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Senna, Prost, Hamilton and extra

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Bruce McLaren’s agency made its F1 world championship debut in 1966 and the New Zealander scored its maiden victory within the 1968 Belgian Grand Prix. Since then, 19 different drivers have taken wins for McLaren and 7 have gained drivers’ titles.

PLUS: The numbers that reveal McLaren’s revival

For the number of the highest 10 McLaren F1 drivers, Autosport has thought-about the quantity of success the drivers scored with the workforce, the impression they’d on McLaren and the circumstances of their time there. We didn’t embrace their data elsewhere.

When you’d additionally prefer to see which McLaren F1 vehicles we thought have been greatest, have a look right here: Top 10 McLaren F1 cars

10. David Coulthard

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David Coulthard, McLaren Mercedes, 2002 British GP

Picture by: Steve Etherington / LAT

McLaren years: 1996-2004
McLaren begins: 150
McLaren wins: 12
McLaren titles: 0

A tough-working workforce participant, Coulthard is the longest serving McLaren driver and is fifth on the workforce’s all-time wins listing. He completed third within the drivers’ championship 3 times with McLaren and was runner-up in 2001.

Coulthard joined from Williams for 1996 and shaped a powerful line-up with Mika Hakkinen. The Finn scored extra factors in 1996, whereas DC completed forward the next 12 months. Extra importantly, the Briton took McLaren’s first wins in additional than three years when he triumphed at Melbourne and Monza.

New guidelines and the MP4-13 leapfrogged McLaren to the entrance of the F1 grid in 1998. Hakkinen rose to the chance greatest, beating Michael Schumacher to the crown as Coulthard scored only one victory, although he helped McLaren to take the constructors’ title forward of a resurgent Ferrari.

It was an analogous story in 1999, regardless of Schumacher breaking his leg at Silverstone and lacking six races. Varied McLaren calamities, together with Coulthard nudging Hakkinen right into a spin in Austria, helped Eddie Irvine run Hakkinen shut for the title and Ferrari snatched the constructors’ laurels regardless of the apparent tempo of the MP4-14. DC had dropped out of rivalry with an off in tough circumstances within the European GP whereas main.

PLUS: Grand Prix Gold – 1999 European GP

Coulthard took a career-best three wins in 2000 to complete third within the standings once more, whereas Schumacher lastly ended Ferrari’s lengthy watch for the drivers’ crown by beating Hakkinen. Coulthard’s defeat of each at Magny-Cours confirmed that he might tackle the very best, however he struggled to do it typically sufficient.

Race of My Life: David Coulthard on the 2000 French GP

The 2001 marketing campaign was maybe Coulthard’s greatest. He gained ascendancy over Hakkinen and scored 10 podiums however a string of issues, together with a launch management glitch that value him Monaco GP pole, meant he completed effectively behind a dominant Schumacher within the remaining desk.

Ferrari and Williams have been forward of McLaren in 2002. Coulthard outscored rising star team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and took one in every of his most interesting wins at Monaco, however the momentum swung away from him in 2003.

PLUS: David Coulthard’s greatest F1 races

Coulthard was unfortunate in each Malaysia and Brazil early within the marketing campaign and it was Raikkonen who challenged Schumacher. After 9 years with McLaren, Coulthard was changed by Williams ace Juan Pablo Montoya at season’s finish, a transfer that made sense on the time however appears much less sensible in hindsight. As a substitute, Coulthard joined the brand new Crimson Bull workforce for 2005.

9. Jenson Button

Pole sitter Jenson Button, McLaren

Pole sitter Jenson Button, McLaren

Picture by: Andrew Ferraro / Motorsport Images

McLaren years: 2010-16, 2017 (one-off)
McLaren begins: 136
McLaren wins: 8
McLaren titles: 0

Button or his McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso might have made this listing. Alonso had two stints on the workforce, got here nearer to profitable a title and it’s simple to argue he managed extra with poor McLaren equipment than anybody else. However he was additionally disruptive, whereas Button helped convey concord throughout his time alongside Lewis Hamilton.

Becoming a member of Hamilton for 2010, after profitable the world title with Brawn, raised eyebrows, however Button held his personal. He gained as early as spherical two in Australia and was typically capable of match Hamilton within the races, if not qualifying.

