Your Opinions: Favourite Drivers

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Liquid

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I don't think a thread like this has been created before. Despite all the discussions we have about drivers we like or don't like, there's no place for us to just out and out say "I like.... because..."

Ideally, for the motor sport series you watch or are interested in, it would be nice if you could say who your favourite drivers of all time are and perhaps add who your favourite current drivers are. And why. It's entirely up to you why you like a driver and your favourite driver is not the same as best driver or most successful driver.

Who're your favourite drivers now?
Who're your favourite drivers ever?

For the sake of generating interesting discussion, it doesn't have to be limited to just one driver. I'll have a think about a few of mine before presenting. :)
 
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39,024
I largely stopped watching F1 when Sato wasn't able to get a seat at Red Bull (I picked it up again when Michael came back). I'm somewhat afraid that I'll stop watching Indy as well when Sato retires; and I suspect I might because I only sorta care about the new drivers that have popped up in the past couple years.




He's like watching the Bills when they were winning a game from 2000-2018. Even when he's in some horrible trash car he does something amazing and passes like 20 cars in two laps making the entire field look like they are driving Formula Fords; then you spend the entire rest of the race on the edge of your seat worrying that he'll screw up because he's pushing too hard or he'll get a flat tire or someone will come out of the pits and crash into him and he'll and go from 3rd place to 20th during the commercial break. This has only evened out somewhat since he's been on better teams in the past 5 years or so and he's calmed down.
 
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976
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Dries Vanthoor.

Just started watching GT3 Racing last year but goddammit this guy can hustle a car around. He's one the edge all every lap it seems and a very consistent.

He's definitely one of Audi's biggest assets.
 
1,008
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HaydenFan69
Who're your favourite drivers now?
Who're your favourite drivers ever?

Now? Conor Daly. Not the most talented (even he’ll acknowledge that), but has that personality trait that some many IndyCar drivers do, but was a guy of my similar age who I just followed his entire career. Mainly because he was an American running GP3 and later GP2, but have enjoyed his runs in IndyCar as the master of adapting to almost a new team each year.

Ever? I’ll leave bikes riders out (as Nicky Hayden and Ben Spies out), but that’s easy, Juan Pablo Montoya. While a big chunk of his career was occupied by a lackluster go in NASCAR, his stints of single seaters and SportsCar really showed his true skills.
 

CLowndes888

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I just want to get this out of the way: I'm not a big Lewis Hamilton fan but his talent is undeniable. I can't say that he's a "favourite" per se but you have to admire his skill; for staying at the top of his game for soo long. No doubt Rosberg tested him, but that rivalry did little to stop his resolve. Not much can keep Hamilton down and that's why he's one of the best. That being said though, Rosberg is definitely a favourite of mine because he took the fight to Hamilton and triumphed. He may have one championship to his name, but don't let that downplay his talent.

Now for the drivers I genuinely like or have liked in the past:
Chaz Mostert
Scott McLaughlin
Andre Heimgartner
Garth Tander
Shane Van Gisbergen
Craig Lowndes
Scott Pye
Mark Skaife
Mark Winterbottom
Maximillian Buhk
Daniel Ricciardo
Denny Hamlin
Chase Elliot
Russell Ingall
Jimmie Johnson
Kimi Raikkonen
Fernando Alonso
Carlos Sainz Jr
 
1,008
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HaydenFan69
I just want to get this out of the way: I'm not a big Lewis Hamilton fan but his talent is undeniable. I can't say that he's a "favourite" per se but you have to admire his skill; for staying at the top of his game for soo long. No doubt Rosberg tested him, but that rivalry did little to stop his resolve. Not much can keep Hamilton down and that's why he's one of the best. That being said though, Rosberg is definitely a favourite of mine because he took the fight to Hamilton and triumphed. He may have one championship to his name, but don't let that downplay his talent.

Now for the drivers I genuinely like or have liked in the past:
Chaz Mostert
Scott McLaughlin
Andre Heimgartner
Garth Tander
Shane Van Gisbergen
Craig Lowndes
Scott Pye
Mark Skaife
Mark Winterbottom
Maximillian Buhk
Daniel Ricciardo
Denny Hamlin
Chase Elliot
Russell Ingall
Jimmie Johnson
Kimi Raikkonen
Fernando Alonso
Carlos Sainz Jr

No Courtney?

