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Top 20 Greatest F1 Drivers of all time - BBC list [split]


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#701 E.B.

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 12:21

Actually in 1989 Prost outscored Senna by 16 (21) points


I never said he didn't.

It's the very brilliance of Prost that confirms the brilliance of Senna.



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#702 Aloisioitaly

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 12:27

maybe you should explain what do you mean by "outdrove".
at the end of the day, motorspsort is all about scoring points. according to that, i guess it's pretty reasonable to say in 1989 Prost outdrove Senna, not the opposite.

#703 Buttoneer

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 12:31

We don't even know where Senna is on the list so please don't let this thread drop into Senna v Prost discussion. Please discuss the list, as published to date.

#704 bub

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 12:40

maybe you should explain what do you mean by "outdrove".
at the end of the day, motorspsort is all about scoring points. according to that, i guess it's pretty reasonable to say in 1989 Prost outdrove Senna, not the opposite.


I wasn't watching F1 back then. I have no idea who performed better but there's more to it than points. Nico Rosberg currently has more than double Schumachers points this year.

#705 E.B.

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 12:48

at the end of the day, motorspsort is all about scoring points.


Ah, there's where we differ. To me it's all about winning races, which I think also covers your question about "outdrove".

I think of the early Prost as blindingly quick, the later Prost as canny and intelligent. From about 1985-87 he was both, and reached a peak seldom achieved by anyone before or since. Many a motorsport journalist thought him to be potentially the best ever at that stage.


#706 Aloisioitaly

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 13:00

"I said [to Williams], 'I want to drive all the time if I can at 95 per cent. Maybe for one lap I will use 99 per cent, but that you must accept.' Frank did not like this, perhaps. Motor racing is your passion, it's your job, but you want to come home at the end of the day."

This quote pretty much sums up Alain Prost approach to race car driving.


#707 ensign14

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 13:13

Ah, there's where we differ. To me it's all about winning races, which I think also covers your question about "outdrove".

I think of the early Prost as blindingly quick, the later Prost as canny and intelligent. From about 1985-87 he was both, and reached a peak seldom achieved by anyone before or since. Many a motorsport journalist thought him to be potentially the best ever at that stage.

This is why the points systems suck donkey balls. Prost could have driven for wins but after 1984, when he won 7 times but still failed to win the title, he drove for points.

#708 as65p

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 13:22

Prost car suffered gearbox problems at Suzuka 88, the frenchman even struggled to counter Capelli (!) overtaking attempts... by halfway through the race it was pretty clear the best car (Senna car) was going to win.


Actually in 1989 Prost outscored Senna by 16 (21) points... a quite remarkable achievement, since ho drove only 15 races compared to Senna 16. average points per race: senna 3.75, prost 5.07 (5.40)


Ha, thanks for the reminder of that glorious day when Prost refused to drive on a wet track.

Come to think of it, that alone is probably enough to never place him umberto uno in any such list. :D

#709 Wander

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 13:28

As for 1989, I think Senna outdrove Prost by an even bigger margin than in 1988. Indeed, Autosport even ran an article mid season called “Sennaphobia” basically complaining that Senna’s dominance was ruining the sport as a spectacle!


Yes, it is actually worth noting that of the races that both drivers finished in 1989, Senna outraced Prost 7 to 1. Also 13 pole positions to 2.

Edited by Wander, 10 October 2012 - 13:31.


#710 10e10

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 13:32

This is why the points systems suck donkey balls. Prost could have driven for wins but after 1984, when he won 7 times but still failed to win the title, he drove for points.


Yes but 1988 was decided on wins...

#711 schubacca

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 13:47

Prost, Senna, Schumacher, Clarke, Fangio.....


Dude, as a MS fan who thinks he is #1, I would not be able to criticize those that feel that those other Greats are #1

#712 ensign14

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 14:11

Yes but 1988 was decided on wins...

At the start of the season nobody could have expected that the McLarens would have to drop so many scores. It's interesting that of the last 4 races, when it became obvious that the title would go to the one with the most wins, Alain won 3. And take away that iffy Japanese gearbox and Alain would have won all of them - and the title with 8 wins to 7...

#713 smoothcrim

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 14:16

The only reason i wouldn't place Prost at number 1 is because he wasnt very good in the wet.Man he should of won more Championships though,he finished 2nd 4 times by small margins and was extremely unlucky.

