Race Weekend Central

Legends of the Racetrack: The Top Race Car Drivers in History

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Few sports get the adrenaline pumping more than motorsports. The fact that anything can happen in a race means that millions tune in to watch the biggest races on the calendar throughout the season.

There has been a significant boom in the popularity of motorsports in recent years, with the success of “Netflix’s Drive To Survive” seeing a brand new wave of fans emerging to follow the Formula 1 action throughout the year.  Even online casinos have taken note, with motorsport-themed online slots ranking high in popularity, according to the online casino bonus club.

Much of the sport’s success is due to the legendary drivers who have left their mark on motorsport history. So, who are these iconic figures in the world of motorsports?

Sir Lewis Hamilton

There have been few more important stars in the modern success achieved by Formula One than Sir Lewis Hamilton. The British driver has been the most successful star in motorsports throughout recent history, landing world titles regularly with Mercedes. Hamilton made his breakthrough when driving for McLaren, becoming the first black driver to race in the series. 

A dramatic first title was achieved on the last corner of the final race of the 2008 season, becoming the then-youngest F1 world champion. Since joining Mercedes, Hamilton has achieved a dominant period in his career, tying Michael Schumacher’s all-time record for most championships in 2020

Hamilton also holds the records for most wins, podium finishes, and pole positions in F1 history. As one of the world’s most influential people, the 39-year-old will ensure eyes remain on the sport for many years.

Mario Andretti

Mario Andretti remains one of the most famous motorsport figures in history, having competed in various formats throughout his life. As well as competing at the highest levels in F1, NASCAR, and IndyCar, he also won races on the sprint car racing and midget car racing schedules.

Andretti’s name was made during his time in F1, where he won the World Championship in 1978, His dominance would cross over into Indy Car, winning the top title on four separate occasions. 

Such was his success on track, Andretti remains the only star to have ever won the Indy 500, Daytona 500, and the F1 World Championship. Along with Juan Pablo Montoya, he is one of just two drivers to have competed in an F1 season, as well as the NASCAR Cup Series and Indy 500.

Michael Schumacher

Few stars have been more synonymous with motorsports throughout history than Michael Schumacher. The German was born to working-class parents before pursuing his dream to achieve F1 by competing in karting. Such was his prowess in the discipline; he won his first karting championship when he was just six years old. He made his F1 debut in 1991 before being signed by Benneton for the remainder of the season. 

He immediately became a dominant force on track, winning the world championships in 1994 and 1995, before making the career-defining move to Ferrari in 1996. Despite being unable to achieve major success immediately, Schumacher and the constructor would achieve major dominance between 2000 and 2004, winning the championships on five straight occasions. 

The last of those saw him become the first driver to win seven world championships. He retired from the sport for a brief period before returning to compete for Mercedes in 2010. His seven world championships are tied for the most in history with Hamilton, while the Brit also broke the German’s records for pole positions and podium finishes.

Conclusion

This is a golden age for motorsport, with more people than ever watching the action on the track. Given the platform that the sport now enjoys, the long-term future will likely remain as safe as ever.

Some of the greats have all achieved a period of domination that few could match, and these are the standards that current stars will be looking to replicate. Max Verstappen could soon find himself joining the legends on this list as the driver for Red Bull is searching for a fourth straight championship when the F1 2024 season gets underway in Bahrain later this year. But Lewis Hamilton will be among his most likely dangers as the Brit looks to set the new record for the most championships won at the highest level in the sport.

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