A Formula One drivers is often likened to the gladiators of old, mastering an uncontrollable beast of a car at spectacular speeds. These drivers, especially the ones at the top of the ladder, more often than not, are looked up to by the rest of the world. With a certain sense of envy and a tinge of disbelief, these drivers are revered by fans all across the globe for the feats that they achieve on track. With that in mind, we look at 5 of the most popular drivers in the history of Formula One.
#1 Ayrton Senna
Ayrton Senna, to this day, is considered to be the greatest talent to have ever graced the sport. His breathtaking speed, tenacity, self-confidence, and more so, his willingness to go for any gap available, was what made him stand out on a grid that already had legends like Alain Prost, Nelson Piquet, and Nigel Mansell.
Senna started gaining prominence when he stepped into McLaren against Alain Prost, considered at that time the best driver on the grid, and beat him in the same machinery to win the title. There were instances throughout the season where Senna would qualify almost a second quicker than Prost, which certainly put to rest any doubts about who had more raw speed among the pairing.
Senna becoming a World Champion endeared him to the Brazilian fanbase even more. Every year, thousands of local fans would fill the grandstands at the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sau Paulo to cheer for their favorite son.
Senna would win the championship three times in a career that was cut short by his untimely death in 1994. He is remembered by many as one of the greatest drivers ever in Formula One and served as an inspiration for legends like Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.