F1 Explained - Who is the most successful driver in F1?

F1 logo with red background

With the levels of support for F1 growing drastically in recent years, there has been increased debate over who is the most successful driver in F1 history.

In this series of explainer articles, RealSport101's Harry Smith will take you through the basics of F1, whether you're new to the sport, or just looking for a refresher.

Who is the most successful driver in F1 currently?

On the current F1 grid, there is no doubt that Lewis Hamilton is the most successful and esteemed driver.

The greatest of his generation and arguably the greatest of all time, Hamilton has won a record-equalling seven World Championships, has 188 podiums and a staggering 103 race wins.

READ MORE: F1 Explained: What is DRS in F1?

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel is the second-best driver of the past decade and holds the record for the most consecutive race wins with nine.

Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen are the other two world champions currently on the grid with the latter having claimed his maiden World Championship under controversial circumstances last season.

Here is the 2023 F1 grid in order of race wins:

  • Lewis Hamilton (7 WDCs) - 103
  • Max Verstappen (2 WDCs) - 35
  • Fernando Alonso (2 WDCs) - 32
  • Valtteri Bottas - 10
  • Charles Leclerc - 5
  • Sergio Perez - 4
  • George Russell - 1
  • Pierre Gasly - 1
  • Carlos Sainz - 1
  • Esteban Ocon - 1

Who is the most successful driver in F1 history?

The question of who is the most successful driver in F1 history will often return one of three answers.

Statistically, Lewis Hamilton is the most successful driver of all time with the joint-most World Championships as well as the most wins, podiums, pole positions and laps led.

For many though, Michael Schumacher, who also boasts seven World Championships, is the greatest of all time, having dominated the 1990s and early 2000s.

Finally, Ayrton Senna, who tragically passed away at the 1994 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, is also regarded among the best the sport has produced and would have certainly added to his three World Championships were his career not been cut short by tragedy.

However, F1 has developed massively on a technical level since its inception as a sport in 1950 with the sheer advancement of the cars' capabilities making it hard to compare drivers across different eras.

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