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Hamilton not in Stewart's top-three all-time F1 drivers

Hamilton not in Stewart's top-three all-time F1 drivers

F1 News

11 comments

Hamilton not in Stewart's top-three all-time F1 drivers

Hamilton not in Stewart's top-three all-time F1 drivers

Sir Jackie Stewart does not believe Lewis Hamilton can be considered in the top-three Formula 1 drivers of all time despite him standing on the verge of history this season.

Hamilton goes into this weekend's Eifel Grand Prix at the Nürburgring one victory shy of Michael Schumacher's record of 91 F1 race wins, while the Briton is on course to also match the German's mark of seven titles.

Yet Stewart feels the current era of F1 does not compare to that in the 1950s, '60s and '70s when considerably shorter F1 seasons meant drivers were forced to compete in several other categories.

"I don't think you can account for that sort of level of success just because today there are 20, 22 races," assessed Stewart, speaking on the Australian Grand Prix Corporation's 'In The Fast Lane' podcast.

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

“Those people only raced maybe sometimes six to eight or nine races a year in Formula 1. They were driving sports cars, GT cars etcetera.

“But the world championship now, Lewis 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 nor in Can-Am cars, so therefore, you can’t really compare.

“One year I was driving around the world like an idiot. I went across the Atlantic 86 times, to drive and do business in America, as well as in the UK. Nobody would do that today.

“The pressure today is much more relaxed. Of course, they go to the factory and do the simulator but that’s not quite the same.

"Those 86 [flights] across the Atlantic, that was 27 of them with Concorde, so it’s a different world. It’s not the same playing ground.”

Stewart is hoping that when the new regulations come into force in 2022, Mercedes' era of dominance will finally come to an end, with the manufacturer set to clinch its seventh successive constructors' title this season.

Asked whether he believed such dominance could be repeated, he replied: "I hope not because it's not good for the sport.

"Lewis drives extremely well, make no mistake. I'm not in any way diminishing his skills, but it isn't the same

“Lewis made a very good decision when he left McLaren 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."

Stewart highlighted the fact Fangio won four of his five titles with different manufacturers, while Hamilton is set to win his sixth with Mercedes.

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

“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’s where the difference [is] between the very, very great drivers and the ones that were very successful.

“It’s difficult to say that about Lewis, not being as good as, say, Fangio was in my mind, and a lot of people would find fault in that.

“To say that Lewis is the greatest driver of all time, would be difficult for me to justify, in the sheer power of what the other drivers were doing.”

Before you go...

Nürburgring holds "emotional" attachment for Wolff

Red Bull open to reuniting with Renault - Horner

What do you think?
Jimbo

To my mind, the drivers of a by gone day, who had to use clutch, gear lever and brains, and really get down to business of driving to their own ability without radio contact, were to me the men to beat. No tyre changes in less there was a puncture. Those were the days. Look at the tenacity and bravery of the late Niki Lauda to come back after 6weeks and do his utmost to win a title, and when he thought it not safe to race in wet weather that was not fitting for the occasion, stopped in the pits and said my life is more important. That to me is a true champion.

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Regular
David
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6
Oct 2020
First Poster
David

Schumacher not even worthy of a mention, what does that mean?

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Amateur
Jimbo
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1
41
11
Oct 2020
Jimbo

To my mind, the drivers of a by gone day, who had to use clutch, gear lever and brains, and really get down to business of driving to their own ability without radio contact, were to me the men to beat. No tyre changes in less there was a puncture. Those were the days. Look at the tenacity and bravery of the late Niki Lauda to come back after 6weeks and do his utmost to win a title, and when he thought it not safe to race in wet weather that was not fitting for the occasion, stopped in the pits and said my life is more important. That to me is a true champion.

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Amateur
Steve
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3
25
11
Oct 2020
Steve

Personally I'd put Jackie up there in the top 3. I'm not a great fan of Hamilton but he can't be dismissed, especially after winning more races than anyone else

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Amateur
View2Askew
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37
Oct 2020
View2Askew

Hamilton had the best car 90% of his career, hope he doesn't think Sir Jackie is being racist.

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Amateur
Nicola
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Oct 2020
Nicola

Jackie pointedly doesn’t mention his third.

The inference being he considers himself?..

That aside, no secret Jackie cooled towards Hamilton once he stopped treating him with the true deference Jackie felt deserved.

I wouldn’t argue that the drivers of the 50s to 70s are a special breed but the way this tiresome old fart pitches, and concentrates just on his era, turns off a sizeable percentile of the audience. Put a sock in it Jackie.

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Amateur
Markp
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Oct 2020
Markp

Shock horror, bitter Jackie Stewart on one again. This man generally never has anything positive to say, clearly bitter he's no longer Britain's most successful driver with world championship. Take your bitterness elsewhere Jackie

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Amateur
John184
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18
Oct 2020
John184

Hamilton has a great record and is a great driver, but the fact that he has been driving the fastest car on track for most of his F1 career and hasn't had the close and arguably better to watch close competition or battles that seemed common in the now bygone days make him a name easy to dismiss. The fact that he has stated when starting at the back he knows he is 2 seconds a lap faster than anything on track just proves the current iteration of racing is more about machine than man. The fact that he is always stating the white man is keeping him down when he is number 1 also doesn't really help his case.

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Amateur
buzzdriving
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Oct 2020
buzzdriving

Presumably, this must be because Sir Jackie is a racist.

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Amateur
Eric
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Oct 2020
Eric

It somehow doesn't make sense to me coz it's he is talking about F1 greats then he brings in other races Indy car,etc.. his observation is not genuine

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Amateur
Rosko
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Oct 2020
Rosko

You cant compare them. You’ll never know. People can't get their heads around this when people talk about GOATs in sport. Michael Jordan explained it best when he was asked if he was the greatest of all time and went on to explain that you can't compare across different eras because the game and the lines change so much; the set up and teammates are different across different teams and because they never went up against each other. It's kind of infantile when people thrash around, fuming when one says one is better than the other... some sports (F1 included) you will never know.

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