Russell Ingall
 

Liquid

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Favourite Driver: Rubens Barrichello

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Ever since I started watching Formula One, he just always has been. I don't quite know why but I have always liked an underdog bursting through. I have particularly strong memories of watching Barrichello driving for Stewart and being completely captivated whenever he dragged his car to the upper third of a race; 2nd at Monaco in 1997 and pretty much the whole of the 1999 season.

When he moved to Ferrari, I was still an impressionable fan and thought he had a chance against Michael Schumacher but either way, being at the front of the grid was brilliant. The first win in Germany was just magic and from 18th on the grid. And it is an obvious tinted lens but I do maintain that out of all of Michael Schumacher's teammates (excluding Rosberg for obvious reasons), Barrichello was one of the best and one of the few who could actually keep up with him despite obviously being secondary in the team's mind; better than Patrese, Herbert, Verstappen, Lehto and Irvine.

I was so disappointed he didn't capitalise on 2009 with Brawn more but it was still a great time to be a Barrichello fan, with two more race wins to champion.

He always had the weight of Brazil on his shoulders after Senna's death and he was only 22 at the time, driving for Jordan. Impossible shoes to fill and who knows, in another timeline he could have been a World Champion. But it doesn't change that I've always been a huge fan and he'll still stay up there in my estimations.
 
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MikeV27

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Ricciardo, very fast and likeable guy. He’s also a big fan of Alexisonfire and Parkway Drive which is a huge plus for me. :cheers:


Other honorable mentions:

Seb Vettel - not the best but he’s a good guy

Kimi Raikkonen - what you see is what you get, there is no bs from him

Charles Leclerc - massive amount of talent but still very humble

Colton Herta - future indy car champ. Likeable character

Robert Kubica - he was a top driver back before his accident but was always a straight shooter which I appreciate.

Robert Wickens - deserved a chance in F1, he showed his speed right away when he came to indycar.
 
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MatskiMonk

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Interesting.

I have a few;

Alex Zanardi (Avatar... yay!). Was not a particular fan up until a few years ago. Met him three times now and he couldn't be a nicer bloke. I watch his WTCC win now and it'll make me cry. I'm following his current recovery very closely #ForzaAlex
Juan-Pablo Montoya since his time in F1 and through his time in NASCAR. Don't follow so much these days though. Great racer, but I know a bloke that knew him early in his career and he says his biggest problem is that he's lazy... gifted, but lazy.
Andy Priaulx was a big fan during WTCC days, his return to the BTCC in 2015 is the reason why I went to every race that season, however... having met him a number of times, and lingered around a lot of garage's, I think his public persona is not at all representative of how he is behind closed doors, so I'm less of a fan now.
Colin Turkington I'm so glad that my favourite BTCC driver is one of the cleanest of the bunch. Also, nice bloke. Has provided some of the best recent memories in racing for me, it's mental that he never became a BMW works driver.
Augusto Farfus sworn enemy for a while when he was in the Alfa WTCC squad, but then he moved to BMW :D Met him, three times, my go to cap is his BMW WTCC one with a Brazilian flag on the back, at both Zandvoort and Spa in 2015 he commented "Nice hat mate", not sure if he remembered me or not.
Jimmie Johnson after years of watching JPM not achieve much in NASCAR I couldn't help but come to like JJ.
Chaz Mostert absolutely astounding (but doomed) drive in an M6 GT3 for Schnitzer caught my attention, seems like an alright bloke with some skills.

Montoya and JJ are the only two that I've not spoken to in some fashion. I got within a couple of feet of Montoya once but he was fumin' and didn't stop to talk. I think it's important how drivers treat their fans, and how genuine that effort is. I cannot stress enough how likable Zanardi is, and it feels really genuine.
 

AudiMan2011

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My favorite drivers right now:

Scott Dixon - Easily one of the greatest Indycar drivers of all time

Colin Turkington - Gained new respect for him after the 2019 finale and he's one of the most complete BTCC drivers imho

Pato O'Ward - Was done dirty during 2019 with no full time drives and of course being hired and dumped by Red Bull later that year. Finally started to show his true potential as a future Indycar winner during the 2020 season

Lando Norris - Brings much needed energy to whats sometimes a dreary atmosphere during media interviews. Larking about with Sainz and Ricciardo was hilarious

Sergio Perez - Has the potential and pace to consistently challenge the top guns, but has been let down on numerous occastions by either bad luck or a poor car. Hopefully he ups his game in the Red Bull this year

Favorite of all time:

Always has been and always will be Michael Schumacher. What he was able to do with Ferrari in the then early-mid 2000s remains unmatched even to this day.
 
