Numerous drivers have competed in the Formula One World Championship over more than seven decades, each with its unique story of success and failure.
Despite this, “it is the winners who echo the most in eternity and remain in the memory for the longest time because of their triumphs,” and “it is the winners who remain in the memory for the longest time because of their victories.”
Nevertheless, some people at one time merited to wear the champion’s badge but were never allowed to do so for one reason or another.
In the interest of producing a post that is different from the others, here at Motorbli, we will devote the following lines to discussing the n best F1 drivers who were never world champions.
They have played an essential part in the evolution of this sport throughout its history, so it is only fitting that we give them as much of their own space as we can manage to provide for them.
Following this concise introduction that places everything in its proper perspective, it is now time to get down to the situation’s nitty-gritty and discuss this piece’s protagonists individually.
They came within a hair’s breadth, to a greater or lesser extent, of achieving glory, and we will proceed to explain how they got so close to achieving it. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of things.
However, even though he is probably the least well-known among readers.
To this day, Stirling Moss holds the record for the most runner-up finishes in the history of the Grand Circus.
This is evidenced by the fact that he finished in second place in the final driver standings four times in a row between 1955 and 1958.
As do his 212 victories across the 529 races he competed in across all the different types of motor racing he participated in.
Sixteen of these were considered some of the best of their time.
Between the years 1951 and 1961, specifically, he participated in the four-wheeled competition that is considered to be the most prestigious.
During that time, he competed for several racing teams, including Mercedes, Maserati, Vanwall, Rob Walker Cooper, Lotus, and HWM, among others.
In 1958, the year that he finished in second place for the final time in a row, he was only one point behind the champion, Mike Hawthorn, even though Hawthorn had won four more grand Prix than he had (1).
Ronnie Peterson, Swedish and raced in Formula One, appeared destined to leave his name in golden letters on the Palmares and in the sport’s history.
Along with the fact that he amassed a total of ten victories throughout his championship journey, it was not for nothing that he was already the runner-up in his second season competing for the championship (1971).
He competed in motorsports for the March, Tyrrell, and Lotus teams.
Because of his performance in the first and the last, he came in second place in the overall standings for drivers. His parting had the most heartbreaking conclusion one could imagine.
Peterson was killed due to multiple collisions that occurred at the start of the 1978 Italian Grand Prix held at Monza.
Before reaching the first chicane of the temple of speed, he was involved in a collision with James Hunt, and as many as eight other racers were also involved in the accident.
At the age of 34, he said his final goodbye. Who is to say what might have transpired if the things that took place to him hadn’t taken place?
In addition to two finishes in second place, Jacky Ickx came close to winning the Formula One World Championship on multiple occasions, most notably in 1969 and 1970. These were the years in which he competed.
The Belgian racer competed in the championship for 14 years, during which time he won eight races, finished on the podium twenty-five times, and started from the pole position thirteen times.
In addition, he competed in motorsports for as many as nine different teams, some of which were Ferrari, Lotus, McLaren, and Williams.
During his time at the Prancing Horse and with Brabham, he got closer than he ever had before to achieving his goal of becoming the very best there is.
Although he rebounded with outstanding performances in the final stretch of those 1969 and 1970 seasons, the poor start to the season, which included several retirements, weighed him down regarding his options.
However, he did eventually improve.
As soon as he parted ways with Ferrari, he was no longer even remotely close to achieving glory.
Competing against one of the most accomplished athletes of all time presents both opportunities and challenges.
This is very familiar to Rubens Barrichello, a driver from Brazil who raced alongside Michael Schumacher for Ferrari between the years 2000 and 2005.
Rubinho was a first-hand witness to the great dominance that the Kaiser had in the championship with that fast red car, as evidenced by the fact that he won four titles in a row.
His record of victories, which currently stands at 11, could have been much longer and more impressive if he had disobeyed the team’s orders on more than one occasion.
And Barrichello had in his hand victories like the one in Austria in 2002, in which he let Schumi pass him at the end when everyone assumed he was going to win.
