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5 reasons why Lewis Hamilton is not the GOAT

Where does Lewis Hamilton stand in the
Where does Lewis Hamilton stand in the 'GOAT' debate?
Modified 19 Feb 2021
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With a tally of 98 pole positions, 95 wins and a record-equalling seven World Championships, Lewis Hamilton is a bonafide Formula 1 legend.

After signing an extension to his Mercedes contract for another year, Lewis Hamilton is primed to break one last record that would make him the winningest driver in the history of the sport.

With another world championship, Lewis Hamilton will overtake Michael Schumacher to become the most successful driver in Formula 1 history. But would it necessarily make him the greatest of all time (GOAT)?

Statistics can be misleading, particularly in Formula One. That is because results heavily depend on a car a driver is in.

Five reasons why Lewis Hamilton is not the greatest of all time:

Michael Schumacher's name features prominently in the discussion of the greatest of all time in the sport.

That is not down simply to the numbers he racked up but the impact he had on the team for which he drove, something Lewis Hamilton has not managed to achieve to the same extent.

In this piece, let's take a look at five reasons why Lewis Hamilton may not be considered the GOAT in Formula One when compared to Michael Schumacher.

Please note: Michael Schumacher's career till his first retirement in 2006 is taken into consideration. His second stint with Mercedes is not being considered.


#1 Michael Schumacher was instrumental in Ferrari's growth

Michael Schumacher was part of Ferrari
Michael Schumacher was part of Ferrari's evolution from a midfield team to world champion.

Michael Schumacher was the reigning two-time world champion when he left Benetton to join Ferrari in 1996.

Ferrari at that time were, at best, a midfield team. They last won the world championship in 1983; even though they challenged for the title with Alain Prost, success eluded the team for a while.

The team was not a contender for the world title when Michael Schumacher joined the Italian giants. But the German was determined to bring Ferrari back to its halcyon days.

The ride was not an easy one. After years of disappointment, Michael Schumacher finally won his first title with Ferrari in 2000 and then embarked on an unbeaten run. Schumacher took the team from the ground and transformed it into a championship-winning phenom.

Lewis Hamilton, on the other hand, moved from McLaren to Mercedes in 2013. By that time, Mercedes were already on its way up. They had just achieved their first pole and victory at the Chinese Grand Prix in 2012.

Under Ross Brawn, Mercedes invested heavily after new regulations came into force in 2014. In his second year, Lewis Hamilton was already driving a car that was a second-a-lap quicker than everybody else.


#2 Michael Schumacher was the undisputed best driver on the grid throughout his career

Michael Schumacher was the gold standard of driving in Formula 1 throughout his career.
Michael Schumacher was the gold standard of driving in Formula 1 throughout his career.

Michael Schumacher made his Formula 1 debut in 1991. By the time 1992 rolled in, he had already made waves around the paddock with his speed and ability to drive any car. Even in the company of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, Schumacher stood out.

In 1994, with Alain Prost retiring and Ayrton Senna's untimely death, Michael Schumacher would become the undisputed best driver on the grid. From 1994 to 2006, the year when he retired with Ferrari, Michael Schumacher remained the gold standard for driving in Formula 1.

Sure enough, there were some new talents like Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso, or a Juan Pablo Montoya that would outshine him once in a while. But over the course of a season, Michael Schumacher was always considered the best driver on the grid.

Lewis Hamilton, on the other hand, was considered among the finest drivers on the grid since he debuted in 2007. But with Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel putting together some great performances, Lewis Hamilton did not have a headstart as the better driver.

It wasn't until 2014 when Lewis Hamilton inherited a car with a significant pace advantage and started separating himself from the chasing pack.

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Published 19 Feb 2021, 13:42 IST
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