The recurrent debate of who is the fastest driver over the years has somehow been settled by a data study conducted by Formula1, which ranks legendary Brazilian Ayrton Senna at the top of the list.
Using an algorithm taking data from all qualifying sessions since 1983, in which performance between team-mates was compared with various rules factored in and car performance discounted, Senna came out as the ‘fastest’ ahead of seven-time champion Michael Schumacher and F1’s current dominant star, Lewis Hamilton.
The study, in which AWS’s machine learning software is used, put Senna 0.114s ahead of Schumacher on a theoretical qualifying ‘lap’, with six-time champion Hamilton 0.275s back in third.
The three (Senna, Schumacher and Hamilton) are the most successful F1 qualifiers of all time. Senna set a record of 65 pole positions before his death in 1994, having started at the front of the grid for an amazing 40 per cent of his grands prix appearances.
Schumacher another popular car racer went past that mark in 2006 and Hamilton then took the record over in 2017 and has cantered clear since, with the Englishman securing his 92nd pole at last weekend’s Spanish GP with a career ratio of 36 per cent.