Vettel: I always thought Schumacher’s wins record would never be beaten

2020 Eifel Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel says he never thought Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 F1 wins would be beaten, but accepts it is inevitable after Lewis Hamilton equalled it last weekend.

The Ferrari driver, who lies immediately behind the pair on the all-time winners list with 53 victories, said he “respects [the] efforts” of Hamilton in reaching “a number that in my head I always thought would never be beaten or equalled.”

Hamilton will pass Schumacher’s record if he wins any of the remaining six races this year. “I think it’s quite certain he will exceed this number,” said Vettel.

“Nevertheless, I have to say that Michael will always be my hero,” he continued. “I think Michael had something about him that I haven’t seen in other drivers so far.

“It’s probably the fact that I looked up to him when I was a child and Lewis, I didn’t look up to him when I was a child because I was racing him. So it’s a different situation.

“Probably in another 10, 15, 20 years’ time, there will be more admiration for that. But obviously when you’re still active, you’re looking at yourself and not so much in others. But as I said I think you can’t [credit] him enough for what he has achieved.”

Vettel said Schumacher’s greatness was easiest to appreciate in karts. “He was just better than anybody else I’ve ever seen so far. I think he had a natural talent that is very difficult to explain.

“If you saw him in go-karting – obviously I didn’t see him at a young age, but at an older age. and I was happy to join him in the Race of Champions a couple of times. You see there a little bit more the skills and the control, the car control, both the karting experience and the Race of Champions experience.

“I think he had a natural ability that, as I said, I haven’t seen in anyone else so far. On top of that he had an incredible work ethic. But I think it’s the combination of the two that for me stands out. I haven’t seen a match yet.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
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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74 comments on “Vettel: I always thought Schumacher’s wins record would never be beaten”

  1. Neither did I Seb. Neither did I…

  2. I do hope Seb can rediscover wdc Seb next year. And of course Schumi is his first hero, you wouldn’t want him to start idolising Lewis!!

    1. This. MS and vettel both are strong in knowing what is hapoening in the race around them, that is what makes them a class above and beyond, MS especially. As where Hamilton relies completely on the pitwall for that. Without a strong team he would still be a very fast driver but not winning as easily because of that

      1. Here’s a reply for you :kiss:

      2. @cdfemke Vettel knows a lot of what is happening around him, because he faces rearwards so much.

        1. Hahaha. I dont see Vettel as spacious aware for sure. No idea where they get it from. He just pulled off from pole all the time. Put him slightly more back and he struggles to even finish a race.

      3. @cdfemke didn’t Ross Brawn comment about how much chatter went back and forth between Michael and the pit wall during his time at Ferrari?

        Realistically, how much can a driver know about what is happening in the race around them when, once somebody is out of visual range, you have very little way of knowing what they’re doing? For example, if the driver behind you has just pitted for fuel, how are you meant to know what exactly they are doing with their strategy from the cockpit when you’d have no idea how long they will have been fuelling for?

        There is quite a lot of information that Michael, or indeed any other driver, would not be able to know from the cockpit without being told by his pit wall what the rest of the field is doing around him – you’re assuming a state of omniscience that would be impossible for those drivers to have.

      4. That is just completely untrue and really shows your bias. All great drivers know what is going on around them, work out different strategies etc. etc. Hamilton is always coming on the radio talking about stuff like this, as was Schumacher and Vettel

  3. I really hope that Hamilton’s records stay unbeaten for a long time. Not because I like him, but because if we really experience another period of domination even longer and more tedious then the current one from Mercedes, then Formula 1 has failed as a sport.

    There are a lot of regulation changes coming up for 2022. For the first time in history, a budget cap will be introduced in the sport, which will stop the big teams from outspending everyone else by hundreds of millions per year. Then there’s the windtunnel regulations, where the team who wins gets the fewest hours of windtunnel time. All these regulations are specifically designed to stop the one team domination we saw from 2014-2021.

    For that reason, I don’t think that Hamilton’s records will ever be beaten. That does not make him the GOAT however, because statistics without context are useless. If a driver (say Verstappen) can win 4 titles in an era where every team has equal resources, I would consider that a far superior a achievement to winning 7 titles with the Mercedes superteam that spends half a billion per year.

