Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher, Interlagos, 2012

Schumacher’s records still far away from being beaten – Vettel

2018 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Michael Schumacher’s records remain a long way off being beaten despite the gains Lewis Hamilton has made in recent years, according to Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton won his fifth world championship this year which leaves him two short of matching Schumacher’s all-time record. He’s also moved closer to Schumacher’s record of 91 wins, which he is now 20 away from reaching.

Vettel, who has won four world championships and 52 races, said it’s “difficult to compare” his and Hamilton’s achievements with previous drivers. “Yes, you can compare, but every time is different. I think comparing maybe with the generation of Michael is probably easier but comparing back is more difficult.

“I don’t know, I think it depends in the next years how competitive we will be [and] how competitive Lewis will be. It’s impossible to predict. I still think that Michael’s numbers are quite far away.”

The Ferrari driver was praised for his gracious reaction to losing the championship in Mexico. He said his response was the “normal” was to acknowledge defeat.

“Obviously it’s not nice to lose. But if you do, I think for me it was normal, you just respect the other side. It’s part of the game that we play.

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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit of the Americas, 2018
Hamilton is closing on Schumacher
“I mean, there’s bigger things in life than what we do on the track but for us they are big because they’re a big part of our lives. So I think it’s part of normal behaviour, I would say, to respect when others are just a bit better.”

Ferrari are still able to beat Mercedes to the constructors’ championship. Vettel said the team’s improved form in recent races gives them cause for encouragement.

“It’s still a fight for the constructors’, that’s what we’re focused on. We try and out-score them by as many points as we can and then we see whether it’s enough. It is difficult to predict.

“Obviously we have brought the car back to where we know it and with what we feel more comfortable with. In the last two races I think we have been more competitive. Hopefully we can keep that up and be competitive here and in Abu Dhabi and give them a very hard time so we’ll see.

“Here it’s always difficult to predict. Interlagos has something magic about this place, things just happen normally. We’ll see how the weather turns out, how everything turns out, it’s going to be a challenging weekend.”

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32 comments on “Schumacher’s records still far away from being beaten – Vettel”

  1. Obviously it’s not nice to lose. But if you do, I think for me it was normal

    I know is out of context, but it is fun nevertheless

  2. I think among the towering achievements of Hamilton, it is also easy to forget that Vettel’s personal statistics have also reached a high that few drivers could only hope to emulate. While Vettel had two years of complete domination, Hamilton has enjoyed four years with an untouchable car. Both of these drivers have achieved something they define their generation, and indeed I feel this would be called the “Hamilton-Vettel era”. Feels good to watch this and the MotoGP renaissance in my lifetime.

    1. If only Alonso had also been in a top car, @major-dev. What battles we would have seen between the three of them. What a crying shame.

  3. Between this and Raikonnen’s answers, it’s state the obvious day at Ferrari :)

    1. @tango – just you wait, I hear Arrivabene is calling a press conference to declare that their cars are red and white ;-)

  4. With regards to Schumacher, Jacques Villeneuve said:

    “I would rate Lewis above Michael, by miles. There’s been too many negative stories. Too many question marks on how some races or championships were won. And being a great champion is more than just winning races”.

    1. I don’t really like to compare drivers. They’re different. Some work hard to galvanise a team around them, such as Schumacher. Some have a more difficult personality but make up for it with raw speed, such as Senna or Alonso. Some are somewhere in between, such as Hamilton. Some are unbeatable when really hooked into a car, such as Vettel or Button.

      Some of Schumacher’s tactics were questionable at best, but you can’t argue with the stats.

      1. …and if I’m being really naughty…

        Some struggle to win the Championship even with the best car… a-hem… *Jacques*… a-hem…

        1. Another Jacques won Indianapolis, the Indy World Series and the F1 World Drivers’ Championship, despite a German’s efforts to drive him off the road.

          1. @gnosticbrian, Jacques’s victory in the Indy 500 was not without controversy, as he was penalised during that race for overtaking the safety car twice during a caution period and given a two lap penalty (although regained those laps during later safety cars), as well as the later penalty to Scott Goddyear during that same race.

            He did also have the advantage of driving what was considered to be the best combination of chassis and engine that season, which was a Ford XB engined Reynard 95i chassis – whilst he wasn’t the only driver with access to that sort of package, he did have an advantage over a fairly sizeable chunk of the field that year in IndyCar.

            It also has to be said that Jacques has a history of rather abusive and vindictive comments about drivers who have beaten him – just look at the way that he has lashed out in the past at Kubica, such as spreading malicious accusations that Kubica was trying to sabotage and undermine the drivers at Williams.

