There have been some incredible drivers in Formula One. The likes of Schumacher, Hamilton, and Senna have blessed the sport with astonishing talent. This list compiles the top 15 win percentages in Formula One history. This list is about drivers with more than five wins in Formula One history to get rid of some anomalies.
If you’re looking for some F1 merchandise, check out the awesome stuff at the official F1 store here.
15: Max Verstappen- 14.18%
The young Dutchman won his first world championship this year in controversial circumstances. After an incredibly tight battle with Lewis Hamilton all year, Verstappen was able to pass Hamilton on the last lap after a safety car period when Hamilton had a ten-second lead. It was a big piece of luck for a driver who had been pretty unlucky all season.
Verstappen arrived in Formula One at just 17 years old and became the youngest race winner in Formula One history when he won in Spain in 2016. He developed in a competitive car but could not challenge Mercedes dominance until 2021. Despite Mercedes’s dominance, Max had wins in Malaysia and Mexico in 2017 and in Austria and Mexico in 2018.
Verstappen’s win percentage was helped massively by 10 wins in 2021. Verstappen is incredibly talented and still only 24 years old. If Verstappen’s Red Bull car can adjust well to the 2022 rule changes, it would be hardly surprising to see Verstappen move up this list.
14: Niki Lauda- 14.62%
The late Niki Lauda represents one of the greatest stories of perseverance and courage in sports history. Lauda’s appalling accident at the Nürburgring left Lauda with severe burns and several broken bones. Lauda’s injuries were so bad that he was given up for dead and was administered his last rites.
But despite this, Lauda was back in a Formula One car six weeks later. Doctors were astonished by his speedy recovery. It was not the only time Lauda was speedy. While he missed out on the world championship in the year of his accident, Lauda ended his career as a three-time champion. Lauda finished his career with 25 wins and was one of the greatest people to ever drive in the sport.
After his injuries, Lauda managed to win two championships, including beating his teammate Alain Prost by half a point. Lauda was a phenomenal driver, and his influence on the sport continued after his retirement. After Formula One, Lauda had many different management roles and was critical in Mercedes’s dominance in the hybrid era as he was appointed non-executive chairman in 2012.
13: Tony Brooks- 15.79%
For many new Formula One fans, you may not have heard of Tony Brooks. Brooks entered Formula One in 1956 when the championship was only eight races. Despite very few races, Brooks was able to win six races in his career. These wins included a home win in 1957 while sharing driving duties with Stirling Moss, wins in Spa and Monza in 1958 and wins in France and Germany in 1959.
Despite these wins, Brooks never won the world championship. He retired as one of the best British drivers to never win the world title. Brooks was unlucky to hit his peak when legendary drivers Jack Brabham, Stirling Moss, and Mike Hawthorn were winning races. It meant his best finish in the driver’s championship was 2nd in 1959.
Six wins may not seem very good, but he raced in an era that had less than 10 races per year. But the most incredible statistic is that between 1956 and 1959, Brooks won 46% of the races he finished. An astonishing record for a very talented driver.
12: Nigel Mansell- 16.58%
From one legendary British driver to another, Mansell is known for his incredible determination in and out of the sport. When Mansell entered the sport, he overcame a broken neck in karting testing. Mansell again crashed heavily in Formula three, breaking a vertebra in his back.
Mansell overcame his injuries to enter Formula One in 1980 and immediately showed how to thrive against adversity. Mansell was constantly an underdog throughout his career but claimed wins in eight different seasons, including winning his home Grand Prix four different times. He became a British legend and was the most successful British driver before someone else on this list entered Formula One.
The last of those came in 1992 when Mansell was driving for Williams in his second stint with the team. With a powerful car in 1992, Mansell won nine times in 1992. Mansell dominated races in France, Britain, and Portugal on his way to his first and only championship. Mansell’s iconic moment came when the track was mobbed after his win at Silverstone in 1992. Mansell dominated the season and claimed his title.
11: Sebastian Vettel- 19%
While Sebastian Vettel may not have had the best year, Vettel has one of the most dominant four-year stretches in Formula One history, when Vettel and Red Bull were able to defeat some star-studded opposition.
Vettel’s first full season was 2008 when he was at the wheel of the Toro Rosso. Vettel became the youngest pole-sitter and race winner when he won in Monza. His impressive season put him in the Red Bull from 2009 onwards.
While his first year was enough only for second with four wins on the season. But from 2010-2013, Vettel dominated Formula One. Vettel won five times in 2010, including winning in the title decider in Abu Dhabi to beat Fernando Alonso to the title. Vettel added eleven wins in 2011 as well as five wins in 2012.