1,008
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Robert Wickens - deserved a chance in F1, he showed his speed right away when he came to indycar.

Marussia sponsored his FR3.5 seat, yet out of it one FP run and the Young Drivers test was all he got out of it. It seemed like being let go from Red Bull put that tarnish on him that didn’t let up until his IndyCar go. Though, a top 5 driver in DTM (still upset how they didn’t award him winner in Norisring after Ekstroms DQ).
 
612
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Iamthestig209
My favourite current driver is Daniel Ricciardo but my top 3 all time favourite F1 driver's are:

Mika Hakinnen
Juan Pablo Montoya
Jenson Button

I used to love BTCC as a kid too with Rickard Rydell being my favourite, but I also had a soft spot for Alain Menu.
 
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1,433
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psychoazubi
I share a lot of the drivers already mentioned here as my favorites. The new generation of F1 drivers is refreshing to see (Charles, Lando, Max,Geoooooooooorge, Carlos...) but just like @AudiMan2011 - there is only one driver that will always stand out: Michael Schumacher

On the non-F1 side there are also quite few drivers I really admire:

Andre Lotterer: Started liking him as an Audi driver - was astonished by his triple Stint in LeMans when he made up almost a full lap to the leading Porsche

Timo Bernhard: Down to Earth Porsche guru and local hero for me. Drove the Nordschleife record only after talking to the parents of Stefan Bellof

Mr. DTM Bernd Schneider: Another local hero and absolutely astonishing driver in his era

Christpher Mies: Seems like to be driving every race on earth for Audi, really like him

BamThor: What a duo that is. Very fast and very entertaining to watch

The list could go on quite a bit, but those are on top of it
 
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MaxAttack

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My favourite all time drivers are both rally drivers; firstly Markku Alen (see avatar), a man who possibly has the most dreamy list of cars driven in a professional career, ranging from the R8 Gordini thru the Fiat 131 Abarth he won a championship in, right thru to the monstrous group B Lancia Delta S4. Watching pieces from the time, he was a straight shooter unafraid to point out the stupidity rallying was becoming in the mid 80s. He is, of course, most famous for coining the phrase; "Now, maximum attack!".

The second is Ari Vatanen (see signature quote) - called by some the poet of rallying. He is definitely a figure that divides opinion in his later life but the man has a way with words and has made some great reflections about life, rallying, and the pursuit of greater things. The story of his return from a horrific crash at Argentina, going from not being able to even look at a rally car to back out in the WRC is truly inspirational and his run up Pikes Peak in the 405 t16 (see "Climb Dance") is one of the best pieces of Motorsport footage that exists, especially when he uses his forearm as a sun shield whilst taking hairpins at maximum attack at the top of a mountain.

Over in racing I am again a fan of Finns. Kimi Raikonnen has always kept my interest and as a McLaren fan since childhood he and Mika Hakinnen always get a tip from my hat. Different to one another but both straight shooting, rapid guys and Kimi wouldn't know Ego if it slapped him in the face.

I have many fond memories watching Jenson Button *finally* get good results in F1 after many had written him off as another disappointing Brit.

But, of course, following Hamilton's career from his first days in F1 has made me a big fan of his. He has faced both unique challenges and favourable circumstances, but has navigated everything with a rare kind of grace, and has never once stopped pushing. He's an inspiration who recognises his position and uses it for good things. Seeing him dedicate his win to all the kids who don't believe in themselves might feel cheesy, but it's a great and kind thing to do.

All that said - Mansell was something else.
 

TonyJZX

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My most favourite memories are of Senna and Australian Peter Brock. Not much to add there except to say that I'm glad to have been alive to watch these two win.

My favourite of the modern F1 generation is Mark Webber. Close behind is RIC. The last two races I watched from start to end was China and Monaco 2018.

I would have to say that I'm a begruding admirer of Hamilton. He is by any measure, the greatest of all time. He also took the risk going with Mercedes. It was like buying stock of amazon or tesla or apple at their lowest.

I also quite dont mind Vettel. Anyone who was so consistently better than anyone else for 4yrs had to be admired.

I havent been a fan of most current forms of motorsport for a while.

There was a time I was quite addicted to US Indycars when they played in the middle of the night here and there seemed to be real racing in a world where other forms of racing felt like a procession. Sort of around the time Papyrus were in the simulation world.

I'm also a fan of drivers who "just didnt make it" or "just did enough".

Jenson Button in 2009 w/ Brawn is something that is a once in a lifetime event.

Nico Rosberg wanted to prove that he could beat Hamilton and for that one year, he could and I'm glad that's enough for him. I admire people like that.

