Piquet burst onto the scene in 1979, effectively forcing Niki Lauda into retirement with some stunning qualifying performances. It convinced Bernie Ecclestone to entrust Piquet with team leadership at Brabham.
With Gordon Murray designing the cars it was a highly successful relationship, yielding two world titles. Piquet's brilliance as a test driver turned the unreliable BMW turbo into a title-winner.
A move to Williams made Piquet a very rich man, but his failure to exert his authority over team-mate Nigel Mansell also took the shine off his reputation. His huge Imola crash knocked the edge off his performance too, but his testing prowess in developing the active suspension brought a third title.
His Lotus years were a disaster, but two seasons at Benetton produced three more wins. After leaving F1 he entered the Indy 500 and badly broke both legs in a massive crash, which effectively ended his competitive career.
Should Nelson Piquet Sr. be higher or lower in F1's greatest drivers?View Results
|Born||17 Aug 1952|
|Active years||1978 - 1991|
|Champion||1981, 1983, 1987|