No point arguing Senna vs Prost,there wasn't much in it.

Id go Schu at number 1 followed by Fangio,Clark,Prost and Senna.

Prost really was a master tactician though,just made it look so easy and was a great sportsman unlike Senna and Schumacher.

Edited by smoothcrim, 10 October 2012 - 14:45.


#714 evol88

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 14:29

I was too young to have seen Senna and Prost, and I only started watching F1 in 1997. Now, I've watched many of Senna's great races online, but I've never really taken the time to watch any of Prost's. What would his fans recommend? What were his Donnington 93s, or Barcelona 96s?

#715 flavio81

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 14:35

Senna went to McLaren with the aim of crushing Prost and while he was unquestionably the better driver in their two years at McLaren, so too there were times when Prost beat him fair and square.


Really, Murray? Perhaps you're suffering memory failure.

These graphs speaks by themselves:

Posted Image

Posted Image

Enough said.

#716 flavio81

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 14:37

I was too young to have seen Senna and Prost, and I only started watching F1 in 1997. Now, I've watched many of Senna's great races online, but I've never really taken the time to watch any of Prost's. What would his fans recommend? What were his Donnington 93s, or Barcelona 96s?


This article lists some of them and it's an excellent article explaining the virtues of Prost on the race track:

http://www.grandprix...org/ramble5.htm


Edited by flavio81, 10 October 2012 - 14:39.


#717 Aloisioitaly

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 14:37

I was too young to have seen Senna and Prost, and I only started watching F1 in 1997. Now, I've watched many of Senna's great races online, but I've never really taken the time to watch any of Prost's. What would his fans recommend? What were his Donnington 93s, or Barcelona 96s?


Does a single race really matter? Not much, according to Alain Prost: "The only thing you can judge in this sport its the longterm. You can judge a career or a season, but not one race".

Edited by Aloisioitaly, 10 October 2012 - 14:38.


#718 ensign14

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 15:26

The only reason i wouldn't place Prost at number 1 is because he wasnt very good in the wet.

He was though (see Monaco 1984) - at least until he won the title, then he decided it was not worth risking everything in conditions he felt were suicidal. Remember he had the traumatic experience of being Pironi's launchpad...

#719 smoothcrim

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 15:47

He was though (see Monaco 1984) - at least until he won the title, then he decided it was not worth risking everything in conditions he felt were suicidal. Remember he had the traumatic experience of being Pironi's launchpad...


I saw him go backwards in many a wet race,whatever the reason he certainly wasnt as good as the best guys in the wet.

He drove superbly in 88 and really was unlucky to lose that championship.

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#720 Kyo

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 16:09

He was though (see Monaco 1984) - at least until he won the title, then he decided it was not worth risking everything in conditions he felt were suicidal. Remember he had the traumatic experience of being Pironi's launchpad...

Monaco 84 showed that another driver had the skills, not Prost.

#721 10e10

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 16:39

At the start of the season nobody could have expected that the McLarens would have to drop so many scores. It's interesting that of the last 4 races, when it became obvious that the title would go to the one with the most wins, Alain won 3. And take away that iffy Japanese gearbox and Alain would have won all of them - and the title with 8 wins to 7...


You shouldn't want to play that game, because in Portugal 88 and Jerez 88 Senna had problems in the car, with the electronics, fuel consumption and handling of the car, and there is no point in comparing their reliability problems during the 89 season.

#722 kenny

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 17:01

Prost really was a master tactician though,just made it look so easy and was a great sportsman unlike Senna and Schumacher.

Lol :drunk:

One of the all time greats, without a doubt, deserves to be in the top 5, no matter what postition, but to call prost a great sportsman... Errr...

Edited by kenny, 10 October 2012 - 17:04.


#723 Collective

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 19:57

Monaco 84 showed that another driver had the skills, not Prost.

Bellof?

#724 FenderJaguar

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 21:38

I have always felt that Prost sometimes is underrated and he is one of the obvious top 5. But you don't show who the best driver is by graphs of points. You can look at the points but also watch them race on track. What could they do with a car and how was their mental approach. Prost and Senna really needed each other and were both very good in 2 different ways. And I guess this shouldn't be about Prost vs Senna but since the list is a list of opinions it depends on what people want to see in a racing driver.

Edited by FenderJaguar, 10 October 2012 - 21:40.


#725 Wander

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 21:49

These graphs speaks by themselves:


Enough said.