He wont ever be 10 time world champion but who is? And to him who cares?

Jacque Villeneuve is also someone I like. Some people felt like he cut from some series abruptly but the guy has effectively won the triple crown.

Indy 500, F1 DC, Indycar DC, rookie of the year. almost won Le Mans... the guy is multi talented, the just past generation Andretti or even.... Graham Hill.
 
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NotThePrez

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Favorite Current Drivers:
  • Seb Vettel: The fingerboy did earn my ire for a while (mostly for his behavior within Red Bull, rather than for his success), but he's proven to actually be a pretty humble, likeable person, and probably the biggest "fan" of F1 currently racing. I'd say he's probably the most "normal" person on the grid.
  • Lewis Hamilton: Yeah, this is a pretty easy answer. The man has destroyed almost all the records, and is the definition of a living legend. He realizes the position he's in, and uses it to bring awareness to ongoing issues, and inspires a lot of young people to reach for the stars. He's the man to beat on the track, and off it, he's the face of F1, and does what he can to help movements bigger than he. He does still have his occasional moment of ineptitude, though.
  • George Russell: Again, another easy pick. Very likeable fellow, and honestly probably the hardest worker on the grid besides Lewis. His performance in the W11 in Sakhir re-affirmed that he was the real deal, and is a very real threat to the top teams. I do believe that if Williams' new owners are serious about stepping back up, Russell will be there best bet, an they need to take advantage of that while they have him.
  • Bubba Wallace: A polarizing figure for sure, but I think he's one of the most important drivers in NASCAR. His activism over the summer brought a lot of positive attention (and admittedly, some negative as well) to NASCAR, and played a part in getting more younger, non-normal fans interested in the sport. Plus, Bubba has shown himself to be a solid racer. While his equipment left a lot to be desired, he was always able to push as hard as he can, while still keeping things clean and bringing the car back relatively unscathed. I wouldn't consider him a top-flight driver, but if he gets up to speed with 23XL, I think he'll have what it takes to pull off a few upsets.
  • Kurt Busch: When I first got into NASCAR as a kid, I didn't much care for Kurt. I honestly thought he was kind of a prick most of the time. However, the story about his ex, alongside him calming the hell down, allowed me to gaina greater appreciation for him as a driver. His appearance on the Dale Jr. Download was also a very enjoyable look into his insight. He's typically my "dark horse" driver among the top guys.
  • Ken Block: While Block doesn't have the greatest career stats sheet, the man has what I consider best "variant" of the job that is being a professional driver. He gets to travel around the world to exotic locations, gets to take part in a wide variety of off-road disciplines, makes fun movies out of his travels with his nutso stunt cars, and has a fleet of very high-quality vehicles that look like they came out of a Matchbox set. Plus, a very likeable person all around, and co-runs a company that acts as something of a neutral home for all aspects of car culture and racing.
Favorite Former Drivers:
  • Dale Earndhart Jr.: Honestly, this guy is NASCAR. While he was never able to match the stat sheet of his late father, Dale Jr has a very clear love for the sport, and does everything in his power to not just promote NASCAR, but to maintain it's history, whether that be through guests or segments on his podcast, or through visiting and reviving old tracks. I honestly think at this point that he's an overall much more significant figure to the sport than Dale Sr.
  • Michèle Mouton: Josh Revell did a pretty good video on her (Language Warning). Ace rally driver during the early Group B era, 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner, 2nd place in the '82 WRC season, major force in attracting women to motorsport and getting them a chance to move up the racing ladder, all-around badass.
  • Danica Patrick: Yes, really. I won't lie, as a driver she kinda sucked. With NASCAR in particular, I was always frustrated with how she was constantly placing mid-pack at best while driving for a title-contending race team. That being said, I will say that she often found herself in bad spots through no fault of her own, and she was moved up the ranks too quickly. Still, much like Mouton, she's played a pivotol role in getting young girls and women interested in motorsport and has shown that women are capable of running alongside the more-established stock car and Indycar drivers.
  • Petter Solberg: Solberg and the Subaru WRC team is literally what got me into cars. While I never got to see live WRC events in America, I always enjoyed seeing the highlights and watching Solberg and the Blue/Yellow Subarus tearing through stages. I remember being estatic watching the highlight reel that showed him wiining the '03 championship. It was also fun watching him form his privateer team and beating works cars in older Xsara's.
  • Colin McRae: X Games 2006. Awesome career overall, but that event alone forever made me a fan of his.
 
