The BBC Sport asked this week Who is the greatest Formula 1 driver of all time? The article pulls together some great stats normalising the data using current points systems to make the data more comparable over time. The article present league tables of some of the key stats and leave you to form your own conclusion as to who is the greatest.
The author states "One of the great lessons of this exercise is to underline the dubiousness of using only statistics to back up any argument about who is the greatest racing driver of all time."
Is that another way of saying ignore the stats if they do not back up your preconceived notions?
To really figure out who is the greatest we should combine the league tables into a single view, and then the greatest jumps out at you from quiet a distance, put points per start and overall point side by side and Michael Schumacher is there in a league of his own. I am leaving out pole positions as this is a means to an end and wins ratio is interesting but no substitute for overall points which win world championships.
Of course if you buy into consistent sustained success over time as a measure of being Greatest, Schumacher is remarkable. Get well soon.
As a nod to the greats of yester-year who did not have anything like the modern volume of races to stack up the points I have include another chart which shows who you would least like to line up on the grid against if you wanted to be world champion. This viz elavates win ratio and points per start to show who is likely to leave whom in the dust in a Champion of Champions once off race if such a thing could be arranged.
Lets watch Raikkonen, Alonso, Hamilton and Vettle's movement on this chart with interest as the 2014 season unfolds!