Skip to content

Top 10 drivers in Formula One history: Positions 10-7

Sep 9, 2013, 10:25 AM EDT

The run up to the United States release of “Rush” is on, and to mark the occasion, the NBC Sports team has assembled a countdown of the Top 10 drivers in the history of Formula One.

We’ll be revealing our picks for this very special list over the next couple of weeks here on MotorSportsTalk. For this opening post on the countdown, we’ll focus on positions 10 through 7. So, without further ado, let’s get started…

No. 10 – Nigel Mansell

source: Getty Images

Nigel Mansell – Credit: Getty Images

While his polarizing personality didn’t help him at times during his F1 career, Mansell’s talent was undisputed. A hard-charging driving style helped him earn 31 career Grand Prix victories, which is tops among all British F1 drivers and puts him sixth overall on F1’s all-time wins list. In 1992, after placing second in the championship three times previously, Mansell (middle, above) took the world title with a dazzling season that began with five consecutive triumphs (he would win nine times that year). He then moved across the pond to IndyCar, where he took the 1993 crown for Newman/Haas Racing; because that year’s F1 title hadn’t yet been decided, he became the only driver in history to hold both those series’ championships at the same time.

No. 9 – Niki Lauda

source: Getty Images

Niki Lauda – Credit: Getty Images

Lauda claimed three World Championships and 25 Grand Prix in his F1 career, but will also forever be known for his hellacious 1976 crash at the German Grand Prix – and his heroic return to the track just six weeks later in Italy, where he finished fourth despite still healing from the serious burns he sustained at the Nurburgring. He would narrowly lose out on the title that year to rival James Hunt after choosing to withdraw from the season finale in Japan due to torrential rains at the Fuji circuit – “my life is worth more than a title,” he famously said. One year later, he would earn his second championship and eventually gained another in 1984 after a season-long duel with the next driver on our list…

No. 8 – Alain Prost

source: Getty Images

Alain Prost – Credit: Getty Images

The combination of a smooth style behind the wheel and a more cerebral approach to racing – one that earned him the nickname of “The Professor” – made Prost (above, middle) one of the top competitors in the sport during the 1980s and early 1990s. With four World Championships on his mantle, he is one of only three drivers to have at least that many (Michael Schumacher – seven; Juan Manuel Fangio – five). That alone puts him in high regard, and then you come to his dramatic and electrifying rivalry with Ayrton Senna; even the greatest need to be pushed, and in Senna’s case, that push came from Prost, who never let up in their legendary battle of wills that people still talk about today.

No. 7 – Jackie Stewart

source: Getty Images

Jackie Stewart – Credit: Getty Images

With 27 Grand Prix wins and three World Championships, the on-track credentials of “The Flying Scot” are stellar enough. He also served as one of the sport’s more beloved drivers as well, and still enjoys a high level of popularity even today. But Stewart’s crusade for a safer Formula One paddock may ultimately be his greatest legacy. Driving in an era that saw multiple fatalities on the circuit, his battle for improved safety measures – from mandatory use of seat belts and full-face helmets to more safety barriers and runoff areas at tracks – would transform the sport and also vindicate him after having to deal with strong opposition. Indeed, every current driver owes him a major debt.

We will reveal the remaining drivers in our Top 10 after the Singapore Grand Prix on Sept. 22.

Latest Posts
  1. NHRA: Tony Pedregon hopes to keep momentum going in Norwalk

    Jul 2, 2015, 11:08 PM EDT

    Tony Pedregon (Photo courtesy Tony Pedregon official Twitter account) Tony Pedregon (Photo courtesy Tony Pedregon official Twitter account)

    The way his season had been going, two-time NHRA Funny Car champ Tony Pedregon was threatening to become a “Whatever Happened To?” question.

  2. Matthew Brabham completes first IndyCar test, eyes 2016 Indy 500

    Jul 2, 2015, 6:36 PM EDT

    matthew brabham Getty Images

    Today, Iowa. Next year, Indianapolis? That’s what Matthew Brabham is hoping for, after completing his first full IndyCar test with Andretti Autosport Thursday at Iowa Speedway.

  3. Button: Confidence high at McLaren ahead of home GP

    Jul 2, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    xxxx during previews to the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone Circuit on July 2, 2015 in Northampton, England. Getty Images

    A double DNF in Austria isn’t enough to get McLaren down ahead of British Grand Prix.

