Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Mugello, 2020

Stewart: “Hard to justify” calling Hamilton the greatest driver ever

2020 F1 season

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Three-times world champion Sir Jackie Stewart says Lewis Hamilton’s near-record-breaking success doesn’t necessarily make him the greatest driver in Formula 1 history.

Hamilton is on course to equal Michael Schumacher’s all-time records of 91 race wins and seven world championship titles this year. But Stewart, the oldest world champion still alive, said it is hard to compare Hamilton’s success to the champions of his era.

“I don’t think that you can account [for] that sort of level of success, just because today there are 20, 22 races, whereas in the old days when for example Juan Manuel Fangio… raced maybe sometimes six, eight or nine races a year in Formula 1,” Stewart told the In The Fast Lane podcast.

“They were driving sports cars, GT cars et cetera. But in the world championship now, Lewis Hamilton or any of the other top contenders today, are doing 22 races or 21 races but only in Formula 1. Not in touring cars, not in GT cars, not in IndyCars, not in Can-Am cars. So therefore, you can’t really compare.”

Fangio is still the greatest, says Stewart
Stewart said the superiority of Hamilton’s Mercedes is “not good for the sport”, and also makes it harder to compare his success with that of past champions.

“Lewis drives extremely well, make no mistake, I’m not in any way diminishing his skills, but it isn’t the same,” said Stewart.

“Lewis made a very good decision when he left McLaren at that time and went to Mercedes-Benz. And I take my hat off to him for making that decision. But frankly, the car and the engine are now so superior that it’s almost unfair on the rest of the field.

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“Now, you can’t say that. You must take your hat off to Mercedes-Benz, to Toto Wolff and of course, Niki Lauda before that, they were working together to make one hell of a team, choosing the best engineers, getting the best money that most other teams couldn’t get apart from, say, Red Bull.

“Therefore, it’s not quite the same respect, if you like, of being able to do it in less than the best car. And that’s where sometimes there was a difference between the very, very great drivers and the ones that were very successful.

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2012
Hamilton is on course to break Schumacher’s records
“So it’s difficult to say that about Lewis not being as good as, say, Fangio was in my mind. A lot of people would find fault in that. But I’ve been watching motor racing and luckily, as a wee boy, my brother was a racing driver and I was going with him to races and seeing Ascari and Nuvolari and Caracciola and people like that. Some of the best racing drivers in the world, I saw.

Stirling Moss was certainly one of them and he never won a world championship because he never drove the right cars, he always went to drive British teams, that sort of thing. So it’s difficult to put that in proper terms.”

Stewart said he still considers Fangio, who won five world championships in the fifties, as F1’s all-time great.

“Juan Manuel Fangio in my mind is the greatest driver that’s ever lived,” he said, “with Jim Clark as the second-greatest, even ahead of [Ayrton] Senna.”

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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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238 comments on “Stewart: “Hard to justify” calling Hamilton the greatest driver ever”

  1. Oh Jackie! At least you’re as predictable as you are sour.

    1. The man is simply right. Comparing seasons where one team easily scores a 1&2 in the WDC with seasons where 5 drivers were within 10 points of eachother is nonsense.
      Comparing the absolute number of victories is nonsense when the seasons vary from 6 to 22 races…
      Fact is that the Mercedes F1 cars have bee utterly dominant for 8 years… So 7 titels is very good work but you cannot claims he’s better than someone that scored 5 titles in years where one or more driver(s) were killed… You will never drive that close to the limit if it’s that dangerous and being fastest and keeping the car in one piece makes Fangio’s titles more special.

      1. utterly dominant for 8 years

        No they haven’t, 14,15,16 and 20 is 4 not 8

        1. Mercedes scored 146 more points than Ferrari in 2017, 84 in 2018, 235 in 2019 and are currently 174 points ahead of Red Bull with 7 races left to go. The only one of those seasons that wasn’t dominant was 2018.

          1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
            6th October 2020, 20:09

            How many points did Ferrari lose through driver error, if you’ve got the info.

        2. Even in 2019 Ferrari had a straight line speed advantage, bhp PU advantage and took as many poles as Merc. 2018 was close but GPS show Ferrari had the fastest 2018 car (AMuS). There are many calculations that show Ferrari lost near 100 points to errors

          1. @Eathan

            2017 Merc car not dominant – Ferrari had equal race pace to Merc but Merc had a small PU/qualifying advantage.

          2. If the season were to be redone and drivers could choose their teams, do you think a single driver on the grid would prefer Ferrari over Mercedes? Then you’re deluding yourself.

          3. @krommenaas Hamilton and Mercedes were more composed in 2017 & 2018. I still think if you switched Vettel to Mercedes and Ham to Ferrari in those years that Ham would still have won the WDC

        3. they have been dominant since 2014.
          Over the complete season they have been dominant, every year.
          Their total package has been superior, together with the team. Check the standings, no other team ever cam close between 2014 and now
          2018, Ferrari cam closest to 80!!! points, 80…

          This is the most dominant Team in F1 ever, and still people are saying, that they weren’t, don’t really understand it

          1. they have been dominant since 2014.

            They haven’t

          2. This is the most dominant Team in F1 ever, and still people are saying, that they weren’t, don’t really understand it

            Probably because Ferrari threw the championship away in 2017 and 18 @johnever. They had the chance to win and let it slip thru their fingers, so the “stats” make it look like Mercedes dominated

      2. What you and Stewart are purportedly missing @w0o0dy is that Lewis is part of the team dominance. We hear time and again how his energy and relentless competitiveness inspires the debriefs, how active he is in the factory, resisting complacency, how hard he works. The team knows that whatever car they bring to a weekend will probably be maximised and very rarely wasted, it must be hugely motivating. Valtteri is part of it too, to be fair, how they can be together on track all the time and never touch, part of the positive culture. Not to mention the sponsor value (here we are on another 150+ post Hamilton article)…

        1. Do I believe that Hamilton works hard and fits in the team and helps them to stay motivated? Yes I do. Does he maximize results up to the limit of his ability? Yes I think he does. But simultaneously I do feel he has had it super easy most of the years.. no real threat within the team, no big problems with the car to deal with, little strategic blundering.. fastest car. If someone from the current top 10 drivers had had that, they could be multiple world champion too. How many really breathtaking fights have we seen on track from Lewis in the last 8 years? How many times did he have to fight through the field to get a podium?
          To be honest, most of the time he did great in qualifying and then simply drove ahead of the pack, mostly unchallenged. Is he a good driver? Yes he’s great even. But is he the fastest most impressive racer that brings home unexpected successes? Nope, he just had it relatively easy and didn’t put a foot wrong most of the time. That doesn’t sound like the greatest ever, I’m sorry.

          1. “How many really breathtaking fights have we seen on track from Lewis in the last 8 years?”

            Great question but you’ve been too smart for your own good

            The answer is very few, but that’s still far more than the four others who won during that era. It’s typical of F1 in this millennium, apart from 2006,7&8, we’ve had a dominant car all season

            But of a daft comment, as we saw against Rosberg (memorably mugged at Japan and USA in 2015, or was it 2014) Silverstone and Germany 2018 and Hungary last year

            Other than Vestappen can you tell us who’s overtaken him in a straight race? Rosberg, didn’t do it once!!

          2. No need to apologise to me @w0o0dy, if you’re missing this bit of F1 history that’s up to you. I can only point out that reciting the results begs the question, that it looks easy because he and not someone else is in that team. The greats do tend to make it look easy, and inspire the people around them. I don’t know what kind of fights you’ve been missing, how long is it since he started right at the back and caught up his teammate?

        2. “How often has Hamilton had to start at the back and caught up with his team mate?”

          The answer Is Hamilton really makes those kinds of mistakes.

          On those occasions when he’s had engine penalties, or as recently, been penalised with stop go penalties, we have seen him overtake to catch up and take podium positions. By contrast look at his team mates in similar positions.

          Also let’s not forget his record pole position, Often the results of some quite incredible driving.

          I don’t say Hamilton is the greatest. I would reserve that accolade for the drivers who have faced the greatest risks. He is certainly the greatest of his generation and deserves to best Schumacher record.

          1. How do you define greatest? it is a comparison of results/performances between periods… So far he is the most complete and almost flawless driver of his time… From the beginning, what is the measure? By WDCs? Sure he will match the next highest… Wins? He is about to match and probably surpass that soon along with the WDC this season… Poles? He has already obliterated it same with pole to win… He has done a lot of “mosts”. Tying these achievements to just car is just pity or pure jealousy! We know Jackie, he is no fond of Ham, so expected to say controversial things to keep his name and voice in F1, rather than his own achievements…

            Greatness is probably a very personal comparison for most people/critics and reserved for longer history to show, but as a driver, Ham has shown he is some heck of a driver, i dont think he needs to prove himself more than he already did!

    2. Best said DeanR

    3. Yep @Dean, hard not to be a bit suspicious afaic, tho it might just be that Lewis once turned down his coaching offer and has since blown away all his records, with double the number of wdc’s etc etc. Jackie being someone who always ends up talking about himself, seriously into his own status.

      1. Jackie being someone who always ends up talking about himself

        So at least you prove you have not read the article.
        The man is right, even has a right on his own opinion. Even you have a sort of opinion and thats a good. thing

        1. I’ve been watching motor racing and luckily, as a wee boy, my brother was a racing driver and I was going with him to races and seeing Ascari and Nuvolari and Caracciola and people like that. Some of the best racing drivers in the world, I saw.

          Perhaps it’s you who hasn’t read the article @erikje.

          And no he’s not right. He pretends to say it’s impossible to tell who’s the greatest, and then says it’s not Hamilton. It’s a shabby and rather dubious little attempt at a put-down, that didn’t need saying.

          1. On the Marbles
            6th October 2020, 17:05

            Indeed, Stewart has always been cold on hamilton, getting any form of compliment from him is like pulling teeth unless it’s accompanied by some form of put-down or caveat. It does Stewart no favours as he coes across as sour, most likely after spending 40 years as the highest British acheiver in F1 along comes this guy who blows away his records and doesn’t really have much interest in Stewart himself (given that Stewart retired long before Hamilton took an interest in racing, and quality film of his racing is lacing compared to the 80’s onward, that’s not surprising).
            He is of course correct that it is pretty much impossible to to tell who’s the greatest, first you have to define ‘greatest’ then you have to correct for all the differences in circumstance that have occurred across 70 years of racing.
            He is also right that counting wins when there are so many races per season now is also not a fair comparison, but percentage wins is a much more even measure and that puts Hamilton third after Fangio and Ascari, just ahead of Clark and Schumacher and a fair chunk ahead of Stewart, Senna and Prost. Those eight could all arguably be in contention for the title of greatest F1 driver, but such a vague title could never be indisputably allocated when the basis of the statistics by which it could be measured has varied so much over the decades, therefore it all comes down to opinion, and as we all know, when it comes to opinion everyone else is wrong.

