Issue # 13
Monday December 7
The complete top 20 drivers table
P20. James Hunt
9.100 rpw / 2.086 ppr
James narrowly keeps Fernando Alonso out of the top 20. The gap is 0.092. It's tiny. Wheel to wheel. Whether the famous Spaniard can do anything about that is hard to know. For Alonso to break into the top 20 during 2021 he will need an improved Renault and a solid point scoring year including podiums. It's a tough ask. Hunt's win and points rate speak for themselves.
P19. Jack Brabham
9.000 rpw / 2.253 ppr
Sir Jack Brabham, Black Jack, has 0.24 over James Hunt. The highest ranked Australian (Alan Jones is just behind Fernando Alonso) and the only driver to win in a car carrying his own name. Iconic character in Australia.
P18. Nico Rosberg
8.956 rpw / 2.412 ppr
As Brabham holds two tenths over Hunt so Rosberg holds two tenths over Brabham. If the father brawled the son boxed. Right on Piquet's tail.
P17. Nelson Piquet
8.869 rpw / 2.495 ppr
Outspoken, controversial and acerbic Piquet's lead over Nico Rosberg is just over a tenth. Very tight. But the gap to Hakkinen isn't. Finland's leading driver beats Piquet by nine tenths (0.932). It's a big gap. Things are getting hot in these numbers now.
P16. Mika Hakkinen
8.050 rpw / 2.608 ppr
Mika Hakkinen sits in a huge gap in the road. Mika is one of three significant and obvious milestones on this grid. The gap behind is nine tenths and the gap ahead to Lauda is 1.21. Which is huge. Note Hakkinen and Lauda have exactly the same points winning ratio. But the win rate! We note once a driver reaches 10/2 (10 race per win / 2 points per race -- P23 / Jochen Rindt) the road gets steeper ... the math changes it gets tougher to push on. And when you reach Lauda ... well that's another world.
P15. Niki Lauda
6.840 rpw / 2.608 ppr
Like climbing a mountain, where the higher you climb the less oxygen you have to fuel a physically tougher climb having already spent energy to get there, well that's true of this math. It's an almost perfect definition of the laws of diminishing returns. And Lauda is ... well I don't think it's a good idea to stop and rest if you catch this extraordinary Austrian. The gaps are wide and the road extremely steep from here on in. He's a tenth off Tony Brooks.
P14. Tony Brooks
6.333 rpw / 2.210 ppr
A short but extremely successful career ... for the short time he was there he more or less blew everyone away. He drove the last of the front engined 1950s cars ... the fabulous world beating Vanwalls and Ferrari's Dino 246, the first V6 F1 car that also took Hawthorn to his world title. With Stirling Moss he is one of only two drivers in the top 20 not to be world champion. Another of those drivers who saw too much death and gave racing away as a bad bet.
P13. Nigel Mansell
6.032 rpw / 2.679 ppr
Eight of the top 20 are Brits. Eight. Nigel probably revved the English up like few before him. Beat Piquet which might please him. Very comfortably ahead of Brooks ... seven tenths. A better win ratio than 50s great Giuseppe Farina but well off the great Italian's ability to bring home the prize money. The gap is nearly eight tenths. Took time to find his stride but once he did he disappeared down the road.
P12. Giuseppe Farina
6.600 rpw / 4.030 ppr
One of a number of drivers ranked here that drove in Fangio and Ascari's fumes. First World Champion driving the great Alfa Romeo 158 ... he was one of the great post war drivers out of Turin. He survived the deadly 50s only to be killed in 1966 on his way to the French GP to take part in filming the movie Grand Prix. Driving a Lotus Cortina he left the road and crashed into a telephone pole. He was killed instantly aged 59.
P11. Damon Hill
5.272 rpw / 3.103 ppr
"I've got a lump in my throat," said Murray Walker ... speaking for thousands. Son of 60s great Graham Hill ... Damon was originally a motorcycle racer who hadn't expressed much interest in cars but turned his hands to them nonetheless. Sir Frank Williams famously declared him quicker than his Dad and his results don't contradict that. The 1996 World Champion leads Farina by a comfortable 0.401 ... easy four tenths. But the gap up the road to Stirling Moss is 1.134. It's another massive gap to close to make the top ten here. One of only two drivers (with Moss) to score three points per race.
P10. Stirling Moss
4.125 rpw / 3.090 ppr
Could have been World Champion but for strength of character, manners and good sportsmanship. The top ten are another world altogether from the rest. Stirling Moss trails Sebastian Vettel by only two tenths. I expect Moss to catch Vettel next year unless Seb can steal a win in the Aston Martin.
P9. Sebastian Vettel
4.811 rpw / 4.011 ppr
Seb spent most his career battling Ayrton Senna but in the last couple of years has fallen away from that fight it's nine tenths now. At 33 he has possibly 100 starts left? And of course anything can happen. The gap back to Damon Hill from Stirling Moss is great but Damon will take tenth if Vettel maintains his career trajectory beyond 2022/23.
P8. Ayrton Senna
3.926 rpw / 4.024 ppr
Ayrton Senna is just 0.145 off Sir Jackie Stewart who is just 0.086 off his leader Alain Prost. This three way fight is the closest on the grid.
P7. Jackie Stewart
3.666 rpw / 3.909 ppr
Prost, Stewart and Senna are wheel to wheel separated by two tenths after a combined 459 Grand Prix. It's the equivalent of more than 90,000 miles of Formula One racing. That's nearly four times around the equator.
P6. Alain Prost
3.902 rpw / 4.231 ppr
Prost, Stewart and Senna are another milestone. Once you hit 4 and 4 ... well that's what it is.
P5. Michael Schumacher
3.373 rpw / 4.348 ppr
Michael has a handy lead over Alain Prost. It's 0.646. Three tenths off Clark.
P4. Jim Clark
2.880 rpw / 4.153 ppr
Jim's lead over Michael is 0.298. But the distance to the podium is great. To get to Ascari from Clark you've got to close a gap of 1.172.
P3. Alberto Ascari
2.461 rpw / 4.906 ppr
Ascari and Lewis Hamilton are wheel to wheel. Lewis leads by only 0.098.
P2. Lewis Hamilton
2.789 rpw / 5.332 ppr
Ahead of Lewis Hamilton lies Juan Manuel Fangio. No-one else. It's 1.273.
P1. Juan Manuel Fangio
2.125 rpw / 5.941 ppr
Fangio's numbers speak for themselves.