Over their three seasons collectively Button scored extra factors, although Hamilton took extra wins. Maybe Button’s most interesting season was 2011, when he gained three races and was an excellent runner-up within the drivers’ championship, whereas Hamilton languished in fifth.

PLUS: Button’s 10 best F1 drives ranked

Hamilton’s departure to Mercedes for 2013 coincided with a downturn for McLaren. Button outscored new team-mate Sergio Perez, who created some rigidity on-track, however was solely ninth within the championship and had already taken his remaining F1 win.

Button continued to carry out at the same time as the brand new McLaren-Honda partnership floundered, ending 5 factors forward of team-mate Alonso in 2015. Alonso had the higher hand in 2016 and Button bowed out of F1 on the finish of the 12 months, apart from a one-off at Monaco the next season subbing for the Indianapolis 500-contesting Alonso.

8. Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren, 2005 Chinese GP

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren, 2005 Chinese language GP

Picture by: Sutton Photos

McLaren years: 2002-06
McLaren begins: 87
McLaren wins: 9
McLaren titles: 0

Raikkonen gained his F1 title with Ferrari however he was in all probability at his peak throughout his earlier stint at McLaren.

The younger Finn joined McLaren in 2002, following a promising F1 rookie marketing campaign at Sauber. He was outscored by skilled team-mate Coulthard in his first 12 months at Woking however was one of many stars of the next season.

Armed with the revised MP4-17D after the unconventional MP4-18 was canned, Raikkonen scored constantly. Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher (six wins) and Williams driver Montoya (two) took extra victories however eight podium finishes to go together with his maiden F1 success meant Raikkonen went to the Suzuka finale with an opportunity of the crown.

Schumacher put in a scrappy drive to eighth whereas his team-mate Rubens Barrichello took victory, proscribing Raikkonen – who wanted to win with Schuey failing to attain – to second.

Ferrari was unstoppable in 2004 and McLaren took a step backwards, however Raikkonen nonetheless scored an excellent victory over Schumacher at Spa regardless of a gearbox glitch.

High 10: Kimi Raikkonen’s greatest F1 drives ranked

Rule adjustments and the single-set-of-tyres-per-race rule threw Ferrari off its stride in 2005. The Raikkonen-MP4-20 mixture was the quickest of the season, however unreliability harm in his struggle with Alonso, who put in an excellent marketing campaign to take the crown with Renault.

McLaren was much less aggressive in 2006 and, with Alonso signed early for 2007, Raikkonen joined Ferrari and changed Schumacher. He would go on to beat McLaren drivers Alonso and Hamilton to the title by a single level in his first Ferrari season…

7. Emerson Fittipaldi

Emerson Fittipaldi, McLaren, 1974 US Grand Prix

Emerson Fittipaldi, McLaren, 1974 US Grand Prix

Picture by: David Phipps / Motorsport Images

McLaren years: 1974-75
McLaren begins: 28
McLaren wins: 5
McLaren titles: 1 (1974)

Already a world champion with Lotus, Fittipaldi’s shock transfer to McLaren for 1974 proved a masterstroke. The Teddy Mayer-run workforce already had a title-contending automobile in Gordon Coppuck’s M23, now it had a topline driver to go together with it.

Ferrari’s Niki Lauda set the tempo however suffered an excessive amount of misfortune. Fittipaldi gained as early as spherical two in Brazil, held off Lauda to win in Belgium and put collectively a constant marketing campaign to place himself in title rivalry.

Victory within the Canadian GP despatched Fittipaldi into the US GP decider tied on factors with Ferrari’s Clay Regazzoni, with Tyrrell driver Jody Scheckter additionally mathematically nonetheless in it. Fittipaldi was the one one of many three to make it to the tip with out points, his fourth spot sufficient for the Brazilian to take the crown by three factors.

PLUS: The story of Emerson Fittipaldi’s 1974 title with McLaren

Fittipaldi gained the primary race of 1975 in Argentina, took a fortuitous victory within the British GP and scored 4 second locations. However that was merely not sufficient to cease the Lauda/Ferrari mixture and Fittipaldi completed as runner-up.

