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Ranking the Top 10 Ferrari Drivers in History

Scott MitchellContributor IJanuary 14, 2017

Ranking the Top 10 Ferrari Drivers in History

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    The greatest team in Formula 1's history. Putting together a list of the greatest Ferrari drivers evokes some of the sport's greatest memories.

    It's also an incredibly challenging task. This top 10 includes two drivers who did not win/have not yet won world championships with the Scuderia.

    It also omits world championship-winning drivers, including one of the sport's greatest ever champions who missed the boat with the Italian outfit.

    As ever, we welcome your thoughts on our compilation of the best drivers in Ferrari's history.

10: Kimi Raikkonen

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    Such is the pedigree of driver contained within the following list, the 2008 world champion only manages to sneak in at number 10.

    However, he is ahead of Alain Prost, who was beaten to the ’90 crown in acrimonious circumstances by Ayrton Senna, but had a disappointing sophomore season.

    That’s why Raikkonen earns the spot on the list.

    The Finn is no doubt a remarkable talent, winning the title brilliantly in his debut season with the squad from under the noses of McLaren duo of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.

    An underwhelming title defence and disappointing third year preventing from being higher.

9: Phil Hill

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    The American joined Ferrari in 1958, competing in just four races but still scoring two podiums in his debut season of grand prix racing.

    He had to wait until 1960 before he claimed his first win, but the following season he won twice to pip Wolfgang von Trips to the title.

    Hill’s career with Scuderia Ferrari was more than just F1.

    He was the driving force, literally, during their Le Mans 24 Hours challenge, winning the great race three times in 1958, 1961 and 1962.

    Such a career would see him much higher if he'd enjoyed more immediate success, though we doubt he's too unhappy with his CV.

     

8: Fernando Alonso

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    He’s yet to win a world title with the Scuderia, but in many ways has eclipsed what the likes of Jody Scheckter and Raikkonen achieved.

    He’s contributed to the diminishing reputation of Felipe Massa, who at his peak almost won the world championship in 2007 and beat Michael Schumacher on occasion in 2006.

    Few, if any, drivers could have run Sebastian Vettel as close as the Spaniard did in 2012 and deserves a faster car.

    It would be a travesty if his career ends without a world title with Ferrari.

7: Gilles Villeneuve

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    The legendary Canadian won six times during a near-five career with Scuderia Ferrari.

    He was only denied the 1979 title due to the political circumstance of him being an inexperienced driver lining up alongside Jody Scheckter.

    Flamboyant, entertaining, a popular character and incredibly quick, Villeneuve’s time to go came too soon.

    He may well not have ever become world champion, but he was as brilliant in the Ferrari as many of the others in this list.

6: Mike Hawthorn

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    The Brit won three times during his time at Ferrari, a career which spanned five different seasons and culminated in the 1958 world title.

    On his day, those close to him say he was better than Fangio.

    Britain's first world champion was on the podium in only his third race, winning a year later in France.

    Horrendous reliability in 1954 and 1955 prevented a serious title bid at first, but it all came together in 1958.

    He delivered a remarkable run of consistency and success–six podiums in the final seven races (which would have been all seven had a clutch problem not rid him of second place in Germany).

5: John Surtees

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    For starters, this is the only man to win the world championship in two-and-four wheeled racing.

    So you know, as a driver and rider, he has something special about him.

    He was brought into Formula 1 after very successful outings in Formula 2 (check this) and his big break came when Ferrari snapped him up.

    His world championship-winning year in 1964 also saw the only two appearances of the exquisite blue-and-white NART Ferrari, a consequence of the fallout between owner Enzo and the Italian racing authorites.

    As a Brit coming into a team that was already carving out a legacy in the sport, the pressure was on.

    But Surtees excelled.

4: Juan Manuel Fangio

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    The second of the legendary Argentinian’s three world championship successes came in one glorious season with the Scuderia.

    He qualified on pole for six of the 10 races in the 1956 season, winning three times (once in a shared drive with Luigi Musso).

    Fangio remains a Formula 1 icon, and that was as much down to his time outside of Ferrari as it was with it.

    Had he spent more time with Ferrari, he'd certainly crack the top three. Nonetheless, he’s still one of the greatest drivers to slip into one of the famous Italian cars.

3: Alberto Ascari

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    A double world champion who won 13 times for Ferrari in the early 1950s.

    Such stats place him third overall in the list of winners and firmly among the greatest drivers to grace the Italian squad.

    He claimed two podiums in his debut season, 1950, and won twice on his way to second in the ’51 world championship.

    Title glory followed in ’52, winning six of eight races, and ’53, winning five of nine.

2: Niki Lauda

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    If not for the phenomenal, bordering-on-the-ridiculous success of Michael Schumacher, Niki Lauda would be a very, very worthy name on top of the list of Ferrari’s Formula 1 winners.

    15 triumphs from 1974 to 1977, a period in which he became a double world champion in 1975 and ’77.

    His time with the Scuderia also featured the 1976 accident, remarkable comebac, and title scrap with McLaren’s James Hunt (the feature of Hollywood director Ron Howard’s newest film, Rush).

    32 of his 54 career podiums came with Ferrari, and he ‘only’ won 10 more races in four seasons with McLaren and two with Brabham.

1: Michael Schumacher

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    Who else?

    Schumacher joined the Italian team as a double world champion.

    After two dominant years with Benetton, his first four with the Scuderia were frustratingly fruitless–save for the Constructors’ title in 1999.

    But the German was moulding the team into his own, bringing with him Ross Brawn and rejuvenating a winning mentality that had waned significantly in the late eighties and nineties.

    His first win for the team demonstrated the talent he had, lapping most of the field in the pouring rain in Barcelona '96.

    In 2000, he deposed McLaren’s Mike Hakkinen as world champion–the start of five consecutive world titles.

    The first half of the new decade was characterised by Schumacher and Ferrari dominance–and 72 wins across his 10 years with the Italian squad is a testament to an incredible relationship.

    Rarely before, and not since, has the team looked so dangerous, and dominant.

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