“Lewis has dominated impressively, but …” Hamilton not better than Schumacher says Sky Sports F1 Germany pundit who looks back at the comparative histories of both Formula 1 legends.
According to many statistics, Lewis Hamilton is the most successful driver in Formula 1 history. But opinions differ as to whether he is also the best. A topic that is, of course, sometimes hotly debated among fans, experts and media representatives, especially in Germany, Michael Schumacher’s home country.
For Formula 1 pundit Marc Surer, one thing is certain: Hamilton “definitely” had an easier time than Schumacher in winning seven world championship titles. Schumacher had to help build up the team at Benetton (World Champion 1994 & 1995) as well as at Ferrari (2000-2004) and had done “much more work than Hamilton” in this respect.
“Lewis really dominated impressively,” Surer said in an interview with Formel1.de. But: “Before that, Michael Schumacher was so impressive. And before that there was also Alain Prost. He was world champion four times. There are always times when one driver comes out on top.”
Lewis never had to build a team
Hamilton had the great advantage that, with few exceptions, “he was always in the right car. He was driving McLaren, and McLaren was dominating at the time. When he came in, it was the best car in the field, and then he came to Mercedes just at the moment when they started to win. From that point of view, he did everything right.”
“But to see him as the best ever because of that? No – even if he has more titles. It’s also related to that because there’s less risk today. When people die around you, as was the case in the past, you’re more likely to think about quitting than when it’s actually become almost a normal job.”
Hamilton’s contract ends
Hamilton’s contract with Mercedes expires at the end of 2023. An extension is, at least Hamilton says, likely. But it doesn’t take an expert to see that could also depend on whether he still sees a prospect for himself at Mercedes becoming world champion for an eighth time.
“We don’t know what’s going on in his head. It’s possible that he’ll throw in the towel at some point if he doesn’t see the chance,” Surer speculates.
“The extension of the contract is also connected to the fact that he sees that things are moving forward. But I don’t think it can get as bad as last year.”
Surer rules out the possibility of Hamilton not continuing at Mercedes at the end of 2023 or resigning, but instead aiming for a change of team: “He has driven in two teams, McLaren and Mercedes – so actually always Mercedes, if you take it exactly. After all, McLaren was the factory team back then. I don’t think he wants to change that again in his ‘old’ days.”
Hamilton’s management ‘must talk to Ferrari’
Hamilton had a Ferrari deal agreed, in principle… With the Hamilton getting beaten soundly by Russell scenario is one his fans refuse to countenance, yet George is striving with every sinew to prove himself – he is on the up.
Hamilton by contrast has done it all in Formula One and whether he can be bothered fighting with a non-compliant car for lower points scoring finishes is questionable.
Back in 2019 the Italian media reported Hamilton’s management had agreed a $50m a season deal for the British driver to move to Ferrari.
The deal eventually floundered because the management in Maranello refused other demands made by Hamilton over key personnel he wanted to bring to Italy.
Perhaps if Hamilton was to go to Ferrari, who are nearly there as title contenders, but not quite; the stats of the British champion could exceed that of Schumacher whilst ticking the box of ‘building up a team’.