Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Silverstone, 2017

Hamilton can match Schumacher’s seven titles, says Button

2017 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton has a chance of equalling Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of seven world championship titles, according to Jenson Button.

Hamilton can win his fourth world championship this weekend and has already surpassed Schumacher’s record for most pole positions earlier this season.

Asked in a BBC interview if he agreed only Schumacher ranked ahead of Hamilton in terms of being the sport’s greatest driver, Button said “when you look at the facts and the stats, of course.”

Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher
Hamilton on course to equal Schumacher’s 91 wins record
“He’s out-qualified Michael,” Button added. “In terms of world championships he’s got a little way to go.”

“I think we can honestly say he’s got a very good chance of winning this year. And I hope he does, last year was a very tough year for him in terms of he was very unlucky, this year it’s been on his side and he deserves to win the world championship.”

“Michael is still the greatest if you look at the outright results but if Lewis stays in the sport and Lewis stays as competitive he could get close to winning seven world championships. But only time will tell.”

Button took issue with some reports based on an extract published from his forthcoming book. He denied describing Hamilton as “weird” and pointed out he had only used that word to describe the relationship between.

“I actually read this the other day, I did some interviews this week leading up to the launch of my book, and it made me realise why I don’t like doing interviews,” said Button. “It was because they just grabbed ‘Lewis is weird’, which isn’t exactly what I said in the book, I was commenting on our relationship together and how it was strained.”

“And it was always going to be. We’re world champions in the same team, we’re both British as well in a British team. And I actually said that Lewis something which I thought was strange or weird. So it was worded slightly different. That’s why the book is so important to me because it’s my words, it’s not been taken out of context and used as a headline.”

‘Nobody gets excited’ by DRS passes

Asked which aspects of Formula One he’d most like to change, Button named at the Drag Reduction System and the current generation of engines.

“From a pure racer’s point of view I’d probably try and get rid of DRS,” he said. “Because nobody actually gets excited by watching those moves, you might as well get rid of it. Find other ways of making overtakes a little bit easier so you can properly fight for those positions, be proud of those overtaking moves.”

“But the big one is probably the sound. With the 1.6-litre V6s, doesn’t sound great. I’m definitely an old racing driver when I say ‘I remember the good old days of V10s and V8s’, but they were the good old days, revving to 21,000. The world’s changed, obviously we’ve got to try and be a lot greener, use electric and hybrid power. But true racer says V10 all the way.”

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Keith Collantine
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  • 38 comments on “Hamilton can match Schumacher’s seven titles, says Button”

    1. oh Shaddap Jenson. You know you only want Lewis to win to make yourself look better.

    2. 91 wins… Lewis needs 30 more… at least ten in each of the next seasons.. Unless… he wins all of them, which is insane to believe… He has had 10 wins 3 times, and by how he has been this season, he can still win all 4 remaining. What I always wonder, because this era of formula one has been all “clean air”. Most of his wins came from pole position… Wouldn’t he be criticized because his wins came by leading from the front? Which is clearly easier. He has had some superb overtakes, the one on Vergne in Hungary 2014 was one of them. Props to F1 2017 for giving us a better feel for dirty air… Good lord… Following a car at Suzuka in the S curves is a nightmare for the tyres.

      1. And how do you think most of Schumacher’s victories came about?
        Indeed, from pole position. And a Ferrari he didn’t need to push at 100% at any point in the race.

        1. Vettel’s as well. The vast majority of his 45 wins came about in a similar fashion: qualify on pole, sod on off out of DRS range before it’s enabled & then cruise to the finish. I’m sure those of us who weren’t necessarily the biggest Ferrari/Schumacher/Red Bull/Vettel fans remember those boring days very, very well. We also remember Ferrari’s special tires & the fact that neither Michael nor Seb were allowed direct competition from teammates. Lewis still gets criticized though, & his place among the greats is perennially questioned. For some strange (;)) reason, he normally gets held to a different standard.

        2. @solidg, pretty much any champion has you can name took most of their wins from the front two rows on the grid – Vettel has (all of his wins from the first three places on the grid, and 63% of those wins were from pole), and similarly you can point out that the likes of Schumacher and Senna also took a large chunk of their wins from pole, or at least from the front few rows of the grid.

          It’s a fairly long running trend as well, since there are historical figures who also took a large chunk of their success from pole, such as Clark (56%) – not that far behind that of Vettel – and, if you relax the criterion to starting in the first few rows, then you’ll see that figures like Clark and Stewart were taking well over 80% of their wins from the front few rows.