Barrichello was able to take advantage of these opportunities.
Both in that year and 2004, he finished in second place. Because of the incredible performance of Brawn GP in 2009, he had a chance to win the championship.
He entered the final two rounds 14 points behind his teammate and eventual champion, Jenson Button, but he did not take advantage of the pole position in front of his team.
As a result, he finished eighth in the race, and the British celebrated winning the title.
Canadians, particularly those devoted to the Ferrari religion, consider Gilles Villeneuve the best Formula One driver who was never able to win the world championship.
He could show it in the two most mythical teams of this competition since, in the year of his debut; he raced for McLaren in addition to racing for Ferrari.
Those who saw him run highlighted his aggressive and plastic driving, and they noted that he could show it in both teams (1977).
Over more than five years, he maintained his position in the championship, but 1979 was the year in which he came the closest to winning the title.
During that season, he wore red and finished on the podium seven times.
Still, team orders, similar to what we saw with Barrichello, ruined his chances of winning the Italian Grand Prix in favor of his teammate Jody Scheckter. He won three races that year.
On the other hand, like many other people, he said his goodbyes during a race weekend.
His life was cut short at the young age of 32 due to a catastrophic accident on the racetrack in Zolder, Belgium. He was blown up in the accident.
Another Brazilian driver had the opportunity to win with Ferrari but did not. Nevertheless, Felipe Massa got much closer than his fellow countryman Rubens Barrichello.
After his first four years with the Sauber team, now known as the Alfa Romeo team, Massa was recruited by the Italian team to replace Rubinho, who was leaving for Honda for the 2006 season.
Rubinho was going because he was offered a position with the Honda F1 team.
His arrival at Maranello coincided with the final throes of Michael Schumacher before his first retirement, so in 2006, he was the German’s teammate more than anything else.
His arrival at Maranello coincided with the final throes of Michael Schumacher before his first retirement.
Even though Kimi Raikkonen was signed the following year to replace the Kaiser, the doors of leadership in 2007 were still closed to the team.
However, 2008 was, without a doubt, his best season. Most people did not anticipate him to make such a significant leap forward.
As a result, the championship was taken away from him at his home track of Interlagos in the final race. Lewis Hamilton passed Timo Glock in the penultimate corner of the race.
A first-choice teammate named Fernando Alonso was brought in to replace him, and he was never able to get close to rechallenging him.
Ultimately, he decided to hang up his boots at Williams in 2017.
Valtteri Bottas’s record in Formula 1 makes him deserving of a spot on this list, even though he lacks the charisma of some of the other candidates who have been considered for this position.
During the five years that the Finn worked for Mercedes, he could never escape being overshadowed by Lewis Hamilton’s presence there.
It is important to remember that the reason for his arrival was the sudden retirement of Nico Rosberg, who decided to hang up his helmet and boots right after taking the title from the Englishman in 2016.
His arrival was made possible because of Rosberg’s decision.
Bottas was able to secure the runner-up spot in the championship in 2019 and 2020, even though Red Bull and Ferrari were not considered particularly formidable competitors.
During that period, he amassed a total of six victories.
Before moving on to Alfa Romeo, his current team, he won his final race in Turkey in 2021 as a fitting send-off before retiring from the sport.
It is essential that the circumstances surrounding this other brilliant driver from the 1970s be investigated.
In 1981, when he was competing for the Williams team, Argentine driver Carlos Reutemann came close to winning the championship.
After the previous competition in Las Vegas, he was in the driver’s seat with a minimum lead of one point over the Brazilian Nelson Piquet.
He shared the box with the Australian Alan Jones, who had been the trump card in the English team’s previous years of competition.
Still, the English team continued to give him orders to favor him even though he had proven to be faster than him in that season.
The championship was thrown away by Williams, who gave its last remaining new engine to Jones to win the race, even though the driver already had an advantage of 17 points in the championship standings.
Piquet’s fifth-place finish and Reutemann’s scoreless performance were enough to leave him with a sweet taste.
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