Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Hamilton poised to become the greatest driver ever – Jordan

2020 F1 season

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Former F1 team principal Eddie Jordan says he rates Alain Prost as the best driver he’s ever seen – but believes Lewis Hamilton is poised to become the greatest ever.

Hamilton already has six world championship titles, but Jordan noted Prost “lost one by half a point [and] lost another world title by a point” in addition to the four he won.

“For me the best driver I’ve seen in the 30 years that I was around was Alain Prost,” Jordan told Off The Ball.

“But that’s probably going to change very shortly because I do feel that Lewis Hamilton has achieved all of those things. OK, in a different era where there is a monopoly, the car is just quite simply staggering. But nevertheless, he’s maximised it.

“So I would say by the next couple of months, if there is a championship this year, we’ll see yet another world champion achieving seven world titles. I think Lewis Hamilton has every chance to be the greatest driver of all time.”

Prost’s willingness to take on championship-winning rivals such as Niki Lauda, Keke Rosberg and Ayrton Senna in the same team impressed Jordan. “The one point that comes out for me stronger than anyone else [is] he never minded who his mate was,” said Jordan. “He was a team player.”

Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari F2005 launch, Maranello, 2005
Jordan was unimpressed by Schumacher’s status demands
He contrasted this with Michael Schumacher’s handling of Eddie Irvine and Rubens Barrichello when they joined him at Ferrari team in 1996 and 2000 respectively. Jordan gave all three their F1 debuts.

“When I reflect back on all of the contracts I had to sign with Ferrari, with the great Michael Schumacher, no doubt about his outstanding talent, but he let himself down in one area for me and that one area was that in every contract that I signed with Irvine, Barrichello or whoever they were, there was a clause there that they always have to play second fiddle to Michael Schumacher,” said Jordan.

He said Irvine, who drove for his team from 1993 to 1995, could have been a world champion with more application.

“He used to sit on his butt all day in his apartment. He was the laziest driver of all time and it’s a shame because he could have been a world champion so easy. But that was his style. He was a nightclub guy. He didn’t really wake up to 12 o’clock in the day, or even later sometimes.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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52 comments on “Hamilton poised to become the greatest driver ever – Jordan”

  1. John Richards (@legardforpresident)
    20th April 2020, 7:55

    Jordan giving his two cents about who he thinks is the greatest F1 driver is about as relevant as it is mediocre. The fact that he had Prost pegged as his greatest driver speaks volumes about his choices. Also, do we care, Eddie? Go back to selling teams to defunct car brands.

  2. What’s the problem of considering a 4-time world champion that was team mates with other greats like Senna and Lauda and raced neck-to-neck with them the greatest ever? That says nothing about him.

    On the other hand your comment says a lot about you…

    1. And I’d argue Prost definitely should have been champion in 1990. If Schumacher could be disqualified from the championship for his Jerez antics with Villeneuve, surely Senna should have been excluded from the 1990 results for his deliberate Suzuka move. I’ll always put Prost, Fangio and Clark above Senna and Schumacher based on sportsmanship alone.

      1. This is one thing Hamilton has on Senna and Schumacher, maintaining atleast somewhat of a sportsman behavior.

        Senna and Schumacher were on a different level in that department. Besides in todays F1 that kind of behaviour wouldn’t fly.

        Verstappen is on the edge for example, but Senna and Schumacher crossed it many times. How great would Senna have been if he lived? He had 2-3 Championships in him.

        Who would know, we can speculate, even who is better Senna or Prost? It is open for debate.

        What is not open for debate is that Schumacher was the greatest of his generation, while Hamilton is much the same in the current generation.

        Atleast the candidate for #1 GOAT must be the clear best of his generation?

        1. … while Hamilton is much the same in the current generation.

          Fun fact, no. Before Hamilton had his dominating Mercedes virtually nobody had him in the discussion for the greatest driver of his generation. I dare you to find me many articles from 2010 to 2016 that talk about Hamilton as so much the greatest driver of his generation, let alone all time. It was always between Vettel and Alonso at the time and it is still now (the “greatest driver of his generation” doesn’t lose a world championship to Nico Rosberg of all people).

          Who would know, we can speculate, even who is better Senna or Prost? It is open for debate.

