Lewis Hamilton vs. Michael Schumacher: Who is the best?

Lewis Hamilton vs. Michael Schumacher: Who is the greatest?

History was made on Sunday on the Portimao Circuit in Portugal. A monitor which has by no means hosted a F1 race previous to this coronavirus-affected 2020 season, in a rustic the place Hamilton had by no means raced an F1 automotive.

Both drivers are considered greats, racking up wins with Terminator-like ruthlessness, and Hamilton’s profession statistics mirror Schumacher’s in a lot of classes. So how to decide on the best?

While Schumacher’s mother and father labored a number of jobs and relied on the kindness of an area businessman to fund his karting profession, Hamilton’s father Anthony labored as much as three jobs at one time and remortgaged his home.

Parental dedication paid off as each careers acquired off to a flying begin.

Hamilton achieved his maiden F1 victory in solely his sixth-ever race, aged 22.

The Englishman may even have gained the championship in his debut season in 2007. He and teammate Fernando Alonso completed second and third respectively on 109 factors every, with champion Kimi Raikkonen ending only a level forward.

Hamilton would have been the youngest F1 world champion at 22 years and 287 days — a report which might have nonetheless stood. Nevertheless, he gained the title the next yr, at 23 years and 300 days.

With Hamilton beginning his profession within the then dominant McLaren, Schumacher confronted an arguably stiffer check beginning out, driving a Benetton automotive that was competing with a few of the all-time nice McLaren, Williams and Ferrari automobiles.

In 1992, Williams’ Nigel Mansell gained 9 of the 16 races that yr, together with his teammate Riccardo Patrese successful one. McLaren’s Ayrton Senna and Gerhard Berger gained 5 races between them, leaving one remaining: Schumacher’s maiden victory.

It got here on the identical monitor the place he had made his debut only a yr earlier: Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. His risk to show to slick tires from wets sooner than his rivals was an impressed transfer, and summed up the all-or-nothing method he took when chasing victory.

The 1993 season was the ultimate yr of the Alain Prost-Ayrton Senna rivalry, and in 1994 Schumacher earned his maiden F1 world championship.

Acrimony usually adopted the German all through his profession, and 1994 set the tone for that.

Despite not recording a degree in 4 races due to race bans, Schumacher took the title — though it’s nonetheless debated at present as as to if his crash into rival Damon Hill within the ultimate race was intentional or not.

The final check

Some say you may greatest decide how good a driver is predicated on their teammates’ performances. And each Hamilton and Schumacher have gorgeous information in opposition to their teammates.

Schumacher completed with a greater consequence than his teammate in 68 p.c of races he began. Hamilton has a 61 p.c report in opposition to teammates.

In phrases of season finishes although, solely twice in his 13 accomplished seasons has Hamilton been bettered by a teammate. If he continues his dominance in 2020, that report might be two in 14.

Prior to his comeback in 2010, between 1991 and 2006, Schumacher completed behind his teammates in solely three of 16 seasons. One of these is arguably irrelevant as, in 1991, Schumacher raced solely as soon as for Jordan and 5 instances for Benetton, with Andrea de Cesaris and Nelson Piquet driving in each race for these respective groups.

When we take note of Schumacher’s three years at Mercedes alongside Nico Rosberg from 2010 to 2012 after his F1 comeback, that statistic turns into six in 19 seasons.

Hamilton’s blip for Mercedes got here in 2016 when Rosberg beat him to win the title in probably the most intense seasons in residing reminiscence.

Career-long dominance

It is a testomony to the greatness of each racers that they’ve completed races on the rostrum extra usually than they have not. And with over 40 fewer race begins, Hamilton has a ratio higher than one win in each three races.

Only Juan Manuel Fangio (24 wins in 52 races) and Alberto Ascari (13 in 33) have a greater win-to-race entry ratio than Hamilton.

For drivers to have entered over 100 races although, solely Jackie Stewart, Prost and Senna come anyplace shut to those two behemoths.

Hamilton has the sting over the course of a profession, successful 35 p.c of the races he began.

One anomaly stands proud, nevertheless.

The pair’s podiums and wins tally are very comparable, however Hamilton is head and shoulders in entrance on pole positions achieved.

For many, this can be a level to Hamilton. But, if something, the deficit between variety of poles and race wins is a testomony to Schumacher’s willpower to win. The man simply by no means gave up.

The duo’s monitor historical past does not assist us differentiate between them a lot. Hamilton’s dominance on the Hungaroring in Hungary is severely spectacular, successful eight of the 14 instances (57 p.c) he has pushed there. Schumacher isn’t far behind in his report on the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours in France with eight wins in 15 entries (53 p.c).

For Schumacher to have completed on the rostrum 12 instances at not one however three separate tracks speaks to his consistency.

It stays to be seen whether or not Hamilton can match that stage of dominance at a single monitor, not to mention three.

The future

Hamilton has gained eight of the 12 races on this yr’s world championship.

A victory within the subsequent spherical at Imola will safe Hamilton a seventh world title, the one massive report of Schumacher’s he has but to equal or eclipse.

Schumacher was 37 when he retired for the primary time in 2006 and, after his temporary return to the game, was 43 when he accomplished his ultimate race.

The German has been the benchmark for years. After eclipsing Prost’s report of 51 Grand Prix victories in 2001, he had one other 5 years at Ferrari the place he continued to build up victories.

Hamilton is 35 now, and is exhibiting no indicators of slowing down.

Having overwhelmed Schumacher’s report, it’s throughout the realms of chance that the Briton will proceed so as to add to his tally, setting information for years to come back.

“He deserves every victory he had. I am sure he will get 100. I don’t think you can praise him enough,” stated Sebastian Vettel after Sunday’s race, himself a winner of 4 world titles and 53 races.

At his present fee, Hamilton will attain 100 wins subsequent season, and possibly even attain eight world titles subsequent yr too.

Schumacher’s greatness is cemented in historical past. But Hamilton will march on to even better approval for years to come back.

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