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F1's best ever qualifier?


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#1 Andy Van De Burgt

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 08:28

Hi all,

In this week's issue of Autosport, Mark Hughes rates F1's one-lap wonders and offers his list of the top 10 best qualifiers of all time.

It's purely subjective and just a bit of fun, but what do you think?

Here is his hall of fame:

10, Mika Hakkinen

9, Rene Arnoux

8, Carols Reutemann

7, Jarno Trulli

6, Michael Schumacher

5, Stirling Moss

4, Albrto Ascari

3, Jim Clark

2, Gilles Villeneuve

1, Ayrton Senna


Many thanks

Andrew van de Burgt
Editor, Autosport

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#2 HP

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 08:38

Where's Fangio???

IMO the list above can't be serious without him.

#3 Tomecek

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 08:41

Montoya is indeed missing :p

#4 kenny

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 08:42

let's wait for the MS fanboys and the Trulli-bashers...

#5 Hiatt

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 08:45

List is ok I guess, but as you say, it's subjective. It can not be anything else either.

Personally I believe that Trulli has put cars further up on grid then they should more often than Schumi. Mika & Schumi's qualifying battles could go either way, so that should put them closer together. Was Reutemann & Arnoux better than Peterson over a lap? Considering some of the garbage on wheels that Peterson manage to put on decent positions on the grid I must say I doubt they where. I guess Senna is undisputable (altough not undisputable on this BB) #1.

#6 RDM

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 08:48

Originally posted by Hiatt
List is ok I guess, but as you say, it's subjective. It can not be anything else either.

Personally I believe that Trulli has put cars further up on grid then they should more often than Schumi. Mika & Schumi's qualifying battles could go either way, so that should put them closer together. Was Reutemann & Arnoux better than Peterson over a lap? Considering some of the garbage on wheels that Peterson manage to put on decent positions on the grid I must say I doubt they where. I guess Senna is undisputable (altough not undisputable on this BB) #1.

Senna is certainly disputable, as Clark - as we all know - has a higher pole rate

Oh well...here we go again with arguments gone through a thousand times before.

#7 Mauseri

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 08:48

Originally posted by Tomecek
Montoya is indeed missing :p

Ah yeah, his 2002 poles. But you should notice he wasnt faster qualifier than R.Schumacher that season. Only his better was better and wrose was worse ;)

Trulli is interesting pick in that list, as he has not driven winner cars. And he wasn't even quicker qualifier than Alonso in Renault. And Alonso even got more poles....

#8 dde

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 08:54

Originally posted by Andy Van De Burgt
Hi all,

In this week's issue of Autosport, Mark Hughes rates F1's one-lap wonders and offers his list of the top 10 best qualifiers of all time.

It's purely subjective and just a bit of fun, but what do you think?

Here is his hall of fame:

10, Mika Hakkinen

9, Rene Arnoux

8, Carols Reutemann

7, Jarno Trulli

6, Michael Schumacher

5, Stirling Moss

4, Albrto Ascari

3, Jim Clark

2, Gilles Villeneuve

1, Ayrton Senna


Many thanks

Andrew van de Burgt
Editor, Autosport


I think it's purely subjective.

Rene Arnoux ? Gilles Villeneuve ? Reuteman ? Lol.

#9 Modern Lover

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 08:56

Where is Prost?
Although he usually focused more on the race set-up he was an extremely apt qualifier.

#10 Arrow

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 09:02

Horrible list. Trulli was great under the one lap fuel system but he was nothing special in the old qualifying system. He was matched by Frentzen and Panis!

Villeneuve second despite barely beating his team mates.
Moss ahead of Schumacher? :lol:

Prosts career qualifying record against his team mates proved he was one of the best ever, and he beat Arnoux as team mates.

Hughs made this list with his heart and not his head.

#11 Lifew12

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 09:06

Interesting subject - thanks Andrew.

