Since the inception to Formula 1, the sport had two drivers at their disposal. Most of the times we’ve seen two drivers fighting among themselves for the ultimate glory, but there are certain times when we’ve seen each team having a primary driver and a secondary driver. The secondary drivers are often called number 2 drivers and they’re very instrumental in fetching the Constructor’s Championship for a team.
In today’s episode we’ll talk about such supportive drivers who made some personal sacrifices and abided by the team’s instructions to follow up for the overall glory. Here are the top 10 number 2 drivers in F1 history.
#10. Ricardo Patrese (partnered Nigel Mansell in 1991 and 1992)
Starting with the tenth place, we have Ricardo Patrese from Italy. Born in 17 April 1954 in Padua, Italy Patrese raced in F1 from 1977 to 1993. After two seasons at Ferrari, Patrese was partnered with Nigel Mandell at Williams in 1991. The Ferrari team back then was a team that was expected to contest for both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships. Back to back wins in Mexico and Portugal gave Patrese his most competitive ever F1 season but the Italian never managed to threaten Mansell. Williams completely dominated the 1992 season and Patrese continued to deliver in his role of second driver, even moving out of the way for Mansell while leading comfortably at that year’s French Grand Prix. At the end of the year, Patrese took only one win at the Japanese Grand Prix and had eight other podium finishes, meanwhile Mansell recorded nine wins en-route to dominating the championship.
#9. Eddie Irvine (partnered Michael Schumacher from 1996 to 1999)
Up next in ninth place, we have Eddie Irvine from. Irvine was born in 10 November 1965 in Newtownards, County Down, Northern Ireland. Having raced from 1993 to 2002, the man’s known for partnering Michael Schumacher in Ferrari from 1996 to 1999. Apart from helping Michael in his way to take the world championship Irvine managed to amass 11 points, 24 points, 47 points in 1996, 1997 and 1998 respectively and lost the championship by just 2 points to Mika Hakkiken. Irvine’s efforts during the season helped Ferrari to clinch their first World Constructors’ Championship in 16 years in 1999.
#8. David Coulthard (partnered Mika Hakkiken in 1998 and 1999)
Next in the line up we have David Coulthard in the eighth place. Born in 27 March 1971 in Twynholm, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland Coulthard joined Finn Mika Hakkinen at McLaren in 1996, many predicted a fierce battle between the two. Hakkiken, however won the duel between the two winning Driver’s Championship in 1999 but Coulthard did more than enough to help Hakkiken and Williams take the Constructor’s Championship in 1998.
#7. Martin Brundle (partnered Michael Schumacher in 1992)
Up in the line we have Martin Brundle who’s in seventh place in the list. Born in 1 June 1959 at King’s Lynn, Norfolk, England, Brundle was active from 1984 to 1996. Partnering Michael Schumacher, Brundle had strong finish to the season but he could never out-qualify his teammate. He came close to a win at Canada, where having overtaken Schumacher and closing on leader Gerhard Berger, the transmission failed. Martin outraced the German at Imola, Montreal, Magny-Cours and Silverstone, and scored a notable second place at Monza. At Spa, Belgium Brundle continued when Schumacher went off the track. Having 165 race starts to his name this driver helped his Benetton team have a strong finish into the 1992 season.
#6. Gerhard Berger (partnered Ayrton Senna in 1990, 1991 and 1992)
Next up in the sixth place we have Gerhard Berger. Born in 27 August 1959ATS, Arrows, Benetton, Ferrari, McLaren. Brundle partnered Brazilian Ayrton Senna at McLaren in the year 1990, 1991 and 1992. Berger was brought into the British team for his outrageous pace that exceeded his predecessor at McLaren, Alain Prost. Gerhard not only helped McLaren fight for the Constructor’s Championship but also contested with Senna on almost equal terms. During his three years at McLaren, Berger grabbed four pole positions and out-qualified Senna 8 times.
#5. Francois Cevert (partnered Jackie Stewart in 1973)
Up ahead we have Francois Cevert in the fifth place. Born in 25 February 1944 at Paris, France, the Frenchman had 47 races to his name. Cevert was active from the year 1970 to 1973 and partenered Jackie Stewart at Tyrell. The Frenchman finished second in France and Germany, both times behind leader Stewart. Then, in the season-ending United States Grand Prix at the newly extended Watkins Glen race course, the Frenchman earned his first and only Grand Prix win. From there on, Leading up to the final race of the 1973 season, Cevert had finished second six times, three times behind Stewart. But with Stewart having already clinched his third world championship, Cevert unfortunately died during Saturday morning qualifying while battling for pole position with Ronnie Peterson.
#4. Sir Stirling Moss (partenered Juan Manuel Fangio in 1955)
In the fourth place we have Sir Stirling Moss from Britain. Born in 17 September 1929 at West Kensington, London, England, Sir Moss has 67 race entries to his name. Moss paired up with the incredible Juan Manuel Fangio at Mercedes in the year 1955. Although Fangio outclassed the Briton but Moss wasn’t any bad and almost had same level of performance for the German giants. The Englishman’s first World Championship victory was in the 1955 British Grand Prix at Aintree, a race he was also the first British driver to win. This was the first time he managed to beat Fangio, his teammate and arch rival, who was also his friend and mentor. It has been suggested that Fangio sportingly allowed Moss to win in front of his home crowd. Moss himself asked Fangio repeatedly, and but Fangio denied doing this and gave Stirling full credit for his win.
#3. Rubens Barrichello (partnered Michael Schumacher from 2000 – 2005)
Now, in the podium place we have Rubens Barrichello from the Samba nation. Born in 23 May 1972 in São Paulo, Brazil, Rubens was one of the most famous names in Formula 1 in 2000s. With 168 race starts to his name, Barrichello supported Schumacher to win drivers’ titles from 2000-2004 and helped Ferrari win the constructors’ championship on five occasions as well. Barrichello wasn’t as competitive as Schumacher but he enjoyed his most successful season in 2002, when he won four races for the team and finished a career best second place in the drivers’ championship.
#2. Mark Webber (partnered Sebastian Vettel from 2007-2013)
In the runner’s up position we have Mark Webber from Australia. Born in 27 August 1976 at Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Australia, Webber has 217 race starts to his name and has joined Red Bull alongside Sebastian Vettel in the year 2007. Red Bull has been totally dominant from 2010 to 2013 and there’s no doubt that the Australian played an important role for the Austrian based team to snatch back to back four championships. Even though Mark was instrumental to the titles but one thing does remain clear from their years together at the team that Vettel has been the undoubted No. 1 with 31 race wins to Webber’s 9 in overall comparison.
#1. Valtteri Bottas (partnering Lewis Hamilton from 2017-)
And finally in the top place we have none other than Valtteri Bottas from Finland. Born in 28 August 1989 at Nastola, Finland, Bottas is the only driver in the list who’s competing in the current edition of Formula 1. Bottas joined Mercedes from Williams in 2017 and has partenered Lewis Hamilton every single year since then to win back to back Championships. Mercedes won Constructor’s Championship in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 and Bottas played his part in it. Having won 9 races till date for his team and supporting Lewis in picking up his driver’s Championship, the Finn has been doing his bit even today. Mercedes and Lewis are very going strong thanks to great support from Valtteri Bottas.
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