I don’t often talk about sports on here but my passions are rugby and motorsports. With regards to the latter today the sad loss of Niki Lauda has been announced.
He was at his peak when as a teenager I got into watching F1. Battling with James Hunt in the famous 1976 season when he cheated death in that horrific firey accident returning to the cockpit only 6 weeks later.
Sometimes friends who know my interest ask me “Who was the best ever F1 driver?”.
Well in my humble opinion Lauda is up there. There’s Senna; I saw him drive that incredible first lap at Donnington where in the rain (I was soaked through that day) he just made everyone else, Prost included, look totally useless. Schumacher you can’t deny his statistics, Hamilton is another and who’s championships come with multiple teams over two eras (different technologies in the engines). Of those I never saw Jim Clark, Moss, Fangio etc have big credentials.
OK I’ll make the case for my two nominations…
Graham Hill. Twice a world champion with two different teams. Dominant at Monte Carlo and of course the only driver, to date, to have won the triple crown… F1 championship (and Monaco), Le Mans 24hr winner and Indy 500 winner. With Fernando Alonso having failed to qualify for this year’s Indy 500 his unique record will live for another year. Also any fan will tell you Alonso had an easy ride to the Le Mans win with Toyota the only manufacturer team running a big team that year.
So for me Hill has to be in my top three.
Niki Lauda. I’ve said this for years, why? He won multiple championships across two teams with again different engine formats his last in the turbo era 80s after returning from retirement. Remember Schumacher’s return? Yes well less said the better…. Add to that the injuries he recovered from and how he inspired many others he has to again vie for that top position in my list of the best of all.