A study comparing Formula 1 drivers across the past 37 years has determined Ayrton Senna to be the fastest of all time, ahead of Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.
Senna, who scored 65 pole positions during the course of his 162-race career, was judged to be one tenth of a second per lap faster than Schumacher, who collected 68 poles over 308 appearances.
Hamilton, who took his 92nd pole position in his 256th race appearance last weekend, is ranked third, 0.275s behind Senna.
Three other drivers from the current field appeared in the top 10: Max Verstappen fourth – five-thousandths of a second slower than Hamilton – Charles Leclerc seventh and Sebastian Vettel 10th. Fernando Alonso, who will return to F1 next year with Renault, is fifth.
F1’s director of data systems Rob Smedley, a former Ferrari and Williams engineer, said the model used was similar that adopted by teams to compare driver performances when choosing who to hire.
“Within the team environment this type of modelling is used to make key decisions on driver choices,” said Smedley. “As drivers are more often than not the most expensive asset of the team it is important that the selection process is as robust as possible. A process such as this therefore would be deployed by the F1 team’s strategists in order to present the most objective and evidence-based selection possible.
“‘Fastest Driver’ enables us to build up a picture of how the drivers compare, by analysing the purest indication of raw speed, the qualifying lap – and it’s important to note this pure speed is the only element of the vast driver armoury we are analysing here, to showcase the quickest drivers ever, which is very exciting.”
10 fastest Formula 1 drivers since 1983, according to F1 and AWS
|Rank||Driver||Gap to best (seconds)|
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