          The only reason there’s a debate is because Senna had the biggest hype machine in motorsport history behind him until Hamilton came along. Objectively, Prost always was on a higher level than Senna, as evidenced by the fact that Prost outscored Senna in both of their seasons at McLaren, even though Honda gave Ayrton better engines and Senna turned team politics against Prost.

          1. Fun fact. There are no facts in the above post.

          2. I dare you to find me many articles from 2010 to 2016 that talk about Hamilton as so much the greatest driver of his generation

            A ‘dare’ should be a bit more specific than asking for ‘many’ examples ;)

          3. No fun and definitely no facts.

          4. Hilarious

            Hamilton started in 2007 and if you doubt the three campaigns prior to your ‘dates’ left anyone thinking he was anything other than in the discussion you must be about 12 years old. He missed the first as a rookie thanks to a ridiculous team pit stop, an unreliable car and Massa pulling over for Kimi In the final race. A point. Old money. Has anyone ever been required to pull over for Hamilton to win a championship? Ever?

            He missed 2016 by the same amount in old money due to three catastrophic engine failures two in qualifying one 20 laps from winning. His record that year was ridiculous the very best – poles, podiums and wins. Yet he lost. He was not beaten.

            He has always been in the discussion even in his karting years.

            You just were not listening.

          5. @drg
            “Has anyone ever been required to pull over for Hamilton to win a championship? Ever?“
            Vallteri, it’s James……
            Vallteri, it’s James…again
            Hey Vallteri, it’s James here….

          6. Actually, Kovalainen let Hamilton through in Hockenheim 2008 as well. Might have given him the WDC that year.

            I really don’t care that this happens sometimes, it’s team-racing as well. There is no comparing people from different generations. You can argue that Hamilton was up there with Alonso from his first season. As Schumacher was fighting with Senna and outpacing Piquet from his first (full) season.

            Senna was up there when he got the chance from his first season. That’s what make them greats. You can’t compare them to one another, as they have driven in different generations. You can compare Senna and Prost as they drove together, but even then it is hard. Senna was clearly quicker over a single lap, Prost was way more consistent. It is what you prefer in a driver. Both were able to play the political game when it helped them. Everybody knows that Prost used that to his advantage, but Senna also gave his veto against teammates and try to use his immense popularity for good use as well.

          7. Read my statement.

            Has he ever had anyone pull over in the last race of a down to the wire championship to win? By a point.

            No he has not. He has usually won by far in excess.

            As for Kovi – hardly the last race.

            It happens but to constantly berate the man and suggest it’s all about the car? Well there are two of them and he was as I said in the running long before he even got to F1 let alone 2011 on.

      2. In that case, Prost should have been stripped of the 1989 WC for his deliberate move at Suzuka…

        1. Turning into a corner that was his and getting hit by dive bomb. Senna was desperate. That move was never going to happen even if Prost was able to dematerialize. Should Prost have just moved out of the way?

          1. Look at the overhead angle of that overtake. Prost turned into Senna so sharply that he was about to cut the corner. Every bit as intentional as Senna’s move the following year, but Prost seems to get a pass where Senna and Schumacher don’t.

      3. @Tommy-c

        Prost was fully at fault for both collisions in Japan 89 and 90

  3. LH has to win a title for Ferrari to join the true greats. He’s leaving it very late….

    Long after Lewis is forgotten, Eddie Jordan will still be remembered for singing the Irish national anthem in Irish on the podium when Damon Hill won a race for him one year.

    1. Why the requirement to win one with Ferrari?
      He’s already won championships with two different teams, in two different technical eras.

      If he did go on to win one with Ferrari, you’d probably then say something like ‘Well, he’s got to equal his Mercedes title number at Ferrari to be considered a great’

    2. Why does he need to win a title with Ferrari to be considered as a great? There are a lot of drivers who are considered as great drivers who never drove for Ferrari, let alone won a title for them.

      Is Clark not a great driver for never driving for Ferrari? Are Senna or Prost to be dismissed for not winning titles for Ferrari? What about drivers like Fittipaldi or Moss?

      There are a lot more drivers who are considered to be great drivers than there are who won a title for Ferrari – I don’t see why that should be adopted as an arbitrary benchmark.

      1. Well, the thing is Merc is a bit on the dominant side you must admit. But win with Ferrari: now that is a challenge.
        Some of the best have failed to achieve with the scuderia, latest being Vettel. I stand ready to salute Lew if he was ever to take on that challenge. He might even win with flying colours, the first in 14 years.