He would in all probability have been a frontrunner once more in 1976 however left to hitch his brother Wilson’s eponymous workforce with Copersucar backing, leaving the way in which clear for an additional driver on this listing…

6. James Hunt

James Hunt, McLaren, 1976 United States Grand Prix

James Hunt, McLaren, 1976 United States Grand Prix

Picture by: David Phipps / Motorsport Images

McLaren years: 1976-78
McLaren begins: 49
McLaren wins: 9
McLaren titles: 1 (1976)

When Fittipaldi made a shock swap to his brother’s workforce, McLaren was left on the lookout for a alternative. Hunt, already a winner with Hesketh, obtained his huge probability and made probably the most of it.

Arguably quicker than the extra skilled Fittipaldi, Hunt obtained the utmost from the ageing M23 and took the struggle to Lauda and Ferrari. It was a battle Lauda was profitable when he suffered his horrific crash on the German GP.

Hunt took benefit of Lauda’s absence and carried on profitable after the Austrian’s heroic return, organising a dramatic finale. Lauda famously withdrew from the appallingly moist Japanese GP and Hunt completed third regardless of a late puncture to take the 1976 title by a single level.

High 10: F1 title deciders ranked

He maybe drove even higher in 1977 and took three straight poles in the beginning of the marketing campaign. Hunt additionally scored three wins within the new M26 however, simply as with Lotus’s Mario Andretti and Brabham’s John Watson, unreliability prevented a problem to the constant Lauda/Ferrari mixture.

McLaren was a fading drive in 1978 as Lotus moved the goalposts with ground-effect and Hunt left for Wolf on the finish of the 12 months. He solely contested seven GPs earlier than retiring from the game, whereas McLaren’s hunch continued – it wouldn’t win once more till a administration change and the 1981 British GP.

PLUS: How good was James Hunt?

5. Niki Lauda

Niki Lauda, McLaren, 1984 Portuguese GP

Niki Lauda, McLaren, 1984 Portuguese GP

Picture by: Motorsport Images

McLaren years: 1982-85
McLaren begins: 58
McLaren wins: 8
McLaren titles: 1 (1984)

McLaren boss Ron Dennis relentlessly chased the retired double world champion and, following a check to show the Austrian nonetheless had it, Lauda returned to F1 for 1982. It took simply three races for Lauda to change into a winner, at Lengthy Seashore.

Lauda felt he had the measure of team-mate Watson, despite the fact that the Northern Irishman beat him in each the 1982 and 1983 drivers’ standings. However when Alain Prost changed Watson for 1984, the dynamic modified.

Prost’s arrival coincided with the TAG Porsche-powered MP4/2, which Lauda had helped develop, and McLaren was the dominant drive in 1984. The duo gained 12 of the 16 races, waging a fierce however pleasant struggle that went to the ultimate spherical. Lauda’s second place within the Portuguese GP gave him the crown by half a degree over race winner Prost.

Race of my life: Niki Lauda on the 1984 Portuguese GP

Lauda was not often a match for Prost in 1985 and suffered unhealthy luck. Whereas Prost lastly took his first title, Lauda managed only one extra victory at Zandvoort – the twenty fifth of his profession and eighth for McLaren – earlier than hanging up his helmet for good.

Extra: Niki Lauda’s greatest F1 drives

4. Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren celebrates his World Championship in parc ferme

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren celebrates his World Championship in parc ferme

Picture by: Sutton Photos

McLaren years: 2007-12
McLaren begins: 110
McLaren wins: 21
McLaren titles: 1 (2008)

It says rather a lot about Hamilton’s outstanding profession at Mercedes that his time at McLaren has nearly change into a footnote. However his six years there included a sensation rookie season, the 2008 crown, 21 wins and a few excellent performances.

Hamilton’s tempo on his arrival in 2007 and McLaren’s lack of ability to handle its drivers meant each he and team-mate Alonso misplaced out to Ferrari’s Raikkonen within the championship struggle.

There have been some errors within the early years, most notably within the pitlanes at Shanghai (2007) and Montreal (2008) however his pace and racecraft have been by no means doubtful. Hamilton, with 5 wins to Felipe Massa’s six, was maybe barely lucky to win the 2008 title and was arguably higher the next season.

Saddled with the initially troublesome MP4-24, workforce and driver labored onerous to change into winners within the second half of the 12 months.

Joined by reigning world champion Button in 2010, Hamilton had each sensible and troublesome moments. That was significantly so in 2011 when a troubled Hamilton had a number of clashes and completed effectively behind Button within the standings despite the fact that they took three wins apiece.

