That conundrum should be an easy one to answer, with all the electronic gizmo’s in today’s F1 cars. And yet it happens. Look at Verstappen who now has a finishing record of 50 percent, while Ricciardo (his team mate) is finishing on the podium each meeting, other than the time he was crashed into by young Verstappen. I subscribe to the theory that Age, Experience and Animal Cunning beats youth and enthusiasm any day! (But that is probably because I am in the “old” category these days!)
There is no doubting the fact that some drivers are harder on their cars than others. A classic example was (Sir) Stirling Moss who was very hard on his cars, and crashed more than a few of them. Still he remains known as the best driver to never win the World Championship. A few less accidents and he would have won it.
Fangio is revered as the most outstanding F1 driver, who knew how to drive with his brain as well as his right foot, winning at Nürburgring and taking nine minutes off the lap record, beating Peter Collins and Mike Hawthorn who had ruined their tyres.
Another canny competitor was (Sir) Jack Brabham, who knew how to preserve his tyres, winning the British Grand Prix at Aintree after preserving his tyres to the end of the race, enabling him to finish ahead of Moss who had to pit to replace worn tyres
To give you a discussion topic, Tony from Oz forwarded a link towards the greatest drivers. http://www.skysports.com/f1/news/12433/11011553/who-is-f1s-greatest-ever-driver. But even with a head start to compare a driver in a 20 GP season with a six GP season is impossible.
The cars are also very much different and the pre-war drivers such as Nuvolari and Caracciola had so much more to contend with. But the discussion is fun.