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Poll: Best non-WDC F1 driver of the modern era (1983-present)


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Poll: Vote (282 member(s) have cast votes)

Who's the best (retired) non-WDC driver since 1983?

  1. Riccardo Patrese (3 votes [1.06%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 1.06%

  2. Rene Arnoux (4 votes [1.42%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 1.42%

  3. Elio de Angelis (12 votes [4.26%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 4.26%

  4. Michele Alboreto (7 votes [2.48%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 2.48%

  5. Gerhard Berger (22 votes [7.80%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 7.80%

  6. Jean Alesi (15 votes [5.32%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 5.32%

  7. Rubens Barrichello (12 votes [4.26%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 4.26%

  8. Heinz-Harald Frentzen (3 votes [1.06%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 1.06%

  9. David Coulthard (8 votes [2.84%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 2.84%

  10. Ralf Schumacher (4 votes [1.42%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 1.42%

  11. Juan Pablo Montoya (110 votes [39.01%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 39.01%

  12. Mark Webber (8 votes [2.84%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 2.84%

  13. Felipe Massa (14 votes [4.96%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 4.96%

  14. Robert Kubica (49 votes [17.38%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 17.38%

  15. Somebody else who's not in this list (11 votes [3.90%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 3.90%

If you could've voted for Gilles Villeneuve, would you?

  1. Yes (105 votes [37.23%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 37.23%

  2. No (177 votes [62.77%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 62.77%

If you could've voted for Stirling Moss, would you?

  1. Yes (174 votes [61.70%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 61.70%

  2. No (108 votes [38.30%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 38.30%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#1 Risil

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 14:41

Off-season poll thread: who's the best F1 driver who never scooped a world championship title, from 1983 to today?

 

Somewhat arbitrary time period because otherwise the thread would be people posting clips of Gilles Villeneuve or pretending they don't know who Stirling Moss was, which would be entertaining but not what I want from this thread.

 

I'm not including drivers who are still racing in F1 because who knows what the future holds? I.e. you can't vote for Ricciardo.



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#2 InSearchOfThe

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 14:51

Didn't see Gilles or Moss live so I went with Massa. He was WDC for what 20 seconds? I think Berger was also WDC material, but went with Phil.

#3 SophieB

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 14:53

I don’t have massively strong feelings on it but Montoya and then Alesi are the ones that evoke the strongest ‘what might have been’ wistful emotion from the list so Montoya is my pick.

Also, I read this poll aloud at home and it provoked the response of ‘what about the Northern Irish one?’ but I wasn’t persuaded to make Irvine a write-in candidate.



#4 Risil

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 14:54

Lol I felt bad for missing out John Watson when you said that! I thought about Irvine but I don't really think he was better than Fisichella, Grosjean, Panis and that lot.



#5 ARTGP

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 15:00

I'm going to go with Kubica.



#6 Risil

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 15:00

For me Kubica is the one who combined serious, A-grade speed with an absence of self-sabotage. Except for that rally event he didn't need to be taking part in I guess.



#7 ARTGP

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 15:01

For me Kubica is the one who combined serious, A-grade speed with an absence of self-sabotage. Except for that rally event he didn't need to be taking part in I guess.

 

I was going to mention his rally escapade....But when I clicked quote, I saw your update. :lol:


Edited by ARTGP, 15 January 2022 - 15:02.


#8 Risil

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 15:02

I was going to call you out for his rally escapade....But when I clicked quote, I saw your update. :lol:

Yeah you can see the cogs of my mind very slowly ticking over



#9 SophieB

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 15:03

For me Kubica is the one who combined serious, A-grade speed with an absence of self-sabotage. Except for that rally event he didn't need to be taking part in I guess.

I’ve never really thought about it like that but I think self-sabotage tendencies is one of the things I look for in a driver to support, makes it all the sweeter when they triumph over the dark sides of their own nature too and keeps things interesting, if often frustrating to watch.



#10 PlatenGlass

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 15:05

Didn't see Gilles or Moss live so I went with Massa. He was WDC for what 20 seconds?

When people say this, I'm never quite sure if they mean this literally or just in some metaphorical sense.

#11 PlatenGlass

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 15:07

Lol I felt bad for missing out John Watson when you said that! I thought about Irvine but I don't really think he was better than Fisichella, Grosjean, Panis and that lot.

Well you could argue that most of Watson's best drives were already behind him in 1983 but it depends on whether this includes performances before 1983 for these drivers. Also Jacques Laffite.

I would probably have included Irvine and Fisichella actually.

#12 red stick

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 15:09

Montoya.
It is what it is.

#13 Risil

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 15:12

I would probably have included Irvine and Fisichella actually.

