Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton are two of the greatest drivers to ever grace the sport of F1. The duo have a ridiculous 14 world championship titles between them and share similar stats as well as career trajectories. Another aspect common to both these legendary racers is the fact that they are both ‘rainmasters.’
Both of them have forged some of their most memorable race wins in the wet. They have demonstrated incredible pace, control, and tire management when the rain comes down.
But if one were to crown the ultimate rainmaster between these two incredible drivers, who would that be?
The German driver could perhaps be called the ‘original rainmaster.’ It’s a moniker truly well deserved for Michael after his multiple wet weather wins. Needless to say, his most memorable win in the rain was the one in 1996, in Spain.
Schumacher started the race in P3, but a clutch problem dropped him down to P6 at the start. However, the Ferrari man mounted a brilliant comeback displaying great pace, albeit he was helped by the fact that Eddie Irvine and Damon Hill had problems of their own.
Nevertheless, Schumacher did pull two top-notch moves to get past Jean Alesi and Jacques Villeneuve. From then on, Michael displayed unbelievable pace to zoom ahead of the chasing pack as the rain came down. Never once did he slip up, taking full control of the race to come home as the winner, with what turned out to be one of his greatest ever drives.
Some of his other memorable drives in the rain include the 1992 Belgian GP, the 1997 GPs of Monaco and Belgium, the 2000 GP at the Nurburgring, the 2003 race in Indianapolis, and his final race win for Ferrari in Shanghai 2006.
Hamilton effectively took up the mantle of the ‘rainmaster’ after Schumacher left the sport. Hamilton announced himself as a ‘rainmaster’ first in 2007 at Fuji and then at Monaco in the following year, where he recovered from a crash to win the race.
However, his greatest drive in the rain came at his home Grand Prix of 2008. He started the race in P4, but a brilliant move to the inside at the start threw him into a battle for P1 with teammate Heikki Kovalainen.
He eventually went past Kovalainen in lap 5 with a move through the inside at Stowe. From then on, Hamilton would go on to dominate the race. He showed blistering pace, made the right tire calls, and wasn’t afraid to make some brave moves in the wet.
In recent times, with his win in Turkey 2020, he has a race in the wet to rival his victory in 2008 at Silverstone. Another notable wet weather triumph came in Brazil in 2016.
It’s an incredibly tough call to make, but based on a few good reasons, I believe Schumacher edges out the battle for the crown.
Firstly, Schumacher raced in an era where the FIA were far less bothered by the rain coming down, and so, Michael had to contend with tougher conditions more often than not.
Secondly, through no fault of Hamilton himself, Schumacher had far more challenging rivals in far more challenging cars to contend with. Albeit a lot of them were not good in the wet. However, this only further emphasizes the point of why Schumacher was the original rainmaster.
If just individual wet weather races were concerned, then perhaps Hamilton can claim to have the best wet weather drive. However, if all other aspects are considered, then Michael is the one who deserves to be called the ‘ultimate rainmaster.’