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Formula One or F1 racing is a high-octane, adrenaline-fueled motorsport that continues to enthrall fans from around the world. Over the years, there have been many legends who have graced the F1 tracks, pushing the boundaries of speed, skill and bravery to new heights. But who are the greatest F1 drivers of all time? Which drivers have managed to leave an indelible mark on the sport? Here, we’ll take a look back at some of the most exceptional drivers in F1 history, consider a scientific approach to determining the best driver of all time, and identify some of the top up-and-coming drivers to watch out for in the years ahead.

Who is the godfather of F1?

First and foremost, one name emerges as the “Godfather” of F1 racing: Juan Manuel Fangio. This Argentinian driver won five championships between 1951 and 1957, with a win percentage of 46% and 24 victories from 52 races. Fangio’s record stood for several decades before Michael Schumacher eventually surpassed it. Fangio was famous for his smooth driving style, consistency, and, most importantly, his ability to coax the best performance out of any car he drove.

Who is the best F1 driver of all time according to science?

When it comes to science, data analytics has been used to take a comprehensive look back at the history of F1 racing. The result of this analysis, conducted by Dr. Andrew Bell and his team at the University of Sheffield in the UK, is the Greatest Driver of All Time (GDOT) model.  

Using this model, the greatest driver of all time is none other than Ayrton Senna. Senna was a three-time F1 champion with 41 wins in 161 races, but it was his sheer skill and natural talent that set him apart. Senna was known for his ability to adapt to different cars and tracks quickly, making the best of whatever situation he was in. 

Other drivers that make the GDOT list include Michael Schumacher, who won a record seven championships and holds many F1 records to this day. Jim Clark also features — he won two championships in the 1960s, and was known for his car control and sensitivity. Alain Prost gets a mention, another three-time champion, known for his intellectual approach to racing and his ability to analyse data. These are some of the greatest F1 drivers of all time, and every racing fan should know their names. 

Is Verstappen the best ever?

According to some, yes. Max Verstappen has long been headed into the realms of greatness. Not only is he the youngest driver to ever win a Formula 1 race, he’s also the first Dutch driver to become a world champion. He has won two World Championships (2021 and 2022) and has shown incredible talent, speed and consistency throughout his career. He is one of the most exciting drivers to watch on the track, as he always pushes the limits and never gives up. 

Who is the greatest F1 driver in history?

We simply cannot mention the greats of F1 without a mention of British – now knighted – driver Sir Lewis Hamilton. Knighted for his contribution to motorsport by His Majesty, Lewis Hamilton has been racing in Formula One since 2007. He started his racing career with McLaren, and went on to win his first championship in 2008. He now holds the record wth Micheal Schumacher for the most championships won with a total of 7 with his current team, Mercedes Benz.  

Hamilton also holds a number of records within F1 in which he continues to forge ahead as his career progresses. These records include the most race wins — at 103 currently — most pole positions, currently 104, and most podium finishes at 195, amongst others. Hamilton continues to be one of the most respected drivers on the track, having an enormous impact on the sport and on charities in and around the sport, his most notable being a push for diversity in the field. 

F1 racing: Not for the fainthearted 

F1 racing has produced many greats over the years, with each driver bringing their unique flair and style to the sport. Juan Manuel Fangio is widely regarded as the Godfather of F1 racing, while the use of scientific analysis has led to the conclusion that Ayrton Senna is the greatest driver of all time. However, F1 racing is a dynamic and exciting sport, with new talents emerging all the time. Book an F1 package with Edusport and live the dream as you cheer on your favourite drivers through the checkered flag in real-time, on the ground. You’ll find there’s nothing quite like that experience.

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