Michael Schumacher might see his records being toppled by Lewis Hamilton, but that wouldn’t diminish his impact on the sport. Perfectionist, Passionate, and Polite are the 3 Prominent Ps that his co-workers glowingly use to describe him.
Few people have worked with ‘Schumi’ as long as current Mercedes Technical Director James Allison has. He was in the engineering department at Benetton and Ferrari, where Michael won all of his 7 Driver’s championship. Elaborating on his famous ability to extract the best out the car, James said –
“He could make any old rubbish go fast, It didn’t matter if the car was ill-balanced or a bit of a pig, he would find a way to drive it around a lap and get pace out of it.”
The German driver was supremely fit–a quality that goes under the radar in the world of motor racing. Furthermore, he was attentive to every detail and spent countless hours on test tracks. Back in the days, there were no such limitations on testing as there are now. He took full advantage of the same-
“He’d routinely finish each year head and shoulders above everyone else in terms of kilometers spent testing, and that wasn’t when he was hungry for his first championship.
“That would be after his third, fourth and fifth championship. He was still out there just wanting to pound round Fiorano and Mugello, or anywhere else.”
Ronaldo or Messi? Woods or Nicklaus? LeBron James or Michael Jordan? Be it sports pundits or mere fans, everyone likes to have these supposed ‘GOAT’ conversations. So, when Lewis was roaring to his record-equalling 7th championship in Turkey, he was making his case for this title.
“It is hard to compare eras.” This good old saying holds true; none more so than in a sport that relies heavily on machinery and technological developments. Had they been racing in the era of Fangio, chances of their survival would have been far less.
It is much safer now, and drivers have the luxury of going full-throttle at every turn. Maybe the only blemish on Michael’s resume might be his tendency to crash into his fellow drivers.
Perhaps that is what made him an unbeatable driver. With Lewis, he is not as ruthless as Michael was in his prime. To conclude, the GOAT debate is useless in the world of F1.