When you ask the question can Lewis Hamilton become the number one Formula One champion of all time, you have to first look at the history of the sport.
At first glance the answer is clearly no, he doesn’t come close to meeting Michael Schumacher’s record of seven Formula One championship wins, in fact, he doesn’t even approach Juan Manuel Fangio’s five championship wins, but it’s important to keep in mind that Hamilton is not done yet.
At 30 years old Lewis Hamilton is still relatively young for a race car driver – keep in mind that Michael Schumacher was 35 years old when he won his last formula one championship.
With three championships to his name Lewis Hamilton is poised to battle the top two on the list for supremacy. Can he do it? The jury is still out. Let’s take a closer look at the careers of these three fine champions before we make any final conclusions.
Juan Manuel Fangio’s
When Juan Manuel Fangio was ripping up the track back in the 1950s racing technology was still in its infancy, but with rapid advances happening all the time these were exciting times for racing, and Formula One was at the front of the pack.
Fangio won his first championship in 1951 and the balance four years in a row between 1954 and 1957. There’s no doubt that the Argentinian was one of the best racers in Formula One history, but keep in mind, that he was 46 when he won his last championship. If Lewis Hamilton can last as long as Fangio, there’s every chance he will far surpass his mark of five championship wins.
Beating Michael Schumacher’s record of seven championships may be an entirely different project for Lewis Hamilton. Schumacher isn’t just a seven times champion, he also holds numerous other Formula One records such as fastest lap on many tracks.
If Lewis Hamilton was to leave racing at 35 as Michael Schumacher did, he would have to win for the next five years in a row to overtake Schumacher’s tally.
That’s a pretty tall order – having said that, at the moment it would be hard to bet against him and there’s no sign of him quitting the sport any time soon. Schumacher himself won five championships in a row between 2000 and 2004 – so it can be done.
So what makes Lewis Hamilton so special and why do we think he has a great shot at becoming the greatest Formula One champion of all time? The best champions are normally single minded and determined, and Hamilton definitely qualifies.
He knew he wanted to be a Formula One champion at a young age – at 10 he approached the head of McLaren at an awards ceremony and promptly informed him that he would be racing for him one day. In 2007 he made his Formula One debut with McLaren.
Schumacher and Hamilton both made their Formula One debuts at 22 and, actually, Hamilton is ahead of Schumacher after his 9th year of competition with 3 championships – at that point of his career Schumacher only had 2.
He’s also signed on for three more years with Mercedes, and they’re currently the dominant force in Formula One racing. The signs are all there to at least suggest that Hamilton has a great shot at eclipsing Schumacher.
So will Lewis Hamilton surpass Michael Schumacher and become the greatest Formula One champion of all time? The jury’s still out – a lot can happen over the next several years, but there’s no doubt that he has the capability to make it to the top of the class.
If he can stay healthy, and his team can keep his cars running smoothly, there’s a very good chance we’ll be speaking of Hamilton and Schumacher in the same breath in a few short years.