Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Greatest F1 season performances


  • Please log in to reply
34 replies to this topic

#1 F1Frog

F1Frog
  • Member

  • 205 posts
  • Joined: August 21

Posted 07 October 2022 - 17:23

After 17 races this season, Max Verstappen currently sits on eleven wins, and looks set to beat the record of 13 wins in a season set by Michael Schumacher in 2004 and Sebastian Vettel in 2013, albeit with 22 races with which to do it, while they only had 18 and 19 races respectively.

It got me thinking, assuming he keeps up his current form, could this be a contender for the greatest season performance in Formula 1? Eleven out of seventeen races is good, but made all the better by the fact that he does not have a dominant car. The Red Bull is probably the overall best on the grid and he has been helped by blunders by the opposition, but his car is not significantly better than the Ferrari, which has a very capable driver in Charles Leclerc leading. He has made just two real mistakes, locking up and going off in Singapore, and spinning off in Spain, and has had just one off-weekend, Monaco, where he was outpaced by his teammate.

However, we have to look at the opposition, of course. Some similar seasons include that of Lewis Hamilton in 2018, Sebastian Vettel in 2011, Michael Schumacher in 2001 and Alain Prost in 1985. In all four cases, the drivers probably had the best car but certainly not by the margin that they dominated the season.

Similarly, you could point to seasons of total domination by one driver in the best car. Sebastian Vettel's nine wins in a row in 2013 were certainly extraordinary, as were Michael Schumacher's 12 from 13 in 2004 and podium finishes in every race in 2002. Further back in history, Jackie Stewart won six out of 11 races in 1969 and retired while leading from three more, while Jim Clark won seven from ten in 1963 and without mechanical dramas could have taken a clean sweep of the season, while his 1965 season was almost as dominant. Juan Manuel Fangio could also have taken a clean sweep in 1955 had he not retired in Monaco, and beaten Moss in Aintree (where he may have allowed his teammate to win). He also won six from eight in 1954 but had less of a chance in the other two. The only driver to win every race they started was Alberto Ascari in 1952, winning six races for Ferrari, but there were no other competitive teams and his best teammate, Giuseppe Farina was a little past his best. But it was still one of the greatest season performances.

Another series of contenders would be the championship challenges in cars that shouldn't have been there. First to be worthy of a mention would be Alain Prost in 1986 and Niki Lauda in 1977, as both cars were certainly not the best in the season but the drivers were able to fight their way to the title. Lauda's season was particularly impressive given he seemed in no way affected by the Nurburging crash the year before, and he didn't even need to compete in the final races.

Fernando Alonso in 2012 took a Ferrari that was far from the best on the grid just three points away from winning the championship, while Ayrton Senna drove incredibly well in 1993 with five wins in a McLaren that was no match for the Williams, and Stirling Moss took two victories and finished third in the championship in a Lotus that was 30bhp down on the Ferrari in 1961. All three would surely have walked the championship in the season's best car.

Another season I think is worth mentioning is Lewis Hamilton in 2007, as while he obviously had a huge amount of testing time before the season, to finish just one point off the championship, ahead of his teammate the reigning double champion, in the second-best car, as a rookie, was extraordinary.


Personally, I would select Juan Manuel Fangio in 1955 as the greatest season performance, because as well as winning six races out of eight and being close to taking all eight, he did it with Stirling Moss as his teammate, the second-best driver in the world at the time. Jim Clark in 1963, Jackie Stewart in 1969 and Lewis Hamilton in 2007 would be my runners up, with honourable mentions to every season mentioned above. I would be interested to know what others think.



Advertisement

#2 skinnyman

skinnyman
  • Member

  • 626 posts
  • Joined: July 09

Posted 07 October 2022 - 17:44

2007 McLaren was not the second-best car.

#3 ensign14

ensign14
  • Member

  • 58,314 posts
  • Joined: December 01

Posted 07 October 2022 - 17:49

Clark in 1965 is the greatest season by any racing driver ever.  Won the Tasman series at the kick-off with 4 wins in 6.  Then, in the world championship, 10 races, he was in 9, won 7, 6 poles, 6 FLs, and all in a car that anyone else could have bought to run.