You might as well say that Senna outracing Prost 7-1 in races both drivers finished in 89 is also enough said.

#726 Cult

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 22:32

You might as well say that Senna outracing Prost 7-1 in races both drivers finished in 89 is also enough said.


Not entirely true unless you can say with certainty that Senna caused none of his own failures. It's no good winning the 1 race in a season you finish if you cause mechanical failures or accidents in every other race.

Not casting judgement on Senna's performance though, I'll leave that up to more knowledgeable people.

#727 Wander

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 12:22

Not entirely true


Yes entirely true in the sense I meant it: That it is just as true as saying that the points graphs are enough proof of someone being better.

The actual truth is of course that neither fact (Senna dominating in races both finished & Prost gathering more points overall) alone tells the whole story. I personally believe that Senna was the 'faster' driver overall, but Prost had other qualities, which compensated for that like consistency.

Edited by Wander, 13 October 2012 - 12:23.


#728 Gag Bueno

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 12:25

Bellof?


:up: And his car was really inferior...


#729 LiJu914

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 12:33

Yes entirely true in the sense I meant it: That it is just as true as saying that the points graphs are enough proof of someone being better.

The actual truth is of course that neither fact (Senna dominating in races both finished & Prost gathering more points overall) alone tells the whole story. I personally believe that Senna was the 'faster' driver overall, but Prost had other qualities, which compensated for that like consistency.


True for 88 wrong for 89, when Prost was completly dominated as was behind in almost every race, but virtually had no other choice than winning the WDC as Senna had a vast amount of DNFs (almost all due to technical issues and not driving mistakes...). But 89 was also arguably one of Prost´s weakest season in his career. Just one year later it looked different again - and i don´t think that the Ferrari had a significant advantage over the McLaren in general (if any).


Sry, just saw, that this stuff was already discussed the page before.

Edited by LiJu914, 13 October 2012 - 12:39.


#730 LiJu914

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 12:35

:up: And his car was really inferior...


I don´t think, that a normally aspirated engine was a disadvantage compared to an early 80s-Turbo-engine on a wet Monaco-track...

Edited by LiJu914, 13 October 2012 - 12:36.


#731 William Hunt

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 13:45

My personal order of those five (excluding LH as he's a current driver)

1-Brabham
2-Piquet
3-Graham Hill
4-Fittipaldi
5-Rindt

Between Piquet and Hill I think it is too close to call, I had a lot of doubts. Anyway, it's really difficult to make a list like this. What do you think?


interesting to see that you rate Jack Brabham higher as Fangio, Clark, Moss or Senna. Very strange choice indeed.

#732 Gag Bueno

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 14:11

I don´t think, that a normally aspirated engine was a disadvantage compared to an early 80s-Turbo-engine on a wet Monaco-track...


I meant the car as a whole... Maybe the engine could have been an advantage, but where were the other aspirated engines? Also being able to qualify only 20th in the dry is far from ideal IMO.

#733 scheivlak

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 14:14

I don´t think, that a normally aspirated engine was a disadvantage compared to an early 80s-Turbo-engine on a wet Monaco-track...

Absolutely.

In a strange sort of way Prost's performance that race seems underrated - just compare the race of the other turbo guys to his.

#734 seahawk

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 14:17

Monaco 1984 could have been the race where a new star and potential WDC besides Senna could have been born. And if you think Monaco was nothing special watch the early laps of the race in Brazil 1984.

#735 ensign14

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 19:19

The actual truth is of course that neither fact (Senna dominating in races both finished & Prost gathering more points overall) alone tells the whole story. I personally believe that Senna was the 'faster' driver overall, but Prost had other qualities, which compensated for that like consistency.

^ end of debate

#736 tifosiMac

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 19:26

Yes entirely true in the sense I meant it: That it is just as true as saying that the points graphs are enough proof of someone being better.

The actual truth is of course that neither fact (Senna dominating in races both finished & Prost gathering more points overall) alone tells the whole story. I personally believe that Senna was the 'faster' driver overall, but Prost had other qualities, which compensated for that like consistency.

Another of Prost's weaknesses was his wet weather performances in comparison to his teammate.

#737 aditya-now

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 21:16

We don't even know where Senna is on the list so please don't let this thread drop into Senna v Prost discussion. Please discuss the list, as published to date.


Maybe Senna will not even be on the list...?