My argument against Irvine is that all his wins came in one season and normally after his main rivals hit trouble. I don't think he had any races (except maybe Austria 99?) where you thought wow, he was the best one out there that day.

Fisichella had some great performances but seemed to look less impressive the better his machinery. And he drove some great cars. Is that fair?

#14 messy

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 15:14

Montoya is quite an easy choice out of that list for me. I think he's the most serious A-grader there. Others maybe made more of less talent. Kubica I think has attained this mythical reputation that he never really had the opportunity to prove one way or the other.

#15 Risil

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 15:23

I’ve never really thought about it like that but I think self-sabotage tendencies is one of the things I look for in a driver to support, makes it all the sweeter when they triumph over the dark sides of their own nature too and keeps things interesting, if often frustrating to watch.


Can't think who you might be referring to here!

#16 Myrvold

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 15:32

It feels like one have to choose between someone who is a great natural talent, but maybe didn't have the work ethics needed, or someone without that amazing natural talent, but who had the work ethic. 

Not easy.



#17 ARTGP

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 15:33

Montoya is a good pick but my beef with him is he didn't even want to be there anymore. Had one of the best seats in the house, yet had these machinations of being a Nascar driver... Whereas it feels like Kubica's career was taken from him (albeit by his own poor choices....wanting to be some kind of rally driver...but that's for another thread...) For some reason that makes me see the two of them in a different light.


Edited by ARTGP, 15 January 2022 - 15:37.


#18 PlatenGlass

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 15:34

My argument against Irvine is that all his wins came in one season and normally after his main rivals hit trouble. I don't think he had any races (except maybe Austria 99?) where you thought wow, he was the best one out there that day.

Fisichella had some great performances but seemed to look less impressive the better his machinery. And he drove some great cars. Is that fair?

I suppose just for completeness. It would tail off pretty quickly so including them wouldn't mean another dozen drivers would suddenly become in the frame. But it is unlikely either would win of course.

#19 masa90

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 15:41

From this list I have to go with JPM.

 

Montoya (along with my great favourite Kimi) was only driver I "feared" as a Ferrari fan. With better selfcontrol I think he was a "sure champion". I seemed to be wrong, but really enjoyed his short career.



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#20 HP

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 15:41

Not a fan of him. Montoya was still the obvious choice for me. He might have tried harder, if he had not thought that first the FIA, then his team was against him.



#21 jjcale

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 15:56

Honourable mention for Nannini.

 

 

Edit - spelling :blush:


Edited by jjcale, 15 January 2022 - 16:00.


#22 Risil

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 15:57

Honourable mention for Nanini.

Nannini and Boutsen would be potentially worthy inclusions.



#23 LucaP

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 16:01

Montoya, considering the ones I saw, but although I couldn't see him race Alboreto would have been a worthy champion in 1985.

#24 Dhillon

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 16:06

Voted for Ralf. Very underrated driver imo.

#25 HeadFirst

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 16:13

Both my picks come with  a "before the accident" caveat. (Did I use that word correctly?) I thought Robert was a potential WDC, from the time he entered F1.  He was a smart driver, had the attitude of a winner and my God he was quick. I never liked Felipe. While others claimed him to be a super #2, I never saw that in him. I think he always felt slighted when asked to play a team role, and often resisted before grudgingly giving in. Perhaps Ferrari should have had more confidence in him, as he showed undeniable WDC potential in 2008. Massa had weaknesses without doubt, but on a good day he was almost unbeatable. Unfortunately, both drivers had career paths altered by accidents resulting in serious injury.



#26 noriaki

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 16:25

Interesting list, made me realize there was probably no driver in that timeframe who really deserved a title as a driver overall but didn't get one!

Frentzen and Alboreto were one season wonders. Patrese, Berger and DC were just all too obviously short of the required WDC standard. de Angelis was consistent but lacking in top end pace, on the other hand Alesi with Elio's inherited helmet had the pace but was too error prone.

Rubens was good but has too much into the #2 driver label to be seriously considered, then the dude did not even use his one additional shot in 2009. Ditto Webber who had the opportunity of a lifetime in 2010.

As much as I love JPM and rate his speed, he had a fair shot in 2003 but made a few too many mistakes, then had another fair shot in 2005 and came short. Ralf? Excellent around the turn of century but overshadowed by JPM when it counted. Kubica? Championship level raw speed and performance was there, but the guy never had to deal with real championship pressure (not even 2008 really). Almost even voted peak Massa ahead of him, but his 2008 was also a bit scrappy, so... Kubica.

I suspect that in a few seasons' time, my pick will be Leclerc!

#27 Secretariat

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 16:32

Of who was listed, I voted Rubens. I respect him as a race winner and technical driver who was able to compete across multiple eras of car and do it for a long time.  



