Ali wrote:"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
Haha, I'm liking the Tolstoy..
First off, I ould say that each era to me breeds its on brand of great drivers, who will only later be considered great. In 20 years time, we will probably consider Ralf Schumacher as a kind of Jacques Laffite/Rene Arnoux type figure (obviously without the charisma), it's just that while their memory is still particularly fresh, we will continue to mock them and badmouth them until they become part of an era which we come to think of positively.
In this way, there are no particularly better eras than others in terms of drivers, in my view, except that some people will always view the latest era as the worst, simply because they preferred a previous time to the current one.
I argue for instance that now, with Alonso, Raikkonen and Hamilton and probably Vettel, Kubica, and to an extent Massa, we have a selection of truly great drivers. The only way their greatness is restricted is by each other, stealing dominance and race-wins off each other. Just because it's tight at the front, and scrappy at times, doesn't mean it's poor. You telling me Senna, Prost, Mansell and Piquet never spun off? They did. The current era's drivers need some slack too.
My point in this post is that you cannot say x era was miles better than x era, simply because of the quality of the drivers in the field. There will always be winning drivers filling the breach, and the selection of drivers is usually, when put together, of a great standard and variety of complete legends. Therefore, to me, great eras depend upon their regulations, their notable races and seasons, and their principles and qualities.