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5,551
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I don't really understand playing favourites for the most part. For me it's far easier to dislike a driver (for driving recklessly or otherwise being a prat) than it is to particularly like a given driver. Respect is different. That's what I'm interested in. I want to see the driver who convinces me to respect their abilities as a driver the most to get the best result.
 

Liquid

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For me it's far easier to dislike a driver [...] than it is to particularly like a given driver.

Which drivers do you dislike and why? Same as my OP, can be from any era but would be interesting to have a then and a now.
 
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Which drivers do you dislike and why?

A driver like Mazepin would be the most obvious example. It's also possible to not particularly like a driver while still respecting them. Max Verstappen can be overly aggressive on track (often to his own detriment) and says a lot of things which make him look like a twerp, but he's undeniably an extremely quick and talented driver, and if he gets a great result in a deserving manner I'll likely enjoy watching him do it. Ultimately I'd probably say Hamilton comes closest to being a "favourite" driver for me just because I genuinely think he deserves his success, even if he has done it with usually the best car. Really though I just want races to be interesting, and support for particular drivers doesn't tend to come into it much.
 
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TonyJZX

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There's usually very little reason for the top drivers to be in a middle pack car let alone a bad car. There's a few middle pack drivers in top tier cars and yet people accept that as the way it is.

I do kind of actually feel for drivers who have wasted their time with bad teams.

A good example would be Mark Webber. Let's be honest, he was never as good as he could have been but those years prior to Red Bull.... oof.
 
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It’s the thing with the top levels of racing (especially single seaters). A lot of really good drivers who get passed over.

I didn’t get to see him race too much, but really liked Eddie Cheever. And he was kinda that driver. What’s happen if he had the McLaren or Williams during the 80s? Or more recently, Sebastien Bourdais. Had “the” car in Champ Car and after returning to America, he could never find himself with a top car.
 

Dotini

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My favorite internationally known drivers are the ones I've met and spoken with personally. Top of the list are Jack Brabham, Dan Gurney and Jim Hall. These guys had a real appreciation of the fans and took the time to relate and speak with them.
 
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My favorite internationally known drivers are the ones I've met and spoken with personally. Top of the list are Jack Brabham, Dan Gurney and Jim Hall. These guys had a real appreciation of the fans and took the time to relate and speak with them.
I think this relates to a large part of what I was getting at. I don't know any racing drivers personally, they aren't my friends or anything, so supporting a particular driver consistently doesn't really make that much sense to me. If someone who I am friends with is supporting a particular driver while I'm in their company I'll likely be drawn into temporarily joining them in that support.
 
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Past :
Damon Hill - first year I got into F1 was 1996, hence why I then grew up for a few years supporting Damon! Also seems like a thoroughly nice guy

Colin Mcrae - Incredible driving style, amazing to watch, never knew what was going to happen next!

Petter Solberg - Fantastic personality, a bit like Colin always unpredictable!

Current:

Max Verstappen - Just love how much he gets out of the car, the fantastic skill, and his feisty attitude.

Ott Tanak - Amazingly quick driver
 
3,828
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GTP_MooCow
In no particular order:

Juan Pablo Montoya

The Honeybadger Daniel Ricciardo

Jordan Taylor

Sebastien Loeb

The Monkey Chris Harris

The Queen Sabine Schmitz

I am missing a few more, but this is what I have on top of my head...

Edit:
Nigel Mansell
Sainz Sr and Jr
Randy Pobst
Who can forget the mancrush Patrick Demsey
BTCC Jason Plato
Susie Wolff (I didnt realize until now it's Toto's wife)
Sarah Fisher
Formula W Jamie Chadwick

I HATE Tony Steward
 
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10,973
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Tired_Tyres
The past?

Gilles Villeneuve.

Other drivers? Keke Rosberg was the closest, Mansell, if I didn't have to listen to him, and Button. I rated him when no one else would.

Now. Nobody. There are no characters anymore just corporate mouthpieces. Perhaps that's why I don't watch F1 anymore? Mostly I watch Endurance racing though so it's more about the cars than the drivers anyway.
 
3,828
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The past?

Gilles Villeneuve.

Other drivers? Keke Rosberg was the closest, Mansell, if I didn't have to listen to him, and Button. I rated him when no one else would.

Now. Nobody. There are no characters anymore just corporate mouthpieces. Perhaps that's why I don't watch F1 anymore? Mostly I watch Endurance racing though so it's more about the cars than the drivers anyway.

No characters you say?

 
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