 

And won the Indy 500 in a month off.

 

As well as winning the British and French Formula 2 titles.

 

To be fair though Roy Pierpoint took his BTCC crown off him.



#4 Henri Greuter

Henri Greuter
  • Member

  • 12,071 posts
  • Joined: June 02

Posted 07 October 2022 - 18:16

For F1 the OP already gave my choice.

 

1977

 

The Ferrari was speedwise not stable and could be second best one race and 5th best  the next. The only thing it had going for it was the reliability. While faster drivers retired too often while Lauda kept scoring all the time. And if you read how the atmosphere in the team was and the commitment to another and together. It sometimes appeared as if Ferrari didn't bother about the title at all anymore.

Given the team he had to work with and the car at his disposal, that was one, if not the hardest title won by any driver in any year.


Edited by Henri Greuter, 07 October 2022 - 18:16.


#5 Collombin

Collombin
  • Member

  • 7,084 posts
  • Joined: March 05

Posted 07 October 2022 - 18:24

The OP mentioned mine too, Stewart 1969. I suppose the problem with it (and Lauda 1977) is that both drivers had more memorable individual races in other seasons. Fwiw Stewart 1969 is still the only occasion a driver led in every race.

#6 ensign14

ensign14
  • Member

  • 58,314 posts
  • Joined: December 01

Posted 07 October 2022 - 18:56

Oh, if we're after the hardest-earned title, then NGH in 1968, sheer force of will and bloody-mindedness to drag Lotus along with him in the aftermath of Hockenheim.  But at least he had the equipment.  Hamilton in 2008 was up against a car so good even Massa could nearly win the title, had a team-mate that was about as useful as an umbrella in a typhoon, and had to fight the bent FIA.



#7 PlatenGlass

PlatenGlass
  • Member

  • 3,814 posts
  • Joined: June 14

Posted 07 October 2022 - 19:06

2007 McLaren was not the second-best car.

Third?

#8 thefinalapex

thefinalapex
  • Member

  • 3,088 posts
  • Joined: July 16

Posted 07 October 2022 - 21:15

Oh, if we're after the hardest-earned title, then NGH in 1968, sheer force of will and bloody-mindedness to drag Lotus along with him in the aftermath of Hockenheim.  But at least he had the equipment.  Hamilton in 2008 was up against a car so good even Massa could nearly win the title, had a team-mate that was about as useful as an umbrella in a typhoon, and had to fight the bent FIA.

 

I still think Massa was never the same after Budapest 2009.



#9 messy

messy
  • Member

  • 6,741 posts
  • Joined: October 15

Posted 07 October 2022 - 21:31

Drivers who’ve really impressed me with their full-season performances are rarely the champions in my experience. Maybe that’s partly about enjoying the romance of a really strong underdog campaign rather than watching someone win every race in the best car, but still. Schumacher in 2002, for example, was pretty much perfect - podium in every race wasn’t it? But he cruised it really didn’t he. You can’t tell me there was much ‘fever’ about that. Same really with Max this year, sometimes it’s seemed like the sea has just parted for him - in reality he’s made everyone else look rubbish in those races through his own excellence but it doesn’t really capture the imagination.

Robert Kubica in 2010, Fernando Alonso in 2012, Heinz-Harald Frentzen in 1999, Lewis Hamilton in 2007, Daniel Ricciardo in 2014, Kimi Raikkonen in 2003, those are the seasons I remember.

#10 Atreiu

Atreiu
  • Member

  • 17,230 posts
  • Joined: May 07

Posted 08 October 2022 - 02:57

Well said. I was going to take a similar route and name a non WDC season.

#11 Dhillon

Dhillon
  • Member

  • 929 posts
  • Joined: May 12

Posted 08 October 2022 - 03:49

Schumacher in 2002.

#12 Spillage

Spillage
  • Member

  • 9,454 posts
  • Joined: May 09

Posted 08 October 2022 - 06:24

2002 takes some beating. Schumacher was on the podium at every rsce- and he only finished third once.