Vettel dominated the sport in 2013, winning 13 races. While his move to Ferrari has not produced the results Vettel and Ferrari were looking for, Seb is a phenomenal driver. If it wasn’t for the dominance of Mercedes in the Hybrid era, Vettel could have even more than four world championships. Still, Vettel is one of the best drivers of his generation and should be remembered for his dominance.
10: Damon Hill- 19.13%
Another British driver with a fierce personality, Frank Williams, described Damon Hill as a “tough bastard.” It is precisely who Hill was. It is hardly surprising considering his tough childhood. His father was a Formula One world champion but was killed in a plane crash when Damon was 15.
Despite this, Hill’s determination and driving skill eventually landed him in Formula One when he joined Williams in 1993, winning in Hungary in his rookie season. Hill became Michael Schumacher’s main rival in 1994 and 1995, with the two clashing on and off the track.
Schumacher won both titles, but 1996 would be Hill’s title year. Schumacher’s car struggled, and Damon Hill won eight races in 1996 to win his first and only drivers championship. Four wins out of the first five races meant no one got close to him throughout the season.
Hill only won once after 1996, having moved to Jordan in 1998 after a year with Arrow. Hill is so high on this list when he only has 22 wins to his name because he was only in F1 for eight seasons. Hill spent a long time trying to get to Formula One, with his rookie season being when Hill was 32. Hill could have many more wins if he had a longer career in Formula One.
9: Stirling Moss- 24.24%
To be ninth on this list and not have won a world championship seems incredible. But it is part of the legacy that Stirling Moss left. Moss is known as the greatest driver in Formula One to never win a world championship, despite having 16 wins to his name, driving at a time when the F1 season was rarely longer than 10 races.
Moss was on the Formula One grid in 1951 but only raced once in the season, finishing eighth. But became a mainstay on the F1 grid and won in 1955, becoming the first British driver to win his home Grand Prix.
Incredibly, despite winning 16 of the 66 races he entered, Moss never won a world title. Stirling Moss finished second in the driver’s championship four times, famously missing out on the 1958 title after vouching for his teammate Mike Hawthorn to prevent Hawthorn from being disqualified. He is a Formula One legend and set out the blueprint for all future British F1 drivers.
8: Ayrton Senna- 25.47%
Ayrton Senna is considered by many as the most talented driver to ever step into a Formula One car. He won around 1 out of every four races he entered in his Formula One career. His 41 race wins over a ten-year career don’t tell the story of one of the best.
Senna began racing because of the love of it. He came from a wealthy family who did not need the money he would go on to earn. Senna entered Formula One in 1984, constantly outperforming his Toleman car. After outclassing his teammates, Senna moved to McLaren in 1988.
His move produced immediate success, with Senna winning in 1988. After 1989 champion Alain Prost left, Senna won the title again in 1990 and 1991. Senna amassed six and seven wins in his last two championship-winning seasons.
Senna won three times in 1992 and five times in 1993, but neither season brought championships as his McLaren struggled. His time at Williams was shortened by his fatal crash at Imola in 1994. It was a sad and tragic end to the career of a legend. Ayrton Senna is one of the most talented drivers ever, and the statistics cannot show how good Senna was.
7: Alain Prost- 25.63%
When you win a quarter of the races you enter, it will likely bring world championships, with Alain Prost having plenty of them. Prost plays a major role in the history of Formula One because of his legendary rivalry with Ayrton Senna, but sometimes that rivalry can take away from how good of a driver Prost was.
Having discovered karting at age 14 on a family holiday, he progressed through lower Formulas to make his F1 debut in 1980 at 25. Prost managed to win three times in 1981, but his Renault car could not get close enough to the title. So he decided to leave Renault, and this began a very successful relationship with McLaren that produced three world championships and 30 race wins.
Prost retired from the sport in 1991 but returned in 1993 and won the title with Williams. Prost is one of the most controversial drivers in Formula One history, having left four different teams on bad terms and having a fierce rivalry with Ayrton Senna on and off the track. Prost is one of the most prominent characters in F1 history, but he is also a phenomenal driver.
6: Jackie Stewart- 27.27%
Sir Jackie Stewart still ranks among the most successful Formula One drivers of all time, despite retiring more than 40 years ago. Stewart is remembered for his excellence on the track and his influence off the track.
Stewart’s first race in Formula One was in 1965, having taken up racing due to struggling in school because of severe dyslexia. Stewart won at Monza in his rookie season, the first time he ever raced around the track. One of Stewarts’ most memorable wins came in his second season, as he won the race by over 40 seconds around the dangerous streets of Monaco.
Stewart would become a three-time world champion and win 27 races in his nine seasons in Formula One, only missing out on his win in one of his nine seasons. Stewart was equally remembered as an incredible world champion for his campaigning for improved safety in Formula One, which saved countless lives. Stewart is one of the greatest ever world champions but may just have been an even better person.