            Equally, only a few months ago, rather than complimenting Hamilton, Jacques was accusing Hamilton of being “in a crisis”, “falling asleep” during races and “no longer able to drive the car” he was given, to the point where he was suggesting that Mercedes “must now bet on Bottas” instead – funny how he’s conveniently forgotten those earlier remarks, isn’t it?

            With that in mind, Jacques’s comments come across as entirely self serving, saying something to distract attention from his previous criticism of Hamilton and saying what he thinks his audience wants to hear, rather than what he actually believes – especially if it gives him a chance to kick a former rival at the same time.

      2. Beat them and we can talk!

    2. What question marks?

      Schumacher was clearly the best driver in 1994 but effectively had 4 race wins taken from him.

      1995 he beat the faster Williams comfortably in the end.

      2000 he won fair and square against the slightly better McLaren.

      2001, 2002 and 2004 he had the best cars and broke every record in the book.

      2003 he won an even championship.

      Which of those 7 weren’t legitimate?

  5. Amazing really that we all thought Schumacher’s records insurmountable in 2006, yet here we are barely 10 years later with two credible threats to them. Hamilton and Vettel are both still young, have good cars and teams built around them.

    Very rarely are records forever in Formula One, but I certainly never expected Schumacher to be beaten so quickly. While the tally of Championships might be tricky if Mercedes lose dominance, I’d suggest Hamilton is odds on to beat the total of wins eventually.

    1. Indeed. I think the record will be broken within the next two seasons.
      I would rather it wasn’t – not out of any ill favour towards Hamilton, but because I would like to see him challenged more closely.
      Break it after 3 years and we’ll at least have had three years of close fights for wins and championships!

    2. To make true comparisons between the drivers surely the number of grand prix’s raced to get there have to be considered as they have increased in number since each drivers campaigns.

  6. Hamilton getting 7 or 8 championships or 100+ wins doesn’t automatically make him the greatest ever, nor necessarily better than Schumacher because according to many people Schumacher’s 91 wins and 7 championships don’t automatically make him the best of all time.

    Schumacher came into F1 in 1991 and never had the best car on the grid until 2001.

    While Schumacher won 5 championships in a row in the 2000’s, 2000 and 2003 were very even championships. The only truly dominant cars he had were in 2002 and 2004 — and to a lesser extent 2001. I would probably equate Schumacher’s 2001 car to Hamilton’s car last year. The Williams was quite fast in 2001, it just didn’t have reliability.

    Even though Schumacher had a dominant car in 2002 and 2004, it was nothing like the dominance Mercedes enjoyed from 2014-16. Those were the most dominant cars in the history of the sport. Schumacher in his prime would have won 16 races per season in the 2014-16 Mercedes. He would have won 5 consecutive championships between 2014-18 and would have accumulated somewhere in the region of 70-75 wins quite comfortably. I think he won 12 of the first 13 races in 2004 and was only denied in Monaco because Montoya ran into the back of him under safety car. Towards the end of 2002 and 2004 he gave cheap wins to Barrichello in order to pacify him. Barrichello had been successful in waging a PR battle against Schumacher. These days it’s almost routine for a second driver to move over or have their strategy sacrificed for the lead driver. Schumacher was only ever handed ONE win.

    Schumacher got his 75th win in his 200th race.

    To me that is incredible, especially when you consider he sacrificed 4 years of his peak at Ferrari. He left the team he won two championships in a row with to go to a basket case Ferrari team. Unheard of in F1. Nothing like that will ever happen again because drivers are so focused on accumulating numbers.

    It’s not like Vettel who left RBR because he could see RBR dropping off and Ricciardo being a handful. Or Hamilton leaving McLaren because he was no longer enjoying the McLaren environment and Mercedes were seen as one of the teams to be with in the new hybrid era

    Imagine if Schumacher had stayed at Benetton accumulating wins in the mid to late 90’s. Or went to the Newey Williams or McLaren. Or went chasing cheap championships like Senna and Prost did at the end of their careers.

    For all the talk about Todt and Brawn at Ferrari, Schumacher was the key piece in winning all those championships.

    Schumacher could have jumped from one contender to another accumulating wins and championships. He didn’t have to go to Ferrari. He was the clear best driver of the day.

    Brawn and Todt needed Schumacher. Schumacher didn’t need them.

    I can’t imagine a Hakkinen, Frentzen, Villeneuve, Montoya, Ralf Schumacher, Fisichella, Hill, Coulthard inspiring the total commitment and respect from the entire team that Schumacher commanded. It was there from when he got there in 1996.

    1. If Ham gets 100+ wins he is automatically the best ever. As far as I’m concerned.

      1. @f1bobby
        Does this mean that Schumacher’s 91 wins automatically make him a greater driver than Senna, who won only 41?

