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Top 10 British Drivers


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#101 sopa

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Posted 11 December 2018 - 17:00

What concerns Fangio v Moss, then you could argue in 1957 Moss already pipped Fangio, certainly late in the season, thus this was the time, when the baton passed on to the younger generation.


Edited by sopa, 11 December 2018 - 17:00.


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#102 H0R

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Posted 11 December 2018 - 17:17

1. Clark

2. Big Gap

3. Moss.

4. HUGE

5. GAP

6. Stewart

7. Hill (G)

8. Hamilton

9. Hill (D)

10. Coulthard, Dame David



#103 ensign14

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Posted 11 December 2018 - 17:43

From 58-61 Moss was competing only with a few guys who might barely scratch the top 50. The one true great he competed against (Fangio) beat him right to the end of his professional life. To me we didn't have proper generational closure at that juncture because Moss was only able to show that he was a near-peer in caliber with Fangio and never actually eclipsed him.

 

He did eclipse him in sportscars.  Fangio's ultra-precise driving style did not work so well with enclosed wheels; he couldn't see where he was aiming them in the right way.  Hence he struggled with the streamliner Merc at Silverstone.

 

But one thing that stands heavily in favour of the drivers of the fifties and sixties is opportunity.  You could become a Grand Prix driver for buttons.  Put an old bike engine in a basic chassis and you were in F3.  Do well there and trade sponsorship took you to the very top.  It was far easier to compete in GP racing then than today - even taking into account the wider world of motorsport.  So, there's less chance of that hypothetical taxi-driver in Streatham who is the secret greatest driver in the world would miss out on his chance in GP racing in 1958 than there is in 2018...

 

And I wouldn't dismiss Moss' competitors so easily.  Ascari could worry Fangio, and Gonzalez could worry Ascari.  Hawthorn on his day was nigh untouchable but health meant those days were very few and far between.  Comparing them to ability in the 1980s, Moss and Fangio are Prost and Senna, Ascari is like a better Mansell, Brooks is like a better Piquet, and Gonzalez, Hawthorn, and Farina are at least Rosberg standard.  Maybe even Castellotti. 



#104 garoidb

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Posted 11 December 2018 - 17:54

Does John Watson feature in anyone's deliberations? I don't mean to put him near the top, but it is strange to not see him mentioned at all. He had some fantastic wins and was a championship contender, so I'm not sure Coulthard, for example, should be too far ahead of him.


Edited by garoidb, 11 December 2018 - 18:00.


#105 E.B.

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Posted 11 December 2018 - 18:05

What concerns Fangio v Moss, then you could argue in 1957 Moss already pipped Fangio, certainly late in the season, thus this was the time, when the baton passed on to the younger generation.


Despite a great drive from Fangio at Monza, I truly believe Fangio passed the baton over as he stepped out of his car at the Nurburgring.

And let's not ignore that Moss generally had the better of Clark, sometimes comfortably so, and sometimes in inferior machinery. Was Clark at his peak in 1961? No, of course not. But as he was unlucky to miss the 1962 WDC and dominated 1963, he can't have been too far short of it.

#106 E.B.

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Posted 11 December 2018 - 18:07

Does John Watson feature in anyone's deliberations?.


He only just missed my top 10.

#107 lightstoflag

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Posted 11 December 2018 - 18:08

He did eclipse him in sportscars.  Fangio's ultra-precise driving style did not work so well with enclosed wheels; he couldn't see where he was aiming them in the right way.  Hence he struggled with the streamliner Merc at Silverstone.

 

But one thing that stands heavily in favour of the drivers of the fifties and sixties is opportunity.  You could become a Grand Prix driver for buttons.  Put an old bike engine in a basic chassis and you were in F3.  Do well there and trade sponsorship took you to the very top.  It was far easier to compete in GP racing then than today - even taking into account the wider world of motorsport.  So, there's less chance of that hypothetical taxi-driver in Streatham who is the secret greatest driver in the world would miss out on his chance in GP racing in 1958 than there is in 2018...

 

And I wouldn't dismiss Moss' competitors so easily.  Ascari could worry Fangio, and Gonzalez could worry Ascari.  Hawthorn on his day was nigh untouchable but health meant those days were very few and far between.  Comparing them to ability in the 1980s, Moss and Fangio are Prost and Senna, Ascari is like a better Mansell, Brooks is like a better Piquet, and Gonzalez, Hawthorn, and Farina are at least Rosberg standard.  Maybe even Castellotti. 

This was a great and very informative reply, thanks. I did not know of the impediment Fangio suffered to the exercise of his style in sportscars.

But is that necessarily a great thing that Moss could only surpass him in a 'coarser' (in terms of driving finesse and for lack of a better term) form of motorsport?

 

Your 50s/80s equivalences are suggestive. I agree that Ascari was a better Mansell; I'm not so sure that Brooks is better than a Piquet through '84 or so. Piquet was probably faster.



