Formula 1: Rating the Best Drivers of the Modern Era

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Formula 1: Rating the Best Drivers of the Modern Era
Paul Gilham/Getty Images
Two past world champions. Hamilton and Button, acknowledge Vettel as new title holder

The 2011 Formula 1 season is drawing to a close with Sebastian Vettel totally dominating the scene. This young German is Formula 1's version of what Roger Federer is to tennis: clean living, super achieving, almost too-good-to-be-true role model.

When a new force emerges, comparisons are inevitably made with past greats, and the proud German sports public already refers to Vettel as “baby Schumi.”

However, while he idolises Michael, it is no secret that Sebastian wants to be recognised for his own achievements. He is raking in records in true Schumacher fashion, but just how good is he compared to other drivers of the modern era?

Top driver lists have been produced for many years, and their merits will always be debated. When we attempt to compare the efforts of people that competed in different eras, it can never be conclusive. We have to level the playing fields a bit more.

This exercise is my effort to scientifically compare composite statistics of the drivers that competed after the turn of the century. They had similar cars at their disposal, raced on the same tracks and often competed against each other. What is more, we have seen them in action ourselves—they are not merely historical statistics!

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