Perception and reality can be two very different things. And sometimes, for a racing driver, it's perception that matters.
I remember taking a big interest in Niki Lauda when I was around 13 or 14, and I don't really know why. I suppose it was that he drove a Ferrari, seemed young and fast and took nine poles in '74 and '75 when I was at an impressionable age. He also won the championship in '75 and '77 of course.
But, as I dug deeper, reading the journalists of the time, I began to unearth opinions that suggested Lauda was fortunate to be in the Ferrari at that particular time, and that in terms of 'natural talent' he was certainly no Ronnie Peterson.
Niki Lauda (Ferrari 312T2) and Mario Andretti (Lotus 78 Ford) 1977 Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort © LAT
Peterson's reputation was based on his speed in the junior formulae, at March, when he did stand-out things in '71, and alongside Emerson Fittipaldi at Lotus in '73, when Emerson was the reigning champion but Ronnie was generally regarded as quicker.