That possibility aside, this discussion is testimonial to the fact that Senna/Prost was not only the most explosive, but the highest calibre pairing of drivers in the history of F1.

I am musing if Alonso/Vettel might become another such pairing in the years to come - especially if Vettel indeed joins Ferrari. It would be a repeat of Senna joining McLaren, where Alain Prost was the perceived absolute ruler - he even vetoed Piquet joining the team but was okay with Senna.

Of course, Alonso would first have to take 2 WDCs before Vettel joins, like Prost did (1985, 1986).

Even so, Alonso (P10 in the Beeb list) and Vettel (P8) will most likely be formidable competitors for years to come and after 2010 and 2012 we will see what balance of power will manifest itself between the two.

At the end of their respective careers, I can see Alonso and Vettel to be quite high up the list - the second "pair" like Senna and Prost, together with the "loners" Fangio, Clark, Schumacher, Stewart, Lauda making up most of the Top 10.

Although I was disappointed with the BBC Top 20 at first, they called it quite well.

One thing still puzzling me: I don't get it how and why Stirling Moss is placed so high up. Then again, he was before my time - and it's questionable if Brabham, Piquet or Hakkinen would deserve a Top 10 entry instead of Moss.

#738 George Costanza

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 21:26

Maybe Senna will not even be on the list...?

That possibility aside, this discussion is testimonial to the fact that Senna/Prost was not only the most explosive, but the highest calibre pairing of drivers in the history of F1.

I am musing if Alonso/Vettel might become another such pairing in the years to come - especially if Vettel indeed joins Ferrari. It would be a repeat of Senna joining McLaren, where Alain Prost was the perceived absolute ruler - he even vetoed Piquet joining the team but was okay with Senna.

Of course, Alonso would first have to take 2 WDCs before Vettel joins, like Prost did (1985, 1986).

Even so, Alonso (P10 in the Beeb list) and Vettel (P8) will most likely be formidable competitors for years to come and after 2010 and 2012 we will see what balance of power will manifest itself between the two.

At the end of their respective careers, I can see Alonso and Vettel to be quite high up the list - the second "pair" like Senna and Prost, together with the "loners" Fangio, Clark, Schumacher, Stewart, Lauda making up most of the Top 10.

Although I was disappointed with the BBC Top 20 at first, they called it quite well.

One thing still puzzling me: I don't get it how and why Stirling Moss is placed so high up. Then again, he was before my time - and it's questionable if Brabham, Piquet or Hakkinen would deserve a Top 10 entry instead of Moss.



Because Senna did not win any championships then, whereas Nelson did.

#739 aditya-now

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 21:49

Because Senna did not win any championships then, whereas Nelson did.


So the "Prof" miscalculated at least this one time...


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#740 aditya-now

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 04:04

At the end of their respective careers, I can see Alonso and Vettel to be quite high up the list - the second "pair" like Senna and Prost, together with the "loners" Fangio, Clark, Schumacher, Stewart, Lauda making up most of the Top 10.

Although I was disappointed with the BBC Top 20 at first, they called it quite well.

One thing still puzzling me: I don't get it how and why Stirling Moss is placed so high up. Then again, he was before my time - and it's questionable if Brabham, Piquet or Hakkinen would deserve a Top 10 entry instead of Moss.



I still did not come to terms with the exclusion of Tazio Nuvolari and Achille Varzi by sheer definition of the list, although they were two of the greatest of all times: Nuvolari would, in my book, beat Stirling Moss easily to be included in the Top 10.


#741 midgrid

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 05:22

Because Senna did not win any championships then, whereas Nelson did.


My understanding was that Ron Dennis also considered signing Piquet for 1988, but Prost recommended Senna, despite the fact that he got on well with Piquet and was confident of being able to beat him at this stage of their careers, because he believed that Senna was quicker and therefore a greater asset to the team. Of course, perhaps he believed he could beat Senna as well, but McLaren's dominance made for a unusual championship that was essentially decided by race wins and not consistent points-scoring finishes.


#742 E.B.

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 15:54

One thing still puzzling me: I don't get it how and why Stirling Moss is placed so high up.


Because he was the top driver of his era, outstanding in whatever he drove, never seemed to have an off day, and was still comparatively young when his career was cut short. Moss v Clark is the great "lost" duel of F1, and Moss has always claimed he would have liked to carry on until the mid 1970s (which may sound far fetched until you remember that Moss was actually younger than Graham Hill).

