It does ring a bell with me - don´t worry
But would you think, that for this type of comparsion, we should establish some kind of reference time frame?
Post WW2, since the 1960, since 1970 etc.
I would say let´s start by 1980, it should give a large enough sample size, but also makes sure that it is not too far away to remember.
But it´s up to you, we can start with Fangio and Caracciola if you like.
Strictly speaken "the good old racing spirit" changed from the days of the gentlemen racers (1930s, 1950s - before these days I personally know nil about motorsport) to the times of Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart and Jochen Rindt, which is for me personally "the good old days" and full of "spirit". The aura of the races in those days was incredible.
Think of Monaco 1970!
Then other periods full of "classic spirit" were Fittipaldi in the Lotus 72 (the emergence of the JPS Lotus) and the Lauda/Reggazoni era at Ferrari. Andretti/Peterson in the Black Beauty. Then the Villeneuve days from 1978-1982. Breathtaking of course Dijon 1979. Who would not call that "the good old racing spirit", even if you are born in the 90s!
The wing car era.
The turbo era - watch Senna in the JPS Lotus-Renault of 1985 hardly being able to keep this beast on the road on a straight - with Martin Brundle confessing just on the last Top Gear with the Senna documentation that he would not have been able to keep that beast on the road himself. (In that context, watch Lewis's reaction when he was allowed to drive Senna's 1988 McLaren, the last of the turbo era - young Hamilton was overawed with it. Watch the expression on the faces of Clarkson, May and the whole audience when the last pictures of Senna in the documentation on Ayrton had faded - people were stunned right there in the BBC studio in July 2010 when they felt the spirit that Senna docu exuded).
Going through quali with 1500 hps in the turbo-charged cars!!!
Give Schumacher such a weapon and he not only kills others but also himself!
Piquet/Mansell in 1986/1987 was also quite something.
Then of course that whole era 1985-1989 when Senna/Prost/Piquet/Mansell were showing that F1 was the pinnacle of motorsport and not just a monoculture of one team/driver with rules and tyres made to their liking and competition being constrained.
These were some of the eras that represent classic racing spirit to me - if you have any ways of obtaining video materials on said periods/races I am sure you will enjoy as well, even if you were born in 1998.
In the last 15 years I´d point to 1998/1999/2000, the Hakkinen years*, for a reprise of that spirit. Then 2005 (Raikkonen/Alonso, especially Japan 2005), 2006 (Alonso/Schumacher* was classic) and since then the Hamilton-Alonso period, which we will probably (hopefully) continue to enjoy for another number of years. Also Montoya, when he came around in 2001 and 2002 exude something of that spirit, but this was of course overshadowed by the appalling feeling the whole Ferrari/Schumacher saga exuded.
So there has been and there is classic racing spirit. Only IMHO Schumacher is the one aberration, the one who represents the spirit of F1 the least - in a way it has been a Formula Schumacher for those very special years, no matter on which side of the fence you sit.
* I think Hakkinen and Alonso brought out the best in Michael, that's why I rate these years above all other of the Michael years. No wonder Michael himself and Mika enjoyed their rivalry with each other, and with Alonso Michael had found the first young challenger who defeated him - regs changes (Monza 2006) and politics aside (Monza 2006) - a double unfair attempt to curb Fernando's WDC chances - but even this last rise of the Schumacher mafia (add Monaco 2006 qualifying for measure) could not prevent the new era from starting. In my mind, Interlagos 2006 had been one of the best races of Michael for a long time - maybe his last great race altogether.