I find Trulli's inclusion heartening as I believe he's the most under-rated driver on the grid right now.

There is absolutely no doubt that Senna has to go top, but I would personally rank Arnoux hiher than he places; his one lap performances were frequently quite awesome.

As for the rest, pretty much my pick, too.

I'm waiting for the Webber contingent with their usual spiel.....

#12 scheivlak

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 09:12

Missing: Ronnie Peterson (1973!) and Mario Andretti. And Fangio of course.
And how about Jochen Rindt and Jackie Stewart!
Slightly overrated: Gilles Villeneuve and Rene Arnoux
Simply overrated: Carlos Reutemann and Jarno Trulli.

#13 jcbc3

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 09:19

IMHO, Villeneuve is waaaaaaaaaay too high on that list.


For fun I compared Scheckter and GV in 1979. GV outqualified JS 8-7. I then calculated their average gridposition which turned out to be 6.07 for JS and 5.07 for GV.

That surprised me, but I then noticed that if we leave out the last two GP's of the year (Canada and USA) which were held after Scheckter had clinched the championship (he qualified 9 and 16 as opposed to GV's 2 and 3) it turned out that until then Scheckters average gridposition was 5.08 and GV's 5.46.

Now, what is the distinguishing feature of GV's carreer was his unstinting commitment during the years his Ferraris were less than good. 1980 and 1981. However his team mates were in those years a disillusioned Jody Scheckter and a less than stellar Didier Pironi.

In 1978 when he was a rookie he was up against Reutemann who also knew how to pedal a car in qualifying. And GV was annihilated. 13-2 and 4.8 and 7.88 in average starting position.


Sorry, but in my book the evidence of GV being the second best one-lap driver just isn't there. He may have been spectacular. But that aint the same as being fast.

#14 kayemod

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 09:27

This list is meaningless for the same reason that lists of this kind always are, you can't compare drivers from different eras, you can only compare them with their contemporaries. You can't compare qualifying, practice or training as it was often called in Ascari's era with the situation today as faced by Schumacher. Autosport were faced with four blank pages on a week between GPs, and pulled this pot-boiler down off the shelf to fill them. I don't think we should give it any more credence than that.

#15 skonks

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 09:33

Originally posted by dde


I think it's purely subjective.

Rene Arnoux ? Gilles Villeneuve ? Reuteman ? Lol.


not to mention Moss :lol:

and where's Fangio? :confused:

#16 kayemod

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 09:39

Originally posted by Andy Van De Burgt
8, Carols Reutemann


I've often heard him called a bit of a wuss under pressure, but that's rather cruel.

#17 ensign14

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 09:39

28 poles in 51 World Championship races - many of which came in cars that had several identical siblings on the grid - would surely warrant someone ranking pretty high up the list.

I am therefore most intrigued to learn why Juan Manuel Fangio is not considered as great a qualifier as, say, Jarno "Three Poles" Trulli or Carlos "4%" Reutemann.

#18 BuzzingHornet

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 09:49


This is not the list you are looking for...

#19 wj_gibson

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 10:01

Mark Hughes has often tended to base his assessments of drivers by focusing largely on their most spectacular, remarkable moments and relegating the more medicore (or simply "above average") performances to the background, on the understanding that it is the moments in which drivers appear to achieve the impossible that they are best judged. This is why he rates G. Villeneuve second only to Nuvolari in the all-time list of best drivers.

So he's consistent, whatever one makes of that approach.

I suspect he is thinking primarly of Villeneuve's 1981 performances here, particlarly qualifying 2nd at Monaco. With Reutemann, it may be a similar story - e.g. taking pole at Monza in 1981 ahead of the turbo cars that had, by that stage, begun to exhibit a clear advantage over the normally-aspirated competitors on faster circuits.

I think Rosberg might have been included in the list, given that he was routinely the fastest of the Cosworth qualifiers in 1982, except on those occasions when McLaren's Michelins gave them a significant tyre advantage. And even then Rosberg was the fastest qualifier of the Goodyear-shod Cosworths for the entire season.