      2. As said below, if Hamilton is best ever with 100+ wins then we have to say that Schumacher is best ever right now with 2 more championships and 20 more wins. Schumacher didn’t have as dominant cars as Hamilton as well. Schumacher’s 1991-2006 win ratio was staggering. 91 wins from 250 races.

        Schumacher’s records will be broken given bulletproof car reliability across the board, given 21 races per season, drivers starting their careers earlier.

    2. Totally agree, anon, schumacher could’ve won a lot more if he didn’t have the goal to bring ferrari back to title glory and\or if he had stated for 2007 and 2008, when he was still younger than 40 and was still pretty fast as proven in 2006.

      Good question, kingshark, I disagree that the numbers alone make a driver better, and even the % of wins and titles are hardly giving a real representative answer to who the best driver is, cause on one hand, great drivers like clark, fangio, ascari, stewart didn’t have enough races to compete with schumacher or hamilton, but on the other hand, it’s much easier to win 24 out of 51 races than 120 out of 255! And schumacher’s first stint had 254 races and 91 wins if I recall.

      I’m a schumacher fan and that obviously helps at putting it as the best driver ever for me, I think hamilton is a top 5, but isn’t always as consistent and overall had too good of a car, he didn’t exactly prove what he could do in a real midfield car (2009 only first year, he wasn’t bad I’ll admit), and drivers like fangio and clark, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t have achievement the same as schumacher had they raced at his place, so no way to say at least those 2 are worse, and probably even prost.

    3. @anon

      Schumacher came into F1 in 1991 and never had the best car on the grid until 2001.

      Blatant disregard for facts again.

      1. Fastest cars:

        1994 Williams
        1995 Williams
        1996 Williams
        1997 Williams
        1998 McLaren
        1999 McLaren (should never have been so close but Hakkinen threw away races. Schumacher broke his leg anyway)
        2000 McLaren
        2001 Ferrari
        2002 Ferrari
        2003 Ferrari
        2004 Ferrari
        2005 McLaren (speed)/ Renault (reliability). Tough to call but Ferrari basically weren’t competitive
        2006 Ferrari (Tough to call this one. Renault did win the constructors. As genuine a toss up as you get. Schumacher had more impressive performances but Alonso was more consistent. If Schumacher’s engine doesn’t blow in Suzuka while in a commanding lead and Alonso’s teammate doesn’t slice his tyre in Brazil Schumacher wins).

        He had the best car 5 times by my count and won 7 championships.

        And that’s being generous. One could argue that the Renault was slightly better in 2006 or should have had points stripped for using the mass damper. You could argue that Schumacher would have won in 2003 in the Williams or McLaren.

  7. “I don’t know, I think it depends in the next years how competitive we will be [and] how competitive Lewis will be. It’s impossible to predict. I still think that Michael’s numbers are quite far away.”

    Maybe for you, Seb. Not for Lewis, though.
    2 more seasons and voilá. Quite feasible.

    “Obviously it’s not nice to lose. But if you do, I think for me it was normal, you just respect the other side. It’s part of the game that we play.

    Well, except for Alonso, I think it’s a fair statement ;)

    1. @niefer
      Vettel is still 2.5 years younger than Hamilton, so if it’s possible for Lewis, then it’s possible for Seb.

      1. Lewis is capitalizing on competitive drives, Vettel is not. Who is to say the next 3 seasons aren’t Red Bull dominated? How long has Ferrari been waiting for a competitive car? Drivers need to capitalize on competitive drives in this V6 era. This is what Vettel is getting at, and what should be worrying us all.

        1. Hamilton had the best car in the history of the sport between 2014-16 yet only won 2/3 championships.

          Vettel did not have the best car this season. Hamilton was supposed to win this year.

          1. Vettel did not have the best car this season? Keh?

            What planet are you on?

            There is not a single expert, pundit or media outlet agreeing with you anywhere. Yet somehow you in your arm chair have decided, once again Hamilton is advantaged and that little he does counts.

          2. Mercedes were clearly the quickest the car. Mercedes blunders early in the year flattered the Ferrari.

      2. Actually he is 18 months younger

        1. Hamilton: January 1985
          Vettel: July 1987

          2.5 years of difference in age

  8. In hindsight it was a mistake for Ferrari to get rid of Schumacher so hastily at age 36. 36 is nothing these days. Ferrari has held onto Kimi until 39. Brazil 2006 showed he was still driving at a very high level. It wasn’t 1995-02 vintage Schumacher, but equal to the best in the world.

    Raikkonen wasn’t as good as everyone thought.

    Schumacher would have won in 2007 and romped to the title in 2008. Would have likely accumulated another 20 wins and 2 championships.

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