Unless another debacle like Russia happens, Lewis Hamilton will equalize in the GP the Eifel, at the Nürburgring, this weekend Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 victories. This will be the prologue to the brand that will also be equal with total probability at the end of the year: the one of the seven World Cups that the ‘kaiser’ achieved.
This fact has opened a debate on if Hamilton is the best driver of all time. As in any such rating of any sport, there are opinions for all tastes, but some are taken into consideration more than others by the mere argument of authority of the person who says them.
It is the case of sir Jackie Stewart. The historic three-time world champion in the 60s and 70s is the oldest still alive, and therefore is a whole institution in Formula 1. Asked whether Hamilton is the best, the Scotsman is clear: not by far.
“Juan Manuel Fangio is in my mind the best pilot of all time, with Jim Clark as second best, even ahead of Ayrton Senna. But those people only ran sometimes six, eight or nine races a year in Formula 1. They drove sports cars, GTs, etc. “, he argues in statements to the podcast ‘In the Fast Lane’ collected by Motorsport.com.
In this sense, he considers that Hamilton has benefited from such long seasons, which allow him to focus almost exclusively. “Hamilton, or any of the other big contenders, they’re doing 22 races in F1 alone. They don’t race in touring cars, or GT, or IndyCar, or Can-Am … The pressure today is much more relaxed. Of course they go to the factory and do the simulator, but it’s not the same. It’s a different world, “he compares.
Stewart also qualifies as “almost unfair” advantage the one with the almighty team Mercedes, which is dominating the hybrid era of F1 without a rival to cough up. “Lewis drives extremely well, make no mistake. I am not belittling his abilities in any way. But it is not the same,” he insists.
In this sense, remember that Fangio, his idol, was not long in the same team. “I would choose Ferrari, and then I would think ‘well, the Maserati Next year could be good, ‘so he never did more than a year on his contract. And then he drove for Mercedes-Benz and won two world championships with them, because they were the best cars in the world at the time, “he recalls.” Lewis made a very good decision when he left. McLaren at that time and went to Mercedes. My hat is off to him for making that decision. But frankly, the car and the engine are now so superior that it is almost unfair to the rest of the field, “he says.
“The car and engine are now so superior that it is almost unfair to the rest of the grid.”
That is why he considers that Hamilton “does not deserve the same respect, if you want to say it like that, being able to do it in a car that is not the best.” “And that’s where sometimes there was a difference between the very, very great drivers and the very successful ones,” he says. “It’s hard to say that about Lewis, in my head it’s not as good as Fangio was. And a lot of people will see it wrong, but I’ve been watching car racing since I was a little kid. My brother was a racing driver, I would go to races with him and see Ascari, Nuvolari and Caracciola and people like that. I saw some of the best racing drivers in the world, “he argues.
For this reason, to complete his presentation, he emphasizes that “to say that Lewis is the greatest of all time would be difficult for me to justify, because of all that other drivers did.