Fernando Alonso edges out Sebastian Vettel for the number two slot purely because of the quality of the field and the cars he was up against during the mid 2000s.
Whilst Vettel has clearly enjoyed the superior machinery during his recent dominant streak, Alonso had to compete against the likes of Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen during his title winning seasons when it was not apparent that his Renault was superior to either the McLaren or Ferrari.
Another product of the Minardi training school of excellence, Alonso made his F1 debut for Paul Stoddart’s minnows in 2001.
A season as Renault’s test driver followed before he graduated to the race seat full time, taking his first win at that season’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
Alonso would not win again until 2005 but seven wins and more consistent finishes than rival Kimi Raikkonen saw him net his first drivers’ title before he repeated the feat in 2006.
A move to McLaren almost netted the Spaniard a hat-trick of titles the following year but Raikkonen gained his revenge to ambush both Alonso and his teammate Lewis Hamilton in the final race of the season.
An acrimonious split from McLaren led to two difficult seasons with former team Renault before a move to Ferrari promised a return to title-winning ways.
Alonso has arguably outperformed the machinery at his disposal but has had to watch Sebastian Vettel sweep all before him in the dominant Red Bull. Still, many see Alonso as the real number one on the grid due to his tactical nous and adaptable driving style.