Lewis Hamilton vs Michael Schumacher: Who are the greatest Formula 1 champions of all time?

  • Kobe Tong

Lewis Hamilton made history at the Turkish GP this weekend with his record-equalling seventh Drivers’ Championship.

The British sporting legend topped the podium in Istanbul despite starting in sixth place on the grid, levelling the legendary Michael Schumacher for world titles in the process.

And now that Hamilton can enter the 2021 season with one eye on becoming the undisputed, most decorated driver in Formula 1 history, his place in the sport’s decorated annals is being assessed.

Hamilton wins title #7

For many F1 fans, the great Schumacher will always be the sport’s one and only GOAT, whereas others are, rightly or wrongly, letting the statistics sway them in Hamilton’s direction.

Now, ultimately, the question of F1’s greatest ever is a purely subjective task and not one that can necessarily be boiled down to data or a simple head-to-head between Schumacher and Hamilton.

Nevertheless, that doesn’t make it any less exciting to try and order F1’s greats in some sort of ranking and we’ve turned to our classic medium of tiermaker to give that very mission a go.


Who is F1’s GOAT?

To do so, we’re turning to the website’s readymade ranking for F1 world champions, although you’ll have to forgive the fact that a few winners, including Nino Farina no less, have been missed out.

But we haven’t let that dismay us because we’re rubbing our hands together and putting our racing knowledge on the line by ranking 31 drivers in sections ranging from ‘GOAT’ to ‘back of the grid’.

While we will be factoring in pure driving ability, due to the difficulty of comparing eras as well as the fact every driver is a world champion, the stats being their victorious years will be the main, deciding metric.


Ranking F1 world champions

Oh, and before you sink your teeth into the rankings down below, bear in mind that we’re talking within the context of world champions and therefore, placing lowly is by no means an insult.

Back of the grid

Keke Rosberg (1982) and Jacques Villeneuve (1997)


Out in Q1

Jenson Button (2009), John Surtees (1964), Denny Hulme (1967), Jody Scheckter (1979), Alan Jones (1980), Phil Hill (1961) and Mike Hawthorn (1958)


Middle of the pack

Kimi Raikkonen (2007), Mario Andretti (1978), Graham Hill (1962 & 1968), Emerson Fittipaldi (1972 & 1974), Nico Rosberg (2016) and Jochen Rindt (1970)



Nigel Mansell (1992), James Hunt (1976), Sebastian Vettel (2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013), Mika Häkkinen (1998 & 1999), Jack Brabham (1959,1960 & 1966) and Damon Hill (1996)


Certified legend

Alain Prost (1985, 1986, 1989 & 1993), Niki Lauda (1975, 1977 & 1984), Fernando Alonso (2005 & 2006), Nelson Piquet (1981, 1983 & 1987), Jackie Stewart (1969, 1971 & 1973), Alberto Ascari (1952 & 1953) and Jim Clark (1963 & 1965)


Racing God

Michael Schumacher (1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 & 2004), Juan Manuel Fangio (1951, 1954, 1955, 1956 & 1957) and Ayrton Senna (1988, 1990 & 1991)



Lewis Hamilton (2008, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020)


Full graphic


GIVEMESPORT’s Kobe Tong says

Controversial? Darn near impossible? Yeh, I’d say they sum up compiling this ranking pretty well.

So much has changed in F1 over the decades that no matter how much you know the driving styles and cars behind each driver, you’re never going to be able to come up with the perfect answer.

I don’t confess to know every detail about every champion, it goes without saying, but looking at dominance across an era as well as their victorious seasons particularly has led to something a little like what we have above.


However, while I’ll happily admit that the mid-table areas are pretty fluid, I feel confident about the top four and back my decision to crown Hamilton as the undisputed GOAT of the sport.

With the most race wins and podiums in F1 history as well as the joint-most championships, as much as I adore Schumacher, it made sense to crown one driver and one driver only as top dog.

Besides, as a Brit, it’s an absolute pleasure to say that Hamilton is a compatriot of mine, albeit one ten times more talented, who might well be this nation’s greatest ever sportsperson.


They’ll never be a surefire way of deciding the GOAT in F1, regardless of how far Hamilton might pull away in the stats, but all signs lead to the Stevenage-born phenomenon when you think about it in any depth.

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