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#20 Schuperman

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 10:02

Originally posted by HP
Where's Fangio???

IMO the list above can't be serious without him.

Agreed.

Objectively speaking, what are the criterion which position Senna the best ever qualifier?

#21 Murga

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 10:15

Originally posted by Schuperman

Agreed.

Objectively speaking, what are the criterion which position Senna the best ever qualifier?

The fact that he until recently held the record for largest absolute number of poles and that most people, Mark Hughes included, don't remember what really went on 30, 40 or 50 years ago. Therefore, no real reasons.

#22 kayemod

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 10:19

Originally posted by Murga
.... most people, Mark Hughes included, don't remember what really went on 30, 40 or 50 years ago.


Which makes him unqualified to write about that era, or include 50s, 60s & 70s drivers in any list of this kind.

#23 HSJ

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 10:21

Originally posted by Arrow
Horrible list. Trulli was great under the one lap fuel system but he was nothing special in the old qualifying system. He was matched by Frentzen and Panis!


50% correct. Actually JT is grossly overrated regardless of the quali system (pre or post 2003). I used to be among those who overrated him... But that was before he had a top car. In truth, while JT has in the past done great things in qualifying, to rate him as highly as he often is, he'd have had to do it consistently, rather than once a season or so. Once again it just smacks of lack of understanding of statistics.

#24 HSJ

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 10:26

Originally posted by Lifew12


I find Trulli's inclusion heartening as I believe he's the most under-rated driver on the grid right now.


By extension, Ralf is then even more underrated. Extending further, just how underrated does that make JPM then???

#25 Murga

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 10:27

Originally posted by HSJ


By extension, Ralf is then even more underrated. Extending further, just how underrated does that make JPM then???

JPM is (was) in fact overrated. One cannot be a top driver and be beaten by another driver as JPM was by KR. Top drivers are by definition of a similar quality as the niche for being a top driver is too narrow.

#26 Spunout

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 10:28

The fact that he until recently held the record for largest absolute number of poles and that most people, Mark Hughes included, don't remember what really went on 30, 40 or 50 years ago. Therefore, no real reasons.



The problem is most often we remember the best achievements and kind of forget the mediocre ones.

That´s why G. Villeneuve is second on that list.

#27 Hiatt

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 10:29

Would be great if this forum could get a multi option poll service, then all lists would be perfect :)

#28 Murga

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 10:30

Originally posted by Spunout


The problem is most often we remember the best achievements and kind of forget the mediocre ones.

That´s why G. Villeneuve is second on that list.

Yes. I don't remember him as a really exceptional qualifier, although he had his moments.

#29 Hiatt

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 10:31

Originally posted by Murga
Yes. I don't remember him as a really exceptional qualifier, although he had his moments.

Same here. I remeber him as an exceptional racer, but then on the other hand qualifying where never broadcasted at that time where I lived.

#30 HP

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 10:43

Originally posted by Spunout


The problem is most often we remember the best achievements and kind of forget the mediocre ones.

That´s why G. Villeneuve is second on that list.

Well the list IMO looks more to the spectacular achievements than to the best ones. Also once sliding through corners wasn't possible anymore without loosing time, the spectacle has lessened. And there was a time before the slicks as well, where tyres were too narrow, to put on a show. In the early period of F1, there went some unbelievable stuff on, considering the tyres they had at their disposal back then. But most people would miss that today, because most of us like pictures of a car going sideways.

#31 Fortymark

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 10:45

The only thing that makes sence on that list is Senna being in P1 :p

#32 HP

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 10:47

Originally posted by Murga
Yes. I don't remember him as a really exceptional qualifier, although he had his moments.

