You can't fault Jackie for the complete dominance he demonstrated in 1969 and 1971, but you must remember the person who finished 2nd in 1971 was Peterson in a March that no one else could score points with.
That's not true. A certain privateer scored some points as well and set a lap record at Monza in that tea tray March that remained the fastest lap ever in F1 for ages ;)
And his teammates that year often had to compete with an Alfa Romeo engine that wasn't really competitive - just look at the results when Ronnie had that Alfa engine as well.
During his later Tyrrell years however Cevert was almost always a match for Jackie's speed, but remained loyal and behind. So with the death of Cevert it became difficult to judge the overall quality of the 1971-1973 Stewart, given the cars he had.
That Stewart was so consistent and at the front says more about his mechanical sympathy than outright speed. In 1971 and 1973 he only had a total of 3 DNFs! Crazy in those days. I do believe he was fast, but there were equally fast people who destroyed their cars in the process of racing against him, while Stewart continued. But that is how you win in motorsport. No one else in that period could run at the front week in week out, in 1974 there were 14 different podium scorers.
How much I liked Francois - that's a bit over the top.
Remember that Jackie set 6 poles and won 6 GP's in 1971 (Cevert: 0 poles, 1 GP). Stewart's 1972 campaign was marred by an ulcer operation, not a nice thing to have midseason. In 1973 he still won 5 GP's and qualified 10-4 against Francois. Yes, Cevert got close to him e.g. at the 'Ring with a brilliant performance. But that was not a Fernando/Felipe show, Jackie was always in control.
It seems to me that the way he controlled those races in his later years have somehow painted a lasting image of a driver winning at the slowest possible speed. But let's not forget Jackie's superb campaigns in 1968/1969/1970! Losing the 1968 Belgian GP in the last lap, way out in front. Winning the Dutch GP far out in front in the pouring rain (sure, those Dunlop tyres helped). Winning the 1968 German GP more than 4 minutes ahead of anybody in fog and rain, maybe the greatest performance ever by any driver. And among his greatest feats IMHO is taking 3 poles early in the 1970 season in a March 701 that he in fact didn't like at all and was a real handful to drive.
He was as fast as anyone, but I guess the fate of so many good friends like Jimmy, Piers and Jochen urged him to develop himself more and more into a thinking driver later in his career.
Edited by scheivlak, 18 September 2012 - 23:30.