        2. Stewart’s always had an issue with Hamilton and was busy gaming him allsorts during the ‘spygate’ and ‘liegate’ scandals

          For a balanced opinion, it’s basically anyone but Stewart

      2. Precisely. Self idolised.

    4. Poor Jackie is a victim of his own racism. While he goes to great lengths to describe the variables between eras, he neglects and to mention the bigotry and hatred Lewis had to overcome just to obtain a seat in F1. Had any of Stewart’s faves faced the arduous climb Lewis was confronted with, there would be no basis for denying his greatness.

      1. So he’s racist for not judging Lewis for his race?

        1. @aapje People like him look for racism in everything. They must be perpetually miserable people to not be able to understand that just because someone is black, that doesn’t mean you have to like them or agree with them.

      2. @R. Finebaum, that is the stupidest thing I have ever read on here from the Hammy Defense Force, so congratulations on that honor.

        In 2020, if you don’t kiss the buttocks of a minority, you’re now a racist. Absurd on a hundred levels.

    5. Thank you Jackie. Now all the usual suspects will come out banging their pots and pans…

    6. I feel that’s poor comment.

      I also think JYS is right – Hamilton has had the easiest ride to his titles than any world champion before him has had. Potentially he could have had more if he played the game better. His a Rookie year and the year against Rosberg he lost.

      There is no doubt of his talent – just some his mind blowing performances in GP2 showed that. But he’s never performed like Schumacher or Senna In F1 leaving me feeling no other person on the planet could do this at this time – I think there are few drivers on the grid that would beat or at least massively reduce Hamilton’s margin in the current mercedes. Ricardo, Verstappen, definitely Alonso possibly And Norris, leclerc, Russel, might also be future champ level.

      I’d like to see Merc ditch Bottas and hire Verstappen for 2021 – give a real WDC battle.

      1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        6th October 2020, 20:29

        Lewis has performed exactly like Schumacher. To the point where their respective careers are almost identical. I don’t understand why people think otherwise. The facts don’t back that up. 2007 Fuji, 2008 Silverstone, racing from the back to second in I think 2017 Silverstone, quali at Styrian GP 2020. Merc will replace Bottas with Russell in Lewis’s last years, likely 2022 or 2023. Once Lewis leaves, if they’ve made a success out of the 2022 regs, likely Verstappen replaces Lewis in 2024.

    7. Sour, did you bother reading past the title? Well said and well spoken Jackie. Stewart knows his way with words (eve though he is dyslexic) and is always authentic.

    8. This is not surprising, It has always been so hard for Sir Jackie to praise Lewis without an asterisk attached. Yes the sport has evolved and so has the drivers and teams Some drivers make decisions that set them up for success, some do not. Throughout the history of this sport there have been arguments about who was best, that will not change, but with Sir Jackie, he alone needs to work out why it is so hard for him to give a fellow driver and Brit, his full endorsement. The good news is that we have historical records, no one will change that.

  2. I agree with Stewart at least on one point: it is hard to compare the different eras. Thus, calling Schumacher (or Hamilton soon) as statistically the greatest driver the sport has ever seen, is probably the most fitting and “neutral” description.

    Then again, if you disregard Hamilton’s success because he is driving the best car, I suppose Jim Clark must also be disqualified, as some of the Lotus he drove were miles ahead of the competition…

    1. Agreed on the issue of different eras.
      Also, its like asking who was the best Olympic athlete of all time? There are so many different disciplines. Sprint, Marathon or all rounders like Decathlon.
      The greatest F1 driver is so different to the greatest driver. “Greatest driver” to me makes me think more of the all round nature of the guys in the 50s, 60s, 70s who competed across F1, Indy, GT, Touring Cars, as Stewart is saying.
      But in the modern era, very few drivers get the opportunity to compete in multiple disciplines, so more often than not, its just as impossible to know whether Hamilton, Vettel or (even before them) Schumacher, would have wiped the floor with WEC, WTCC, etc
      Just as its impossible to know if Fangio, Clarke and Moss would have themselves gone on to be record breakers in the modern era if they had been around today.
      I can’t decide who is best, no one can, we all have our favourite, opinions and personal methods of ranking and that’s what makes these things fun until the slagging matches start!

      1. Btw, the “slagging matches” bit is not aimed at you or anyone in particular!

      2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        6th October 2020, 16:26

        Well, you can tell with WEC. Schumi came into F1 from the WEC series of the time and caught the eye of Ross Brawn as being the only driver that gave the Jag any trouble. Generally if you’re good in F1 you can win in WEC. Not sure what that says though!

    2. @kaiie not only is there the difficulty of comparisons between eras, I suppose there is the other question of whether Stewart, as is quite common for a lot of individuals, is being rather strongly influenced by the impressions of which drivers he witnessed racing when he was very young, and is therefore biased towards seeing those drivers as greater than the ones who came afterwards.

      Personal impressions can be very powerful and can result in people magnifying traits of some drivers, or similarly diminishing those of others, and can distort the impressions we get of certain figures and the cars that they drove as well.

      There is also the issue of determining quite how dominant certain cars were in their era, not least because it then becomes tied up with the drivers as well – for example, Stewart does talk about Ascari, but Ascari’s cars in 1952 and 1953 were often considered to be quite vastly superior to the rest of the field (Ferrari basically being the only manufacturer in a field of predominantly private entries). Quite often, questions of potential car dominance don’t really seem to be discussed quite as much for older drivers, particularly those in the 1950s.

      1. Anon, Would you say a dominant car of Ascari’s time, with the ‘primitive’ old internal combo engine could have as much of an advantage over others as Lewis’s Mercedes enjoys today? For years and years?

        1. On the Marbles
          6th October 2020, 17:13

          You’d have to look at it in detail but the gaps in the field that are often put down to the skill of the driver in the 50’s and 60’s might also have been related to the relative quality of the cars.
          I’ve often heard it said that Fangio leveraged his status to get ‘the best car’, he hopped teams frequently to ensure it.

          Here is an alternative view of the ‘romanticised’ days of equality in 1950’s grand prix racing and Fangio in particular: https://www.goodwood.com/grr/columnists/doug-nye/2018/11/doug-nye-fangio–king-of-the-unfair-advantage/

        2. Rodber, some of the cars of the 1950s are considered, relatively speaking, to be some of the most dominant cars ever used in Formula 1, and arguably far more dominant than the current Mercedes cars.

          The 1952 season saw Ferrari win every single race that counted for the World Drivers Championship except the Indianapolis 500 (which operated to very different regulations). If you look at the races for 1952, this was the margin between the winning Ferrari and the next closest non-Ferrari entrant.
          Swiss GP: 1 lap
          Belgian GP: 4m28s
          French GP: 3 laps
          British GP: 2 laps
          German GP: 1 lap
          Dutch GP: 2 laps
          Italian GP: 1m2s

          The smallest margin between the winning Ferrari and the next nearest non-Ferrari competitor in 1952 was still vastly larger than the margins we are seeing this year between Mercedes and the next nearest competitor – it’s not as if we’re seeing Mercedes finishing a lap ahead of Red Bull, whereas in 1952 that might be considered a comparatively small gap between the winning Ferrari and its nearest non-Ferrari rival.

    3. I don’t disagree with the argument and it is indeed hard to compare eras but to be fair, there are arguments goings the other way.

      In many sports, the number of members have increased over time, which mean it is harder to get to the top from the beginning and probably that the plateau is more competitive as well. Now drivers are so trained that they are closer to exploiting “full potential” while older times were more favorable to guts and feeling. Can’t say that one is better ability than the other, just different.

      All in all, I don’t like superlative, especially in such context and does it really matter to know (or rather guess) who is the greatest of all time? What will it change? An extra trophy in Hamilton (or whoever) cabinet? Let’s just enjoy and recognize history being made. There is no denying Hamilton is an incredible driver.

      If he is the greatest? I don’t know and don’t care really.

      1. There is no denying Hamilton is an incredible driver.

        If he is the greatest? I don’t know and don’t care really.


    4. Calling Hamilton “the most successful F1 driver of all time” is the best “neutral” description I think, because that is what he is (or will be very soon unless a meteorite takes out Brackley in the next few days). It is impossible to compare drivers across eras so I’m not sure why figures actually involved in the sport even bother wading into that quagmire…they are on a hiding to nothing no matter how carefully they chose their words.

      One thing I would say is that I never buy the “driver X only won because they had the best car” because I can think of very few instances in which a driver won the championship in a car which wasn’t the class of the field over the full course of a season. The only drivers I can think of (off the top of my head) who did so are Fangio (1957), Rosberg (1982…but that season was so mad it hardly counts), Prost (1986), Senna (1991, which is a bit of a stretch) and Button (again, a bit of a stretch because the car went from being dominant to second/third quickest by the end of the year).

      1. @geemac You could actually make a strong case for Stewart himself in 1973 fitting the bill of WDC without the best car. His Tyrrell was not as quick as the Lotus 72.

        Agree on the general futility of trying to caompare drivers from different eras, and on the fact that there are very few cases where the best car hasn’t won (I wouldn’t count 1991 or 2009).

        1. @racer I agree on 1991 and 2009…as I said it was a stretch to even consider them as McLaren and Brawn came out of the blocks so fast and then gradually slipped back.

          1973 is an interesting one. The Tyrrell was empirically not as fast a car as the Lotus 72 I grant you, but in Stewart’s hands it was a weapon. Only he could really deal with the car’s idiosyncrasies and as Tyrrell was his team, I would discount it from the argument.

      2. @geemac – I think you could make an argument that Button’s Brawn in 2009 was not the “class of the field over the full course of the season.” [emphasis mine] It would need an asterisk of being the runaway leader to start the season, but prior to mid-season RBR development had caught Brawn.

        After getting 5 of 6 poles, Brawn only got 1 pole in the remaining 11 races. 6 of 7 wins to start the year, 2 of remaining 10. And after 10 of possible 14 podium spots in first 7 races, only 5 of 20 podiums in last 10 races. Vettel ended the year 11pts adrift with 5 DNFs to Button’s 1 DNF, and Vettel was averaging a third place finish in his non-DNF races.

    5. agree that issue of different era’s And i understand Stewart opinion about the fifties back then dead was almost in every season.
      This generation and Lewis era the matrial is much better and the dominace is also much greater.

    6. If Hamilton has it easy because of the car, then Fangio had it easy because of weak competition. Forty-something wouldn’t make it today.

      So now we start talking about hypothetical young Fangio vs young Hamilton vs Clark.

      You just can’t compare because it wasn’t the same.

    7. I’d have to disagree with your assessment of Clark’s Lotuses. They were miles ahead in the hands of Jim Clark. His 2 dominant championships saw only 1 other lotus podium in the last race of 1965. If it’s down only to the car, Clark’s teammate should be second or 3rd every time (which incidentally is what we see with Hamilton/Bottas…). The other huge variable in Clark’s day was reliability which from all accounts Clark managed to perfection and was much easier on his equipment than his contemporaries.

