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Hamilton vs Schumacher: Who is the greatest?

Hamilton vs Schumacher: Who is the greatest?

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Hamilton vs Schumacher: Who is the greatest?

Hamilton vs Schumacher: Who is the greatest?

Lewis Hamilton has now matched the great Michael Schumacher's record of 91 wins in Formula 1 following his victory in the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, a record which seemed unbreakable when the German first retired in 2006.

With Hamilton now appearing to have one hand firmly on the 2020 title, championship number seven to again match Schumacher is only a few weeks away.

The best way to settle a debate, as always, is to assess the two drivers, so we mark the duo on racecraft, tactical awareness, qualifying, wet weather ability and legacy.

Racecraft

Michael Schumacher - 8/10

Some of the things Schumacher did in an F1 car were outrageous. For example, coaxing his Benetton - stuck in fifth gear - to second in Barcelona in 1994 was pure genius.

But his (first) final race at Brazil in 2006 encapsulates what the German could really do. After a puncture on lap nine, Schumacher fought back from almost being a lap down to finish fourth, just 24 seconds away from eventual victor Felipe Massa.

His racecraft wasn't always clean though. Adelaide '94 and Jerez '97 undoubtedly blotting the copybook.

Lewis Hamilton - 9/10

When Hamilton is behind another driver, you always feel he will make the pass. When roles are reversed, it is hard to say the same.

A fine example of this is Bahrain 2014, where Hamilton and Nico Rosberg went toe-to-toe in a gargantuan tussle. Hamilton came out on top on his way to title number two.

Belgium 2008 and his battle in changing conditions with Kimi Raikkonen is another good demonstration of his prowess but a messy 2011 season stops this from being a perfect score.

Tactical awareness

Michael Schumacher - 9/10

Very rarely did Schumacher get anything strategically wrong. A lot of his victories came courtesy of superb tactical awareness.

His victory at Belgium 1995 was all because of a brave change to slicks on a drying track, whilst Hungary in 1998 marked the first time Schumacher would switch to a three-stop strategy and annihilate the McLarens with relentless qualifying laps.

Even so far as his latter career is concerned, just a little more rain - two laps worth - would have seen him take victory at Canada 2011 after strategy put him into the top five.

Lewis Hamilton - 7/10

For the most part, Hamilton's tactical awareness is good. Whereas Schumacher, however, would dictate from the cockpit, Hamilton doesn't often rebel in order to retain a position. He lost the championship in 2007 after staying out far too long on his tyres in Shanghai before beaching it at pit-entry.

At Monaco in 2015, after dominating all weekend, Hamilton persuaded his Mercedes team to make a pit-stop under safety car conditions with 13 laps to go. Anyone who watches the sport knows track position is king at the principality and Hamilton threw the race away.

Qualifying

Michael Schumacher - 9/10

Schumacher was sublime over one lap. His first-ever qualifying session in 1991 at Spa was good enough for seventh, four places ahead of Jordan team-mate Andrea de Cesaris.

Monaco 2012 was another demonstration of his immense speed, but nothing compares to his return from a broken leg in Sepang in 1999, where he trounced the rest of the field by a second.

Lewis Hamilton - 10/10

The best qualifier ever? Hamilton always seems to find what he needs during the final part of qualifying.

We think of Ayrton Senna's pole lap from Monaco 1988 as the barometer of great qualifying laps. I argue that Hamilton's effort at Singapore in 2018 eclipses that as a spectator.

A car that was woefully slow all weekend compared to its rivals got thrashed around Marina Bay to a pole position by three-tenths. Is that the greatest lap of all time?

Wet weather

Michael Schumacher - 10/10

You don't get nicknamed the 'regenmeister' for nothing. Schumacher was simply flawless when the heavens opened.

His first victory for Ferrari was a masterclass. The car in 1996 was a shambles but luckily, it had Schumacher to steer it around for the Spanish Grand Prix. Forty-five seconds was the eventual gap between Schumacher in first and Jean Alesi in second in abhorrent conditions. One of the all-time great drives.

Lewis Hamilton - 9/10

If he was head-to-head with any other driver, Hamilton would have walked this category.

Very rarely does he miss out on pole in wet conditions, nor race wins. Much like Schumacher, one of the early signs of Hamilton's greatness was a wet weather drive - Silverstone 2008.

He lapped every driver up to third and beat second by over a minute in similarly torrential rain.

Legacy -

Michael Schumacher - 10/10

If you ask anyone of the 7.5 billion people on Earth, they will know who Michael Schumacher is, even if they don't watch, like or know of Formula 1.

He could have easily stayed at Benetton in the midst of its heydey but instead chose to go and develop Ferrari into a powerhouse. The Schumacher name is synonymous with both the Scuderia and the sport and will always be regarded as one of, if not the greatest driver.

Lewis Hamilton - 10/10

Hamilton's legacy will stretch far more than just his racing exploits. His personal battle for diversity, not just in the sport but in society, in general, has earned him a place in Time magazine's 100 most influential people. This is even before his Hamilton Commission sets off on its work.

For young racing drivers, they all want to be a Lewis Hamilton now. Much like Schumacher before him, it will ensure his legacy will be timeless.

Totals

Michael Schumacher - 46

Lewis Hamilton - 45

The verdict

One cannot deny the brilliance of both drivers across their respective eras. At the moment, Schumacher just pips Hamilton to the moniker of being greatest. I mean only just.

Hamilton still has time on his side though and more than likely will break Schumacher's championship record in the near future. There is just something about Schumacher, he has always had that aura of an icon around him.

Hamilton is on his way to achieving such status and maybe will be given the same recognition by the next generation of drivers.

Before you go...

Hamilton to hunt more records after reeling in Schumacher wins mark

Super-sub Hülkenberg did not believe points possible from last on the grid

Comments (2)

Teamlh

Michael Schumacher wasNt perfect in the wet as is Lewis and Senna giving him 10 is biased as how media nowadays are give him 9 if you give him 10 It means he was perfect no he wasn't just correct that

2 2  Reply
Teamlh

Pure favoritism to Michael Schumacher Wet weather as far I'm concerned Lewis Hamilton and Senna best rain masters ever

1 2  Reply

Fri 23 Oct

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