New five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton says Michael Schumacher should still be considered Formula 1’s greatest driver of all time.
Hamilton moved to joint-second place behind seven-time Schumacher for the most drivers’ titles in history by clinching the fifth title of his own incredible career in Mexico, with Hamilton now only behind the German great for race wins and podium finishes.
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Even before Sunday’s race made Hamilton’s latest title official, 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve told Sky Sports that the nature of Hamilton’s career put the Mercedes driver ahead of Schumacher.
But asked if he now considered himself the ‘GOAT’ – greatest of all time – in F1, a modest Hamilton said: “Firstly I could never ever personally classify myself as the best.
“Obviously, within myself, I know my abilities and where I stand. But ultimately, my dad always told me, since I was eight years old, he said ‘do your talking on the track’.
“So I just try to let my results and the results from the things that I do outside of my sport, hopefully, also contribute to that, so people can hopefully create a decent opinion.
“But Michael’s still quite far ahead in race wins so you can have to say he is still the GOAT.”
Hamilton still has time on his side
Having signed a two-year Mercedes contract extension earlier this season to ensure his career in the sport continues until at least the end of 2020, Hamilton has a realistic chance of matching Schumacher’s haul of seven titles, while he is now just 20 short of the legend’s mammoth haul of 91 race victories.
The Englishman insists he has never tried to think that far ahead but admits he is “hoping that I can at least get close”.
“I’ve not really put any thought towards getting to that number – just because I’ve been trying to focus on getting this one,” said Hamilton.
“Whether or not I’m going to have the chance to win more, who knows – but I’m going to give it everything to do so.
“The 91 wins that he has, for example, that’s a lot of wins.
“There’s still a long way to go but I’m here for a few more years, so I’m hoping that I can at least get close.
“Michael was just such a genius in how he implemented himself into Ferrari and what he did with that team. I will always be a fan of him.”
Can Hamilton match Schumacher’s records?
One man who believes Hamilton can indeed challenge the sport’s two most prestigious records is his former team-mate and Sky F1 pundit Nico Rosberg.
“He can seriously go for Schumacher’s records now,” said Rosberg, the 2016 world champion, in a YouTube video following Sunday’s race.
“He’s got two more years on the contract and Schumi is only two titles away and 20 race wins away, that’s possible in two years. Amazing.
“He can really try and statistically become the best of all time, which is unreal but it is a possibility. So I’m sure he’s going to be motivated by that.”
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