Best racers of the 21st century – Scandinavians make their debut

Over the past ten years, a generation of racing drivers has changed. We had numerous players who achieved success in racing and established themselves as one of the most successful racers in the world. In this article, we will talk about the most successful racers on the planet.

10. Mark Webber

The Australian racer, who played for Red Bull, rightly earned a place in the top ten, even though he scored as many points as Pastor Maldonado. Mark Webber has seven championship wins, and he has finished in the top three times. Yes, Webber couldn’t impose a serious fight on his team-mate, Sebastian Vettel, but in 2010 he was close to becoming world champion.

In 2010, Mark was at the peak of his form, in 2012 he was able to gain two victories, but after the history, with Multi-21 in Malaysia, it became clear that Mark’s time at Red Bull was coming to an end. However, in the top ten riders of the decade, we should definitely include Mark Webber

9. Michael Schumacher

The seven-time world champion was in the top ten of the decade’s strongest riders, more because of his past merits than by rightly excellent results in his second career. Michael, who returned to Formula One after a three-year hiatus in 2010, has only been able to get on the podium once in three years, losing to his team-mate Nico Rosberg on all fronts.

8. Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel was the first to beat Sebastian Vettel in 2010. After two seasons at Toro Rosso in which he proved to be a very talented and strong rider, few believed that the Australian would be able to surpass the achievements of compatriot Mark Webber against Vettel. But Ricciardo succeeded. The 2014 season, which was Ricciardo’s debut at Red Bull, was not the best for the Austrian team: after four years of Vettel’s dominance from the first races of the season, it became clear that the Red Bull drivers would not have an easy walk this time.

In the end, the team recorded three victories – and all three belonged to Ricciardo. The German took advantage of the moment and left for Ferrari, while Dan remained in the team for four more seasons, winning four more. But the Australian never had a chance to win the title.

7. Kimi Räikkönen

Kimi Räikkönen proved that he is not by chance considered one of the most talented racers of his time. Two wins at Lotus in 2012 and 2013, third place at the end of the 2012 season and a return to Ferrari – is it not an indicator of the strength of the Finnish racer?

After returning to the Italian team Kimi did not look the best against Fernando Alonso, and Vettel Finn frankly conceded, but even in 2018 Raikkonen proved that it is too early to write him off. Winning in the U.S. and 12 podiums for a rider who is already at the end of his career – is not it an indicator of talent? Kimi still knows what he’s doing in Formula One.

Räikkönen has become a loveable figure not only in Finland but the Nordics as well, where he amassed a lot of support from local citizens. Considering the fact that Scandinavian people have mutual respect towards each other, countries from Scandinavia started rooting for the Finnish racer.

But, behind this mutual respect, there are some cultural “differences” so to say. For example, everybody in the Nordics makes fun of the Danish. Swedes hate Norwegians and Finns are left alone because they’re shy. These small cultural “rivalries” are what fuel the region to be so united in their ultimate goals.

Because of this, there was no surprise when Swedish and Norwegian betting companies started to promote odds on how much Räikkönen would lose to their own racers. It was a small jab, but nothing too serious. The Norwegians took it a bit too far and actually made slot games depicting things like car crashes, Finnish flags as the least valuable symbols etc. Although it was harmless fun in the beginning, their monthly promotion, which they called gratis spinn, turned such a profit that they made it a permanent thing. Gratis spinn in Norwegian means free spins, so they were basically inviting everybody to see their mockery of Finland.

Luckily though, there were no hard feelings and Räikkönen is a welcome guest in Norway at any time of the year.

6. Jenson Button

To beat Lewis Hamilton, playing with him in the same team – Only two racers managed to do it. One of them was Jenson Button, which makes him a full representative in the top ten riders of the past decade. After his title in 2009 and the unexpected decision to move to McLaren, it seemed that Button would only confirm his title of “one-day champion”, whose merit was only that he was in the right place at the right time.

However, in 2010 Button showed unexpected resilience against Hamilton, and in 2011 Jenson finished the championship above Lewis, obtaining three victories in a year of total and giving a series of eight podiums in the last nine races of the season. Button is still the Winner of the McLaren Grand Prix, and his performances confirmed that the 2009 title was not an accident.

5. Max Verstappen

The very real discovery of the last decade. Verstappen, who made his Formula One debut in 2015 and replaced Daniil Kvyat at Red Bull a little more than a year later, was able to prove that Helmut Marko’s did not make a mistake in him. Max won the first race with Red Bull, and, despite his youth and associated fervor, proved his speed. In the last two seasons, Max has gained stability, showing a very strong performance in 2019, when he was ahead of both Ferrari drivers.

4. Fernando Alonso

The two-time world champion has failed to achieve much over the past decade, recording just 11 wins, but even despite his disastrous bad luck, he was able to prove his right to a place at the top. Yes, Ferrari saw the Spaniard as the new Michael Schumacher, who would lead the team to victories, but in the end the last personal title of the Italian team is still dated 2007. Yes, Ferrari came close to success in 2010 and 2012 but lacked something. In general, the whole decade for Alonso can be described by this phrase – from time to time Fernando was missing quite a bit. In any case, with his performances at Ferrari and McLaren, Alonso proved that he is the one who is able to squeeze the maximum out of the car.

3. Nico Rosberg

The first, but not the last champion on our list – Nico is above Alonso in terms of additional index, namely the title he won in 2010. The driver, who managed to become the first to beat Schumacher as a teammate, the second to beat Hamilton, and the third German to take the title.

Rosberg did his best to win the title, and, repeating the achievement of his father, the German did another strong thing – retired from Formula One. Whether realizing that for the second time his luck is unlikely to smile, or simply satiated by the races for this difficult year, Rosberg left the arena to return to it as a journalist and lead his own video blog about the races.

2. Sebastian Vettel

Yes, according to many, Sebastian Vettel’s career is nearing its end, and the four titles he has won are unlikely to ever turn into five. Dominating from 2010 to 2013, Vettel convinced everyone that he was an outstanding racer. Yes, Vettel never managed to win the title with Scuderia, but he was able to prove his talent by confidently pushing Raikkonen into the background. Having gained 48 victories and 110 podiums over the past decade, Vettel has rightly won a place in the top, but the first place still went not to him, but to the driver, who throughout the decade showed incredible stability and speed.

1. Lewis Hamilton

Of the ten seasons, Lewis Hamilton has been a contender for the title in eight of them and has won five. During this time he gained 65 victories and became a six-time world champion, staying one step behind Michael Schumacher’s record. Over the past decade, Hamilton has not only won five titles but has also shown progress year after year, having managed to grow not only as a racer but also as a person.

Hamilton’s dominance looked much more impressive than Vettel’s at the start of the decade. Hamilton won at least one race in every year of his Formula One appearances (that’s what Michael Schumacher used to do if we take into account only the full seasons until the first end of his career).

Lewis over the past decade has become a true icon of Formula One, rightfully taking the first place in our top. Yes, the choice of the greatest driver in history – it is not easy and the controversy on this matter is unlikely to ever subside, but in the recent period Hamilton was definitely the strongest.