The 10 Best Racing Drivers of All Time

The world of motorsport has seen hundreds of exceptional drivers over the decades. From Formula 1 to Dakar and the NASCAR oval, drivers have left their mark with their victories, abilities, and lasting legacy. 

If you are a fan of F1 betting or have headed to a few Daytona 500 races, there are a handful of names on this list that you are very familiar with.

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso falls into the category of being one of the best drivers ever, who is still wildly underrated. The Spaniard has raced in Formula 1, the World Endurance Championship, and IndyCar and has won the Le Mans 24-hour race twice. 

His F1 career is easily his most successful, having won two championships and finished first 32 times. Currently, with Alpine racing, his career has undoubtedly slowed down, but he is still one of the most respected drivers on the grid. 

Ayrton Senna

The late great Ayrton Senna was the man nobody could touch, let alone beat, in his ten-year Formula 1 career. The Brazilian won three championships and had 41 career wins, and while he isn’t the most successful driver, he was one of the most dominant. 

Mario Andretti

Mario Andretti is an Italian-born driver who enjoyed long careers in both Formula 1 and Le Mans. He is considered one of the best American drivers to ever race in F1 and is also one of only two US drivers to have won a Formula 1 championship. 

He also had multiple Le Mans stints throughout the 60s, 80s, 90s, and 2000, recording a single win in that time. 

Juan Manuel Fangio

Fangio is often recognized as the first-ever “superstar” driver. The Argentine recorded 51 starts and was famous for his skill and ability behind the steering wheel long before there was much known about how to “properly” race. 

He won five F1 championships and was consistently in the top 5 in almost every race he entered. Even though he passed away in 1995, he is still regarded as the benchmark many drivers aim to reach. 

Michael Schumacher 

Michael Schumacher was so dominant in his Ferrari that most of the time, the other drivers were fighting for second place. The German is tied for the most championships, seven, which includes winning it five times in a row between 2000 and 2004. 

While a tragic skiing accident has taken him out of the spotlight over the past few years, in many eyes, he is the best driver of the modern era. 

Niki Lauda

The name Niki Lauda is one that is said with love and passion across Formula 1 and has been for several decades. The Austrian driver was fearless and determined, and even a near-fatal crash in 1976 couldn’t stop him. 

Lauda finished his career with three championship wins, but even that can’t come close to describing just how good he was. His battle with fellow driver James Hunt in 1976 is easily one of the best rivalries sport has ever seen, let alone Formula 1. 

Richard Petty

There is arguably no bigger name in NASCAR than Richard Petty. There are very few things he didn’t win during his time as a driver. He is a multi-time Grand National Series and Winston Cup series championship winner and is tied with Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson for most NASCAR Cup Series championships. 

He is also a motorsport Hall of Famer, multi-time Most Popular Driver winner, and finished his career with 200 wins and a staggering 712 top ten finishes.

Carlos Sainz Sr. 

Carlos Sainz Sr. didn’t take the same path as his son into Formula 1 but instead chose to be one of the best rally drivers the world has ever seen. Between 1997 and 2005, Sainz tore up tracks across the world, winning two championships in the process. 

He raced in 196 races, winning 26 stages out of the 757 he was in. To top it off, he has also won three Dakar rallies in 2010, 2018, and 2020. 

Stephane Peterhansel

Speaking of Dakar, you can’t talk about that race without talking about the best ever to do it. Stephane Peterhansel holds the record for the most ever Dakar wins with a mindblowing fourteen in total. 

While he goes under the radar outside of the Dakar, it is hard to ignore his accomplishments and impact on motorsport as a whole. 

Lewis Hamilton

The only man who has managed to match Michael Schumacher’s championship numbers is Lewis Hamilton. The Brit has been a giant in the sport, getting his first championship win in only his second season in Formula 1. 

While the likes of Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc are now taking over, what Hamilton has done for British motorsport and Formula 1 will live on long after he eventually retires.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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