The plain and simple fact that Schumacher’s career was so long, so successful and spent with such successful teams that he has obliterated much of the record books – in absolute terms at least.
Yes, many great drivers who preceded him won races and fastest laps with such a high hit rate that they are very unlikely to be challenged. But the name Schumacher is writ large across the history books like no other.
Let’s take a look at just how many records he holds.
Schumacher is behind only Riccardo Patrese in career longevity. Even Rubens Barrichello may not surpass the Italian if he retires at the end of next season.
*Indianapolis 500 only
Ignoring the anomalous inclusions of the Indianapolis 500 in the beginning of the World Championship, Juan Manuel Fangio’s staggering win rate of 47.06% remains one of the toughest records to break in Formula One.
Fernando Alonso’s win rate is 15 from 86, 17.4%. To put that into perspective, he would have to win the next 48 races in a row to match Fangio’s record, or 27 to match Schumacher.
Again, Schumacher had the outright statistical record by volume but not by strike-rate. Not only do Fangio and Jim Clark have higher strike rates, but so does Ayrton Senna, who very nearly scored as many pole positions.
Indeed, Schumacher ‘only’ managed three more than Senna despite making 88 more appearances.
*Includes at least one shared fastest lap
It’s interesting that Schumacher’s tally of fastest laps falls some way short of his victories tally – it tells you something about his ability to win races with inferior cars.
As seen elsewhere, though, earlier drivers achieved better strike rates over fewer numbers of events.
Trebles: Victories from pole with fastest lap
This is a staggering statistic. Many of Schumacher’s ‘trebles’ come from the days of tot al Ferrari domination in the 2000s, but it is clear evidence of how he screwed every last drop of speed out of even the fastest machinery.
He scored two such trebles this year: at Magny-Cours and Indianapolis.
Wins in a season
Schumacher broke and re-broke Nigel Mansell’s record.
He and Rubens Barrichello are the two drivers two have made the most starts as team mate (102, 2000-2005) and most one-twos (24 in the same period).
Schumacher is tied with Nigel Mansell for the record of most wins at the start of a season (five in 2004, 1992 for Mansell). And he is tied with Senna for most pole positions at the same circuit – eight (Schumacher at Suzuka, Senna at Imola).
He holds the record for most consecutive seasons of winning at least one race – 15, 1992-2006. He holds the record for most wins at the same venue – eight, at Magny-Cours in France – and therefore also the record for the most wins in the same Grand Prix (eight, France).
At the 2003 Italian Grand Prix he set the record for the race win at the fastest ever average speed of 247.586 kph (153.843 mph).
In 2002 he finished 100% of races on the podium – 17 out of 17. He finished on the podium 154 times, also a record. He spent 5,108 of his racing laps in the lead, and led 141 races, both records.
He has made the most starts from the front row (115), scored the most points (1,369), finished the most races in the points consecutively (24, from 2001-2003) and holds the record for most consecutive fastest laps at the same circuit (seven).
In 2002 he won the World Championship with six rounds to spare, a record, earlier in the year than anyone before him (21st July).
And finally he is course the driver to have won the most World Championships (seven). As a result he has also spent the longest time as champion in terms of total days and consecutively.