  3. Frederick Frankenstein
    6th October 2020, 12:32

    Is the Mercedes really that much of a superior car when Valterri doesn’t always do that well?

    1. very good point. bottas has not always finished 2nd in the championship when hamilton has been walking it. though I guess we have to consider the flip side of that, which is that bottas is just rubbish.

      1. I guess we have to consider the flip side of that, which is that bottas is just rubbish.

        Good point also. He was pretty evenly matched with Massa at Williams, and not many people would consider Massa a ‘top tier’ driver.

        1. Indeed, yet Massa provided the sternest challenge Msc had before Rosberg beat him.

          1. Disagree, Barrichello outpaced Schumacher more often than Massa did.

    2. There is no way Lewis, for all of his attributes, would ever accept or agree to a top tier teammate.

      1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        6th October 2020, 18:33

        Well he states he doesn’t mind who’s in the other seat but who knows if that’s actually true or not. What is clear is that it is bad team strategy to have two evenly matched drivers fighting for the lead every race as the cars will be fighting each other for the same patch of tarmac and can lead to DNFs and inter team bitterness as was the case with Rosberg and Hamilton, Alonso and Hamilton, Perez and Ocon and Senna and Prost. It just doesn’t make sense. It is a much better place for a team to have one excellent driver and one almost as good driver.

      2. Are you sure you’re not confusing Hamilton with Schumacher?

  4. Sour grapes? Why should the bar yet again be moved for Lewis? Its his fault for driving the best car in the best way possible and winning winning winning, soo unfair hey. And in sir jackies day the cars were all the same…

  5. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    6th October 2020, 12:40

    I think Stewart’s not been keen on Hamilton for years so this isn’t enormously surprising but he has a point? Like, Hamilton’s Mercedes is so dominant compared to every other car on the grid that for a while his only consistent challenger has been his team-mate. It’s hard to compare him and his successes to the other teams, drivers and champions when the gap between them and everyone else is so enormously large.

    I mean it doesn’t take away any of Hamilton’s success – the guy still needed to drive the thing and there’s no denying he’s an excellent driver, but judging or comparing him to others is difficult due to the innate advantage of that car & team. Comparing different champions to have a ‘best ever’ I don’t think is possible due the the amount of factors involved.

    1. @rocketpa The thing is he (Stewart) is even inconsistent here. There’s a quote re: Fangio on the Autosport article regarding this topic that Keith missed…

      And then he drove for Mercedes-Benz and won two world championships with them, because they were the best cars in the world at that time.

      He says Hamilton isn’t the best as the car is dominant (but he did well to get himself into the right place), but gushes over Fangio, who constantly moved around to get into the best cars on the grid and really respected him for getting into the Mercs in the fifties, when they were dominant.

      Maybe Jackie’s unconscious racism is just creeping out again. 🤷‍♂️

      1. I agree its likely that JS just doesn’t like Lewis give comments he’s made over the years but how in any way can that be considered racist.

      2. He says Hamilton isn’t the best as the car is dominant

        That’s NOT what he said. read again!

        Maybe Jackie’s unconscious racism is just creeping out again

        way to go, everyone with some form of critic on Hamilton must be a racist..

        1. F1oSaurus (@)
          7th October 2020, 15:36

          Stewart is quite obviously a racist though.

      3. Maybe Jackie’s unconscious racism is just creeping out again

        Of course, it’s so obvious now. The only reason anyone would have an opinion on anything is if it’s racially motivated.

        1. @dot_com @erikje @Craig Parkes Stewart was one of the ‘big names’, alongisde Mario Andretti and BCE, telling Lewis he was on a hiding to nothing by championing racial equality at the start of the year as F1 doesn’t have a diversity problem.


          You do realise white rich men telling black people ‘there’s no problem with racism here’ is textbook racism, right?

          1. No, that’s not racism in its own right per se, it’s plain stupidity and ignorance.

      4. Spot on. Plain jelalousy.

    2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      6th October 2020, 20:44

      @rocketpanda The facts bear out the fact that racing your team mate as your only competition is actually harder than racing competition from another team. These days the guy in the other seat can see all your telemetry, work out how to be as competitive on corner entry, braking, tyre preservation etc. to the point where in 2017 Lewis was relieved to be fighting someone other than his team mate.

  6. I agree with him on nearly everything here except that Mercedes have an unfair advantage. I don’t like it, and it’s the main reason Hamilton is winning, but it’s a team sport and driver and team have earnt their place at the top with the same rules as everyone else.

    1. @glynh He acknowledges that when he says ‘almost unfair’ while at the same time saying you can’t really say that though, and that you have to take your hat off to Mercedes for the job they have done. I find he has taken great care with his working to express respect for LH and for Mercedes.

  7. I read somewhere before that Jackie has always been a bit sour towards Lewis because apparently he offered to be his manager early in his career but Lewis turned him down. Not sure if that’s true or not.

    1. No. He hates Lewis since Lewis’ rookie year, for being black British guy that beat the best driver on the grid at the time. Jackie could not come to terms with that. His dislike has moved on from that point, however. Now he’s just flat out jealous, not in a racist way, but this all began from his racial insecurities.

      1. @david-beau – i totally agree!!

      2. Probably true too.

  8. I disagree with you woody even today the drivers drive to the limit. Was it sir moss or fangio who also said that you have to drive as slow as possible to win the race. I cant recall the exact phrase. Having the best car does not diminish the greatness. Because all racers have the potential for driving the best car. But that priviledge usually goes to the best driver.

    1. Your whole reasoning is based on the fact that only the best driver gets to drive the best car. Bottas an Rosberg are certainly prove that your assumption on which everything else is based is seriously flawed. So no, you are wrong.

  9. The “greatest driver ever” concept is simply wrong, because impossible to judge. Lewis is the driver with the most poles, on course to be driver with most wins, most championships, etc. Those are measurable metrics and even if 70 years ago they raced far less times, it is a fact. But “greatest” underlines a judgement, a taste, which of course can’t be measured. We will never have an answer to that question, because it’s like asking “what is the best food dish”: the problem lies in the question itself.

    We should acknowledge the immense work Lewis has done, respect him even if we don’t like him (and I’m one of those hating that he’s going to shatter my idol’s records) because he’s achieving something absolutely big. Let’s not forget that 2 drivers every year are using that star-ship of a car and it’s not his fault if the competition is lagging behind.

    And then go back to appreciate our idols, our Vettel and Shumacher for someone like me, our Senna, Prost or whoever they are; we love them because of the emotions they gave us, not because of their stats; and emotions are still, luckily, not measurable.

    1. I should add that someone is trying to make an analytical comparison, at https://f1metrics.wordpress.com/
      The results are interesting and the work is truly great. But while on one side I appreciate the effort, on the other side we have Max Verstappen as 9th in the all time top 100: is it right for a driver who never won a championship to be there?

      1. Great set of posts there @m-bagattini, well put and said. The f1metrics blog is very interesting as a serious effort to be transparent, scientific and rigorous in trying to compare and asses f1 teams and drivers through the seasons and teams (certainly made that amazon list of fastest or something guys look a bit under-cooked to me), probably the most solid such effort, though not without limitations.

        1. I think F1 Metrics is a poor effort. F1 is too complex to judge by strict “science”. Max 9th and Perez/Hulk rated better than Prost/Senna etc–it loses credibility….and the author is a known Alonso fanboy

      2. is it right for a driver who never won a championship to be there?

        Well of course it can be. And I am not talking about Max or anybody in particular. You may be the best driver ever but if you don’t get to drive a car able to win races and titles you simply won’t win. Eventually if you are really good you should be able to land a top team, but it’s not guaranteed. The beauty of F1metrics is that it flattens the team/machinery field. It’s not perfect but it’s the best approximation we havewe have.

      3. To be a WC is not a key for the greatest driver so the results can be right.

        Championships are way to depending on the best car so if you compare with this you should remove alle championships in the dominate cars and select only the champions NOT is the best car that year. I think you get a total other results then now.

  10. Hamilton has had 3 world champions as teammates, and none of Lewis’ teammates have 90 odd poles and wins? and 6 world titles, despite them having the same equipment as him.

    Can Senna claim that? Schumacher? Alonso? Who can claim that?


    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      6th October 2020, 13:03


      Who actually had 5 world champions has teammates.

      But Prost faded away completely from the debate around “the greatest ever” because memory fades. And that’s why it takes Stewart to talk about Fangio, Moss and Clark because no one mentions them anymore. Apart from Hamilton, who came up with the best title ever about Fangio (don’t care if it’s his or an idea from Mercedes marketing department) being “the godfather of our sport”.

      Prost faded away also because he had a terrible press, much like Nelson Piquet, who is completely and unfairly disregarded among the multiple champions list.

      1. That plus his 89 title was clearly won with a very dubious “crash” which severely damaged his principles.

        Ultimately Prost just wasn’t that exciting to watch compared to some and hence is often forgotten imo.

        1. Jose Lopes da Silva
          6th October 2020, 17:25

          The “in defence of alain prost” article makes total sense. And, in the end, Senna also got a championship with a (not so) dubious crash so they walked away even. But, of course, Senna was more exciting and charismatic.

    2. nobody!

    3. Ahh yes, but 45 of those poles have come when he hasnt had a world champion as a teammate. And 34 of them have come since Rosberg retired. So some perspective is needed for this statement. And since the regs changed in 2014 and mercedes have dominated F1 Lewis has got 65 of those poles.
      There is no doubting Lewis’s talent, just in the same way there is no doubting the Mercedes domination since 2014.

      1. You can’t just say Merc dominated from 2014, the word dominate gets thrown everywhere these days, they dominated 14/15/16, Hamiltons actual ability came to the fore against strong opposition from another car in 17/18 where Ferrari had good enough equipment to challenge, Hamiltons (not any one elses) constant pressure on Vettel and Ferrari got the job done.

        Also, i agree Jose, Prost’s name doesn’t get mentioned nearly enough in the ‘greatest ever’ debate.

    4. At the end of the day, we only have to look at 2007 in his rookie year, against a stronger Ferrari and double world champion teammate, to know what we had one our hands with Lewis, and he only got better from there.

      1. Nonsense. He’d relish it

    5. N any other time you would be the first one to point out how Nico ‘only won because of one dnf on LH’s side that year,’ and you likely have had little regard for JB in terms of his ‘strength’ shall we say as a WDC. So while it is true LH has had 3 WDCs for teammates, surely you don’t think that on it’s own is a great feat other than it sounds good on paper.