    1. It’s very simple number game more races means more chance that someone will beat his record. So i expect Lewis will be beaten only the question is when.

      1. @macleod
        How much longer can the FIA realistically expand the calendar? 25 at maximum? There’s only so many weeks in a year.

        Hamilton’s records will never be beaten because the FIA will never allow it. The fundamental rule changes in 2022 are designed to stop domination from one team (budget cap, windtunnel hours).

        But as I said before, statistics without context are useless. If a driver can win 4 titles in an era where every team has an equal budget, I would consider than an infinitely superior achievement to anything Hamilton did from 2014-2021.

        1. With double headers, cutting the free practice and doing short weekends, there is room for more they think

          1. @CDFEMKE
            The comment you make with regard to implying Hamilton being only fast because he receives pit wall instructions is just about the most BIMBO comment I ever heard. Don’t all f1 drivers receive pit wall instruction.

            Where we’re you born?
            Besides, Pitt Wall instructions are more about the condition of the car, tyres, engine and weather etc than they are about coaching drivers to drive.

            Please think before you speak as you are sounding rather foolish.

          2. Bimbo comment @Ince ?
            Bit misogynistic of you.

            And I think you may be missing the point @cdfemke is making, or as I perceive it to be which is the number of times Hamilton asks the pitwall what he should do, what laptime he should be doing etc etc.
            It seems to be more him than any other driver.

            Hamilton is still a great though, certainly in my top 5. Just not top.

    2. Nobody has won 4 titles in an era where every team has equal resources yet @kingshark. But while we’re playing fantasy F1, imagine if the cars had all been equal from 2007 to now… Lewis could be 14x wdc and counting! Amazing!! I’m so awed by this imaginary achievement!

      Tho for sure Schumi was amazing in his day and Max and Charles will be amazing in theirs. Let’s hope Max and Charles might move the world forward like Lewis.

      1. @zann
        All I am saying is that winning a world title when every team has an equal budget will be a far superior achievement to winning a world title when you have a team or 1,500 personnel and outspend your competition by hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

        That’s not remotely controversial, it’s common sense.

        1. It might be, or it might not @kingshark. They might scrape over line, fluke it or cheat. It hasn’t happened yet, and Mercedes haven’t outspent Ferrari or Red Bull or in fact anybody by hundreds of millions either, as they only spent £337m last year. This is just in your head, in a world you’re imagining with your oh so ulterior motive.

          I mean Lewis is part of that team. Niki went to the Daimler board to get the budget to hire him, and that was part of the plan to invest and build it up.

          1. @zann
            Mercedes have a bigger budget than Red Bull by almost $100 million and also more employees (1000 vs 780)
            https://www.racefans.net/2020/01/02/the-cost-of-f1-2019-part-two-what-the-top-teams-spent/

            These figures exclude engine development, where Mercedes spend an additional $250 million
            https://www.forbes.com/sites/csylt/2018/09/23/mercedes-f1-engine-investment-accelerates-to-250-million/

            The only team with equal resources to Mercedes is the incompetent and broken Ferrari team. Every other team on the grid is not even playing the same sport.

            It might be, or it might not

            Obviously winning a world title on a level playing field is far more impressive than winning a world title when the odds are heavily stacked in your favour.

        2. But they don’t outspend all their competition. Both Red Bull and Ferrari spend similar sums and have little to show for it. And the assumption that everyone has spent equal money at ANY point in the past is just plain wrong.

          1. @paulcook

            Both Red Bull and Ferrari spend similar sums and have little to show for it.

            Ferrari yes, Red Bull no, see the numbers above.

            And the assumption that everyone has spent equal money at ANY point in the past is just plain wrong.

            I don’t know if you are arguing with a straw-man because I never made that assumption.

    3. wasn’t there a budget cap introduced in 2009 or 2010?

      1. @nickthegreek
        Was an idea but never actually passed

    4. That is a good point. I was just thinking that if Mercedes would still be around racing those positions where they were when they came back in 2010 (3-10).

