Top 5 Formula One Drivers with the Most World Championship Titles
Formula One races are one of the most exhilarating experiences in sports. People driving at speeds of approximately 400 km/hr is a treat to watch.
Formula One (also known as Formula 1 or F1) is the highest class of single-seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). The F1 World Championship has been one of the premier forms of racing around the world since its inaugural season in 1950.
A Formula One season consists of a series of races, known as Grands Prix which take place worldwide on purpose-built circuits and on public roads. The results of each race are evaluated using a points system to determine the Driver as well as the Constructor Championship.
Let’s take a look at drivers who have won the F1 World Championship the most number of times. Their path leading up to taking up the sport, their nicknames and the records they hold.
1. Michael Schumacher - 7 Titles
The German legend is arguably the greatest Formula One driver of all time. Almost all the individual records are under his name.
He has won the most number of races (91), the highest number of Driver Championships (7), most fastest laps (77) as well as most races won in a single season (13), in his 19 active years. He also won a record five titles with Ferrari.
"Schumey," as he is fondly known, started with go-karting at the tender age of four. He progressed through motorsport's junior ranks, ultimately making his Formula One debut with the Jordan-Ford team at the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix as a replacement for Bertrand Gachot.
There was a hype around his debut and journalists and experts predicted him to be the next star on the block, and rightly so.
Schumacher was named the “Regenmeister" (rain master) as he won 17 of the 30 races he contested in wet conditions which are the toughest to manoeuvre.
2. Juan Manuel Fangio - 5 Titles
‘El Chueco’ as he was known, was an Argentine driver who dominated the Formula One circuit in its first decade by winning the World Drivers' Championship five times, a record which stood for 47 years.
His five championships were won with four different teams (Alfa Romeo,Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Maserati), a feat which is still to be broken. Fangio also holds the highest winning percentage in Formula One – 46.15% – winning 24 of 52 Formula One races he entered.
He was regarded as one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time. This is evident by the fact that in 2011, on the centenary of his birth, Fangio was remembered around the world and various activities were held in his honor.
3. Lewis Hamilton -5 Titles
Hamilton came through the ranks via McLaren's young drivers support program. He also became the first (and till date, the only) black F1 driver. The British driver won his first World Championship title in 2008.
He has five World Championship titles in his kitty. The 34 years old holds the record for the most career points (3,268), the most wins at different circuits (26) and the all-time most pole positions (87). He was also the then-youngest champion in history in 2008.
He finished on the podium in his debut at the Australian Grand Prix. Hamilton achieved both his first pole position and first victory of his Formula One career in the Canadian Grand Prix. He lost the World Championship in his debut season by a heart breaking one point.
4. Alain Prost -4 Titles
Prost discovered karting at the age of 14 during a family holiday. He progressed through motorsport's junior ranks by winning the French and European Formula three championships before joining the McLaren Formula One team in 1980 at the age of 24.
During the 1980s and early 1990s, Prost formed a fierce rivalry with Ayrton Senna, another Formula One great. Also, until 2001, Prost held the record for most Grand Prix victories.
Prost was hugely gifted. His fierce intelligence and cerebral approach enabled him to develop a silky smooth, economical driving style. The Frenchman was thus aptly nicknamed "The Professor" for his intellectual approach to competition.
In 1999, he received the World Sports Awards of the Century in the motor sport category. He won the Driver Championship four times in his illustrious career.
5. Sebastian Vettel -4 Titles
The 32-years old was a part of the Red Bull Racing programme. Vettel started his Formula One career as a test driver for BMW Sauber in 2006 and made his racing debut with the team at the 2007 United States Grand Prix.
Media compared him to Michael Schumacher and dubbed him "Baby Schumi", not only for his nationality but also his hands on driving style.
In 2010, he became the youngest driver ever to win the World Drivers' Championship. He followed it up with three more titles in succession, in turn becoming the youngest double, triple and quadruple world champion in Formula One.
He is a four-time Formula One World Champion. Along with that, he holds the record for the most consecutive race wins (9), as well as accumulating the third most race victories (52) and podium finishes (117), and the fourth-most pole positions.
Vettel has also, made it a tradition to name his cars. According to him, it is really important to have a close relationship with the car one is driving.