passionate driver. Jackie set the standard by winning 3 titles in 5 years, but never once demanding to get favored treatment. Now he is known as the best former driver to sit in the steward's booth for his fair judgment.
I put number 1 here for a reason.
1. Juan Manuel Fangio- with 22 wins and 5 titles in just 8 years, Fangio was the best of his time. He still holds the highest win percentage of all time. The thing that makes him the greatest, though, is his character. How many people could be kidnapped and afterwards be good friends with his captors without being diagnosed with Stockholm Syndrome? Juan did it, and he set the bar for character.
Championship-worthiness is built on character, and Juan wins on that. Now the bashing of the Motorweek list. All positions here are Motorweek's and not mine.
9. Gilles Villeneuve- the guy only won 6 times before tragically dying. I disagree because he drove dangerously and because of the Pironi incident. Not speaking to Pironi for 2 weeks before his death shows that Gilles had charcter flaws. He also took unnecessary risks. Being a great athlete involves risk assessment, and Gilles lacked that.
15. Lewis Hamilton??!!- What has he done to be 15? Although he was at the time the youngest to win races and titles, his only advantage is skin color. To me, egomaniacs like Hamilton make people of different ancestries look bad; the bar was set with Wendell Scott; dang it, Lewis, emulate his character. To me, Hamilton makes black race car drivers look bad; if Lewis get's an attitude adjustment, I think we would see more interest in F1 from the non-Caucasian countries, which is good for the sport. Likewise, Hamilton has ego issues, expecting the stewards to let him off with everything, and even thinking he has the privilege to intentionally wreck people. I want to see more titles before 15, but then I might consider him there or higher.
92. Lella Lombardi- I have no opposition for female racers; in fact, I will cheer for them if they are racing for racing's sake and not for feminism's sake; however, I disagree with putting Lella on the list because she was not a great racer. The best female F1 driver indeed, but not that great. I will, though, not discredit her achievements and not argue with her spot here on the list because she drove for March. March sucked, to be blunt. So, although I disagree with the reasons why, I will support Lella's position as #92. To be short, she didn't have the stats of a great driver, but she did well in the March crapheap. Look out, Susie Wolff, this is the benchmark you have to better!
Let the feeding frenzy begin! I will post my NASCAR analysis next week.
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