The British Grand Prix is fast approaching, and fans will be hoping for another home triumph. This year we have four British drivers taking part in the event, including World Champions Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, dark-horse Paul Di Resta and rookie Max Chilton.
Unlike international Football or tennis, the UK actually has a great record for winning in Grand Prix motor racing and is officially the most successful country in the series; with more drivers and constructors championships than any other nation. You therefore have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to picking your ultimate British GP hero.
Statistically the most successful driver to come out of Britain is Nigel Mansell who won 31 victories in the 1980s and 1990s. In theory Mansell should have been a 3 times World Champion, but bad luck kept the crown beyond his grasp in 1986 and 1987. But he was the ultimate fighter and eventually took the title in dominant fashion for Williams Renault in 1992.
In terms of championships won though it is actually Jackie Stewart who is the most successful British driver with 3 titles to his name. The Scotsman was renowned for his silky smooth style and he formed a formidably strong line-up with team owner Ken Tyrrell.
After Stewart’s retirement in 1973, the next man to capture the imagination of the British public was flamboyant playboy James Hunt. He was just as famous for his extravagant off-track behaviour, as he was for his heroics on it. However, he became a favourite with fans around the world and a new film ‘Rush’, which has been directed by Ron Howard; chronicling his rivalry with Niki Lauda.
Somewhere between these two characters was Graham Hill, who was the ultimate British gentleman as well as being remarkably fast and adaptable behind the wheel. To this day, he is the only man to have won the three biggest motorsport events in the world- Formula 1 World Championship, Indy 500 and Le Mans. Graham’s son Damon followed in his father’s footsteps, and became the only son of a F1 champion to win the championship for himself in 1996.
The man who is still regarded as the most naturally talented British driver however is Jim Clark, who was a dominant force for Lotus in the 1960s. He would have won far more races and championships if it had not been for the notoriously unreliable British cars. Sadly, his lost his life in a Formula 2 race in 1968 before he could realise his full potential.
We have put together an infographic highlighting the top 20 British drivers ever to come out of our country. So who do you think is the best?