      1. “any other time you would be the first one to point out how Nico ‘only won because of one dnf on LH’s side that year”

        I’d actually say it was more than one mechanical issue that brought about Rosberg’s title. :]

        …and while its true i don’t think JB is very noteworthy, Alonso is, and i do rate Rosberg very highly, i just think Hamilton is straight up better, i think Hamilton is straight up better than most, i don’t put it down to his car, of course if the Merc wasn’t as strong as it was, he might not have the numbers he has, but i don’t rate him based on his numbers, i rate him based on performance. As i said in my other comment, it was very evident in 2007 that Hamilton was no ordinary driver, and he’s only got better since then.

        1. I’d say JB was easily in the top 5 drivers 2003-2012. Most people just like to belittle his WDC because the Brawn was so “good”. They completely ignore it wasn’t the best car for probably half the races that year and was probably 4th best at the end of the year. Button proved his talent by making Hamilton look pretty normal 2010-2012 when he was expected to be blown away according to his critics.

          Most of the anti Button hate started after he wasn’t beaten comfortably by Hamilton. Button clearly wasn’t a top 10 driver on the all time list but he was a lot better than many give him credit for and on his day with the right setup in a race, untouchable, even by Hamilton. Not many drivers when being chased down by Hamilton in a race have ever kept their pace so strong and consistent that it meant Hamilton eventually made a mistake and went off.

          A lot of fans just can’t give credit where it’s due sometimes. I don’t like Schumacher and his ethics of driving but it would be stupid to not acknowledge he was a spectacular driver who moved the bar on what it meant to be a F1 driver. If ever asked, Hamilton would probably admit he did learn a lot from his time with Button although he’d probably deflect it to saying he was always learning like a personal achievement which would wind up many on here :-).

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            6th October 2020, 17:01

            @slowmo Button was as good as Rosberg and Bottas – he’s also at the 80% mark. In their 3 years at McLaren, Hamilton could have destroyed Red Bull taking 2 WDCs away if McLaren didn’t destroy Hamilton. No one will know why McLaren did that but Lewis was speechless half the time and probably wanted to say nice things to motivate the team but they’d be lies.

            Whitmarsh (+ Button) = Team Obliterators, it took a decade for McLaren to recover and probably cost them $1 billion. They should have sacked him and they lost Hamilton in the process who hears McLaren and only thinks of them as the past. I doubt Hamilton will ever touch a McLaren in his life – does he even own one of their cars? I’d be surprised if he did.

    6. In their stints together, Rosberg got 29 poles to Hamilton’s 35, 22 race wins to Hamilton’s 32 and 1 WDC to Hamilton’s 2 which is pretty decent considering that Hamilton is very highly rated and Rosberg was never rated as a top champion.
      With regard to Hamilton’s overall stats -WDCs, race wins, poles…- which are incredibly astonishing, I think they were inflated since 2017 (not Hamilton’s fault btw) and the main reason is that Bottas is quite a mediocre driver.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        6th October 2020, 16:52

        @tifoso1989 yes oddly Nico did win poles and races more often than Bottas but the point tally wasn’t very different than Bottas except in 2016 vs 2018 where Rosberg jumped 20% up and Bottas dove 20% down. Other than that, they are both at the 78%-82% range and Rosberg was flattered by many issues on Hamilton’s side while Hamilton is breaking reliability records since Bottas joined. Bottas also had to deal with Vettel/Verstappen/Leclerc making his life a bit harder.

        Check out the stats I posted below. For some reason, though, Nico would win way more often and take pole much more often than Bottas.

      2. F1oSaurus (@)
        7th October 2020, 15:40

        @tifoso1989 Half of those Rosberg Poles were because Hamilton had an issue in quali or Q3. Plus Rosberg would set up his car more for the race. Which meant that even if Rosberg would qualify ahead, Hamilton could often overtake him in the race.

    7. Hamilton has arguably had the strongest cars available to him over the course of his entire career compared to anyone else.

      1. He’s also had arguable the strongest set of teammates of his entire career compared to anyone else, and never once expected number 1 status, always fighting for what he’s got.

  11. Im going to answer some of your comments:
    1) It’s complete nonsense to compare eras, only ignorance will make you do that.
    2) In the past they didn’t race 20 races, they didn’t arrive at the f1 with 20 years old, if you crash you will surely finish in bad condition or with serious injury. So it’s really stupid to compare it to Fangio or other driver with lot of years of difference. If you say the modern era: Schumacher, Hakkinen, Coulthard, Webber, Button, Raikkonen, Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel … in this you can compare their level between them, because are modern f1 cars, with similar conditions, and the drivers arrived more or less on the same age to f1. So yes, you can compare Webber to Button, Raikkonen to Alonso etc etc, but not stupid comparisons, of people who never shared the same circuit together…
    3) Hamilton’s records?? What was Hamilton record pre Mercedes? Was it better than Vettel (4 championships to 1), Was it better than Raikkonen (1 championship to 1), Was it better than Button (1 championship to 1), Was it better than Alonso (2 to 1)? Was Hamilton considered the best driver in the f1, or was it Vettel or Alonso?
    4) Some years latter, Alonso is nobody, Vettel is nobody and Hamilton is the best ever…? Really? Remember what you said 6 years ago? Why so suddenly you changed your opinion from being the 3 best driver of this era to the best driver ever??
    So Hamilton has improved so much to develop from the third best driver of his era, to the best ever???

    1. Vettel was easily exposed by Ricciardo, Kimi and Leclerc.

      Hamilton even in slower cars shined through.. and has never been comprehensively beaten. Only beaten twice and never for lack of speed or skill. In 2011 it was all red mist..crashes, over-driving but still wins and pole never out paced. 2016 – Reliability. Just like Usain Bolt those rare circumstance is what it takes to beat Lewis.

      Sad part for his rivals, is that Lewis accepts his mistakes and learns from the past.

    2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      6th October 2020, 17:27

      Hamilton has undoubtedly improved during his Mercedes years. The fight with Rosberg pushed him on, his defeat to Rosberg improved him further. His tyre management and strategic driving have massively improved. Quote from Jenson Button “This is not the Lewis I raced against” I’ll take Button’s opinion.

    3. If you’re going to quote seasons and state domince, then it helps to have a good memory

      In 2017, 18 and most of 19, Ferrari had the fastest car

      In 2010, in an unreliable turkey of a vehicle, Hamilton somehow managed to be within a chance of the title at the last race

      In 2008, Ferrari were so much faster in the first six races, McLaren had to resort to gamble with a 3 stop strategy at Turkey.

      Hamilton, like Alonso has got in the Top 5 of this forums best driver every year and is actually usually in the Top 2 and got No.1 ranking in 2012, when he managed to get a McLaren not much superior than the current one to compete all season

      You see those of us with good attention to detail, understand that Hamilton’s status was built pre-Mercedes and then his legendary 2nd halves of the last three seasons. Not lazily making sweeping conclusions not based on facts

      Hence, Stewart’s analysis is lazy and inaccurate

      Incidentally, I’ve no idea where Hamilton ranks. I’m not presumptuous enough to think you can compare era’s as certainly as Stewart thinks he can

      1. Well said.
        I remember Hamilton in his rookie year. He was this kid who could actually overtake. He was a breath of excitement that F1 badly needed, with prosessions for races being the normal.
        You simply can’t compare drivers and eras. The cars, the risks, the route to F1 are completely different.
        I am happy to say he is one of the best, and I think as good as I have seen since I first watched F1 in 1988.

    4. In his Ferrari days, pre-Mercedes, every season Alonso rated Hamilton as his No. 1 rival. It got so ridiculous that you wondered if he was deliberately winding Vettel up, until you witnessed those vintage 2010/12 Hamilton seasons

      I think you’re on a windup. Nobody with any knowledge of F1 has said that Hamilton is vastly superior to Vettel, Alonso, Button or Kimi

  12. I don’t consider Bottas the second best driver in f1, even if he finishes second all the years, and wins more races than the rest of the drivers. Results matter, but the car he has… That Mercedes which is the best car in f1 history (statistically) diminishes all the talk of being the best driver ever.
    If you are the best driver ever, is because your results are incredible for the performance of your car. Not because you are in the best car of the history of f1, you can say you are the best driver.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      6th October 2020, 13:44

      So the best driver should drive the worst car? That didn’t even happen in Fangio’s era. Of course the best drivers will end up in some of the best.cars. Verstappen is at Red Bull, Alonso was at Ferrari etc, etc. Is Messi playing for Olympiakos?

      When Rosberg quit, Mercedes picked the best available driver. They have kept him because he still delives

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        6th October 2020, 13:47

        … delivers 300 points a season. As we’ve seen from Kvyat, Gasly, Albon, Perez, Magnussen who’ve been given a chance to race for the better teams, it’s not easy to deliver those points. In fact, Leclerc may have been lucky he did so at Ferrari. Don’t forget that Bottas is constantly racing Hamilton.

  13. It’s always difficult (if not impossible) to determine the best individual in a team sport.
    How do you compare/rank Messi, Van Dijk, and Neuer?

  14. JYS is going to take a lot of heat for this…

    1. Which is a shame, because he is a 3 time world champion, and one of the main reasons drivers now get to enjoy a retirement. So he is very much entitled to an opinion on this, more so than most

      1. I agree with you Gubstar, there is a lot of good that sir. JYS did for the sport (and currently with his work on dementia), after a very successful career as a driver, and we shouldn’t dismiss that at all.

        Having said that, the fact that he somehow always has a negative about Hamilton rather than being able to wholeheartedly praise him, ever, that says perhaps JYS should politely decline to talk about Hamilton and just leave it at ‘difficult to compare for many reasons, clearly Hamilton has achieved a lot’ or something. It just comes over as sour grapes at best, even if he also makes valid points.

  15. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    6th October 2020, 13:21

    It’s nice of Stewart to talk about the likes of Fangio, Clark, Ascari and Moss and to remind folks of how great they were, a list that should include Jackie himself. That being said, the manner in which he belittles Hamilton’s achievements is not worthy of a champion like himself. It’s the one thing that makes Jackie a lesser champion in many ways.

    Hamilton is edging towards a double century of poles and wins, a feat that’s almost beyond comprehension when the 2nd driver is over 150 and Vettel is the only other driver in the century mark. Nowadays to become a F1 driver, you have to train from your childhood competing against other drivers so the level is much higher than it was when F1 began. There are teams to support poor families like Perez and Hamilton through development and the world’s population has tripled meaning there are 3 Fangios at any time in F1. Imagine Fangio driving against today’s F1 lineup – they’re probably all Fangios, Ascaris, Clarks, Sennas, Laudas as they have trained like dogs to reach F1.

    The same goes for tennis and soccer. Have you seen old matches with Maradonna? Nowadays to play soccer, you need to be a track star and juggle the ball like Pele just to make a team in the US :-) Doing what Ronaldo does today is 10 times harder than it was back then. I was watching Thiem train and he looks like Captain America from the Avengers and he can’t be #1 having trouble against a 39 year old Federer.

    1. definitely. drivers with physique of those in the 50s will definitely get trashed in even the modern day williams. drivers in the 80s would not understand the modes and buttons on the steering wheel of a mordern day ferrari.