Because Senna did not win any championships then, whereas Nelson did.


I don't know the exact reasons for the Piquet veto, but if Prost was willing to accept Senna then a fear of being beaten is unlikely to have been among them.

Edited by E.B., 14 October 2012 - 15:55.


#743 George Costanza

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 16:01

My understanding was that Ron Dennis also considered signing Piquet for 1988, but Prost recommended Senna, despite the fact that he got on well with Piquet and was confident of being able to beat him at this stage of their careers, because he believed that Senna was quicker and therefore a greater asset to the team. Of course, perhaps he believed he could beat Senna as well, but McLaren's dominance made for a unusual championship that was essentially decided by race wins and not consistent points-scoring finishes.



Yes, that is matched up what I read. But, little did Prost know that Senna would eventually be the "ruler" at McLaren later on. Had Nelson signed, it would have been a different season and who knows? Nelson did win the '87 title and probably would have challenged Prost in '88 (maybe his 4th would have been possible, it would have been because McLaren were absolute kings in 1988). And Ayrton would have not been so famous as he is today, had he stayed with Lotus, then who knows? Would have have gone to Williams for 1990 and onwards??

Amazing how that driver change can change every aspect.

Edited by George Costanza, 14 October 2012 - 16:03.


#744 Wander

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 16:52

You would think that if Ayrton hadn't got the McLaren seat, he would have most likely found himself on Williams much earlier and would have nevertheless won titles sooner or later. But who knows what would have happened. I don't think Williams was good enough to challenge for the title before 91? (post-87)

Goes waaaayyy into the speculation land anyway...

Edited by Wander, 14 October 2012 - 16:53.


#745 aditya-now

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 16:58

Because he was the top driver of his era, outstanding in whatever he drove, never seemed to have an off day, and was still comparatively young when his career was cut short. Moss v Clark is the great "lost" duel of F1, and Moss has always claimed he would have liked to carry on until the mid 1970s (which may sound far fetched until you remember that Moss was actually younger than Graham Hill).


Thanks for your illumining words.

I take it that Stirling Moss would then have had a career spanning Fangio and Clark, which is fascinating to think of. In a way like Schumacher spanning Senna and Alonso.


#746 ensign14

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 17:22

Technically, he did. :p

#747 Muz Bee

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 21:29

I don't know the exact reasons for the Piquet veto, but if Prost was willing to accept Senna then a fear of being beaten is unlikely to have been among them.


Probably his reputation as a backstabber throughout his career. Nelson was certainly a cunning rat and no affections were engendered with other drivers so his teaming with Mansell was guaranteed to be acrimonious!

Expanding from that veto, would it be reasonable to think Alain didn't see treachery coming with his new teammate?

Edited by Muz Bee, 14 October 2012 - 21:33.


#748 garoidb

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 21:39

Probably his reputation as a backstabber throughout his career. Nelson was certainly a cunning rat and no affections were engendered with other drivers so his teaming with Mansell was guaranteed to be acrimonious!

Expanding from that veto, would it be reasonable to think Alain didn't see treachery coming with his new teammate?


Wasn't Piquet friends with Lauda? And Alesi? What difficulties did he have with any other team-mate bar Mansell?

I'm not sure this statement stands up.

#749 flavio81

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 17:19

interesting to see that you rate Jack Brabham higher as Fangio, Clark, Moss or Senna. Very strange choice indeed.


Depending on how do you see it. Brabham won with the car he actually designed, on his own team... and then won the WDC with it too!!

Strong case for G.O.A.T.



#750 flavio81

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 17:22

Absolutely.

In a strange sort of way Prost's performance that race seems underrated - just compare the race of the other turbo guys to his.


Yep. Niki Lauda on the same car, another great-of-all-times, had spun out. Mansell, another sublime driver, also DNF'd because of spinning out. In the wet. Yet Prost, the supposedly "poor in the wet" driver, kept leading in the same car as Lauda.

Prost was being fast while cautious. If the race would have progressed, it would probably had either Bellof or Senna in #1 with Prost in #2. Which is what Prost needed for the WDC. Who knows, maybe Bellof passes Senna for #1, Senna -with his typical hot temper- can't stand it, pushes harder, spins out/crashes into Bellof... Prost gets the 1984 title, making Prost a 5X WDC.

Yes, it's just a fantasy, i know.

Edited by flavio81, 15 October 2012 - 17:29.