By Calum Trenaman, Natalie Croker, Henrik Pettersson and Gabrielle Smith, CNN
Up to date 1227 GMT (2027 HKT) October 26, 2020
(CNN)It is going to be the query in pub quizzes for years to come back. The place did Lewis Hamilton overtake Michael Schumacher’s 91 race wins and turn into the all-time leader in Formulation One Grand Prix victories?
Historical past was made on Sunday on the Portimao Circuit in Portugal. A monitor which has by no means hosted a F1 race previous to this coronavirus-affected 2020 season, in a rustic the place Hamilton had by no means raced an F1 automobile.
Each drivers are considered greats, racking up wins with Terminator-like ruthlessness, and Hamilton’s profession statistics mirror Schumacher’s in quite a lot of classes. So how to decide on the best?
Off to a flying begin
In an age the place it appears solely drivers from prosperous backgrounds with heavy financial backing could make their manner into F1, it’s fascinating that each Hamilton and Schumacher’s mother and father sacrificed a lot for his or her sons’ passions.
Whereas Schumacher’s mother and father labored a number of jobs and relied on the kindness of a neighborhood businessman to fund his karting profession, Hamilton’s father Anthony labored as much as three jobs at one time and remortgaged his home.
Parental dedication paid off as each careers bought off to a flying begin.
Hamilton achieved his maiden F1 victory in solely his sixth-ever race, aged 22.
The Englishman may even have received the championship in his debut season in 2007. He and teammate Fernando Alonso completed second and third respectively on 109 factors every, with champion Kimi Raikkonen ending only a level forward.
Hamilton would have been the youngest F1 world champion at 22 years and 287 days — a document which might have nonetheless stood. However, he received the title the next yr, at 23 years and 300 days.
With Hamilton beginning his profession within the then dominant McLaren, Schumacher confronted an arguably stiffer check beginning out, driving a Benetton automobile that was competing with a few of the all-time nice McLaren, Williams and Ferrari automobiles.
In 1992, Williams’ Nigel Mansell received 9 of the 16 races that yr, together with his teammate Riccardo Patrese profitable one. McLaren’s Ayrton Senna and Gerhard Berger received 5 races between them, leaving one remaining: Schumacher’s maiden victory.
It got here on the similar monitor the place he had made his debut only a yr earlier: Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. His risk to show to slick tires from wets sooner than his rivals was an impressed transfer, and summed up the all-or-nothing strategy he took when chasing victory.
The 1993 season was the ultimate yr of the Alain Prost-Ayrton Senna rivalry, and in 1994 Schumacher earned his maiden F1 world championship.
Acrimony typically adopted the German all through his profession, and 1994 set the tone for that.
Regardless of not recording some extent in 4 races due to race bans, Schumacher took the title — though it’s nonetheless debated right this moment as as to if his crash into rival Damon Hill within the ultimate race was intentional or not.
The last word check
Some say you may finest decide how good a driver relies on their teammates’ performances. And each Hamilton and Schumacher have gorgeous information towards their teammates.
Schumacher completed with a greater end result than his teammate in 68 p.c of races he began. Hamilton has a 61 p.c document towards teammates.
By way of season finishes although, solely twice in his 13 accomplished seasons has Hamilton been bettered by a teammate. If he continues his dominance in 2020, that document can be two in 14.
Previous to his comeback in 2010, between 1991 and 2006, Schumacher completed behind his teammates in solely three of 16 seasons. A kind of is arguably irrelevant as, in 1991, Schumacher raced solely as soon as for Jordan and 5 instances for Benetton, with Andrea de Cesaris and Nelson Piquet driving in each race for these respective groups.
Once we take into consideration Schumacher’s three years at Mercedes alongside Nico Rosberg from 2010 to 2012 after his F1 comeback, that statistic turns into six in 19 seasons.
Hamilton’s blip for Mercedes got here in 2016 when Rosberg beat him to win the title in probably the most intense seasons in dwelling reminiscence.
It’s a testomony to the greatness of each racers that they’ve completed races on the rostrum extra typically than they have not. And with over 40 fewer race begins, Hamilton has a ratio higher than one win in each three races.
Solely Juan Manuel Fangio (24 wins in 52 races) and Alberto Ascari (13 in 33) have a greater win-to-race entry ratio than Hamilton.
For drivers to have entered over 100 races although, solely Jackie Stewart, Prost and Senna come wherever shut to those two behemoths.
Hamilton has the sting over the course of a profession, profitable 35 p.c of the races he began.
One anomaly stands proud, nevertheless.
The pair’s podiums and wins tally are very comparable, however Hamilton is head and shoulders in entrance on pole positions achieved.
For a lot of, it is a level to Hamilton. However, if something, the deficit between variety of poles and race wins is a testomony to Schumacher’s dedication to win. The person simply by no means gave up.
The duo’s monitor historical past does not assist us differentiate between them a lot. Hamilton’s dominance on the Hungaroring in Hungary is severely spectacular, profitable eight of the 14 instances (57 p.c) he has pushed there. Schumacher shouldn’t be far behind in his document on the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours in France with eight wins in 15 entries (53 p.c).
For Schumacher to have completed on the rostrum 12 instances at not one however three separate tracks speaks to his consistency.
It stays to be seen whether or not Hamilton can match that stage of dominance at a single monitor, not to mention three.
The longer term
Hamilton has received eight of the 12 races on this yr’s world championship.
A victory within the subsequent spherical at Imola will safe Hamilton a seventh world title, the one massive document of Schumacher’s he has but to equal or eclipse.
Schumacher was 37 when he retired for the primary time in 2006 and, after his temporary return to the game, was 43 when he accomplished his ultimate race.
The German has been the benchmark for years. After eclipsing Prost’s document of 51 Grand Prix victories in 2001, he had one other 5 years at Ferrari the place he continued to build up victories.
Hamilton is 35 now, and is exhibiting no indicators of slowing down.
Having overwhelmed Schumacher’s document, it’s inside the realms of chance that the Briton will proceed so as to add to his tally, setting information for years to come back.
“He deserves each victory he had. I’m certain he’ll get 100. I do not assume you may reward him sufficient,” mentioned Sebastian Vettel after Sunday’s race, himself a winner of 4 world titles and 53 races.
At his present fee, Hamilton will attain 100 wins subsequent season, and possibly even attain eight world titles subsequent yr too.
Schumacher’s greatness is cemented in historical past. However Hamilton will march on to even better popularity of years to come back.