      1. Perhaps…but that’s why everyone argues you can’t compare eras. Those drivers in the 50s, 60s, 70s, probably smoked a pack of cigarettes a day didn’t have personal coaches, ‘performance optimization’ diets or simulators. While the G-forces of today’s cars would take quite a bit for someone of that era to adjust to, try putting one of today’s drivers in a car that doesn’t have all of the electronic help. Or having a team of engineers monitor track data in real time, giving feedback to the driver as to how hard they can use brakes/tires, etc. The old guys just had to ‘feel’ that.
        Is it better? Maybe not, but definitely would not be easy, nor can they be discounted for not having a load of buttons on their steering wheels. They had to have a much better set of instincts. I also think the drivers of those eras in the past probably just had a little bit more bravery in them.

        I think if you took all the drivers of today’s grid and had them go race a car from the early 60s, it’s my opinion that Max would be the best. Just my opinion. As most have posted, it’s really impossible to compare or declare someone the ‘greatest of all time’, but it’s fun ;-)

      2. Yep but based on this one could “blame” greatnesses from previous centuries for being “medieval”, or labeling 90% of the population from previuos centuries as peasants, or bondmen. For worse almost everyone, including most of our ancestors were literally from those circles. We are just given the advantages of the modern world. But most of those ancestors did nothing wrong, they just adapted to the circumstances.
        And many of competitve sportsmen and talented people are just good at adaptation (and of course many successful people are just plain lucky). No one can know how many of the aformentioned people could be in today’s very optimized world. Loosing some weight or putting down the cigar, many professionals would do so if its about beating their competition, no matter when they born. They were not dumb, just grown up and socialized in an other world, and lived according to the standards of that. They were not setting goals based on today’s starting conditions, therefore it’s a great analytical failure to judge them based on that.

        There are legends who are not vaning. Many of those old school drivers had won GP’s (or earned podiums) of their own era with comparable percentage to the bests from last 1-2 decades. While the safety was basically nonexistent by then compared to today. Many of today’s drivers probably would not even consider driving those cigar cars as a career. Hehe it’s a similarly unfair competition, but I’m sure many from today would say: “thanks, no”.

        There could be some crazy sim game (I mean using a really proper and well done game engine, so a really serious one), where they would fit today’s F1 engines without the fuel flow limits with those crazy turbos from the 80’s. I dont know what power and torque would they produce, but hmm 2000bhp? Of course with cars what are less aero dependent than today. Would not it be a funny simulator, for die hard fans? I really enjoy those silly turbo cars from that era at sims, but of course I would be shy to try them out around the limit.

        1. … No one can know how professional many of the aformentioned people could be …

        2. … similarly unfair comarison … Mr. Grammar strikes again

        3. I guess my point was, some core elements of a race car driver might remain, but you have to judge those drivers with time as a factor or maybe a coefficient. Beyond that, any analytical effort would be pure speculation, and most likely subjective and not objective.

          1. Jockey Ewing
            7th October 2020, 9:10

            Actually your opinion was more decent, and analytical than many’s, so I just choose (a bit randomly) a point among this huge lot of comments to join in somehow. Probably this is why I found it interesting enough to set up my examples and some points based on yours. I agree them at many points, and I especially like that you are considering whether extensive (and live) feedback based on telemetry or the old school “let’s feel it” way is better to racing. I think using telemetry is very good at high level racing series, and is present for a long while, so I like it, but I would get rid of some live coaching (for example I would forbid telling a driver where and when to deploy the recovered energy at race situations or telling a driver at which section an opponent is faster, because levaing that to their own perception would reduce the probability of quite uneventful GP’s) :)

    2. Jose Lopes da Silva
      6th October 2020, 14:25

      @freelittlebirds If you don’t know, check the Wikipedia page about Garrincha, the Brazilian football player, considered among the greatest.
      Man. There’s not a remote chance he would get near the top today.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        6th October 2020, 15:24

        I watched some videos of Garrincha – that’s slo-mo soccer. The pace is about the same as a 13 year old match my son plays albeit at the highest level. In the best matches of present day soccer, the pace is so fast that the best players can’t even control it and pass it. Look at Barcelona training Rondo

        1. Jose Lopes da Silva
          6th October 2020, 17:32


  16. I’m very much of the opinion that the only reason Stewart has it in for Hamilton is he broke every single one of his British records by a country mile and that didn’t sit well with him. Everyone his entitled to their opinion though.

    I tend to think there are a bunch of names that if brought up as a potential all time greatest there is no point arguing about in what order they would be as they cannot be compared like for like. Some of these names are: Fangio, Senna, Clark, Schumacher, Hamilton, Prost but there are a couple of others on the fringes of this.

  17. one thing for sure tho lewis may not be the greatest but hes definitely the fastest driver in the history of f1. helped by his car of course. but theres no denying that the g forces he takes in races and quali are way higher than fangio or schumacher ever did. the law of physics remained constant all these years.

  18. Comparing across eras in any sport is folly and is simply fodder for the talking heads.

  19. All I heard was…
    “he was greater than Senna”
    Finally the myth is undone
    Thank you Jackie Stewart.

    Let’s get him in the Mercedes and at his prime in that machine and he would be right there in the mix with Lewis and Michael and Seb. Sir Jackie walks away after his team mate is sliced in half at Watkins Glen. What a horror.
    So six possible championship is almost certain if JS stayed. The death of Cevert changed the History of Formula One at a time when the goal of greatness was just 25 victories. Today that Greatness is FOUR TIMES that number of wins in 2020.
    Great Machines like this Mercedes Dominate the wave of superiority right now. Good god be thankful that your alive to see Lewis Hamilton at a time where his great talent is matched to a Racecar that responds to his commands. Maybe It would easier to just say Lewis is the best in the business of today’s Grand Prix cars
    and each generation has their best. Certainly Jackie was the king of his gen after Clark was lost. Funny how all records have caveats where if this happened or that happened how different we would feel this morning. Look JS is such an important part of our sports history and his comments today change little. Facts talk
    BS walks

  20. When was the last time a driver won a title in a horrible car? By horrible, I mean one that had no right to even compete for a podium, much less a title. Rosberg in 82?

    I never understood those who complained “ah, but Hamilton drives the best car and is in the strongest team”.. Honestly, what would people have him do? Go to a weaker outfit and waste his best years just to show his mantle?

    It’s one thing to complain about the financial disparity among F1 teams and how that creates unfair advantages. That’s a valid argument. But to criticize Hamilton or another driver for going to the best team and thriving is just weird. It’s like criticizing a football player for going to the team that provides him with everything necessary to be successful. Are Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo less deserving of praise because they never played in a sunday league club?

    1. In fairness I’m not his greatest fan but Alonso did very nearly win the title in the Ferrari which had absolutely no business being in that fight for the WDC.
      Button won in the Brawn which was awful by the end of the year but amazing for the first third.
      After that you’re going back to the 80’s as you said.

      1. In fairness I’m not his greatest fan but Alonso did very nearly win the title in the Ferrari which had absolutely no business being in that fight for the WDC.

        So did Hamilton in 2010–according to keith’s own stats the McLaren was slower than the RB and Ferrari


    2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      6th October 2020, 17:19

      The other disparity out there is that Lewis has had nothing to do with the team becoming so dominant when everybody interviewed at Merc say he’s been intrinsic to the growth at Merc. They’re willing to give Schumi credit for this but not Lewis. I’m going with Merc’s opinion on this!

      1. @davewillisporter great point also, Hamilton is not only seen as “lucky” to be driving for the best team, but his impact there has been negligent, as if you could switch the him with any driver and the result would be the same. If that’s the case, why doesn’t Mercedes just replace him with a cheaper driver? I mean, if he is so irrelevant to the team’s performance..

  21. There are some truth in Stewart’s words but he is making himself sound like a grumpy old man.

  22. What struck me was that Stewart first said it was impossible to compare era’s and that there was a huge difference between Mercedes and the rest of the field the last years, therefore making it impossible to say that Hamilton was the greatest. And then at the end he said Fangio was the greatest, so apparently he managed to compare them after all.

    1. Good point

      1. Good point! He should have said “Lewis is a great driver but it is impossible to compare different eras of the sport” and just left it at that, without mentioning other drivers.

        Also, is it just me or is “Lewis drives extremely well” a backhanded compliment? I mean, regardless of where you place him in the all time greats, Hamilton has 6 world titles and 90 victories, he deserves more than just “drives extremely well”..

  23. It’s completely pointless and hard to justify any F1 driver as the greatest ever, given the sport’s complexity throughout the eras.
    Hamilton could definitely COMPETE with the best out there currently, which is what any ‘sport’ is actually about.
    Too bad racing fans very rarely get to see these fights on-track.

  24. Statistically Hamilton is the greatest driver ever ( or will be that soon)

    Does that make him the GOAT?
    Nope, that’s depending on a lot of other factors and statistics are just one of the parameters.
    Most of the deciding factors are very personal ( like Stewards)

    Is it a great driver?: without any doubt!

  25. The argument that is impossible to compare across eras is valid.

    However… to single out Lewis as the only driver who has a superior car for part of his career?

    Fangio’s Mercedes in 1954-55 was as dominant, and in 1951 there was nothing else but Alfa Romeo. Schumi had a superior car for a number of years (at least 2001-02 and 2004) and a team mate who contractually had to let him through. Senna / Prost / Vettel / etc. had a dominant car for some or most of their championship years. The best drivers find themselves in the best machines. Even Stewart himself is not immune to this…

    It is true that Mercedes’ dominance since 2014 has been long when compared to other dominance periods in Formula 1, but that is not Lewis’ fault.

    1. jmlabareda – far from being blamed for Mercedes’ success, perhaps Lewis should be credited for his input into the cars’ design, development and set up?

    2. …..and a team mate who contractually had to let him through…..

      Maybe there was a contract…. but nothing what you’re implying happened. There’s just Austria 2002, where BAR actually made a big fuss about it (so, where did the contract terms go?!?!), he got his win back. HAM, without a contract….. still owes BOT 1 win from 2018!!! Not to mention the numerous times his race was purely a support race for HAM, when the team gave him the strategy of a “roadblock” for opponents. Well, all these happened without a contract!

  26. Never understand why they trot out the number of races in a season as an excuse not to compare that aspect. Use %ages then. And that indicates Ham is up there with the Ascaris, Clarks and Fangios.

    1. Not quite
      El Chueco: 47.06% wins, 56.86% poles, 17.57 points/start (with the present point system) average grid position 1.78
      Dumbo: 34.62% wins 36.92% poles, 15.29 points/start average grid position 3.76 (more than 2x behind!)

      1. and rank on finish line, 2.25 vs 3.31
        When some driver beats El Chueco’s figures I’ll seriously begin to consider them as GOAT candidates. But definitely not if they have been beaten by two of their teammates.