        1. Yes, current mercedes has been way too dominant, so it’s not as much about winning with ferrari but winning with a non dominant car.

          What titles did hamilton win with a non dominant car? 2008, maybe arguably 2018? Even so that was more a title vettel lost really. Definitely hamilton deserved 2007 for such a performance in the first season.

          What about schumacher? 1994, 1995, 2000, 2003, that’s quite a few titles that weren’t a walkover for a reason or another (1994 would’ve been if he hadn’t been excluded from 4 races).

          1. 2017 , 2018 & 2008….no dominant car for Hamilton in these years

        2. Islander, each to their own, but to me it just comes off as being somewhat snobbish and pretentious to declare that a driver needs to have won a title for Ferrari in order to be considered as a great driver.

          I appreciate you might not want it to come across in that manner, but in seemingly wanting to give those who have won a title for Ferrari some sort of mystical aura, it comes across as having a bit of a condescending and derogatory attitude towards the achievement of other drivers and implying their achievements are somehow degraded for not having won with Ferrari.

        3. Mercedes wasn’t dominant in 2017 and 2018. Ferrar had an equal car (at least) in 2017 and the better car in 2018

  4. Sherlock Jordan. Also michael and eddie have history. Leaving Jordan after 1 race, Jordan gifting Spa to Hill, Michael getting Ralf to leave Jordan.

  5. Tommy Scragend
    20th April 2020, 10:48

    Prost “never minded who his mate was”? Apart from vetoing Senna joining Williams in 1993, that is.

    1. How can you say he lost the championship by so and so points? It was a race and someone won, period. He lost the race, he didn’t lose the title. If he had the title and someone claimed it from him, then he lost the title. We don’t say all 20 other drivers lost the title do we.

    2. Because he couldn’t trust Senna. Prost helped bring Senna into McLaren in ’88. I can’t imagine any current top driver wanting to Verstappen in. How many world champion teammates did Prost have?

      1. @darryn since you ask, Prost had two team mates who were already World Drivers Champions – Niki Lauda and Keke Rosberg – and a third, Ayrton Senna, who became a WDC winning driver during his tenure at McLaren.

        As an aside, you are quite right to point out that Senna wasn’t McLaren’s preferred option – they actually wanted to sign Piquet Sr, partially because they thought it would make sure that Honda backed them, but Prost talked Ron Dennis into signing Senna instead as a driver whom he thought was better for the team, even if he accepted that it might compromise his own personal success.

        On top of that, Prost was partnered with two other drivers – Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill – who, although they had not already won a title when they were a team mate to Prost, went on to win a World Drivers Championship.

        You also have two other drivers – Patrick Tambay and Rene Arnoux – whom Prost was team mates with who also both came close to winning a WDC title as well: both Tambay and Arnoux were in contention for the 1983 WDC, and indeed their points haul was part of the reason why Ferrari won the World Constructors Championship.

        It is also worth noting that there were times when Senna also blocked other drivers from being partnered with him – at Lotus, for example, he blocked their plans to hire Derek Warwick and insisted that they pick a driver who would be subordinate to him (hence why Dumfries was hired instead).

        1. they actually wanted to sign Piquet Sr, partially because they thought it would make sure that Honda backed them, but Prost talked Ron Dennis into signing Senna instead as a driver whom he thought was better for the team

          I always felt the Professor sought to avoid Nigel’s fate at Williams, but it backfired so funnily. I’m sure he never expected Ayrton to be so ruthless.

        2. Dumfries was hired over Warwick because he brought considerable money with him from what I remember, not because Senna feared Warwick in any way.

  6. “When I reflect back on all of the contracts I had to sign with Ferrari, with the great Michael Schumacher, no doubt about his outstanding talent, but he let himself down in one area for me and that one area was that in every contract that I signed with Irvine, Barrichello or whoever they were, there was a clause there that they always have to play second fiddle to Michael Schumacher,” said Jordan.

    So, why did Jordan sign contracts with Ferrari and Schumacher again?! He is still mad Briatore bullied him out of the contract.

    And if you look at the races, Schumacher never really needed that clause in the contract, did he? Austria 2002 happened because Silverstone 1999 happened. Ferrari didn’t want to lose any points for their star driver that could deliver and was by then 4 times WDC.