Well Gilles certainly was exiting to watch, and he did some legendary stuff, like his lap in heavy rain being 11 seconds faster than the next guy. There is no doubt that visually he was one of the most exciting drivers to watch. Add to it, he was a really nice bloke. It's was just the stuff they make legends from.

#33 RDM

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 10:53

Originally posted by Fortymark
The only thing that makes sence on that list is Senna being in P1 :p

But he neither has the highest percentage of poles, or the highest number of poles....so the facts don't actually support you. As usual.

#34 Hiatt

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 10:54

Maybe we should start nominating drivers for next years list so they get it right then?;)

7 drivers each in no particular order.

My nominations are:

JM Fangio
Jim Clark
Ronnie Peterson
Ayrton Senna
Jarno Trulli
Alain Prost
Kimi Raikkonen


Trulli is almost a legend already considering how terrified every one is when he qualify in fornt of their hero. Why? Because his car does not belong to that spot and everyone behind him will be held up during the race. That is a sign of a great qualifyier IMO. Schumacher is not there simply because I do not think he is an exceptional qualifyer, his strength is that he can go forever at 98%, but he rarely goes all out at 100%. Peterson, as I said before, put real lemons on the grid and sometimes even on the podium. Kimi is very impressive in qualifying. Some mistakes, yes, but considering the amount of attack they are very few.

#35 Fortymark

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 11:00

Originally posted by RDM

But he neither has the highest percentage of poles, or the highest number of poles....so the facts don't actually support you. As usual.


You have to look further than that, as an example Rubens has 13 poles. That´s 10 more than Trulli whom is considered among the 10 best qualifiers ever on this list.

Think about this for a second and then come back with an smart reply. Do you think Rubens is a better qualifier than Trulli because he has 10 more poles?

#36 Murga

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 11:03

Originally posted by Fortymark


You have to look further than that, as an example Rubens has 13 poles. That´s 10 more than Trulli whom is considered among the 10 best qualifiers ever on this list.

Think about this for a second and then come back with an smart reply. Do you think Rubens is a better qualifier than Trulli because he has 10 more poles?

No t necessarily but I would say Fangio and Clark were better than Senna.

#37 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 11:12

It a list of best qualifiers.

Not a list of drivers placing xars on Pole Position. The measurement of drivers qualifying provess should be how much further up the grid did they qualify the car, compared to where it "should" have qualified.

My list in no particular order:

Senna
Trulli
Fangio
Peterson
Clark
Arnoux
Prost

No Schumacher, no Hakkinen. Possible that Kimi should be there.

:cool:

#38 Spunout

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 11:14

I would easily put Senna as #1, no disagreement here. From there, it looks like indeed Mark Hughes went for most spectacular qualifiers and his personal favourites.

And of course, there are qualifying "specialists" - eg if Trulli is on the list, where are Räikkönen and Alonso? The fact that those two are even better racers than qualifiers seems to work against them here. The same applies to Arnoux vs Prost.

And yes, Fangio is missing. I DO hate the way how he is always rated as the best by default - you aren´t even allowed to suggest somebody could be at his level, or even better. That´s nostalgy. But he really should be on this list, no question.

#39 JBonnier

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 11:14

My problem is that my assessments are so much based on the perception of seeing the drivers drive. I have seen enough race footage of Fangio and the older guys but hardly any qualifying footage. But I have seen Senna drive his phenomenal one lap wonders. While measuring drivers from different eras against each other based on results, race footage, reports and so on is easier but to compare a pure visual impression to statistics only is impossible. Of the drivers I have seen in qualifying conditions I rank Senna the highest. Häkkinen is also there. Those two took their cars to places they werent meant to operate in. It just looked so damned fast and exciting.