      2. Dumbo?

  27. The ever-bitter full-time professional Scotsman Stewart has selective memory. If he’d bothered to take the lazy route and gone to wikipedia he’d have found this: “…Fangio had no compunction about leaving a team, even after a successful year or even during a season, if he thought he would have a better chance with a better car. As was then common, several of his race results were shared with teammates after he took over their car during races when his own had technical problems. … Throughout his career, Fangio was backed by funding from the Argentine government of Juan Perón”.
    I’ve yet to see Lewis break a car and demand his teammate jump out and let him take over the drive, nor was he sponsored by the Queen, and nor has he jumped from team to team. Instead he achieved his seat in F1 by merit, beat his ‘number 1’ teammate in his first season, then moved to Merc at a time when it wasn’t the best car and most people (including I’m sure Stewart, if I could be bothered to look it up) said he was making a mistake. He rarely makes mistakes, has always had good teammates (and never had a ‘number 1 driver’ contract), and earned every single one of his points on merit – no doubt he’s the GOAT.

  28. Completely disagree. Argument doesn’t make sense. HAM runs 20 to 22 races in F1 because that is what there is. If there were only 6 races a year he would be racing in other circuits and no doubt winning. Do people really think Lewis won’t go as fast as possible in any motorized vehicle? He would race super bikes if the contract let him.

    1. @jimfromus also, another reason drivers competed in different categories was because they needed the $$. If they were paid what Hamilton and other drivers now receieve I doubt many would have risked their lives in Formula 2, motorbike, rally’s etc. Mercedes do not want Hamilton risking an injury and pay him well enough to drive just for them and not compete in another sport, with the exception of an end of year race or a marquee event like Le Mans or Indy 500

  29. You could mark it up to more boomerism. But it’s amazing how people are falling over themselves trying to asterisk Hamilton before he even gets to Schumacher’s win record. This debate always goes straight down a rabbit hole, but it remains that Hamilton, while having mostly fast cars, has never been dominated by a teammate and those that beat him (and only just) are World Champions. If he decided to step back to drive for McLaren again (for the challenge) or whatever and only beat Norris by a few tenths on Saturdays people would be saying the same thing—and Norris would suddenly become a scrub who doesn’t deserve his seat (See, e.g., Bottas). It’s as some of us here in the U.S. have to teach our kids, “sometimes you just have to be 10 times as good to get the same credit.”

  30. It’s not possible to compare eras, but all the “great” drivers won their championships in the best cars. Clark had the Lotus 25 and 33; Senna, and Prost, won in McLarens when they were the best cars, then went to Williams because he thought they were better; Fangio switched from Maserati to Ferrari and Mercedes because he wanted to drive the best car for that year. Schumacher dominated in Ferraris because Ferrari was dominant. The best cars end up with the best drivers, and the best drivers end up in the best cars. It’s always worked this way. Hence Hamilton and Mercedes.

  31. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    6th October 2020, 15:55

    Bottas has been a weaker driver than Rosberg but by much less than people think. Rosberg generally scored 82%-85% per season of Hamilton’s points with the exception of 2016 where he jumped by 20%. He was helped a bit in all the season and in 2016 by severe reliability.

    Since Bottas joined in 2016, Hamilton has had exceptional reliability beating or nearly consecutive point finish records.

    Bottas averages slightly under 80% with his maiden year at Mercedes in 2017 being the highest at 84%. He had an outlier in 2018 scoring 60% of Hamilton’s points and that torpedoes his stats. In 2019, he scored 79% and in 2020 he’s scored 79% so far.

    Then we have Button who imo was beaten as bad by Hamilton at McLaren except in points. During their 3 years together, Hamilton could have won 2 championships (2010 and 2012) and 2011 he was still better than Button, by a lap. Button was also in the 78-82% range with a possibility of an outlier.

    I would give Bottas another few percentage points as Hamilton has a team advantage over him although Bottas is a team player but I still feel there’s a slight tilt in Hamilton’s favor that didn’t exist as much with Rosberg out of fear of implosion or at McLaren under the Hamilton obliterator aka Whitmarsh. As I said as a half-jest, Niki said the word “Whitmarsh” to Lewis when they spoke and Lewis immediately signed with Mercedes.

    1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      6th October 2020, 17:00

      @freelittlebirds what was the deal with Whitmarsh? I know he managed Lewis’s junior career and kept him another season in GP3 when Lewis wanted to go into GP2 but didn’t think there was any issue at Mclaren after Alonso left apart from the safety car lie gate thing.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        6th October 2020, 17:37

        @davewillisporter I don’t know what the deal was but it was obvious they did not get along while he was team principal. Everyone knew that Lewis was going to move after 2012 – the relationship was unbearable. I believe McLaren were delighted that Lewis left in 2012. It was quite obvious that Button was the “golden boy” by then even though he was being lapped a la Gasly. Bringing Lewis over to Mercedes was the easiest sell on the planet.

    2. @freelittlebirds all we can go off is points and nothing that happened in their years together suggested Hamilton destroyed Button, that’s just fact. Hamilton had some higher highs than Button but also was massively worse at times so its rose tinted glasses to ignore those times. In the wet Button also showed Hamilton a clean pair of heels a few times.

      I’ve seen no evidence to suggest Hamilton was in any way impaired at McLaren, that’s just a made up narrative without any evidence. Same sort of irrational logic as the suggestions Mercedes deliberately handed Robert the title.

      Hamilton was not significantly better than Button in there time together. Either means Button was better than some predicted or Hamilton worse. Its for each person to decide which of those is true for themselves.

      1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        6th October 2020, 18:48

        You can go off Button’s own opinion though as I’ve said before. Button regards Hamilton as a far better driver now than when they were team mates. Quote “This is not the Lewis I raced against” So if the driver that matched / beat Alonso in his rookie year and beat Button 2 to 1 is now much improved and Button’s time with Alonso was a draw, you can see how the picture may look if Button or Alonso was in the same car as Hamilton in 2020. Speculation, but informed speculation.

      2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        6th October 2020, 19:07

        @slowmo Well, I always believe I’m as good as Djokovic and Federer when I play tennis :-) Ditto for Button. He might be a top 5-10 driver but that does not put you in the same category as Djokovic or Lewis who are in a different league altogether. The same goes for Rosberg and Bottas. Sure, you can give me a hard time but I’ll win everything. Lewis should have won 2010 and 2012 championships. It’s debatable if Button deserved 2009, certainly not winning or beating Lewis in points. That’s a travesty that only McLaren could orchestrate and I can only imagine the effort it took because they’ve been in shambles after Hamilton left.

        1. @freelittlebirds my only point was in answer to the claim that Button was somehow a poor driver or not up to a decent standard. Button won quite a few races in a car that was not the best car in his career so he was clearly not a bad driver and its not even debatable that he was better than Bottas. This is the guy who turned up to Hamilton’s team and won his first race, not a unimpressive feat.

          Would Hamilton now beat Button of then over 3 years, absolutely but that’s moving the goal posts or what is commonly classed as a straw man argument. The Hamilton of recent years is what will take him into the sports greatest lists and I was honest that Button was not in that category I believe. I think its fair to say Button was at his peak 2009-2012, where as Hamilton was still developing and prone to making irrational decisions and lacked some preparation at races.

          His time at Mercedes has built a better structure around him to help him maximise his potential. He clearly still needs some work in this area though given some errors this year through not knowing race specific rules. Think back to when Schumacher had the awareness to overtake on the last lap because he knew the safety car regulations allowed it after the safety car line (even if he was unfairly penalised for a badly written rule). That finding the very last extra advantage is still missing from Hamilton’s repertoire on some occasions.

          I would dearly have loved Hamilton to win the championship at a third team before he retires but I can’t see that happening now following the Ferrari decline.

    3. Idk Bottas seems to be slightly quicker than Roseberg to me, if it’s about “driving alone”, but I feel Roseberg showed more than Bottas at wheel to wheel battles. Although Bottas is very rarely involved with colliding with anyone, that’s a point for him. Imo being 0.1-0.15s slower than Hamilton on a single lap is underestimated by many (I don’t know what is the average gap based on all laps between them but I’m very sure that Bottas is within 0.2s). I’m quite sure that half of the field would be slower than that.

      1. Huh congrats to me, for mistyping Rosberg’s name twice in a row, and sorry Mr. Rosberg. Looks like I’m quite off today, it’s not even a typo at this frequency, it’s a conceptual error.

      2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        6th October 2020, 21:21

        Bottas’s weakness isn’t in quali. He’s really fast and matches Rosberg. It’s in his racecraft. Silverstone 2 with fresh softs he failed to get past Vettel in a car and tires that was vastly superior. Rosberg had this same battle. Some drivers are gifted at track battles and some have to learn. Max and Lewis as well as Danni Ric are great at that. The rest have to learn.

  32. I like Jackie Stewart but I don’t agree with these comments and I’m not even a massive fan of Lewis Hamilton. What I admire about Lewis apart from how fast he is, he holds one of the only records of winning a race in every season hes competed in and would have have won the title at his first attempt if McLaren had called him a lap or so earlier. Anyway…

  33. Cool it chaps. Word has it that Jackie is a #racist, so yeah…

    Problem solved. Lewis GOAT. Yay!

    1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      6th October 2020, 21:26

      @jaymenon10 Is that literally all you can take away from this? There is so much nuance and so much debate but cos one person says Stewart is racist you blank the debate? Try harder. Argue the case. Think.

      1. Haha.. I was making joke mate. Trying to lighten the mood s little :)

  34. Hamilton is not the greatest now.. but he will be…
    140 wins coming 150 poles before he’s done. Crazy stuff.

  35. Dave (@davewillisporter)
    6th October 2020, 16:41

    Agree with those who say “most successful” is the best way to describe Hamilton. What gets missed is how he operates. He drives like a combination of Senna and Prost, and has Schumi’s team motivating skills. If a team mate beats him he spends a huge amount of time studying how and improving so he has a Vettel like ability to do work. A combination of Senna, Prost, Schumi and Vettel is a pretty powerful package. Rosberg has also commented on his ability to go right up to the limit in battles. What I am intrigued to see is whether his on track skills can match Verstappen and the young guns who seem to hang it out round several corners when fighting for position. Not seen Hamilton do that for some years now. Regardless, he is one of the best and like any sport, the athletes of today are far far better than their historical counterparts, which is why it’s not fair to compare different eras.

  36. What was it Willy T Ribbs, the black man who tested, for Brabham in 1986, said about John Young Stewart: “He is the most racist and hostile driver I have ever had to deal with in my career. The reason you [Stewart] don’t see the diversity problem is because you’re the diversity problem.”

  37. I agree with his sentiment, but Jackie has a history of playing down Hamilton’s achievements for years. In that context, it’s hard to take anything he says seriously.