#28 noikeee

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 16:32

Elio. Kept up with Senna (a young Senna, but still) and was generally ahead of Mansell. Once you put it that way...

#29 Aaaarrgghh

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 16:33

Though I would not have voted for him, I suggest adding Nick Heidfeld to the list. 



#30 IrvTheSwerve

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 16:39

JPM for me, took it to Schumacher.

 

I always think that DC and Rubens don't get the credit they deserve too, to be honest. Granted they were never truly elite drivers but they were consistently near the top during most of their careers.



#31 Secretariat

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 16:52

JPM for me, took it to Schumacher.

 

I always think that DC and Rubens don't get the credit they deserve too, to be honest. Granted they were never truly elite drivers but they were consistently near the top during most of their careers.

It's an interesting poll because all the drivers listed have their deficiencies as drivers. So, in my opinion it's like choosing which deficiencies are less impactful and what characteristics one would want to have in a driver. Hindsight allows for a good view particularly for the older era drivers listed.



#32 messy

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 16:56

I think DC, Rubens, Fisichella, Trulli, Ralf, Frentzen were probably all much of a muchness to be honest. The first two spent the most time in frontrunning cars, so they have the most wins, poles etc. All of them were probably on that tier just below the World Champions. DC plays himself down so much that it’s almost getting tiresome, on his day he was excellent. But you could say that for any of them really.

#33 IrvTheSwerve

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 17:08

I think DC, Rubens, Fisichella, Trulli, Ralf, Frentzen were probably all much of a muchness to be honest. The first two spent the most time in frontrunning cars, so they have the most wins, poles etc. All of them were probably on that tier just below the World Champions. DC plays himself down so much that it’s almost getting tiresome, on his day he was excellent. But you could say that for any of them really.

 

I don't necessarily disagree with you, but you could argue that between 98 and 03 there weren't any truly top-notch drivers beside Mika and Schumacher (and even then Mika was only up there between 98 and 00), once JPM and Kimi got some experience under their belts the tables started to turn.



#34 garoidb

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 17:37

Has Robert retired?



#35 BRG

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 17:46

Has Robert retired?

Good point!  No, he is still appearing on the Alfa Romeo Racing website, alongside Bottas and Zhou.  But in the spirit of 2021 F1, the rules will be ignored.   ;)



#36 garoidb

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 17:47

Good point!  No, he is still appearing on the Alfa Romeo Racing website, alongside Bottas and Zhou.  But in the spirit of 2021 F1, the rules will be ignored.   ;)

 

Well, don't expect me to come to the Gala event  :mad:  ( :))



#37 Beri

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 17:57

Ive voted for Monty because I vividly remember the buzz that was surrounding him when he challenged Schumacher without any hesitation. And the other 90s and 00s drivers were just not up to that. The other drivers are just before my day. And the real heyday of Berger was that too. Else I think he would have topped my list.

#38 Risil

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 18:07

Elio. Kept up with Senna (a young Senna, but still) and was generally ahead of Mansell. Once you put it that way...

In retrospect that Brabham drive in 1986 was a dead-end but you do wonder what De Angelis' next act in motor racing might've been. He was a young starter and but for his fatal testing crash there's no reason why he couldn't still have been racing in 1996. He'd have fit in at a post-Piquet or post-Mansell Williams, you'd have thought.



#39 CoolBreeze

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 18:33

Didn't see Gilles or Moss live so I went with Massa. He was WDC for what 20 seconds? I think Berger was also WDC material, but went with Phil.

You can't be wdc without all the cars passing the finish line first.



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#40 F1Frog

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 18:35

Looking at the list, I was surprised at how uninspiring it was. There are multiple drivers from before 1983 who I would rate above all of these, namely Stirling Moss, Ronnie Peterson and Carlos Reutemann. I suppose that means that particularly good drivers in the modern era are more likely to end up taking the championship than they were in the past. In the end, I voted for Rubens Barrichello as I believe he was better than he looked as the number two at Ferrari.



#41 Beri

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 18:50

In retrospect that Brabham drive in 1986 was a dead-end but you do wonder what De Angelis' next act in motor racing might've been. He was a young starter and but for his fatal testing crash there's no reason why he couldn't still have been racing in 1996. He'd have fit in at a post-Piquet or post-Mansell Williams, you'd have thought.


I always like to think that Elio would have been the reason why Mansell would have never become world champion. Having him in at Williams in 1989 and subsequently not making the same mistakes Mansell did in 1991, he would have been a two time world champion also by clinching it in 1992.