JBonnier

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#40 Tomerell

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 11:19

Qualifying was a true measure of raw speed before FIA started this current nonsense of race fuel qualifying, which has made current grid position only a matter of strategy, not speed... :cry:

So we cannnot measure young guns like KIMI or Alonso with the same measuring tape than we can use with Senna or Häkkinen,

But the list was fun to read, but it's only one mans view :cool:

#41 kenny

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 11:24

Originally posted by Murga
No t necessarily but I would say Fangio and Clark were better than Senna.

yes, because in the 50's and 60's the cars were SO different that...

err.....

hey, wait, You can't compare!...

You can't even compare today's qual results with 10 years ago..and you want to do that with the 50's and 60's???

#42 Spunout

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 11:26

Häkkinen at his best was defitenitely fast and exciting to watch. One of my favourites...not perfect lap, but defitenitely classic Mika vs Michael battle:

http://www.youtube.c...E... imola 2000

Notice where the outside tyres are when he brakes. Out of the current crop, Räikkönen is the only one constantly using the painted lines like this.

PS. As a bonus, you´ll get to hear the voice of our former announcer, infamous Matti Kyllönen :D

#43 Fortymark

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 11:28

Originally posted by Murga
No t necessarily but I would say Fangio and Clark were better than Senna.


Wasn´t Clark outqualifed by Moss in -60?

#44 Modern Lover

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 11:30

I still cant get over the fact that none of you mention Prost but you rant on about Fangio and Clark. Did you take a sabbatical during the 80s and early 90s or is it just that you did not start to follow F1 until 2003 and mention the old guys based on what you have read?

#45 Murga

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 11:36

Originally posted by kenny

yes, because in the 50's and 60's the cars were SO different that...

err.....

hey, wait, You can't compare!...

You can't even compare today's qual results with 10 years ago..and you want to do that with the 50's and 60's???

I may agree with that but in that case it's impossible to make a list of qualifiers with any credibility...we may only say "Fangio was the best of his era, Clark was the best of his era, Senna was the best of his era, Schumacher was the best of his era".

And I'd agree with that.

#46 Murga

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 11:37

Originally posted by Fortymark


Wasn´t Clark outqualifed by Moss in -60?

In 1960....but he was at the very beginning of his F1 career back then. He went on to higher heights until 1968.

#47 ensign14

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 11:37

Originally posted by Modern Lover
I still cant get over the fact that none of you mention Prost but you rant on about Fangio and Clark. Did you take a sabbatical during the 80s and early 90s or is it just that you did not start to follow F1 until 2003 and mention the old guys based on what you have read?

Fangio and Clark had 50% or so pole hit rates when they had more than one team-mate (and when anyone else, had they the spondulix, could buy and run the equivalent of a McLaren MP4/2). In an era when qualifying was not so important.

So they were just going out and being naturally quicker than everyone else.

Plus Prost's qualifying record was not stellar compared to Senna's. Different mentality for Prost.

#48 Rallimies Kujala

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 11:40

Originally posted by Spunout

PS. As a bonus, you´ll get to hear the voice of our former announcer, infamous Matti Kyllönen :D


Ooh this sucks. Everytime I see clips featuring Matti I'm reminded how unbelievably crap the commentary is nowadays lacking all emotion and enthusiasm. :

#49 RDM

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 12:04

Originally posted by Fortymark


You have to look further than that, as an example Rubens has 13 poles. That´s 10 more than Trulli whom is considered among the 10 best qualifiers ever on this list.

Think about this for a second and then come back with an smart reply. Do you think Rubens is a better qualifier than Trulli because he has 10 more poles?

You think reading only half of my post before responding gives a smart reply? Really, you must try harder.

#50 Fortymark

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 12:10

Originally posted by Murga
In 1960....but he was at the very beginning of his F1 career back then. He went on to higher heights until 1968.


Moss beat him too in those few races he did in -61. Clark later beat all his teammates but they were not in the same class as Sennas teammates. The only one really good was graham Hill and he outqualified Clark more often than Prost (or anybody of AS´s teammates) did on Senna.

Senna stated beating his teammates from his first season, he didn´t become great. He was from the beginning.


That brings us only Fangio left.