    “Lewis drives extremely well, make no mistake, I’m not in any way diminishing his skills, but it isn’t the same,”

    Isn’t the same as what exactly? Schumacher dominating in the Ferrari, Fangio hopping around to the best car and teammates moving over for him, the Tyrell 006 even? I agree that you can’t say who’s the best ever, but those types of quotes are what make Jackie always go on about the past as if it was somehow more legitimate as a series where anyone could win… well it wasn’t.

  38. Well, 35 out of Senna’s 41 wins were in a dominant car, and 32 of those wins were with a dominant engine. Using that logic, Aryton Senna was not a “very very great” driver. He was just very successful.

    As someone already pointed out above, Jackie Stewart doesn’t apply this “best car” and “unfair advantage” argument to drivers like Fangio, Schumacher or Senna. This is just his unconscious racism rearing its ugly head again. He has always had it in for Lewis throughout his career for no apparent reason.

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      6th October 2020, 17:38

      “35 out of Senna’s 41 wins were in a dominant car”
      How is that?

      1. Actually Senna won at least 15 races in inferior cars (Lotus, McLaren in 1992/93), but your point is well made, he raced in very dominant machines, which does not take away his brilliance (and neither should it disqualify Hamilton’s achievments)

  39. Would fangio have the laser fast reflexes that are needed to drive these new cars? Would he be able to give the feedback to the mechanics required to set up the car… probably, maybe not, maybe he was the best in the world in what he was given but slow in modern situations…. Would Hamilton be as quick as fangio back in the day??? Could fangio handle 22 races a year?

    What is the point of these questions. There us no way to answer..

    Does sir Jackie have a problem with ham? I don’t think this is the first time first he has down played his achievements?

  40. He’s right, Ham will be known as a very good driver but not a great in the hallowed halls of F1 alongside a Fangio, Clark, Senna or Schumacher. Now they had an otherworldly talent they could tap into bring victories against all odds.

    With Ham he’s never really shown that or had the chance with a race winning car every season.

    1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      6th October 2020, 19:00

      I would compare Schumi’s career with Lewis’s in terms of cars. Schumi drove a Jordan for one race before moving into a race winning Benneton car. He then moved to Ferrari in another race winning car, where he won races his first season and Ferrari cars finished 2nd and 4th in the WDC. Schumi only drove a bad car in his years at Mercedes and he achieved nothing save one pole. Lewis had a bad car in 2009 and 2013 and he still won races. They are very similar in achievements. Not surprising they are in the same place records wise. You cannot consider Schumi a great without considering Lewis a great. And again, what people miss about this Merc period of dominance is everyone in the team credits Lewis as being a fundamental part of the team’s growth in the same way Ferrari held Schumi in such high regard. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. Schumi and Lewis have blown the field away for a reason.

  41. Jeffrey Powell
    6th October 2020, 17:17

    I never saw Fangio drive but he was undoubtedly the greatest of his period but was he better than Ascari who I see as slightly pre Fangio I don’t know ,who I did see were Clark and Stewart and of course all their competitors. I was a great fan of Jochen Rindt and who on his day perhaps was as fast as Stewart but not I think Clark. Stewart in his heyday was an incredible talent some of his performances were difficult to understand if you think Lewis is dominant you would have been unhappy bunnies if you were a bit anti Scots in the period 69_73 there is no doubt Lewis has the best car but Stewart was simply the master of that period. By the way nothing gives me greater pleasure than to see Lewis win but I tend to agree with Jackie the true greatest driver would have to prove themselves virtually unbeatable in all forms of World Championship Events given the same car.. So we are left with Jim Clark.

  42. No Azz

    It really is not!

  43. Other than the occasional good races, these are the things that get three-digit comments count. Even the news of Corberi throwing a cart’s bumper towards a full-speed traffic can compete for attention.

  44. Good to see everyone getting their knickers in a twist again. I can always rely on you lot to keep me entertained when there isn’t a race on.

    1. Something to do isn’t it.

  45. Jose Lopes da Silva
    6th October 2020, 17:36

    I wonder if the McLaren of 1988 was so dominant as we think.
    A good chunk of that dominance came from the drivers. If we had Prost and Johansson, or Senna and Berger, it wouldn’t look so dominant – or would the Top Driver in Place get 14 or 15 wins out of 16?

  46. Telling that he doesn’t even mention Schumacher in the discussion. At least, not in the accounts in the press. He’d probably agree Lewis has more talent than Michael – less need to resort to dirty tricks and politics. I feel for Jackie – he’s probably right about Fangio and Clark and it’s difficult to say without people hollering ‘racist!’. Lewis would probably humbly agree but it’s hard to get over some of Jackie’s past criticisms of him.

  47. Hamilton fans will be the first to attribute Vettel’s titles to the car, yet when it comes to their man the idea is unthinkable. And should anyone dare to even hint at it, they are racist and/or jealous like with Stewart here.

    At least I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now. Just 3-4 more years and it will all come to an end.

    1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      6th October 2020, 22:52

      As a Hamilton fan, I recognise, as said by his team mate Webber, that Vettel mastered that car and how to optimise the blown diffuser in overtakes. I also recognise as said by Button “This is not the Lewis I raced against.” I also recognise Rosberg “I sacrificed all I had to beat Lewis. I’m not prepared to do it again” I also recognise Bottas “Having Lewis as a team mate is a pain in the ass” How about Schumacher, “He will beat all my records” said in 2007 during Lewis’s debut season. Care to comment on his team mates and peers comments as opposed to your own limited opinion? I’m all ears. Am I racist? Am I jealous? Or am I objective?

      1. What you should recognize is the point of the argument you’re attacking.

    2. Just drink the Hamilton koolaid. Don’t ask questions.

      1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        7th October 2020, 19:11

        You can ask questions but ask the right ones and use the best sources of info. My point was to highlight an irrational conclusion based on personal opinion when the recognised experts are saying different. To wit, I am a Hamilton fan who credits Vettel with a remarkable ability and doesn’t believe anyone who doesn’t think Hamilton is a great driver is racist because I understand facts. I challenge people who ignore them. But sure, reduce informed logical reasoning to “drinking the koolaid”

  48. Stewart was once the most successful British F1 driver.

    Along comes this black kid who dethrones him – totally and completely!

    ‘Nuff said.

    1. F1 is an engineers championship masquerading as a drivers championship. Not taking away from Hamiltons success, but if you said Mercedes is the best team ever that would be hard to argue against.

      Lewis has been “lucky” enough to be in the best car. F1 encourages driver worship cause that is what fans watch and want to follow. Thus we end up with the debate about who is the best, one which will never be agreed on.

      1. @Mog: true that!

      2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        6th October 2020, 22:59

        Would you take Toto Wolf, James Allison, Simon Cowell and Ross Brawn’s opinions over your own? Each have stated how fundamental Lewis was and is to the success of the team. Would you take Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg, Jenson Button and Bottas’s opinion over your own? Hardest and fairest team mate they’ve ever raced against? Where’s the luck? To be objective is hard. You have to shelve your own opinion and listen to those who know better. Can you?

        1. I think you might have misread my comment.

          Luck in inverted commas.

          Also Merc were dominant from the beginning of the hybrid era, which can not be attributed to anything other than brilliant engineering.

  49. The only part I’d agree with is that it’s fairly futile comparing drivers from different eras. But I don’t think that diminishes everything that Hamilton has achieved. You can only drive the car you have. You can only race in the era you’re racing, against the people you’re racing against. And for Hamilton, that includes some incredible names.

    I would ask, what else would Hamilton need to do, for his achievements to be recognised alongside those of the greatest in history?

    Win races and championships in a car which was not the best on the grid? Yep, done it.
    Put in transcendent performances in horrendous weather conditions? Check, done and done.
    Beat some of the best of the generation in equal machinery? Absolutely…
    ..in his rookie season? Yep!
    Win more championships and races, and poles, than any other driver in history? Well he’s well on his way and who knows how high he will have pushed the bar by the time he hangs up his helmet.

    It’s nonsense to believe that the other great names didn’t also benefit from dominant cars and preferable conditions. Schumacher’s early 00’s Ferrari’s were incredible machines, far beyond most of the grid at the time, with special ‘secret sauce’ tyres available only to Ferrari. Which he could blast around Fiorano from sunrise to sunset if he felt so inclined. Senna is famed for winning in an era of absolute dominance for McLaren.

    We can speculate over the reasons why, in some people’s eyes – white, elderly people’s eyes – Hamilton’s achievements aren’t recognised as they should be. But it feels hard to deny, that there seems to be some concerted effort to actively discredit everything he’s done. No matter how dominant a driver, no matter how many poles, wins, championships, no matter how many records he breaks, there’s always some grey-haired white man desperate to tell us why it doesn’t count. Well. It’s nonsense. Sorry. Hamilton truly is a generational talent. More than that, he’s at his prime and there is no sign of his success coming to an end. Hamilton will, I predict, go on to break just about every record there is. When he bows out of the sport, he’ll do so as the greatest driver ever to have driven an F1 car. It’s easy to moan that it’s boring watching him win every race, but let’s put the negativity aside. What we’re witnessing is one of the most incredible periods in F1 history. A history which may well come to an end.

    Hamilton may not only be the greatest driver ever to have raced in F1. It’s entirely possible that his achievements will never be beaten. We are privileged to be able to witness it.

    1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      6th October 2020, 21:38

      @mazdachris And this is exactly how I feel. Nailed it. In every way. Lewis Carl Hamilton, a shy black kid from Stevenage, controversial from start to finish, rocked F1 in his debut and second season, about to be the most successful driver ever seen, who is now using his position to push his beliefs about the modern world. Yes people. He is that good. deal with it. He’s even opposing the Rio track development in Brazil because it will hack down a forest. I’m happy to watch this. Ask yourself why you are not. Really ask yourself.

    2. +1 I’ve read Stewart’s remarks twice now. And yes, he comes across as primarily desperate to find a reason to downplay Hamilton’s achievements. Yet again. Far from coherent, he veers all over the place to find a reason why Hamilton isn’t one of the ‘very, very greats.’ None of them stick. Fangio frequently had easily the best car and was handed wins through team orders. Stewart is welcome to his opinion. But it’s clear that he recoils irrationally from any thought of placing Hamilton alongside the likes of Schumacher and Senna, yet alone Fangio or Clark. It’s immensely disrespectful and only reflects badly on Stewart himself and his motivations.

  50. For all of you “naysayers” of Lewis Hamilton, there is an hour long interview with many clips of Lewis Hamilton, his father, his carting days, his dedication, etc. on Netflix. “My Next Guest with David Letterman, season 2, 4th show” It was filmed after Lewis Hamilton’s 5th title and after David Letterman, an avid racing enthusiast, quit his “Late Night” show. I was absolutely transfixed! :-)

    I wonder what article here on the Racefans site has the most comments?

  51. Here we go with GOAT debate. For people aged 70+ that is Fangio/Clark
    60ish Senna.
    40-50 Schumacher
    And for people who never saw them race, Hamilton is quite good on result side.