#13 PlatenGlass

PlatenGlass
  • Member

  • 3,814 posts
  • Joined: June 14

Posted 08 October 2022 - 06:28

I don't think 2002 was Schumacher's best year. He was relatively weak versus Barrichello compared to other years. I don't think I'd rate a year just on having a high floor. He did better stuff in less dominant cars. Even the dominant 2004 looked better to me, leaving Barrichello in his wake as he won 12 from the first 13.

#14 PayasYouRace

PayasYouRace
  • Racing Sims Forum Host

  • 38,072 posts
  • Joined: January 10

Posted 08 October 2022 - 06:29

I though Max this season was in the running for the most clumsy dominant season.



#15 skinnyman

skinnyman
  • Member

  • 626 posts
  • Joined: July 09

Posted 08 October 2022 - 07:32

Third?

Good guess; fastest in 9 of the 17 races (and utterly dominant in Monaco, Monza…) with perfect reliability places it somewhere between third and fourth.

#16 Spillage

Spillage
  • Member

  • 9,454 posts
  • Joined: May 09

Posted 08 October 2022 - 11:03

Vettel in 2013 definitely deserves more credit than it gets. He was extremely consistent during the first half of the season, and absolutely decimated the second half with nine straight victories. It was a great car but I don't think anyone could have driven as well as Seb did, it seemed tailor-made for him.

In the 1952 WDC season Ascari won every race he entered. Big car advantage but still an essentially flawless season.

#17 messy

messy
  • Member

  • 6,741 posts
  • Joined: October 15

Posted 08 October 2022 - 11:22

I don't think 2002 was Schumacher's best year. He was relatively weak versus Barrichello compared to other years. I don't think I'd rate a year just on having a high floor. He did better stuff in less dominant cars. Even the dominant 2004 looked better to me, leaving Barrichello in his wake as he won 12 from the first 13.


Problem with 2002 was that after Austria Schumacher spent much of the last third of the season faffing round with his foot half off the throttle "paying back" Rubens and gifting him wins. At least that's how I remember it seeming. In 2004 he really went for it big time until it was all wrapped up - then another gift or two, admittedly.

#18 ensign14

ensign14
  • Member

  • 58,314 posts
  • Joined: December 01

Posted 08 October 2022 - 11:29

In the 1952 WDC season Ascari won every race he entered. Big car advantage but still an essentially flawless season.

Wasn't F1 though.  And Fangio was hors de combat.



#19 Henri Greuter

Henri Greuter
  • Member

  • 12,071 posts
  • Joined: June 02

Posted 08 October 2022 - 11:35

Vettel in 2013 definitely deserves more credit than it gets. He was extremely consistent during the first half of the season, and absolutely decimated the second half with nine straight victories. It was a great car but I don't think anyone could have driven as well as Seb did, it seemed tailor-made for him.

In the 1952 WDC season Ascari won every race he entered. Big car advantage but still an essentially flawless season.

 

As for Vettel in 2013:  I still wonder how much that string of 9 victories had been the result of the fact that a number of teams realized about halfway the season that they were no longer in contest for the title and/or race wins anymore and thus pretty much gave up the season, quit development on the car and shifted their focus to 2014.

Specially with in mind the fact that 2013 was the last year for the atmo V8s and 2014 was the start of the new Formula with the TurboV6 Hybrids.

 

Kind of what we saw in 1988 when most of the team fielded interim cars in anticipation that everyone else bar the two Honda powered teams would do the same.



Advertisement

#20 Collombin

Collombin
  • Member

  • 7,084 posts
  • Joined: March 05

Posted 08 October 2022 - 11:37

In the 1952 WDC season Ascari won every race he entered.

Not true, despite doing a very fine job indeed in the one he missed out on.



#21 jpm2019

jpm2019
  • Member

  • 1,602 posts
  • Joined: May 19

Posted 08 October 2022 - 11:39

Due the sheer competition and intensity i will always remember both verstappen and hamilton and their top level performances of 2021

#22 Bleu

Bleu
  • Member

  • 5,399 posts
  • Joined: February 10

Posted 08 October 2022 - 16:17

Vettel in 2013 definitely deserves more credit than it gets. He was extremely consistent during the first half of the season, and absolutely decimated the second half with nine straight victories. It was a great car but I don't think anyone could have driven as well as Seb did, it seemed tailor-made for him.
 

