The 15 Best Formula 1 Drivers of All Time Ranked Exclusively by Facial Hair

The 15 Best Formula 1 Drivers of All Time Ranked Exclusively by Facial Hair

You can argue about stats all you want. I judge my drivers by their beards and sideburns.

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If you really want to cause a commotion in the Formula 1 world, start asking fans to rank their greatest drivers. In mere moments, you’ll watch chaos descend as debate rages between the relative merits of Juan Manuel Fangio when compared to Michael Schumacher. This holiday season, I thought I’d craft my own ranking of the 15 greatest F1 drivers — but ranked specifically on the quality of their facial hair.

Close your eyes and conjure up some images of Formula 1 drivers throughout history. There’s a fairly good chance you’re thinking of a few less due to the Championships they won and more due to the fact that there was something charismatic and memorable about their appearance. In some cases, that probably comes down to facial hair.

Beards and facial hair come in and out of vogue in normal fashion, but for racing drivers, the presence of a beard or mustache usually comes with some discomfort thanks to the presence of fireproof balaclavas rubbing against the prickly hairs. Despite that, some have committed to the look — and today we celebrate those intrepid heroes.

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Honorable Mention: Charles Leclerc

Honorable Mention: Charles Leclerc

Gif: YouTube

I know, this isn’t really facial hair. But it deserves recognition. Whets the palate for what’s to come.

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15. Nick Heidfeld

15. Nick Heidfeld

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The late 2000s and early 2010s were too good to us.

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14. Fernando Alonso

14. Fernando Alonso

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Photo: Mark Thompson (Getty Images)

Alonso’s commitment to various forms of facial hair throughout his racing career has been commendable. Whether it’s a full beard or whatever creepy little soul patchlett he was rocking in the Renault days, he’s always made a statement. For that, he earns my deep respect.

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13. Lewis Hamilton

13. Lewis Hamilton

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Less is more — especially when it comes to Lewis Hamilton’s thin beardlet. He’s sported more impressive facial hair later in his career, but I always find myself picturing this little strip of jawline fuzz, and I smile.

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12. Keke Rosberg

12. Keke Rosberg

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Photo: Reg Lancaster/Daily Express/Hulton Archive (Getty Images)

Keke Rosberg carries about him the vibe of a tough 1980s biker. He looks like he’d kick your ass if you glanced at him the wrong way, and so much of that comes down to the mustache.

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11. Clay Regazzoni

11. Clay Regazzoni

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Photo: Allsport UK /Allsport (Getty Images)

The Swiss legend Clay Regazzoni was a master of the befuzzed upper lip. It was a great look for him, conveying the authority of his years. The Bell hat, however...

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10. Sebastian Vettel

10. Sebastian Vettel

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Photo: Mark Thompson (Getty Images)

Sebastian Vettel ranks highly on my list of best facial hair because it was, honestly, really shocking to see him rocking anything at all. From his “not allowed within 500 feet of a school” furry upper lip at Ferrari to his most recent unkempt Jesus aesthetic, the German has shown that facial hair deserves to be changed up each time we make a significant change in our lives.

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9. Valtteri Bottas

9. Valtteri Bottas

I’m not really sure why Valtteri Bottas has suddenly decided that his whole off-season brand is going to be creepy mustache, mullet, and douchey seaside skater bro attire, but I am fucking obsessed.

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8. Henri Pescarolo

8. Henri Pescarolo

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Photo: Keystone Features/Hulton Archive (Getty Images)

I think the thing that impresses me most about Henri Pescarolo’s beard is its shapeliness. Just look at it. It’s perfectly round. How did he do it? Henri, please. Share your secrets.

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7. Nigel Mansell

7. Nigel Mansell

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I refuse to acknowledge the era when Nigel Mansell was clean shaven. In fact, I refuse to even consider him “clean shaven” in that period — he was naked. He had lost his identity. Tragic.

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6. Jo Bonnier

6. Jo Bonnier

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Photo: George Freston/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive (Getty Images)

Jo Bonnier singlehandedly predicted the faciaGeorge Freston/Fox Photos/Hulton Archivel hair trends of the 1990s a whopping three decades before every industrial musician nailed the look. Is Bonnier a race car driver, or does he play the synth for Nine Inch Nails? Truly, he could have done both.

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5. John Watson

5. John Watson

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John Watson sported what we might think of as a playoff beard. He joined up with Team Penske after the death of Mark Donohue, and anyone who knows The Captain knows that Roger Penske likes his drivers to maintain a certain image — a clean-shaven one. Watson, who had been bearded for about seven years, agreed that he’d shave the sucker off if he won a race with Penske. So, with Watson’s victory at the 1976 Austrian Grand Prix came a great loss to the world of motorsport’s great beards.

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4. Harald Ertl

4. Harald Ertl

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Harald Ertl. Man. Every time I see that luscious swath of facial hair, I’m left speechless. Breathless. I wish I could grow a beard, just so I could mimic his look.

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3. Emerson Fittipaldi

3. Emerson Fittipaldi

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At multiple points in my life, I have been able to recognize Emerson Fittipaldi by nothing but a mere glimpse of his iconic sideburns. This man found his style in the early 1970s, and nothing can convince him to change. Get you a man who commits to you the same way Emerson Fittipaldi committed to his sideburns.

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2. Graham Hill

2. Graham Hill

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A classic. An icon. It may be sacrilege not to include Graham Hill’s legendary pencil ‘stache as No. 1 on the list, but I hope my reasoning will become clear on the next slide. Nonetheless, the prim and proper look that Hill sported throughout his career is immediately recognizable by anyone with even a little knowledge of motorsport history. Graham Hill invented the personal “brand” well before that was influencer marketing speak.

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1. Daniel Ricciardo

1. Daniel Ricciardo

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Maybe I’m biased, but I think Daniel Ricciardo has crowned himself as ultimate master of the F1 facial hair universe thanks to his... unconventional... choices. I don’t know what has possessed this man to debut a new, strange level of beard when it comes time to race in Austin, TX, but I deeply respect the commitment to looking as ridiculous as possible.

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