Hamilton’s 2012 marketing campaign was extra spectacular however unreliability hampered his efforts towards Crimson Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Alonso at Ferrari. Shedding the Abu Dhabi GP was painful and helped Lauda woo Hamilton to Mercedes for 2013, simply as McLaren’s fortunes took a dive.

3. Mika Hakkinen

Mika Hakkinen, McLaren MP4-14 Mercedes

Mika Hakkinen, McLaren MP4-14 Mercedes

Picture by: Rainer W. Schlegelmilch / Motorsport Images

McLaren years: 1993-2001
McLaren begins: 131
McLaren wins: 20
McLaren titles: 2 (1998-99)

Hakkinen shaped a powerful bond with Dennis, significantly following his life-threatening crash at Adelaide in 1995. The Finn needed to wait a very long time for his F1 breakthrough – his 1997 European GP victory coming in his 96th begin – however he then turned Schumacher’s sternest rival.

Hakkinen had precipitated a stir by outqualifying Ayrton Senna on his McLaren debut within the 1993 Portuguese GP despite the fact that he crashed out of the race. He turned a full-time McLaren driver in 1994 however Hakkinen’s rise coincided with a fallow interval for the Woking squad.

Mercedes energy arrived in 1995 and Coulthard joined the next 12 months. Coulthard scored extra factors and two wins in 1997, although Hakkinen was unlucky to lose attainable victories at Silverstone and the Nurburgring.

Adrian Newey’s McLaren MP4-13 was the quickest automobile of 1998 and Hakkinen rose to the event, tending to have the benefit over Coulthard. Regardless of a resurgent Ferrari and the banning of McLaren’s uneven braking system, Hakkinen stormed to victory within the Japanese GP to beat Schumacher to the crown.

Race of my life: Mika Hakkinen on the 1998 Monaco GP

Having scored McLaren’s first drivers’ title since 1991, Hakkinen doubled-up in 1999 but it surely ought to have been simpler than it was. Schumacher’s leg-breaking crash on the British GP was adopted by numerous workforce slip-ups that introduced Irvine and Jordan’s Heinz-Harald Frentzen into title rivalry.

Regardless of Schumacher’s return, Hakkinen’s sensible win on the Suzuka finale meant he beat Irvine by two factors, despite the fact that Ferrari took the constructors’ crown.

Ferrari was getting stronger and Schumacher lastly took the title in 2000, this time profitable his duel with Hakkinen in Japan. Hakkinen was however nonetheless second, his 4 victories together with his well-known flat-out cross of Schumacher within the Belgian GP.

Hakkinen’s motivation was maybe flagging by 2001 and Coulthard turned Schumacher’s closest challenger, albeit finally a distant one. Hakkinen nonetheless managed two of his most interesting wins, at Silverstone and Indianapolis, earlier than taking an F1 sabbatical that turned retirement.

2. Alain Prost

Alain Prost, McLaren, 1986 Australian GP

Alain Prost, McLaren, 1986 Australian GP

Picture by: Motorsport Images

McLaren years: 1980, 1984-89
McLaren begins: 107
McLaren wins: 30
McLaren titles: 3 (1985-86, 1989)

When Renault dumped Prost after their failed 1983 title bid, Dennis pulled off a masterstroke by signing the Frenchman alongside Lauda. With John Barnard’s TAG Porsche-engined MP4/2, the superteam crushed the opposition in 1984 and gained 12 of the 16 races.

Prost, who gained seven GPs to Lauda’s 5, was unlucky to lose the title by half a degree, however made amends the next season together with his long-awaited first crown.

Williams-Honda turned the pacesetting drive in 1986 however Prost put in one of many nice F1 campaigns to reap the benefits of the Nigel Mansell-Nelson Piquet scrap and retain the title. He couldn’t carry out sufficient heroics in 1987, although there have been nonetheless three wins.

Prost initially welcomed Senna to the workforce for 1988 and the MP4/4’s dominance made it a two-horse race for the crown. Prost scored extra factors however Senna took eight wins to seven and the championship because of the dropped scores rule of the time.

