Mika and Eddie, 1999.
6. Gilles Villeneuve
There is so much to say about how good Gilles was, I’ll just leave it with a short story from his wiki:
During the extremely wet Friday practice session for the season-ending United States Grand Prix, Villeneuve set a time variously reported to be either 9 or 11 seconds faster than any other driver. His teammate Jody Scheckter, who was second fastest, recalled that “I scared myself rigid that day. I thought I had to be quickest. Then I saw Gilles’s time and — I still don’t really understand how it was possible. Eleven seconds!”
Gilles said that his car was misfiring that day, and that he would have gone quicker if he had been running smooth, but then added he would have probably killed himself if he had gone any quicker.
After the raging success of my Ten Coolest Champions of all time, I’m gonna chuck together another list of 10 cool drivers. But this time, in my opinion, the 10 best Formula One drivers never to win a World Championship.
I’m sure there are many great drivers I have forgotten, and some of my own favourites who I admire dearly but think weren’t quite as quick as some of the blokes on this list. Picking just 10 is hard, so lay off any criticism. But at the same time, any feedback would be mint.
Starting with 10. Jacky Ickx
Jacky is hands down one of the greatest drivers in motorsports history, and held the record for most wins at Le Mans for yonks. Due to his wins at Le Mans, he is still held in a high regard. He finished second in the championship in 69 and 70 for Brabham and Ferrari respectively, and despite multiple poles and fastest laps in 71 and 72 he finishes fourth in both seasons due to the unreliability of the Ferrari 312.
Cracking driver and a hero of the Scuderia during the era, the Belgium driver got his due with success at Le Mans so he only winds up 10th.
3. Kimi Raikkonen
"I know what I’m doing"
Plus there was that time he retired from the Monaco Grand Prix in 2006 and then went to his yacht instead of going back to the pits, got wasted, and fell from the top level of his yacht. And that time he was caught passed out cuddling an inflatable dolphin in the gutter. And that time he entered a snowmobile race under the name of James Hunt. And boat races with his mates dressed as a gorilla. Plus, on living in Finland, “Well, in summer there is fishing and fucking. And in winter, the fishing is bad”
Some accurate but also some interesting (see bottom right) things pop up when you search “(year) f1 car” into google image search.
These two guys, right here, are two of the most successful men in F1 history.
Rory Byrne was part of the title winning Benetton team in the mid 90’s before moving to Ferrari in 1996, joined by fellow Benetton men Ross Brawn and Michael Schumacher. There the South African was in charge of the design and engineering of the cars. He is third, behind Adrian Newey and Colin Chapman, as the most successful designer in F1 history.
The bloke on the right is Patrick Head. If you don’t know who he is then you don’t know shit about F1.