#108 Currahee

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Posted 11 December 2018 - 18:13

We can't compare interest as the equipment available to become a Formula One driver is the equipment available to become a Formula One driver. If he was born in that era and wanted to become an F1 driver he'd have no knowledge of modern equipment and would use the equipment at hand. This point is specious.

Let's compare to peers. Mr. Hamilton raced against, and beat his WDC partners 1x with Mr. Alonso, 2x vs Mr. Button, and 3x vs Mr. Rosberg losing only 1x each to Mr. Button and Mr. Rosberg, respectively. How many World Champions did Mr. Stewart defeat in identical machinery?


How many times was Stewart beaten by his teammate to the WC?

#109 Currahee

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Posted 11 December 2018 - 18:14

If you *actually* paid any attention to the context of the lists instead of simply launching into a fit of conspiracy at no mention of your favourite driver, you may have noticed that there are five who have listed LH out of the top 4.

BRG, a notorious WRC fan. He lists eight rally drivers (Jim Clark was one, as well), Lewis as p9, and "the rest" as P10. Really sounds like acknowledging Lewis as the best F1 non WRC driver.
Currahee's list consists of 10 Scotsmen. Doubt it's anything personal with Lewis.
chr1s' list is presumably of his favourite drivers and not an assessment of driving accolades. Or that's what I gather from that it involves no WDC's.
Fatgadget puts Lewis 8th, as the lone F1 driver again. Sounds like praise rather than animus.
BuddyHolly puts him 6th, which is possibly contestable - but unlike Lewis everyone ranked above him has great achievements in other forms of racing too, so maybe he simply prefers versatility in a driver.

---

Fwiw, I do recognize the point that you can't blame Lewis for that his cars are not the same as those of the heroes of the generations past. He can only make the most of what he has.

But the "data" you want to use, conversely blames the likes of Stewart, Moss, Clark, and even Mansell for racing in dangerous eras of fewer races, higher unreliability & possessing equipment that would never even allow for the accumulation of the incredible stats LH has been able to gather.


I was being facetious with my 10 scotsmen.

#110 ensign14

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Posted 11 December 2018 - 18:29

This was a great and very informative reply, thanks. I did not know of the impediment Fangio suffered to the exercise of his style in sportscars.

But is that necessarily a great thing that Moss could only surpass him in a 'coarser' (in terms of driving finesse and for lack of a better term) form of motorsport?

 

Not necessarily coarser but a reflection of their different driving styles.  Fangio was used to loose stuff from his Argentine rallyraid days so became a master of the four wheel drift, so maintained a momentum.  Moss used the brakes to induce oversteer in a corner and get the power down earlier coming out.



#111 Sterzo

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Posted 11 December 2018 - 18:52

 

But one thing that stands heavily in favour of the drivers of the fifties and sixties is opportunity.  You could become a Grand Prix driver for buttons.  Put an old bike engine in a basic chassis and you were in F3.  Do well there and trade sponsorship took you to the very top.  It was far easier to compete in GP racing then than today - even taking into account the wider world of motorsport.  So, there's less chance of that hypothetical taxi-driver in Streatham who is the secret greatest driver in the world would miss out on his chance in GP racing in 1958 than there is in 2018...

That's definitely true, but it's also true that far more people compete in car racing in modern times than did in the fifties, and if you include karting (which I submit, m'lud, we should) then the numbers increase exponentially. Therefore it is plausible that the average standard is higher today, and that's supported by a glance at the back end of the grid in the fifties or sixties. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean the standard at the top is any higher.



#112 ensign14

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Posted 11 December 2018 - 19:53

I think the wider spread of motor racing is more than outweighed by the costs to get to the top.  Look back at who drove in Grands Prix in the fifties.  Obviously you had your titled and/or wealthy; but you also had a fishmonger from Billingsgate, several mechanics, several farmers, a dentist, a bandleader, a drummer, a fine artist.  Nowadays it's mostly sons of billionaires...and there are fewer billionaires around the world than the 1950s pool from a handful of countries.



#113 BRG

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Posted 11 December 2018 - 19:56

BRG, a notorious WRC fan.

The notorious BRG was making a point.  Up to then in the thread, it had pretty much been F1-centric.  I sought to open up by showing some of our rally talent, including our two WRCs.  But I put Jim Clark in there not for his limited rally exploits, but because he is the best British driver of all time, and second only to Fangio in global terms.  Then I put in Lewis because he is next in the racing hierachy in my view. 



#114 AlexPrime

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Posted 11 December 2018 - 21:24

I don't know.
From those I have seen racing, Lewis ahead of Nigel, than Damon and Jenson, but overall I don't know. I don't think that you can say. Clark was obviously special. Graham won the triple crown. Surtees won F1, MotoGP and TT Isle of Man. Jackie three titles in 99 races. How can you rate them, I don't know. Every one of them sounds like a good contender for an all-time greatest.
But based on interviewes, it's gonna be Jason Plato  :p