    For some. Hamilton will never be the goat because he does not wear a tweed jacket and a hat.

    Naturally Jackie has good points.

    To my naked eye Hamilton is nowhere near as spectacular as Senna or complete as Schumacher.

    He did hit a stride of Mercedes success the likes of which the world has never seen, and comfortably beaten his two teammates. Esepcially last few Bottas years are quite unimpressive.

    He is getting wins and Titles but hr struggles to win our respect the way Senna did alongside Prost, or Schumacher against all his rivals.

    It is hard to make new fans when you are cruising up in front in comfortably fastest car, even if maybe he is the GOAT.

  52. I knew as soon as I saw the headline the comments would be a cry-fest.

    I wasn’t disappointed.

  53. You can’t compare participants in sports that change their rules on a regular basis

  54. Forget about totals. Stewart is right: how can you compare totals when modern drivers have competed in so many more races. What matters more are percentages. With that in mind:
    Fangio and Clark stand out. But beyond that, there are other admittedly subjective standards that I think are very important. For Hamilton, he’s had and continues to have many, many truly outstanding qualifying performances, some of them otherworldly. His race craft is as good as it gets. He has steadily improved, even after historic achievements – in my mind, that’s always one the marks of greatness.

    I don’t think we need to create a numbered list of F1’s greatest drivers. I’d rather name a limited group that I consider the greatest, the best of the best. No doubt in my mind that Hamilton belongs in the group along with Fangio, Clark, Prost, Lauda. There are perhaps a couple more that could go on there.

    Why aren’t Senna and Schumacher aren’t on that list. IMO, any driver that deliberately crashed into another driver has to be excluded, no matter how talented. Doing that is such a fundamental violation of the the most basic trusts in motor racing that it can’t be overlooked or forgiven and their career has to be downgraded. The five drivers above, all raced with honor and were better drivers and men because of it.

    1. @partofthepuzzle for the record, Prost hit Senna to win a championship, just like Senna hit Prost.

  55. Sorry, Gilles was the best driver of all time.
    Fight me ;)

  56. I agree with Sir Jackie Stewart. I do not want to nor am I able to take away from Hamilton’s success but its hard to compare a charmed career like his that has always had top if not absolutely dominant machinery to the likes of Schumacher, Prost, and Senna who all drove some horrendous cars at various points during their careers and I’m not just talking about a slightly dodgy but still fully capable of winning McLaren.

  57. NeverElectric
    7th October 2020, 2:19

    Stewart is a bitter old man with an axe to grind – anyone that’s followed his comments knows that he has rarely spoken positively of Lewis without throwing in some negative.
    I doubt that his motives are to do with racism, but obviously there’s something he deeply dislikes about Hamilton since about 2016.
    From saying Hamilton lacked “mind management” (see https://duncanblog.dailymail.co.uk/2012/07/lewis-hamilton-should-have-won-more-f1-titles-sir-jackie-stewart.html) to urging Ross Brawn not to sign Hamilton in 2009 (see https://www.autoevolution.com/news/stewart-tells-brawn-not-to-sign-hamilton-5743.html), to attacking Lewis after the 2011 Monaco GP (see https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2011/may/30/lewis-hamilton-jackie-stewart-monaco-f1), to campaigning against a knighthood for Lewis (see https://talksport.com/sport/motorsport/216789/too-early-hand-lewis-hamilton-knighthood-says-sir-jackie-stewart-141124126076/)…etc etc.
    Stewart obviously has a deep personal dislike for Hamilton, so comments like these are not a surprise. Perhaps reporters looking to stir up some controversy should avoid asking him about Hamilton.

  58. I agree. Schumacher only had his teammate as his main rival in 2002 and 2004.

    The rest of those years he’s fighting the might of Williams, McLaren, then Renault.

    Hamilton has spent half his career (7 seasons) now fighting championships against Rosberg and Bottas on the other side of the garage with Toto and James in his corner.

    1. I am a huge Lewis fan, always have been. But he’s no goat. Battling just your team mate, with the bosses having your back. In a more equal setting with other team he could have achieved 3, maybe 4 WDC. Great talent!

      1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        7th October 2020, 19:14

        Nikki called it Lewis’s fault for 2016 Spanish crash. It went both ways.

        1. Of course it was his fault. Rosberg never lost control of his car. Hamilton overcommitted to the inside line.

          1. Oh? Right. So the acknowledged fact that Rosberg was in the wrong setting (call it gear to the brains like yours) and 160hp down swerving the wrong way across the circuit Inca move that would have black flagged him in a Superkart race where it hurts) in your world never happened because someone raced for an inside line.

            As a troll you are in another world Bondo

          2. Wasn’t a swerve he protected the inside line. The rest of the track was wide open. Brakes work extraordinarily well in F1 cars Hamilton chose to keep his foot planted.

          3. Look front on and which side Rosberg would need to be for the corner
            Brakes are not necessary in an acceleration zone when your opponent is in the wrong gear.
            If you think LH can’t brake there is not much hope here.
            Like I said – your trolling every mention of LH

            Boy it must be hurting

  59. J.Y.S. it is, very likely, impossible to declare a driver as ‘the greatest ever’.
    There could be a driver of a battered blue Ford Transit van, in a remote village somewhere, who has faster reflexes than any of the drivers mentioned in the article. Just sad that such a driver never had the opportunity that all of these others have had.

    I still think Fangio at the Nurburg Ring (1957) in the Maserati was one of the best drives in Formula One, ever. I also rated the late Stuart Lewis-Evans very highly, as I did the late Mike Hawthorn and Jean Eric Vergne who was not given a fair chance.

  60. I agree with you, Sir Jackie, if even Bottas can score victories, the car is too dominant to really tell anything from the numbers.

  61. Totally agree with Jackie. Nuff said

  62. Hamilton’s on track exploits are second to none. But if there was a F1 championship for obnoxious personalities then Lewis is clearly one of the greatest in F1. And he gets worse with each passing season.

    1. tony mansell
      7th October 2020, 9:40

      Care to expand on his obnoxious traits? ‘mate’

    2. Thats because of his perpetual identity crisis. Love the racer, but seriously can someone offer him professional guidance off track please

      1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        7th October 2020, 19:16

        And that is probably because of his total dedication to the sport since an early age and growing up under a rather repressive thumb that was Ron Dennis. It’s only since joining Merc he is discovering who he is. Brundle has made this point.

      2. @Mayrton –

        Thats because of his perpetual identity crisis

        Identity crisis? How? It never ceases to amaze me how people can trot out such ludicrous assertions without a single shred of evidence. Lewis Hamilton has been racing cars since he was 8yrs old. This is exactly the same career he has today. Sure, he has other hobbies like singing, rapping , designing clothes, and what not, but the chap has dedicated his whole life to a SINGLE venture. This is a lot more that can be said for most of us.

        Can you tell us one things that you have been doing since you were 8yrs old, that you are still doing today? Apart from still sucking on your thumb?

        Identity crisis my foot! All things being equal, you probably need more professional guidance than Lewis Hamilton does.

  63. tony mansell
    7th October 2020, 9:40

    So when’s Jackie’s book out then?

  64. they’re always going to say the same thing about who wins too much.
    it was the exact same thing with Schumacher. You just don’t win 90+ races driving so-so cars. Or even Prost and Vettel’s 50+ wins. Or Senna’s 40+.

    But there is a reason Hamilton is not booed worldwide like Vettel was, he proved he was really good before he got the all conquering cars, Vettel didn’t.

    Soon there will be another guy winning 10 races a year and people will say the same things.
    But Jackie hardly will be around to see it.

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      7th October 2020, 12:37

      I have this feeling, even if I don’t boo Vettel and if I believe his 4 titles are justified. In mid-2009, I remember thinking that Vettel was letting chances go of being champion. In 2010 he might have clinched the championship a little sooner.

      On the other hand, I don’t think he had an all conquering car but in 2013. It’s appalling the fact in 2011 Webber struggled just to be second while Vettel was winning.

    2. there is a reason Hamilton is not booed worldwide like Vettel was

      Yes, it’s called Hamilton fans. They boo and attack every opponent and critic. It’s just how they are.

      1. so, the only people booing Vettel at the time were Hamilton’s fans? Grow up.

  65. Agree with Sir Jackie here.

  66. It’s simple. Stewart belongs to a different era and he won’t be able to handle the current era.

    This is seen in many older people.

    Lewis is from current era and has two times as many titles as this outdated person that has no credibility in its comments.
    Rip well Stewart.

    1. that’s also true. he is a human and probably hates to hear people saying that hamilton is the greatest british driver. What about him?

      He had his share of great cars as well, as a lot of people had. But the only one that seems to bother him is Hamilton. Makes you wonder why.

  67. It is so dumb to talk so much about machinery on a series in which the best machine wins 90% of the time.
    Ok then, Hamilton isn’t the greatest because he had great cars. Who is then? If having great cars is a bad thing, the greatest ever probably didn’t even score a point. He did incredible things with the worst cars and nobody knows.

    It’s a lame discussion and Stewart is way too experienced to be waste his time with these talks.

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      7th October 2020, 17:44

      I think Tarquini is the greatest driver ever and he only scored 1 point.

    2. Yes, it maybe dumb, but Merc machinery is so much better than anything else that it’s borderline insulting.
      The proof is Bottas. Let’s look at a similar situation with a good driver and a mediocre driver in a competitive car, like
      Alonso at Ferrari. It’s teamates won “virtually” only one race during Alonso’s spell (we can take the infamous Alonso is faster that you as a Massa Victory).
      In contrast Bottas, which seems on par with Massa, won 9 races in a Merc, so the car is so superior that even a Massa can score victories.

  68. See, Jackie, that’s the thing. Your accomplishments stand on their own despite the fact that you’re transparently jealous of a man who you don’t think has a right to his accomplishments not because of his racecraft, but because of his race.

    You’re a bitter, crazed old man, but you’re still a Champion.
    Lewis is just a better one.

    I take heart in the fact that you will never be mentioned among the all time greats: Hamilton, Schumacher, Senna, Clark, and who knows, maybe someday Max Verstappen or Georgie Russell – IF if they get into the best team, as the greatest inevitably must.

    Ya daft idjit.

    1. Dave

      Love it!


  69. Jeffrey Powell
    9th October 2020, 13:33

    With the current F1 regime it is perhaps difficult to quantify how good a driver really is. In the past drivers of supreme ability where able to drive of into the distance and make the opposition look like a bunch of also-rans even though they included a wealth of multiple world champions. See Jackie Stewart at the German GP 1968. Plus many other examples. I am a great Fan of Lewis and love to see him win ,many of those who criticize him for his statements off track do not seem to understand he is in the main responding to inane questions from the media. But to suggest that he is a greater driver than Stewart is strange , if only we could ask some of the drivers Stewart competed against but alas many of them were killed in the terrifying enormously dangerous era he dominated.

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