Except for Senna’s sturdy defence on the Portuguese GP, the connection between the 2 had remained comparatively civil in 1988, however that modified the next 12 months. Prost was livid at what he considered Senna reneging on a non-overtaking pact on the primary lap at Imola, was sad on the Brazilian’s aggressive driving and suspected Senna favouritism from engine provider Honda.

Senna was basically wresting management of the workforce from Prost, however unreliability meant he was on the again foot going into the closing levels of the 1989 marketing campaign. Senna’s controversial exclusion from the Japanese GP after a collision with the opposite McLaren and restoration drive sealed the title in Prost’s favour.

It meant Prost – who had began his F1 profession on the then beleaguered McLaren in 1980 – had taken three titles in his six-year second spell with the workforce. However the working relationship with Senna was now not tenable and he was already on his solution to Ferrari as he celebrated the 1989 success.

1. Ayrton Senna

Ayrton Senna, McLaren MP4-6 Honda

Ayrton Senna, McLaren MP4-6 Honda

Picture by: Rainer W. Schlegelmilch / Motorsport Images

McLaren years: 1988-93
McLaren begins: 96
McLaren wins: 35
McLaren titles: 3 (1988, 1990-91)

The good Brazilian will perpetually be related to McLaren, the place he scored 35 of his 41 F1 wins and all three of his world titles. It’s a close-run factor together with his arch-rival for this spot, however Senna scored extra wins and poles for McLaren – and finally was the rationale Prost left the workforce.

Senna joined Prost for 1988, making a superteam that additionally had the McLaren MP4/4. They’d solely lose one of many 16 races and it quickly turned obvious it was a straight duel between the 2 McLaren drivers for the crown.

Prost was arguably extra constant however Senna scored extra poles (13) and wins (eight) to safe his first F1 title.

The stress between the 2 turned poisonous throughout 1989 and each made errors. Senna was the quicker however suffered extra reliability points. When Senna was excluded from victory within the Japanese GP following their conflict, Prost turned champion earlier than heading to Ferrari.

With Prost gone, Senna was the clear workforce chief. Though new team-mate Gerhard Berger outqualified him on the 1990 opener, there was little doubt that Senna was the workforce’s championship challenger.

After an excellent battle that swung forwards and backwards between Senna and Prost, the Brazilian intentionally crashed into the Ferrari in the beginning of the Japanese GP. Dennis was not impressed however one other title was gained.

PLUS: How McLaren revamped its 1990 challenger to fight Ferrari

Start action, Alain Prost, Ferrari 641 leads Ayrton Senna, McLaren MP4/5B Honda

Begin motion, Alain Prost, Ferrari 641 leads Ayrton Senna, McLaren MP4/5B Honda

Picture by: Sutton Photos

Williams-Renault turned an actual risk throughout 1991, however a mix of Senna’s tremendous begin to the season and Williams points stored McLaren-Honda forward. Key was Senna pushing for developments and profiting from what he had, and he was rewarded with a 3rd crown on the finish of what was arguably his most interesting marketing campaign.

PLUS: How Senna won his greatest F1 title

Mansell and the Williams FW14B have been unstoppable in 1992, proscribing Senna to a few fortuitous wins, and he was even crushed by Benetton’s rising star Schumacher within the remaining standings.

Whereas Senna labored to try to get right into a Williams seat, he began 1993 driving for McLaren on a race-by-race foundation. Regardless of having to make use of buyer Ford engines after the withdrawal of Honda, Senna produced a few of his best drives to take 5 wins towards the superior Williams FW15Cs of Prost and Damon Hill.

PLUS: Ayrton Senna’s greatest F1 drives

Appropriately, Senna took pole and victory in his final McLaren outing, within the 1993 Australian GP, earlier than making his ill-fated transfer to Williams. It was his thirty fifth win in 96 begins for McLaren, which was then a document for a driver at a single workforce, and he stays the squad’s most prolific winner. It could be greater than three years earlier than McLaren gained one other GP.

If there’s one criticism by way of Senna’s impression on McLaren, it’s that his wage calls for in direction of the tip of his time there hampered its skill to maintain up with Williams within the improvement race. However that’s minor in comparison with the sensible wins and titles, some towards the chances, Senna scored for McLaren throughout a golden period for the squad.

Ayrton Senna, McLaren MP4/6 Honda

Ayrton Senna, McLaren MP4/6 Honda

Picture by: Sutton Photos



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