      2014 – Ricciardo/Red Bull
      2015 – Vettel/Ferrari
      2016 – Ricciardo/Red Bull
      2017 – Vettel/Ferrari
      2018 – Vettel/Ferrari
      2019 – Verstappen/Ferrari
      2020 – Verstappen/Red Bull

      Of course you cannot compare those like that but imagine how much more better and thighter F1 would have been without that one team. That it should look like and I hope championships will look like much more like that after 2021 than

      Hamilton/Mercedes
      Hamilton/Mercedes
      Rosberg/Mercedes
      Hamilton/Mercedes
      Hamilton/Mercedes
      Hamilton/Mercedes
      Hamillton/Mercedes

      But still. This is an era that we don’t really want to see but these are the seasons and races that will be in the history books quite a while

      1. It might have looked like that without Mercedes but it might also have just looked like this:

        Hamilton/Ferrari
        Hamilton/Ferrari
        Hamilton/Red Bull
        Hamilton/Red Bull
        Hamilton/Haas
        Hamilton/Williams
        Hamilton/Ferrari

        1. You forgot Hamilton/Minardi
          In these imaginary wdc’s the top!

      2. Now do this without Ferrari in early 2000s, without McLaren in 80s…if you get my drift.

    5. All sports go through a period of one person or team dominates. Look at men’s tennis right now we have three players that win all the grand slams. this has been happening since 2003 when Federer started winning.
      Man Utd dominated and before them Liverpool. Real Madrid have dominated the European League. O’Sullivan, Hendry and Davis dominated in snooker.
      F1 has had periods of domination from Lotus, Williams, McLaren, Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes and they all produced drivers world champions. The top teams will always try to put the best driver in the best team. Ron Dennis took a big gamble when he put Hamilton in the second McLaren in 2007, but he new he had Alonso in the other car who was the current double world champion. He new Hamilton was the current GP2 champion and won at every level he took part in up to that point. Hamilton deserves all he has achieved.

  4. I thought the same too or then if at all that it would be you.
    I saw Hamilton winning 3 championships max

    1. He sure is the luckiest Formula one driver of all time. Very privileged. The LOAT

  5. I didn’t think they’d allow one team to dominate for so long.

    If someone told me at the start of 2014 that Mercedes would completely dominate the sport for the next 7 seasons (soon to be 8 seasons) with a car far superior to their opposition I would have said that Hamilton will easily beat Schumacher’s records.

    In fact, Hamilton should have got there earlier but he made many errors that cost him the championship in 2016.

    Just in the hybrid era there have been 132 races with Mercedes winning 98.

    Of course 98 Mercedes wins, Hamilton has won 62 which is a relatively poor return.

    It suggests Mercedes wins have been more about the car than the drive.

    Ferrari when they won 5 consecutive championships had 56 wins from 85 races.

    However of those 56 wins, Schumacher won 47 which was an incredible return.

    This suggests Ferraris wins were more about the driver than the car (although the Ferrari was an incredible car in 2002 and 2004).

    1. Or that Schumacher didn’t have good enough teammates.

      1. Prime Barrichello no worse than Rosberg, definitely better than Bottas. He had some tremendous results for Jordan and Stewart.

        1. I think most would agree that Rosberg put up a better fight against Hamilton, than Barichello did with Schumacher.

          Plus it isn’t “in the contract”.

          1. Just my opinion but Schumacher was the better, more complete driver that was more consistent. Barrichello is simply going to have a tougher time beating the likes of Schumacher over 60-odd laps than a driver like Hamilton who is less consistent over a 60-odd lap race and throughout a season.

        2. So Herbert, Rubens and Irvine superior to Bottas, Rosberg and Alonso?

          1. Schumacher in 1994-95 went 30-1 in qualifying against four different teammates.

            Hamilton lost 8-11 to Rosberg in qualifying in 2014.

            If Schumacher went 10-10 against Herbert you’d have a point, but he went 16-1.

          2. Thank you for confirming that you believe Herbert, Rubens and Irvine were superior to Alonso, Button and Rosberg to go up against as teammates.