          People complain now about “dirty air” and not being able to follow another driver, but when you look across the whole history of the sport, most wins always came from the first few places on the grid – the pole sitter has won nearly 42% of all races, and 83% of all races from from the first four starting places.

          In reality, if you weren’t starting from pole, or at the very least within the top few places on the grid, then chances are that you weren’t fast enough to win on outright pace anyway, irrespective of what era you were competing in.

        3. Hamilton already has more poles than Schumacher had in his career, yet he’s still 30 wins short of Schumacher. So Hamilton has had even more chances to win from pole – yet, he’s not even close yet.

          1. Hamilton has had to compete on equal terms (and sometimes less than equal) with teammates for victory. Both Schumacher & Vettel made sure contractually that they had an easier time of it.

            1. Yes, that is my understanding as well. Whenever someone quotes a Schumacher record like the most wins it is the thought in the back of my mind.

        4. Schumacher only won from pole 40 times from 91 wins

          Hamilton 39 wins from 61 from pole

      2. I still think it is unlikely Hamilton will archive this or the 7 world championships. As I think it is unlikely Mercedes will remain competitive enough to win over half the races easily for several more years. Even if he goes to another team, I think it is unlikely that he’ll have made a very lucky move and suddenly found out that that team is pretty much the best. I know Hamilton is really good, but unless he is really lucky with how good his car is over the next few years, I don’t see it happening. Will Mercedes really be the overall best team for 7 years? I think that is unlikely. And if he moves team, as I said, I think it is unlikely he’ll be lucky enough for every year to have a car that is capable of over 10 wins.

        1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          19th October 2017, 8:48

          The Merc will probably be the car to beat for the next 3 seasons but I don’t think Lewis will be motivated enough to win another 3 titles in it. He seems to me more the type of character who would rather go and do a new challenge to keep motivated, whether that’s at a new team or outside F1 who knows. He’s said that he’s not motivated by records more the challenge.

        2. I agree with @rdotquestionmark

          If Lewis is motivated, its pretty realistic. Assuming he wins 3 of the next 4 races, thats 27 wins to go, 9 per season. 3 more years to go in this formula, and I’m pretty sure Merc will remain the team to beat. Depending on upgrades, the Renault powered teams will pick the odd win off each other, and Ferrari will be Ferrari, but I think the Merc will only get better.

          Merc have such a head start, that they arent catching up to anyone, they are the gold standard, and they have the resources to keep raising the bar.

          Basically, if the car remains competitive, with Lewis still motivated, and providing Bottas (or the like) is his teammate, he should be realistically able to eclipse Michael.

          1. Pah, Schumacher’s 7?

            Valentino Rossi 9 world titles.
            Sebastian Loeb 9 world titles.

            Lewis Hamilton 10 world titles?

            Possibly a motivation for Lewis…

            1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
              19th October 2017, 13:59

              *7 For Rossi

            2. @rdotquestionmark: rossi has 9, check again.

            3. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
              20th October 2017, 7:15

              @esploratore He has 7. You’re including 125 and 250 titles. Which would be like including Hamilton’s GP2 title.

              Check again.

            4. @rdotquestionmark: well, I don’t follow motogp, in his wiki page I think they say he has 9 titles, everyone is talking about him chasing the 10th title, while I’ve never heard people saying hamilton has 4 titles already.

            5. @rdotquestionmark: here’s what they say in the 2nd paragraph of the english wiki:
              Rossi is one of the most successful motorcycle racers of all time, with nine Grand Prix World Championships to his name – seven of which are in the premier class.

            6. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
              21st October 2017, 7:32

              Yes @esploratore they are including his junior titles in that tally. He has 7 senior and 1 x 125cc and 1 x 250cc. Because they all fall under the Moto umbrella they are rounding them up to try and get to 10.

    3. Most of his wins came from pole position

      Given he has the record for most poles, that’s a bit of a Catch 22.

      Until DRS was brought in, Hamilton was one of the few regular sources of overtakes in races. On that point I agree totally with Button, Formula 1 needs to lose DRS.

      1. Sorry, that’s a reply to @krichelle

    4. Colin NotMcRae
      19th October 2017, 3:42

      Has a lot to say about everyone else, doesn’t Jenson?
      Lewis “was weird”.
      Ralf chumacher “was a diva.”
      Briatore “was rude.”
      Sir Richard Branson “was drunk.”
      Little wonder Jenson didn’t amount to much in F1 – he spent most of his time observing other people, instead of figuring out how to win races.