#42 Risil

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 18:53

I always like to think that Elio would have been the reason why Mansell would have never become world champion. Having him in at Williams in 1989 and subsequently not making the same mistakes Mansell did in 1991, he would have been a two time world champion also by clinching it in 1992.

Mansell was always underestimated...



#43 Cornholio

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 19:00

Frentzen and Alboreto were one season wonders. Patrese, Berger and DC were just all too obviously short of the required WDC standard. de Angelis was consistent but lacking in top end pace, on the other hand Alesi with Elio's inherited helmet had the pace but was too error prone.

 

I wouldn't say Alboreto was a one season wonder, so much as for some reason he seemed to fall off a cliff after that season. Prior to that he'd been impressive and looked like a coming man, winning two races in a Tyrrell, coming into Ferrari and immediately overshadowing a then very highly-rated Arnoux, winning a race and losing one other to reliability in a season dominated by McLaren. Seemed like he was one of these drivers who peaked early, kind of like Kimi without as high a peak.

 

Excellent topic and poll by the way, very thought provoking without any obvious answer (I guess the reason for the 1983 cut-off). Heart says JPM, but head is nowhere near decided yet.

 

Although I will say I agree with points of those mentioning de Angelis, I think a) his relative experience and b) the fact he had struggled so much (even relative to Patrese) in his few races at Brabham makes it easy to forget respectively a) how much longer he could have gone on for, and b) how quick he had been when measured against Mansell and Senna in previous years.



#44 Beri

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 19:02

Mansell was always underestimated...


Mansell had a realistic shot at 4 WDCs. And to be fair; he should have won all 4. I think he is a great driver. But as said; I like to think De Angelis would have been in that Williams instead of Boutsen. Making it unnecessary for Mansell to return to Williams in 1991 and therefore never clinching a title.

#45 jals

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 19:10

Jarno Trulli

#46 garoidb

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 20:02

Mansell had a realistic shot at 4 WDCs. And to be fair; he should have won all 4. I think he is a great driver. But as said; I like to think De Angelis would have been in that Williams instead of Boutsen. Making it unnecessary for Mansell to return to Williams in 1991 and therefore never clinching a title.

 

 

I can imagine DeAngelis ending up at Benetton in the late 1980s. They ran Italian drivers and he would have fitted the image. He could certainly have relaunched himself from there. 



#47 PlayboyRacer

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 20:30

Interesting that Ralf Schumacher has only 1 vote yet Montoya is winning in a landslide... lol. Perspective is a funny thing.

I went for Gerhard Berger. He was unbelievably fast on his day (12 career poles), particularly in his early Benetton and Ferrari years. He was a brilliant wingman for Senna and could outqualify the legend more often than Prost ever did. He also was pretty much on par with Alesi for a number of seasons as teammates, despite no longer being in his prime. Culminating in that brilliant, dominant weekend at Hockenheim in 1997 during his final season.

He was a very good, sometimes great driver in an F1 golden era. Just count up the number of F1 heavyweights he was up against. Watching Berger in the monster turbo era was something quite spectacular. He's very underrated.

Edited by PlayboyRacer, 15 January 2022 - 20:47.


#48 messy

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 20:39

Even though the perception is that Alesi was ultra-fast but wild and Berger was a solid, consistent pro, didn’t Berger outqualify Alesi in ‘95? Those two suffered in the latter stages of their career by always being together, I think.

I don't necessarily disagree with you, but you could argue that between 98 and 03 there weren't any truly top-notch drivers beside Mika and Schumacher (and even then Mika was only up there between 98 and 00), once JPM and Kimi got some experience under their belts the tables started to turn.


That’s what I’m saying, though. Montoya was the one of that lot - and Kubica too even though he was kinda the next era - who stood out even though on pure results he wasn’t head and shoulders above. The rest of them, I honestly think were much of a muchness and yeah, the ones who stood out in that era - Schumacher, Hakkinen, Villeneuve, were all World Champions. Next in line for me is JPM.

I think Ralf Schumacher, Barrichello and DC all made more of their ability than Montoya did, but their seasons in winning cars only added up to a handful of wins each, and not a serious title tilt between them. I don’t count Coulthard in 2001. He was second, but miles behind Schumacher.

#49 New Britain

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 21:15

Hard to believe that 40% (so far) of respondents would not, if given the chance, have voted for Moss. He won 24% of his GP starts (highest % among all non-champions; for comparison, Mansell won 17%, Villeneuve 9% and Montoya 7%). In 7 straight years he finished either 2nd (4 times) or 3rd (3 times) in WDC. He was forced to retire in his prime, having won 5 of the 7 previous GPs in which he finished.

 

:confused:



#50 Trust

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 21:18

Interesting to see Montoya leading the poll. It just brings Kimi's reputation quite a bit higher after seeing this.