Having now equaled Michal Schumacher’s record of 7 world titles, Lewis Hamilton is now definitely in the echelons of Formula One’s greatest-ever racers. The British racer, who is currently recovering from Covid 19 sealed the deal after winning the Turkish Grand Prix a couple of months back.
AutoSports created profiles for some of the greatest drivers of all time. While profiling Schumacher, they noted his “controversial” driving style. Schumacher’s case as the best driver ever is substantial. He possesses t), the most titles, and the fastest lap. He also has the most consecutive titles, winning every year from 2000-2004.
Hamilton, on the other hand, has been something of a prodigy. He was the youngest driver to ever win a title. Over the last decade, Hamilton has been nearly impossible to defeat. While it’s true that Schumacher is ahead of him in overall wins and championships, the night is young. Hamilton has plenty of time to catch him due to his early start.
But who is the greatest driver? The British star or the German legend?
-- The statistics show that Hamilton has raced for 14 seasons and has taken part in 264 Grands Prix since 2007 while Schumacher competed for 19 seasons with 307 races in two spells -- 1991-2006 and 2010-2012.
In 2020, Hamilton surpassed two other Schumacher records - number of podiums (163 against 155) and victories (94 against 91).
In qualifying, Hamilton has the clear edge with 97 pole positions dwarfing Schumacher's 68.
Schumacher, however, has more fastest laps -- 77 to 53
At the age of 35, Hamilton still appears to have time on his side although he has yet to start negotiations on a new contract with Mercedes.
Statistics can, however, be misleading.
The number of Grands Prix each year has increased over time. In the Schumacher era, there was an average of 16 every season. In Hamilton's time there has been an average of 19.
For Mercedes technical director James Allison, who worked with both Hamilton and Schumacher, it is their "burning desire" for victory that distinguishes them from "simply very good drivers".
"All the truly great champions probably have more in common than they have differences, in that they are all unusually determined," he said.
"The fact Lewis still cares about winning championships with the same ardour that he had when he was an 18-year-old boy, is what sets him, Michael and the other great champions apart.
"Clearly they were near the front of the queue when God was handing out physical gifts."
One cannot deny the brilliance of both drivers across their respective eras. The way Hamilton has performed this season he has edged ahead of Schumacher - but only just.
Naturally, Schumacher has always had that aura of an icon around him. Hamilton is on his way to achieving such status and maybe will be given the same recognition by the next generation of drivers.