Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2004

Hamilton: Schumacher is still F1’s greatest of all time

2018 Mexican Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says he still considers Michael Schumacher the greatest Formula 1 driver of all time after moving closer to the seven-times champion’s record achievement.

Hamilton, who replaced Schumacher at Mercedes in 2013, followed his predecessor by becoming the third driver in F1 history to win five world championship titles. The first was Juan Manuel Fangio.

Hamilton is two shy of Schumacher’s tally of seven titles and 20 race wins away from equalling Schumacher’s record of 91.

Asked following his championship victory today whether he now considers himself F1’s ‘GOAT’ – the greatest of all time – Hamilton said that accolade still belongs to Schumacher.

“Michael’s still quite far ahead in race wins so you have to say he’s still the ‘GOAT’,” said Hamilton.

“Fangio I think is the godfather and always will be from a driver’s perspective. To do what he did in that time where it was so dangerous, I respect him so highly. I feel a great honour to have my name alongside his, that’s for sure.

“I’m naturally just very proud to have the Hamilton name up there. The Hamilton name will always be there. If you could see how tough it was for us in the beginning – even this year still fighting and still becoming stronger each year – I feel like I’m still driving with that fierce fire I had when I was eight years old.

“So I’ll keep going until that goes. Which I don’t think is every going to go, but I’m probably going to run out at some stage.”

Hamilton said he has many goals outside F1 but winning the world championship means the most to him.

“I’ve still got things to achieve, still so many targets, so many things ahead,” he said. “If I can tick off one of the things on my list each year it’s always at the top, winning the world title. I give everything for that.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
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15 comments on “Hamilton: Schumacher is still F1’s greatest of all time”

  1. Statistically, he is the greatest ever, but statistics will also tell you that Maldonado is better than Hulkenberg. It’s hard to compare drivers in a sport like F1 where there is a variable greater than driver skill at play. And that doesn’t even take into account comparing drivers from completely different eras. Generally, you would expect the quality of drivers to improve over the decades, as more and more drivers join karting and junior formulas, meaning it takes greater talent to even join the F1 field compared to previous generations. Not to mention that drivers coming into F1 now are being honed and trained for this profession from extremely young ages, whereas someone like Graham Hill only got his driving license at age 24. Physically and mentally, drivers tend to also be better as time progresses due to a greater emphasis on analyzing every aspect and improving, and improvements in our understanding of sports science. But would this generally mean that someone like Hamilton is better than Schumacher simply because he came a generation (or two) after him? Not necessarily. But in terms of pure driving ability, it is quite safe to assume that he is better than someone like Fangio, Moss or any drivers from the 50s-70s (although they might have been better relative to their opposition of the time, and certainly braver).

    1. i disagree just because a few years have passed since the 70s it makes a driver have a better ability.

      I have to say 10 years ago drivers weren’t tripping over each other at the rate they do now. And now they have DRS to make it easier for them.

      I don’t think the standard has gone up. As a group the standard has possibly dipped. Lewis, Max, Daniel and Fernando aside.

      1. q85 I disagree with your statement that drivers weren’t tripping over each as much. There were plenty of driver-induced incidents during the time, and that was during the years of refueling when wheel-to-wheel battles were few and far between. Due to DRS and Pirelli tyres, there is an increase in the number of battles we see. And an increase in the number of battles would naturally lead to an increase in the number of drivers “tripping over each other”. During the period around 10 years ago that you were talking about, we usually saw an average of approximately 14-16 overtakes per race. Nowadays, we generally see about 24-26 overtakes on average per race, and some seasons such as 2016 saw an average of 41.6 overtakes per race. So I completely disagree with your statement that the standard has dipped. Perhaps you have forgotten how F1 used to have to like of Barrichello, Kovalainen, Sutil, Fisichella, Liuzzi, Sato, Davidson etc. as some of the top midfield drivers. Compare that to Hulkenberg, Sainz, Perez, Ocon and co. and I think I definitely rate this generation of drivers far more.

        1. That generation more often than not got through lap one without an incident. This one simply cannot, when did we last get a race without a stupid crash on lap 1? often they aren’t even racing incidents they are poor driving.

          Also remember going back another 10 years 95-ish a accident on lap one usually resulted in a red flag. Did we get that many? No.

          The drivers you mention are pretty similar frankly in performance. Admittedly they used to be some seriously weak drivers like Taki, and for example Lance is better than him so it has moved on. But midfield up its certainly hasn’t.

          But maybe that is because the respect for safety has gone, and the tracks allow for errors?

  2. Statistically, he is the greatest ever, but statistics will also tell you that Maldonado is better than Hulkenberg.

    This. A million time this.

  3. Maldonado was the greatest ever. At something.

  4. Yup only in stats, but that’s what we have to go by I guess.

    Ferrari can shove a couple of those championships where the sun don’t shine.

    1. Which ones and for what reasons?

  5. Yes MS will always the best even LH won 10 title because f1 now a day boring of the rules n regulation, no freedom.

  6. The ‘GOAT’ – LOL.

  7. Very difficult to compare across eras. I would put all those top guys, Fangio, Prost, Senna, Hartley, Schumacher, Hamilton, Alonso, in one big top guys bunch.

  8. I think it’s a bit unfair to suggest MS is only better by stats.
    As much as I disliked Schumacher in his Ferrari days and some questionable tactics throughout his career I was still always amazed by his talent – he was better than Alonso and Raikkonen and Hakinen – it was always him vs someone else for the title when he was in F1 (ok not his last stint).

    Hamilton is amazing – as good as MS – not sure anyone will be as good all round as he was at his peak. But no doubt Senna, Hamilton, Fangio, and MS are the greatest drivers we have ever had (you could add Clarke,Prost, Stewart, and many others but I’ve read the books watched the films and the 1st 4 is where the emotion, elation and unbelievable things have happened)

  9. In my opinion, Hamilton is the GOAT. Not my favourite driver, certainly not my favourite person, but an incredible talent which I think has surpassed any of his predecessors or contemporaries in basically every area. I don’t see that he has any weaknesses right now – no deficiencies where he’s at a disadvantage to another driver. He combines the relentless consistency and workrate of Schumacher with the sheer raw pace of Senna. It is an absolute privilege to witness his legend in the making. Every season he gets stronger and stronger, creating a legacy which will remain unbeaten for decades.

  10. Don’t understand this current generations media to have to call anyone at the top of their game in sport the ‘GOAT’.

    It is like they are trying to convince us their product is better than it was before. We all have eyes, we can make that call on our own.

    I stopped watching motogp for while because they basically trademarked it for Valentino. They literally couldn’t say his name without adding that opinion, an opinion the commentator should possibly keep to themselves.

  11. I love it…. Hartley. Hahaha that easter egg made my day!

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