5: Michael Schumacher-29.64%
There are no words to describe just how good Michael Schumacher was. When the German retired, he was widely regarded as the greatest Formula One driver of all time. He is the second most successful driver in Formula One history, having won an unbelievable 91 wins.
Having enjoyed a successful karting series, Schumacher became a permanent F1 driver in 1991. Schumacher’s maiden victory came in his first full season in 1992, dominating the field in Spa. Only two years later, Schumacher would win eight races on his way to his first F1 title in 1994, before winning nine races as he went back to back.
After early struggles having moved to Ferrari, Schumacher’s five-year stretch from 2000-2004 is the most dominant ever, with no other driver in F1 history having won five drivers titles in a row. Schumacher won 47 races in his five-year dominant stretch.
Schumacher was particularly dominant in 2002 and 2004 as he set the record for most wins in a season in 2002 before breaking it in 2004. Schumacher is on the Mount Rushmore of Formula One drivers, and it is no surprise to see him on this list.
4: Jim Clark- 34.72%
Clark began racing as a hobby for a bored farm boy. But he took the sport by storm in his short career. Clark is remembered fondly by everyone lucky enough to know him, endeared by fans and rivals alike.
Clark was a one-team man in his Formula One career, joining Lotus in 1960. Serious accidents marred his first couple years with the team, but Clark was able to win in 1962 in Spa. The incredible part of Clark’s career is that Clark was only ever beaten when his Lotus failed mechanically over the next four seasons.
Clark was deprived of two world championships due to oil leaks in the last race of the season, but in between this, Clark won seven races in 1963 to win the title and six races in 1965 to win the title.
Clark’s career was cut short by a fatal accident in a Formula 2 race in West Germany. Clark was incredibly talented. His Lotus dominated Formula One in its early years. His tally of 25 wins is incredibly impressive considering the length of most Formula One seasons and Clarks career being cut short.
3: Lewis Hamilton- 35.76%
Pretty much every single record in Formula One has been broken by Lewis Hamilton in the last decade. Hamilton holds the record for the most wins in Formula One history, currently sitting at 103, and Hamilton has seven world championships.
Hamilton began in Formula One under a lot of pressure. His success in junior Formulas gave fans high expectations of Hamilton as he was put into a title-contending car in his rookie season. Hamilton exceeded those expectations, winning four races in his rookie season and barely missing out on a title in his rookie season.
But Hamilton won dramatically in 2008 before struggling with McLaren as Red Bull dominated. Hamilton made a risky move to Mercedes in 2013, but it did not take long for the move to pay off.
Hamilton won eleven races in 2014 to win his second title before winning again in 2015. Hamilton went on to win four titles in a row from 2017-2020 and narrowly missed out on the 2021 title after being overtaken on the final lap of the race. Hamilton is probably the greatest driver in the history of Formula One, and it will be a very long time before his records are broken.
2: Alberto Ascari- 40.63%
Alberto Ascari was a pretty revolutionary driver. He was noted for his careful precision and finely judged accuracy that allowed him to finish many races in the most dangerous era of Formula One. These characteristics allowed Ascari to dominate Formula One in its early days.
Ascari was on the grid for the first F1 race and won the Formula One titles in 1952 and 1953. Ascari became a back-to-back champion in only the fourth season of Formula One. He was Ferraris first ever world champion, beginning a long list of some of the greatest drivers we have ever seen.
In 1952, Ascari won six of the seven races to win the title, dominating the field in such a short season. Ascari added five wins to his tally in 1953. His move to Lancia did not provide a world championship in 1954 and could not produce any wins either. Ascaris’s career was sadly ended by an accident at Monza. His career was extremely short, but Ascari was a significant part of the beginning of Formula One.
1: Juan Manuel Fangio- 47.06%
Over your entire career, winning pretty much half of the races that you enter is a spectacular record. Juan Manuel Fangio entered 51 races and won 24 of them. His qualifying record was even better, starting on the front row 48 times out of his 51 races. Fangio’s record is something we will never see again.
Fangio dominated Formula One as the championship began. He drove his Alfa Romeo to the 1951 world championship with three wins. Fangio managed to win four more drivers titles, including winning four in a row from 1954-1957. Fangio was able to win with four different teams as well, showing his driving skill and excellence could be translated to any car.
The outstanding thing about Fangio’s record is that he was able to win every other race in Formula One at a time where the championship was incredibly inconsistent. Poor reliability and large amounts of crashes meant that few drivers could maintain a consistent successful spell. But Fangio dominated the sport, setting a precedent only a few have been able to better since Fangio’s retirement in 1958. One of Formula Ones’ greatest ever drivers, Fangio boasts the best win percentage of all time.