        3. Hilarious comment

          Let’s also forget that Shui was very much the No.1 driver and the team set everything up more or less 100% for him

          Love the way, you conveniently ignore Hamilton’s pre-Mercedes win ratio, when he had the better car for one season and that was his debut on of 2007

          And final Mercedes haven’t totally dominated the hybrid era. In 2017 to 2019 Vettel should have won the WDC as the Ferrari was the better car (well until they were found with their hands in the faster engine till at the back end of last season). Shui or Hamilton would have won in that Ferrari for those years

          1. Hamilton was outscored by his teammate 2010-12, so he was going to struggle to win a championship.

            Rosberg also won 8-7 in races where both drivers finished in 2013 (9-6 if Ross Brawn didn’t order Rosberg to stay behind Hamilton in Malaysia).

            Hamilton’s had a good car since he got into F1.

            The Benetton didn’t become good until 1994 and then he left at the end of 1995 to go to a shambolic Ferrari team. It didn’t become the best car on the grid until 2001.

            Mercedes were the better car in 2017-18 but the team and Hamilton made a lot of blunders early in each season. 2019 Ferrari had a rocketship in qualifying because of the party mode on their illegal engine. Over the course of the entire season the Mercedes was clearly the better car. They won 14 races to 3.

          2. David, they are both great drivers.

          3. Lol @David Bondo, no Hamilton losing over 3 seasons does not mean it would be ahrder to win a title. All that matters is he won 2/1 in seasons. So 2 seasons he could have been champion. So what are you on about. Old Kimi is worst than Rosberg, he beat Vet in qually aswell. Did you see Ham race pace in 14? Probably the most dominant in years beaten ya teammate in same car starting behind so much. Hamilton raced Alonso from day one. He also missed out on many wins i think you are forgetting. If he had a joke like Rubens or Irvine who is like Albon often a second behind Ham would have many more wins.

          4. Hamilton got outscores in 2011, his worst year in the sport, the only other time was 2016, his main mistake that season was getting to grips with the starts.

            Schumacher was great but his teammates weren’t allowed to beat him. He got to look at their data. They weren’t allowed to look at his

            Beating different teammates in the same year isn’t impressive when the new driver won’t be familiar with the car and he’d have done so much testing and had the car designer towards his driving style

    2. Or it could have meant that Hamilton’s partner was much better than Schumi’s.

    3. @David Bono
      Why cant you be 100% honest. Hamilton lost the title in 2016 not because of his lack of performance, he still had more victories, poles and podiums than Rosberg that year, it was because of the fact that he lost close to 80 points due to his engine failure, which he had no control over. By the way, for all his engine failures he still only lost the title by 5 points, which is amazing.

      Where there we’re no engine
      failures, and when it came to actual racing on the track for the whole 2016 season Hamilton never lost to Rosberg, and by the way, the same reasoning applies to Hamilton never losing to Jenson Button.

      1. Hamilton bottled 7 starts in 2016, crashed in Baku qualifying, had a dummy spit and gave up in Shanghai.

        Rosberg just had to bring the car home in second place in the remaining four races of 2016 which is what he did.

        Massa had more wins than Hamilton in 2008, but no-one tries to take that title off Hamilton.

        1. David Bono
          you must be high on crack if you really believe Michael Cheatmaster could ever beat King Hamilton or Prince Vesteppen. I can tell you cheatmaster chance against both of the above would have been between slim and none, and slim is a blind cripple.

        2. @David Bondo, You don’t see the irony of arguing Rosberg was weak when he destroyed Schumi?

          1. Schumacher split qualifying 10-10 against Rosberg in 2012.

            In races where both drivers finished Schumacher won 7-3.

            It was fairly close between prime Rosberg and 43 year old Schumacher.

          2. David, you are very skilled at picking just the right statistics out of context. Perhaps you could enlighten us on why Schumacher didn’t finish some of those races?

          3. He had a lot of bad luck with reliability and made a few poor errors as well. He was 43 and clearly not anywhere close to the driver he was.

            Still he was managing to match a prime Rosberg for pace.

          4. @davidbondo
            Rosberg was only 24, about 5 years before his prime!!!
            An inexperienced Rosberg defeated a very experienced Schumacher.
            You really have no arguement.
            You don’t seem to have computed this fact. You seem to have a fixed belief that MSC had lost it. MSC just wasn’t as good as his first career suggests!
            You actually have no evidence he had deskilled.

