Piquet and Mansell obviously raced together for two years. The first they were even in qualifying (8-8) and Mansell had just one more point (70-69) at the end. The second, in qualifying Mansell was ahead 10-3, but Piquet had his violent accident at Imola the second race of the year which it has been reported slowed him down quite a bit. Nevertheless, Piquet won the championship (73-61) just the same. Where Mansell “totally dominated” Piquet is not clear to me.
And maybe Lauda or Stewart, to name just two, didn’t race with a “championship mentality”?
If he is not considered a “legend” - whatever that means - and you haven’t seen him racing, it’s down to the way the sport is reported, on magazines and books (which are written by exactly the same people who write in the magazines, by the way).
Some time ago I came across a post by RDV of few years back, which for me is one the cleverest I have read here and explains it beautifully:
“Perceived ability owes a lot to the writing skills of the motoring press and in some cases to the need of a nation to have their racing hero, even TV coverage in individual countries are very biased in this.
That said I will state that despite having always considered drivers to be normal persons with a very developped skill IE driving racing cars , some are a step above others Fangio ,Senna & Schumacher to cite those I saw drive. Apart from those, and of course the rent a drivers, most drivers in F1 are of a very good level. Winning a world championship is a good indication of ability but motor racing, uniquely as a sport , depends a lot on the equipment you use. Some very good drivers never had the machinery to justice to their talents. And of course Emerson then and Villeneuve today are but proof of this argument.
There is a double effect, for those who know the persons concerned the personality and degree of friendship cloud ones ability to judge, and for observers more remote the judgement depends on the reporting by the press and the degree of being in camera shot.
The need to have a crowned king and the extremely heated and partisan way contributors to this thread will support their heroes says more about their characters than individual drivers abilities.
All very, very subjective.”