  4. Ryan Briscoe making most of filling in for James Hinchcliffe

    Jul 2, 2015, 4:10 PM EDT

    Ryan Briscoe 2015 getty Getty Images

    At the same time that James Hinchcliffe was seriously injured while practicing for the Indianapolis 500, Ryan Briscoe didn’t have a ride for either the 500 or for the season.

  5. Team roster confirmed for second Formula E season

    Jul 2, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    Nextev TCRs German driver Nelson Piquet JR (C) drives during the final race of the 2015 FIA Formula E London ePrix championship at Battersea Park in London, England, on June 28, 2015. AFP PHOTO / IAN KINGTON        (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The same ten teams from season one, albeit with a few name changes.

  6. F1 Strategy Group pushing through technical revolution for 2017, other changes planned as early as Belgian GP

    Jul 2, 2015, 1:48 PM EDT

    Drivers wait for the start at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria on June 21, 2015, during the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / JOE KLAMAR        (Photo credit should read JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    F1 Strategy Group met with the FIA and Formula One Management in England on Wednesday to discuss future changes to the sport.

  7. MotorSportsTalk’s Predictions: British GP

    Jul 2, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    (Back L-R) Lotus F1 Team's Venezuelan driver Pastor Maldonado, Manor Marussia Team's British driver Will Stevens, Sauber F1 Team's Sewdish driver Marcus Ericsson, (Front L-R) Williams Martini Racing's Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas, McLaren Honda's British driver Jenson Button, Ferrari's Finnish driver  Kimi Raikkonen take part in a joint press conference at the Silverstone circuit in Silverstone on July 2, 2015 ahead of the British Formula One Grand Prix.   AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL        (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The MST team makes its predictions ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

  8. The Rolling Stones hit IMS on Saturday, so here’s an IndyCar-inspired set list

    Jul 2, 2015, 12:26 PM EDT

    StonesIMS Getty Images

    What if The Rolling Stones’ concert set list at IMS was specifically inspired by recent IndyCar events? We ponder the possibilities.

  9. Vandoorne in regular talks with McLaren about future

    Jul 2, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT

    Belgian driver Stoffel Vandoorne holds his trophy as he celebrates after winning the GP2 series race at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo on May 22, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Could the Belgian be racing in Formula 1 next season?

  10. Several stats, streaks or droughts of note leaving Fontana

    Jul 2, 2015, 10:44 AM EDT

    IndyPostACSstats Getty Images

    A Power outage, JPM and Marco’s quiet rolls, and other IndyCar nuggets of note leaving Fontana.

  11. GP2: Rowland, Cecotto, Lancaster, Canamasas all in for Silverstone round

    Jul 2, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    © GP2 Series © GP2 Series

    Four driver changes ahead of this weekend’s round at Silverstone.

  12. 2015 British Grand Prix Preview

    Jul 2, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    150702_LewisHamilton Getty Images

    Can Lewis Hamilton make it a homecoming to remember by scoring his third British Grand Prix victory at Silverstone?

  13. Mark Miles: “We are not going to have a five-month season” in 2016

    Jul 1, 2015, 5:53 PM EDT

    Mark Miles Mark Miles

    The CEO of IndyCar discussed the challenges of putting together an extended series schedule.

  14. Here are your British Grand Prix air times on CNBC, NBCSN, Live Extra

    Jul 1, 2015, 5:30 PM EDT

    BritishGPtv Getty Images

    TV times across the board for this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

  15. Miles: After “two-sided pancake” Fontana race, IndyCar may crack down against stakeholder comments

    Jul 1, 2015, 4:59 PM EDT

    will power fontana 2015 getty Getty Images

    Could penalties be coming to drivers who speak out about IndyCar’s on-track product? Mark Miles flips some pancakes on the possibility.

  16. IndyCar issues penalties and fines following MAVTV 500 at Fontana

    Jul 1, 2015, 4:03 PM EDT

    California Speedway Getty Images

    Will Power fined, put on probation after shoving safety official during Saturday’s race.

  17. NHRA shakeup: Tom Compton retires as president, Peter Clifford named successor

    Jul 1, 2015, 2:42 PM EDT

    tom compton retires from nhra -- getty Getty Images

    In a surprise move, the NHRA announced Wednesday that president Tom Compton has retired after 15 years as the sanctioning body’s chief executive officer