          5. Rosberg was 27 in 2012 when a 43 year old Schumacher was matching him for pace.

            Vettel had 4 world championships by that age.

    4. OK I’ll bite, please list Hamilton’s imaginary 2016 errors.

      Driving too fast so his car exploded in Malaysia?

      1. Australia he started on pole but was 6th by the end of the first lap. Got swamped at the start.

        Bahrain started on pole but Rosberg beat him to the first corner. Got tapped by Bottas but really Hamilton could have given Bottas room. Wasn’t necessary to squeeze a car you’re much faster than on the first corner.

        China, Hamilton couldn’t qualify and had to start at the back, but a podium was easily achievable. Instead, Hamilton spent the race on the radio complaining and brought the car home in 8th. Didn’t get the maximum from the car. I remember Brundle in commentary believing it was a poor effort by Hamilton.

        In Spain he made an error and spun into Rosberg. Very lucky to take Rosberg out, and lucky to not be penalised too.

        At Monaco Rosberg moved over for Hamilton when the team ordered him to despite being in a title fight. Was for position. Rosberg was struggling with his car. I guarantee Hamilton would not have done the same for Rosberg and in fact didn’t in Hungary 2014.

        Italy, Hamilton cooked the start. Started on pole was 6th by the time he went through the chicane.

        Singapore, Hamilton qualified third finished third. Rosberg got pole, won the race. Rosberg just too good.

        Japan, Hamilton cooked the start. Started second behind Rosberg, but was about 8th or 9th by the first corner.

        That’s why Hamilton lost the championship to Rosberg.

      2. @davidjwest from the way that David Bondo/Oconomo has been posting, Hamilton’s error is apparently not being Max Verstappen…

        1. from the way that David Bondo/Oconomo has been posting, Hamilton’s error is apparently not being Max Verstappen…

          Indeed. I have absolutely no doubt that both these chaps are in urgent need of a psychiatrist. The same David Bongo who claims Hamilton lost the 2016 championship due to his errors, will also claim Verstappen only lost to Ricciardo due to bad reliability on his side

    5. @David Bongo –

      Whilst you are at it, here is a list of errors Rosberg made in 2016.

      – bad start in Australia
      – spun in Canada
      – bad start in Germany
      – penalized in Germany
      – nightmare drive in Monaco
      – crashed into teammate in Spain.
      – passed in Becketts, Silverstone
      – crashed in Austria
      – penalised by FIA in Austria
      – penalised in Malaysia

      His driving was so bad, that he was ranked 3rd best driver by the team principals that year, and voted as low as 7th by F1 Metrics, ranked 4th by RaceFans, and as low as 5th by Autosport. For a driver who just won a world championship, those rankings are absolutely shocking.

      Despite his teammate not participating in 3 qualifying sessions, starting from the back of the grid 5 times, and having 2 x DNF, Rosberg was still beaten on qualifying, pole positions, race wins, fastest laps, etc, and only won the championship by 5 points!

      Facts Bongo, not fiction from your alternative universe.

      1. Rosberg is not a top tier driver in F1.

        We’re trying to work out who is best of all time here not whether Hamilton is better than Rosberg which we knew the answer before Hamilton ever went to Mercedes.

        Hamilton simply made too many errors in 2016 to be a deserved champion.

  6. Says the man who already had won 39 times when he was 26 years of age.

    Just imagine what would have happened if he had moved to Mercedes instead of Lewis. At the time (halfway 2012) Alonso was leading the championship with a considerable margin; it looked like Red Bull had lost some of its mojo. It would have been understandable.

    1. Hamilton would probably have ended up at Ferrari. And then would have won the WDC for the last three seasons

      Hamilton, Alonso and Shui are simply better than Vettel – no matter how many WDC the latter might have won more than Alonso

      We don’t need stats or scenarios to deduce this

    2. The Mercedes for Ham/Nico was and is the complete opposite of the car Seb likes to drive. So we may have witnessed what we are witnessing now with Seb in the Ferrari a bit earlier in his career, with Mercedes at sea on which direction to take the development of the car.

