Fangio or Vettel - who's No.1?

2012-02-18 14:26

LONDON, England - Red Bull's double World champion Sebastian Vettel reminds Stirling Moss of Juan Manuel Fangio, the Argentine great who denied the Briton a Formula 1 title with his dominance in the 1950's.

Speaking to reporters at a Motor Sport magazine Hall of Fame event in London on February 17, 2012, the greatest driver never to win the F1 crown poured praise on the fresh-faced 24-year-old German with the mischievous grin.

Moss, now 82, survived a three-storey plunge down a lift shaft in 2010 and formally retired from racing only in June, 2011.


"Vettel is a modern Fangio. I can't see, other than his natural ability, how he is that good, how he can be that good," said the 82-year-old Briton, his walking stick poised by his side. "Vettel is outstanding but then he has the best car - fair enough, because normally the best driver gets the best car.

"Fangio went around and took what he wanted and one (others) took whatever was left.

"Vettel has a great sense of humour. He is a damn good World champion. I can think of a lot of other people who get to that position and they don't give back as much as they get out but he really does."

Moss was runner-up in the F1 championship four times while Fangio, regarded by many as the greatest driver in history,and the Englishman's team mate at Mercedes in 1955, won five titles.

Vettel dominated the 2011 season, taking his second successive crown with four races to spare and taking 11 wins from 19 races.

McLaren's British duo Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, each an F1 champion, will be among the German's main rivals when the new season starts in Australia on March 18 and Moss felt his money was more on the former.


"Their problem is that they're against a better outfit," Moss said. "The Red Bull is so good, it's enormously difficult to be as good as that is and I don't think they are yet. Vettel is outstanding. The McLaren drivers are up there, but not as far as Vettel.

"Lewis does funny things, so one can't be sure," he added. "I would put my money on Jenson. Yes, I would... Lewis is terrific, he really is exceptionally quick, but Jenson thinks about certain things better than Lewis.

"Like when it's raining and whether or not to go in for a change of tyres. For all those sorts of things he has a better understanding - experience is a lot of it."

In a year of what some say are ugly new cars Moss - looking forward to a holiday cruise from Hong Kong to Dubai on a liner that he hastened to say was not Italian - said the Ferrari was "hideous" and hoped it had a facelift during the 2012 season.

"Can you think of an ugly car that ever won anything?," he enquired. "There's the saying that 'if it looks right it probably is'. That's what worries me about the Ferrari - it doesn't look very nice, but maybe it's particularly effective."


Fangio retired unexpectedly in 1958 after famously saying he had nothing more to prove and adding: "It is finished." Experts at the time said he would never be matched for his standard of "excellence and domination".

He said later, according to Argentine reports, that only Jim Clark and Ayrton Senna came close to matching his driving skills.

He died on July 17, 1995 aged 84.


  • Cyrus - 2012-02-18 18:19

    Yet Schumacher won 7 titles. And also dominated up to 2004.

  • Jannie - 2012-02-18 18:58

    The greatest yet...SENNA. Enough said.

      uwe.klopfer - 2012-02-20 11:08

      measured how ? by opinion ? Whos ? yours and a few other hundred thousand people ? And the more than likely equal amount Prost supporters ? Prost won more titles (4vs3), or what about other Brazilian greats ? Piquet ? Fittipaldi ? Schumacher who is on paper undeniably the best driver yet ? Senna did get himself killed trying to outdrive Schumacher after being 27 points behind him after 3 races.. The point is your opinion is not fact, it is opinion. The fact is that being the best in anything is relative, how do you measure it ? Being the most successfull F1 driver is easy to measure. Most wins, most championships, most poles etc. Based on what can be realistically measured then Schumacher is the most successfull yet, then Fangio, Then Prost and then Senna is tied with a couple of others. I am not dissing Senna here, he was ONE of the best and greatest thus far. But THE greatest ? You can't prove that.

      Kaizer - 2012-02-20 22:30

      Reply to uwek - senna was killed due to no fault or error on his part but a major flaw in his steering column / rack which snapped at over 300km per hour coming round tamurello corner. Get yr facts in order dude. He is undeniably the greatest for what did and how he won in inferior cars.

  • Kwashic - 2012-02-18 20:41


      Warren - 2012-02-19 00:14

      Lol, I bet you tell all your mates what a great talent spotter you are?

  • christidv - 2012-02-19 19:19

    Yes two titles in a wonderful car no doubt that Vettle has loads of talent but calling him a modern day Fangio is a bit early lets see what happens when the car is not that great and the pressure mounts.

      Hans - 2012-02-20 09:29

      He has never won a race where he started from 3rd or lower on the starting grid. How is that world class?

      Fredster - 2012-02-20 11:07

      Good point Hans. Although I like Vettel, he has a few years to go, to prove that he is in the same class

      uwe.klopfer - 2012-02-20 11:09

      @Hans...makes him a world class qualifier :P

  • Sampie - 2012-02-20 18:44

    I fully agree that he may be second to Fangio as Schumie was in a class above all the rest. Just considder if Schumie wasn't denied another 2 titles due to a blown engine and a puncture. 7 Titles may not ever be achieved again and Schumie was so close to get 9. There should not ever be comparisons made with Schumie and therefore i sort of agree with Moss, only until the next German passes everyone else to become 2nd to Schumie.

  • Pit - 2012-02-21 09:51

    Please stop making these stupid, irritating comparisons.

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