It has been another record-breaking race for Lewis Hamilton in Spain this afternoon as he has now overtaken Formula One legend Michael Schumacher with the most podium finishes, taking his tally to 156.
Hamilton is edging closer to becoming statistically the greatest driver of all time as he closes in on the 91 race victories and seven World Championships that are also currently held by the German great.
When Schumacher came in second at the 2004 Belgium Grand Prix, where he claimed his seventh Drivers’ World Championship, everyone within the industry thought that it would take decades before anyone would repeat the incredible numbers that Schumacher produced, which shows the testament to Hamilton’s incredible raw, natural talent and the brilliance of the engineering at the Mercedes Formula One team.
Some will argue that both drivers had dominant cars during their record setting years, and although there is no argument against that point, they also won and claimed podiums with cars that shouldn’t be winning races.
If we look at Schumacher’s career, his standout moments were in his first couple of years at Ferrari.
In 1996, the car was third quickest across the season, and should have not been anywhere near the top step of the podium.
However, his natural talent shone through as he claimed impressive victories at Spain, Belgium and in his first Italian Grand Prix driving for Ferrari at Monza.
In 1997 and 1998, he challenged the Drivers’ Championship in an inferior car in comparison to the Williams of Jacques Villeneuve and the McLaren of Mika Hakkinen. He also could have won the 2006 Championship, in fact, he won the most races that season (7) when the Renault of Fernando Alonso seemed like the better car-driver combination across the majority of races that season.
Hamilton had the privilege of driving for a top two team in McLaren for 2007 and 2008, however, their 2009 car was way off the pace at the start of the season. In fact, they were averaged to be the fourth/fifth fastest car across the season, yet Hamilton claimed podiums and won at Hungary and Singapore to finish fifth in that year’s Drivers’ Championship.
His teammate at the time Heikki Kovalainen finished in 12th, having not scored a single podium in comparison to Hamilton’s two victories and three podiums.
There will inevitably be people who will question the legitimacy of his record-breaking numbers, especially with the dominance of the Mercedes since 2014, but we still must salute and show respect to this achievement.
There will also be people who question his character and personality, which shouldn't even be considered when talking about a sporting feat.
Let us not dabble in pointless topics which are very often opinionated, and let’s salute a true champion and a pioneer in our beautiful sport.
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