 

It's often forgotten that he had a good lead even before tyre changes. 36 points after Canada, then went down to 21 at Silverstone when Seb's car broke from the lead.



#23 Sterzo

Sterzo
  • Member

  • 3,574 posts
  • Joined: September 11

Posted 08 October 2022 - 16:18

In the 1952 WDC season Ascari won every race he entered. Big car advantage but still an essentially flawless season.

As you say, a big car advantage but one of his team-mates was Farina, 1950 World Champion, and Gonzalez in the nearly-equal Maserati was no pussycat. Ascari won all six of the European rounds, missing out only in his attempt to win Indianapolis. So I think you make a fair nomination.
 



#24 Collombin

Collombin
  • Member

  • 7,084 posts
  • Joined: March 05

Posted 08 October 2022 - 16:29

I think the Indy miss actually strengthens the candidacy - he certainly didn't have a car advantage there (quite the opposite, former Indy winner and AAA champ Johnnie Parsons not even being able get his Ferrari up to qualifying speeds and hating the car).

Edited by Collombin, 08 October 2022 - 16:30.


#25 cjm321190

cjm321190
  • Member

  • 981 posts
  • Joined: January 14

Posted 08 October 2022 - 17:01

Oh, if we're after the hardest-earned title, then NGH in 1968, sheer force of will and bloody-mindedness to drag Lotus along with him in the aftermath of Hockenheim. But at least he had the equipment. Hamilton in 2008 was up against a car so good even Massa could nearly win the title, had a team-mate that was about as useful as an umbrella in a typhoon, and had to fight the bent FIA.



that is a bit disrespectful Massa if he won that year would have deserved it.

#26 Ben24

Ben24
  • New Member

  • 421 posts
  • Joined: February 08

Posted 08 October 2022 - 17:21

Hamilton in 2007 seems like an incredibly odd choice to me. If we're qualifying it "for a rookie" or for some relative level of experience then it is no doubt up there. But in terms of outright best ever seasons by a driver I don't see how it's remotely possible to argue. In terms of performance over the season it was pretty much completely even overall between Alonso and Hamilton - equal points, equal number of wins, 9-8 in quali to Ham (fuel adjusted Alo would've won and got most poles for the season), 10-7 finished ahead to Alo, 9-8 FL to Alo). So for Hamilton's 2007 season to be better than any other driver's in history, it would mean that Alonso's 2007 season wasn't only his best personal season ever, but that his 2007 season was one of the very best seasons by any driver ever.

 

Don't get me wrong, I think that 2007 might be the most impressive season of Hamilton's career given his experience and the team mate he was up against. I just think it's hard to argue that 2018 Hamilton wouldn't have beaten 2007 Hamilton over the course of the season. You'd also need to argue that Alonso in 2007 was better (or at least as good) as he was in 2005-06 or 2010-12. If we're talking absolute peak performances by any driver over a season then surely Hamilton 2007 isn't anywhere near the top.   



#27 skinnyman

skinnyman
  • Member

  • 626 posts
  • Joined: July 09

Posted 08 October 2022 - 19:44

Alonso had his first Bridgestone season in a new team (with teamwork going not so well to put it mildly), Hamilton was a rookie, good chance they didn’t even get everything out of that car.

#28 Dolph

Dolph
  • Member

  • 11,230 posts
  • Joined: March 01

Posted 08 October 2022 - 23:40

Alonso had his first Bridgestone season in a new team (with teamwork going not so well to put it mildly), Hamilton was a rookie, good chance they didn’t even get everything out of that car.

 

Alonso was the current double world champion, Hamilton was a fantastic rookie with 18000 testing km under his belt and his performance against Alonso was ominous for things to come. The 2007 Ferrari drivers were exposed in the later years, when Massa and Räikkönen shared the team with Alonso and when Räikkönen shared the team with Vettel.



#29 Dhillon

Dhillon
  • Member

  • 929 posts
  • Joined: May 12

Posted 09 October 2022 - 03:50

The 2007 Ferrari drivers were exposed in the later years, when Massa and Räikkönen shared the team with Alonso and when Räikkönen shared the team with Vettel.


