Lewis Hamilton could set Michael Schumacher’s 91 race victory record over the weekend, and at the end of the year he will also be able to catch up with the German in terms of world title, and provided he stays in the sport, he will be able to rank even higher in performance.
Despite the amazing numbers, 1969, 71 and 73 F1 champion Sir Jackie Stewart believes the 35-year-old Englishman will never be the “biggest”, he is, for example, the legend of the 50s, the five-time champion Juan Manuel Fangio, but still late his mentor and friend, “only” two-time champion Jim Clark, also appreciates him more.
“I don’t think his successes are good, as there are 20-22 races a year these days. In my eyes, Juan Manuel Fangio is the biggest racer ever to live, Jim Clark is second to Senna. But these people sometimes only started six, eight, nine F1 races a year. They also drove touring cars, GTs and more. Today, however, the league in Hamilton, or any other leading edge, will make it through 22 races, but only in Formula One. Not by touring car, not by GT, not by Indycar, not by Can-Am car… The pressure is much less today. Okay, they go into the factory, they work on the simulator, but it’s not the same. It’s a different world, ”the 81-year-old Scot explained.
According to Stewart, because of Mercedes’ years of superiority, Hamilton’s statistics aren’t of much value either.
“Make no mistake, Lewis is competing great. I don’t want to downplay your abilities in the least. But it’s not the same. Fangio drove quite amazingly – he chose Ferrari when he saw it, then Maserati when he saw it could be good next year, so he never signed a contract for more than a year. And, of course, he also drove at this Mercedes, winning two world championship titles with them, because then theirs was the best car. ”
“Lewis made a very good decision when he left McLaren to qualify for the Mercedes, so I raise my hat in front of him. But to be honest, now the engine and the car are so superior that it is almost unsportsmanlike over the others. ”
“Okay, we can’t say that because Mercedes also deserves all the credit, Toto Wolff, Niki Lauda for building such a team, getting the best engineers, making as much money as anyone other than Red Bull knew.”
“But maybe you don’t have as much respect as if you can’t win with even the best car. And over time, that has separated very successful and really-really great competitors. ”
“It’s hard for me to call Lewis the greatest, as good as Fangio was. Many would disagree, but and since I was a little boy, I’ve been following car racing, I’ve seen Ascari, Nuvolari, Caracciola and driving like that. I saw the best in the world on the field. In light of this, I would have a hard time saying that Lewis is the greatest of all time. ”
Stewart also pointed out that due to the dominance of engines and cars, the emphasis on technology is not easy to decide who is the real size of today.
“I think I was lucky to be able to drive at my own age. There were Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jochen Rindt, my teammate Francois Cevert and a few other real top riders. Chris Amon, Jack Brabham. These were all real lifebloods. There is no such thing today, it is not possible to identify the best in the profession today. The big advantage of my time was the Ford Cosworth (engine). Everyone used a Ford except Ferrari. They had a balance of power, they are not so simple today. ”