The greatest motor sport event on the planet has produced many great racing legends. Toughness of the sport requires men of rather unique caliber and skill-set who are able to achieve success under immense pressure. They have achieved a pinnacle of motor sporting genius that will not be surpassed easily. Some of the greats of Formula 1 are given below.
The Brazilian was truly a sight to see on the circuit. He set the track on fire with his passion in his almost mad pursuit of victory. Senna’s dedication, raw talents and brilliance of driving makes him one of the greatest Formula 1 champions of all time. Senna has won the championship 3 times, with 41 wins altogether. His untimely death at 34 years of age at San Marino GP in 1994 will remain one of the greatest loss to the sport. His rivalries were the greatest of F1 with Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell and finally Michael Schumacher. He drove like a poem and philosophized the sport like no other driver.
“You are doing something that nobody else is able to do,” he once said. “(But) the same moment that you are seen as the best, the fastest and somebody that cannot be touched, you are enormously fragile. Because in a split second, it’s gone. These two extremes are feelings that you don’t get every day. These are all things which contribute to – how can I say? – knowing yourself deeper and deeper. These are the things that keep me going.”
He is the most successful driver in Formula 1 history. Schumacher defined the sport from 2000 to 2004 with five consecutive world championships that was not thought possible until then. With 91 wins altogether, he was an exceptionally talented driver and a ruthless contender who set few limitations on how to win each race. He had several cards stacked in his favour – custom-made Bridgestone tyres made for Schumacher himself and key technical personnel directly associated with him. But disregarding all doubts, the German’s record speaks for itself.
Juan Manuel Fangio
Many regard Manuel Fangio as the greatest racer there has ever been. ‘El Maestro’ was the world champion 5 times and has 24 wins out of 51 starts. And he did all this at a time when racing was considered a brutally dangerous sport. While Manuel drove, he won effortlessly, he was ‘miles’ apart from the competition and his 1957 German GP win is often cited as the greatest GP race in history. Manuel had a philosophy of winning at slowest possible speeds but ironically broke records half the time he went on the track.
“Even if I or someone else can equal or beat Fangio’s record,” Senna once said, “it still will not compare with his achievement. What he did in his time is something that was an example of professionalism, of courage, of style and as a man, a human being. Every year there is a winner of the championship, but not necessarily a world champion. I think Fangio is the example of a true world champion.”