  7. Jose Lopes da Silva
    13th October 2020, 9:35

    ” if we really experience another period of domination even longer and more tedious then the current one from Mercedes, then Formula 1 has failed as a sport.”

    This comment by Kingshark is another good matter for long winter reads.
    The expectations on Formula 1 as a sport meant that it was expected that no team could exert technical dominance for a long period of time. Until 1985, that’s what happened and only the Godfather was able to win 3 or more back to back championships, which were quite rare.
    The input of more money, more human and technical resources meant that, from 1985 onwards, periods of technical dominance became the norm.
    I’m not sure if that meant that F1 failed as a sport since 1985. Surely not. But fans were not expecting this new paradigm.

    1. I guess it’s the convergence of technology. The better and more inventive designers got, the faster and more dangerous the cars got and the tighter and tighter the regulations. It makes for a series where designers are forced to use the same techniques and the room for game changing innovations is considerably narrowed. Examples of what I mean are the rear engined cooper, monocoque lotus 25, lotus 49 with the engine as a stressed component, ground effect lotus 78, active suspension… I could go on but I won’t… I guess the last time we had a significant innovation that turned around a team’s fortunes (outside of major regulation changes) would be red bull’s blown diffuser (which everyone converged on…)

      1. Jose Lopes da Silva
        13th October 2020, 10:44

        That too, for sure. No surprise that the cars general look (from the most non-technical view, like a child) has stayed the same since the late eighties, compared with the previous decades.

  8. Hamilton is more talented and naturally gifted than Schumacher. Only one driver on the grid (Mac) is a match for Hamilton’s raw pace, consistency and aggression (without being dirty).
    Schumacher undoubtedly a great driver but he was the clear Number 1 in the team and no team mate was allowed to beat him. Also enjoyed unlimited testing, unlimited budgets and developments. A whole tire manufacturer (Bridgestone) just to provide the best tires to suit his driving style.

    If Vettel hasn’t seen a match for Schumacher that is okay but many think Hamilton is more than a match for Schumacher and in equal cars would have been the faster more gifted driver.

    1. All teams had unlimited testing, unlimited budgets, unlimited development. Michelin had more teams therefore a lot more testing and development data than Bridgestone.

      Schumacher won a greater proportion of races 2000-04 than Hamilton 2014-20 despite not enjoying as much a car advantage as Hamilton has.

      Barrichello was allowed to win he just rarely found himself in front of Schumacher on merit. Team orders were banned for 2003 onwards anyway.

      1. I wonder if there’s data about how many test laps/kms teams were doing per season in the 90s and 00s. I suspect ferrari had an easier time arranging test days with a track in the backyard!

      2. David Bono
        you must be high on crack if you really believe Michael Cheatmaster could ever beat King Hamilton or Prince Vesteppen. I can tell you cheatmaster chance against both of the above would have been between slim and none, and slim is a blind cripple.

  9. Hamilton or Schumacher, who is best?

    Who has had the most difficult team mates to beat?

    Who has played by the book?

    Who has not had a number two “wing-man” every season they raced?

  10. Seb is sounding very wise and presidential. He is certainly the elder statesman among the current drivers. The only other contenders are Kimi who won’t give two hoots about an accolade like that. And Lewis, who sadly is never serious for long enough….

  11. In terms of numbers yes, but then they are pretty meaningless when you’ve had the best car for years AND there are about 50% more races now.

    I don’t think many (sane at least) would say that Schumachers place as the greatest ever has been bettered by Hamilton, or ever will be by another driver.

    1. An awful lot of people out there who are insane then because I dont think MS would be at the top of that list. I can barely remember watching Clark at the track, so you must be well older than me to have watched them all closely enough to form an opinion that those who put Fangio at the top for example are insane.

  12. Personally I don’t think you can tell who is the greatest, but you can probably put together a list of the greats from their respective eras:

    Fangio, Clark, Stewart, Lauda, Prost, Senna, Schumacher, Hamilton. I would also put Alonso in there.

  13. In a way, Sebastian got the chance to prevent Lewis from getting close to Michael’s record, especially in 2017 and 2018, but he cracks under pressure too often.

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