Lewis Hamilton vs Michael Schumacher: 5 common things between the F1 Legends
They say champions are a rare breed and the right guy can smell a talent from far away. They walk differently, they talk differently and there's an aura around them that's unmistakable. Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton are the best drivers in the last two generations that have raced in Formula One.
Also read: Exploring 5 luxury homes of F1's richest drivers
Just like everything else there's something peculiarly similar in champions as well and when we sat down we tried to find out what it was and with Lewis already marching towards his 6th title I sat down to draw some comparisons in the careers of these two drivers. Let's go through some similarities we found out between the two legends.
#1 Immediate Impact
Both Lewis and Schumacher burst to the scene and made an immediate impact in their respective careers which confirmed that these gentlemen were destined for greatness. Schumacher for his part made his debut in weird circumstances for Jordan as a makeshift replacement for the Jordan driver Bertrand Gashot and in just his first race impressed so much that he was picked up by Benetton for the rest of the season.
In his first full season he finished ahead of Ayrton Senna in the championship and was consistently battling him throughout the season and in the end, came out on top. Lewis on his part made a mark by debuting in a McLaren and pretty much trading blow for blow with the reigning World Champion(and Team Leader) Fernando Alonso. He led the championship for most of the season only to lose it in the very last race. In his very first season, he very clearly showed that he was going to be in Formula one for a very long time.
A name that has coincided with many of the top drivers of their Era. Ayrton Senna was called one. These days Max Verstappen is called one and both Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher fall in that category as well. Rain is supposed to be the biggest equalizer in Motorsports. Whatever car advantage one has usually gets diminished and it becomes a level playing field. In this level playing field usually, the cream of the crop do emerge to the top and that's exactly what Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton have done in their respective careers.
Lewis Hamilton has won some pretty dominant wet races like the one in Silverstone 2008 where it seemed like he was driving on a completely different track than anyone else and ended up lapping almost the entire field by the end of the race. Schumacher on his part made a routine out of driving in sub-competitive cars in the rain and smashing the field with them. There are just innumerable races where Schumacher showed that when it rained, he was going to be the man to beat.
Just like everything in life both the legends of the sport have had their careers littered with controversies here and there. For Schumacher, the controversies began with him intentionally driving into Jacques Villeneuve in Jerez in 1997(to take him out of the race and win the championship) only to get penalized and thrown out of the championship.
Then there was the incident where he parked the car at the Rascasse to block Fernando Alonso from taking pole. Lewis on his side has been guilty of infringements himself as throughout his career, he was part of the Liegate in Melbourne in 2009 or the illegal Tyre test that Mercedes undertook in 2014 or for that matter coming out in the media and stating that he gets punished by the stewards "maybe because he was black". Throughout their careers, both were mired by controversies here and there and still found a way to dig deep and keep winning.
#4 Undisputed Best Drivers of their era
Even though throughout his career Michael Schumacher had his fair share of worthy challengers but more often than not it was obvious that he was the gold standard in F1. Every team wanted just one driver in their team pretty much throughout his career and he was considered to be a step above the rest on most occasions.
Also read: F1 - 5 best street circuits of all time
Lewis, on the other hand, has had to fight for that status a bit longer. He's been in a fight with Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso for more than a decade now but with his recent stint with Mercedes and consistent domination of Sebastian Vettel it is very hard to pick anyone but Lewis as the driver who is at the top of the list right now. He's consistent, he's fast, he's enigmatic and he has pretty much beaten Sebastian Vettel in every way possible.
#5 Moved from race-winning to Midfield team and won multiple championships with them
There is one clear and distinct pattern though for both the legends and that's around their legacy getting determined by one big career move. Schumacher was a part of the dual championship winning team in Bennetton with Everything in the perfect place. The car had good pace and the team management was doing a great job themselves.
Also read: 11 unbreakable Formula 1 records
It was at this juncture that Schumacher decided to move to a sleeping giant in the form of Ferrari that no one ever gave a chance at that stage. They hadn't won a title in decades and the house was not in order at all. To his credit, Schumacher went on to win 5 championships with the Scuderia and pretty much made Ferrari what they are still to this day.
Lewis Hamilton, on the other hand, followed a similar route by moving to a relative newcomer in Mercedes from a championship winning team in McLaren and has already notched up 4 world titles with them. It was this ability to sniff out the potential in teams that separated these legends from the rest of the field.
Also read: F1 - Top 5 sportsmanship acts of all time