This week on the Rear View Prints we’re visiting an old friend again. We’ve spent a while away from Formula One racing, but we thought it was about time we checked back in on our first love! Even now in 2019, the question of who the best British F1 driver of all time is a contentious one. It definitely has the Rear View Prints garage split down the middle, that’s for sure. Whatever you may think; here’s a list of 6 of the best British F1 drivers of all time. You can nominate the undisputed champion in your own head. Or, if you’d be so kind, please leave us a comment saying who you believe the numero uno to be. We never shy away from a civil discussion. Be aware, no strict criteria has gone into this list. The reason people disagree is that their criteria for what constitutes ‘the best’ is different. For some people, it’s all about the record. For others, it’s about impact and style. Let’s get to it. Without further ado and in no particular order…
Clark was a Scottish juggernaut in the world of F1 racing, he won 25 races and attained 33 pole positons before his tragic and untimely death in 1968. He is often considered one of the greatest to ever take to the tarmac, with some publications going as far as naming him the best F1 driver of all time. With his life and career cut so short, we can never be sure what Clark may have gone on to achieve, but he is certainly well-deserving of a spot on a list of the best British F1 drivers of all time.
Lewis Hamilton is usually the source of most controversy when it comes to naming who the best British F1 driver us. Rear View Prints represents no specific opinion, but there are certainly people on the team who are adamant he is the greatest Brit to ever do it, and easily in the conversation for the best driver ever. It’s not really difficult to see why considering he boasts 5 championships and 82 wins to his name. He’s currently well on his way to adding a sixth, and honestly, would you really bet against him getting a 7th?
Damon Hill’s much-adored father, nicknamed “Mr. Monaco” is a shoo-in for a list of the best British F1 drivers. He’s an icon of the sport in the UK, with a sophisticated driving style to match his glamorous career. It’s worth mentioning that Hill is the only driver ever currently to conquer the triple crown achievement, an unofficial celebration of wins in the Indy 500, Monaco Grand Prix, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Only Fernando Alonso and Montoya come close as active drivers with wins in two of the three events.
Until recently, Sir Jackie Stewart was most people’s pick for the best British F1 driver. That’s because until recently he was also the most successful. He has since been surpassed by Lewis Hamilton, but a lot of stubborn fans will still place him as the best. We aren’t especially keen to argue them either, considering Sir Jackie’s record and overall impact on the sport of F1 racing.
Nicknamed “The Lion”, Mansell’s ferocious driving style won him many admirers and plaudits over his career. He gave us truly unforgettable races with some of the biggest icons of the sport such as Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. The very fact he drove in an era with the aforementioned F1 legends should give you a good idea of how talented Nigel Mansell really was. If it wasn’t for them, he’d certainly have more glory to his name. Not that a world championship or 31 wins is anything to sniff at, eh?
The ‘greatest driver never to win a championship’ is quite an unfortunate or fortunate label depending on how you view life. For some people, it’s a distinction that means he probably shouldn’t be considered on a list of the best British F1 drivers of all time. At least not in place of any other Brits who won the championship. We think this is quite a shortsighted take. Sir Stirling Moss had an impact on British motorsport like very few before or after him, a well-loved celebrity and ambassador for the sport, as well as a cold and clinical driver on the tarmac. He’s on record as saying “Better to lose honourably in a British car than win in a foreign one” and with that quote, we can’t think of many better British drivers to have on this list.
Once again we hope you enjoyed our blog and would love to hear your thoughts and comments below as always. We feature exclusive and bespoke prints of some of the drivers mentioned in this article on our main website, so make sure you check them out. You can also catch up with us on twitter, facebook, and Instagram. We hope to see you soon!