Ferrari team operations also fell apart after dissembling Team MSC. The stupid autonomous pit release system alone cost the team championship in 2008.

#30 skinnyman

skinnyman
  • Member

  • 626 posts
  • Joined: July 09

Posted 09 October 2022 - 11:20

Alonso was the current double world champion, Hamilton was a fantastic rookie with 18000 testing km under his belt and his performance against Alonso was ominous for things to come. The 2007 Ferrari drivers were exposed in the later years, when Massa and Räikkönen shared the team with Alonso and when Räikkönen shared the team with Vettel.

2003-2007 Kimi was top top driver, his later dgaf attitude doesn’t change that.
Felipe was also very very good in low fuel outright sprint stints era, and before the injury.

Alonso is ofc better than them overall but that 2010-2014 period overemphasised that for number of reasons.

#31 William Hunt

William Hunt
  • Member

  • 10,243 posts
  • Joined: July 01

Posted 09 October 2022 - 17:09

you can't possibly compare different era's in F1 so this is kind of pointless



#32 WonderWoman61

WonderWoman61
  • Member

  • 770 posts
  • Joined: December 21

Posted 10 October 2022 - 16:44

Max Verstappen this year may end up being the greatest ever!

#33 ensign14

ensign14
  • Member

  • 58,314 posts
  • Joined: December 01

Posted 10 October 2022 - 18:28

In an illegal car?  Just as many asterisks as last season.



#34 HighwayStar

HighwayStar
  • Member

  • 187 posts
  • Joined: May 21

Posted 10 October 2022 - 18:48

Hamilton in 2007 seems like an incredibly odd choice to me. If we're qualifying it "for a rookie" or for some relative level of experience then it is no doubt up there. But in terms of outright best ever seasons by a driver I don't see how it's remotely possible to argue. In terms of performance over the season it was pretty much completely even overall between Alonso and Hamilton - equal points, equal number of wins, 9-8 in quali to Ham (fuel adjusted Alo would've won and got most poles for the season), 10-7 finished ahead to Alo, 9-8 FL to Alo). So for Hamilton's 2007 season to be better than any other driver's in history, it would mean that Alonso's 2007 season wasn't only his best personal season ever, but that his 2007 season was one of the very best seasons by any driver ever.

 

Don't get me wrong, I think that 2007 might be the most impressive season of Hamilton's career given his experience and the team mate he was up against. I just think it's hard to argue that 2018 Hamilton wouldn't have beaten 2007 Hamilton over the course of the season. You'd also need to argue that Alonso in 2007 was better (or at least as good) as he was in 2005-06 or 2010-12. If we're talking absolute peak performances by any driver over a season then surely Hamilton 2007 isn't anywhere near the top.   

 

I tend to agree with this - apart from anything else, I definitely wouldn't consider 2007 to be the best season of Alonso's career. Don't get me wrong, he was still unquestionably one of the top drivers that season (all four of his race victories were very impressive performances), but he also had an unusual number of weak races by his high standards. The two most glaring examples are his error strewn display in the Canadian GP, possibly the worst performance of his peak years, and his costly unforced crash in the Japanese GP, but I would also point to Bahrain, where he finished fifth and was overtaken fair and square by Nick Heidfeld in the BMW, and Brazil, where he finished over a minute behind the Ferrari drivers (the Ferrari was probably the superior car, but Hamilton's pace in the other McLaren was significantly better and without the gearbox issue would surely have finished ahead).

 

Alonso does, on the other hand, have two seasons that I would definitely rank amongst the finest of the modern era - he was consistently impressive in 2006 against a very strong challenge from Schumacher and Ferrari, and it still astonishes me that he came so close to winning the title in the 2012 Ferrari. Compared to those two campaigns in particular, his 2007 season falls short.



#35 WonderWoman61

WonderWoman61
  • Member

  • 770 posts
  • Joined: December 21

Posted 10 October 2022 - 22:07

In an illegal car?  Just as many asterisks as last season.


Well that does significantly taint Max's performance to say the least.