How Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher compare after record-equalling win
Here, the PA news agency compares the two most successful drivers in the sport’s history.
The statistics speak for themselves. Schumacher and Hamilton have 91 victories, 38 clear of the next driver on the list, Sebastian Vettel. But over one lap, Hamilton is the standout leader. His pole at the Russian Grand Prix was the 96th of his career, and there is every chance he will reach a landmark century before the end of the year. In contrast, Schumacher scored 68 poles during his career. Hardly a blemish on the German’s record, but it is Hamilton who edges him for pure speed.
“Lewis is exceptionally talented, and he does not play games. He will never play dirty. In fact, I think he’s the cleanest guy I ever raced against.” That is the verdict of Jenson Button, the 2009 world champion who partnered Hamilton at McLaren for three seasons. Indeed, it is almost impossible to recall an on-track misdemeanour during Hamilton’s career. However, the same cannot be said for Schumacher. The German collided with Damon Hill at the title decider in 1994. Three years later, he was thrown out of the championship in disgrace for banging into Jacques Villeneuve as they vied for the championship. And, in 2006, he was found to have deliberately parked his Ferrari at Rascasse in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix to prevent rival Fernando Alonso from setting a lap. It is these controversial moments that cast a long shadow over Schumacher’s standing in the sport.
Schumacher was afforded the luxury of preferential treatment as the number one driver for both Benetton and Ferrari. In contrast, Hamilton has had three world champions as team-mates; Fernando Alonso, Button and Nico Rosberg. Following Rosberg’s retirement, Hamilton has been joined by Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes. While a steady peddler, the Finn is not a top-level performer and that has aided Hamilton’s run to the past three championships with his fourth in as many seasons set to follow this year. Would Hamilton have as many titles if Rosberg remained in the sport?
Hamilton arrived in Formula One as the most prepared driver in the sport’s history after he was signed by McLaren when he was 13. He was in a world championship-winning car from the outset before he moved to Mercedes in 2013 with the manufacturer then going on to dominate F1 Car reliability is much greater in Hamilton’s age than it was Schumacher’s. Schumacher won his first title in arguably inferior machinery, with the Benetton regarded to be slower than Williams in 1994. Schumacher’s run of success with Ferrari at the turn of the century was the greatest the sport had seen. He won 13 of the 18 races staged in 2004 – a record that still stands.