    1. So, why did Jordan sign contracts with Ferrari and Schumacher again?

      What other reason than he was managing the said drivers that were paired with Schumacher… duh!
      Of course as their manager he had to read through the contract details.

    2. “Schumacher never really needed that clause in the contract, did he?”
      Yes he did. The whole car was designed with only Schumacher in mind. He had a very particular driving style and this hindered his team mates a lot. Similar to what is happening at Red Bull with Verstappen.

      Plus, Johnny Herbert explained that he wasn’t allowed to see Schumacher’s telemetry. While Schumacher could see his.

  7. I think Eddie is correct about Prost in my opinion. I think he is the best driver of my years following F1.

    Schumacher was a fantastic driver but he was a cheat. Twice he tried to win Championships by driving his opponent off of the road. I could never see Lewis doing this.

    1. The current rules don’t allow that, let’s see a hamilton racing in the 1990s! Remember 2016 abu dhabi for example, I am on hamilton’s side on that but I wouldn’t put it past him to do what senna and schumacher did if it was legal.

      1. @esploratore Slowing your opponent down a bit is not really the same as crashing into them. Not even close

    2. Senna was clearly better than Prost, and was Prost was dirtier, crashing into Senna twice in both Japan 89 and 90.

  8. Schumacher was a very very good driver the statistics show it. But when you have a clause that entitles you to unequal treatment in the same team then that nullifies / reduces the greatness of the statistics and the driver. The ferrari car was also built specifically for his style of driving and his team mate(s) had to drive the same (similar) car even if it was not to their style or liking.

    1. So, you think Mercedes develop a car to Bottas his liking? Red Bull is building a car to Albon’s liking? Off course not, every team builds the car as much as possible to the liking of their fastest driver.

      1. Bottas has never complained the car is not to his liking. He just complains (laments) that Hamilton is able to extract more from the car no matter the circumstances or the car

        1. And that’s proof the car is not built for HAM?!? How about BOT is that bad that he doesn’t know when the car is good for him or not…. and he simply thinks it’s him who has to up his game all the time?!

  9. But nevertheless, he’s maximised it.

    No, he hasn’t. Still a sensible candidate, though.

    I always preferred Senna over Prost, but I totally understand who rates him above. Actually, between those two and Piquet, I never seem to decide who I definitely put higher on my alltime list. My only certainty is Fangio stands alone at #1.

  10. This is the biggest nonsense ever. The only reason Hamilton wins so often is because he’s in a suped-up race car from a rich company. You put Lewis Hamilton in a Williams car and he will lose every race, every day.

    1. And [insert your favorite driver here] will lap every one else in the same Williams. /s

      1. Yes, no one can do anything in a williams, but many many top drivers would do what hamilton did in that mercedes!

        1. Not against Hamilton in the same Mercedes. Hamilton is head and shoulders above the grid right now regardless of the car.

  11. Yep, here we go.

    I cant think of too many drivers who have won championships with inferior equipment. Some drivers relied on the superiority of their cars more than others. While some drivers extracted the maximum out of their equipment with the help of the team to dominate.

    Either way, they were all doing their jobs.

    GOAT is a difficult one, always will be subjective. That bloke with a Phd from Sheffield Uni came up with a model a few years back, remember that? Fangio came out tops, with Prost second..perhaps he was onto something? For the best part of 20 years, I’ve maintained Prost was greatest. My appreciation for F1 only goes as far back as the 80s, so I can’t comment on Clark. Prost just seemed to be so far ahead of his time, he was ultra quick without seeming like he was. He was a modern day F1 driver in an era before big data. Imagine what he would have achieved if he had all of today’s tools at his disposal.

    1. @jaymenon10 Hamiltoin won against a stronger Ferrari in 2008. In 2017 Ferrari had the equal car (better I would say if only Vettel hadnt blundered so much)’and in 2018 Ferrari was clearly stronger.

      So “inferior” not really, but clearly he didn;t win only with dominant cars. Although people then will pretend that it was only because of the car’. Even though it clearly wasnt, but when you look at the scores it looks like that. Only, it was Hamilton who was dominant and not the car.

  12. The people crying in these comments are hilarious.

    And their tears will never change the records, so do yourselves a favour and don’t waste your energy.

    Lewis is the GOAT.

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