      1. He had a very long career against some great drivers, was hailed as the best driver in the wet, was WDC, what more do you expect him to amount to???

      2. Colin NotMcae “was daft”

      3. Jenson “didn’t amount to much?” Blimey, I wish I amounted to that little too, some £85 million worth of not amounting to much in F1. I’ll take it!

      4. Lewis “was weird”.

        Didnt the article you’re commenting on just clarify that he never said that?

        Can’t argue with the rest though.

      5. Button has something pretty positive to say about Hamilton, and that’s your response ?
        Weird…
        :-)

      6. Lewis “was weird”

        Well, as he since pointed out, he actually said the relationship went a bit weird.

        Ralf Schumacher “was a diva”

        On evidence, entirely correct.

        Briatore “was rude”

        That’s surely the polite version.

        Sir Richard Branson “was drunk”

        Statistically, probably captures 90% of the UK adult population, on a good week.

    5. Of course yes with a overpowered car definitely he can.

    6. Before Max entered the stage I would have said yes. But now I am not so sure anymore

      1. Interesting to see if the rise of the likes of Max and others provide Hamilton with the motivation to continue. Last race he talked about his desire to keep “this young guy” behind him and prove he still has it.

        1. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
          19th October 2017, 12:49

          @mayrton I broadly agree. The proviso is whether Verstappen can get into a WDC contender during the remainder of Hamilton’s career – it’s by no means certain.

          If I were Lewis, one of the biggest motivations to continue would be to block Max’s route into Mercedes – Verstappen is an amazing prospect already and he’s only just turned 20, if he’s given an easy route to a top seat he could break all the records. So stick to your seat like a limpet Lewis!

          The other reason for Lewis to continue is that he’s a direct contemporary with Seb, I’m sure he’d want to convincingly beat the one guy who most people will compare him to in future.

          1. Just like Hamilton. Hamilton was really lucky to always being in the fastest of second fastest car in all of his formula one career! You all are saying that he will beat schumacher’s record if Mercedes keeps on being the best team in the years to come. You all seem to realize that Hamilton is not that good and that he needs to have the car advantage that he has had for the last 4 years in order to win more championships. The Mercedes car and engine are the best by a mile. Hamilton is not that good as you believe he is.

            1. This comment says something most people forget: if hamilton remains in a top car for several years again, he will clearly have a higher % in a top car than schumacher, win records are cause of it, also cause of how long you stay in f1 and how good you are ofc.

              Hamilton is good but I don’t think he’s exactly at schumacher level, whether he gets past the record or not, and consider this: aren’t fangio and clark reasonable contenders to best of all time? But they have very few wins, cause they also raced less time, and there were a lot less races back then, hamilton, and then verstappen and whoever else comes later, will be advantaged there’s even more races than schumacher’s times.

              Let’s see something, schumacher:
              91 jordan, 10-12 mercedes: midfield cars
              91-93 benetton, 96, 05 ferrari: cars capable of podiums on merit but not wins (only exceptional circumstances, a bit in doubt about 96)
              94-95 benetton, 99-00, 03, 06 ferrari: championship contending cars
              97-98 ferrari: cars capable of wins but by no means at the level of the best team of the year
              01-02, 04 ferrari: dominant cars

              hamilton:
              07-08, 12 mclaren, 17 mercedes: championship contending cars (12 with reliability problems and team mistakes)
              09 mclaren, 13 mercedes: cars capable of occasional wins and podiums
              10-11 mclaren: cars capable of wins but generally not at the level of the best team
              14-16 mercedes: dominant cars

              This is my opinion at least, so based on this hamilton never had a midfield car, the closest it comes to it in early 2009, schumacher did, however it also seems schumacher had more years with good enough cars to fight for or win championships, at least at this point ofc.

            2. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
              20th October 2017, 20:30

              You all seem to realize that Hamilton is not that good and that he needs to have the car advantage that he has had for the last 4 years in order to win more championships.

              This is ahistorical, nearly all championships are won with the best car. But in Hamilton’s case he’s on course to win in the second best car for the second time (the first was in 2008).

    7. If Verstappen wasn’t around then probably.

    8. For the good of the sport, I hope he doesn’t.

    9. I distinctly remember Jenson defending these new engines back in 2014. He even said that its better because he doesnt get headaches anymore. But now he is an “old racing driver” and remembers the “good old days”

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