In Depth

92 race wins and counting: Lewis Hamilton overtakes Michael Schumacher

F1’s best ever driver debate revs up after Briton’s record-breaking victory in Portugal

Just two weeks after equalling Michael Schumacher’s record for the most Formula 1 grand prix wins, Lewis Hamilton has made history by recording his 92nd victory.  

The British driver, 35, was in superb form at the Portuguese GP, finishing ahead of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. 

It was a “masterful performance”, says the BBC’s Andrew Benson, “befitting the monumental nature of his achievement, supplanting Schumacher at the head of the all-time win lists, where the German had been for 19 years”.

The latest win, his eighth of the 2020 season, means the British driver is now on track to secure a seventh F1 world championship and equal another of Schumacher’s all-time records. Hamilton is currently on 256 points from 12 races - 77 points clear of Bottas, who is second in the 2020 drivers’ standings. 

Despite breaking Schumacher’s win record Hamilton believes he can go on to even greater heights, The Guardian reports. 

The six-time world champion said: “I don’t believe in the saying ‘the sky is the limit’. It depends how much we want it, how much we want to continue to raise the bar and going by our history together, the way we work, we don’t sit back on our results, we keep working, we keep elevating. Every race feels like the first one. I don’t know how this is possible after all these races but it does.”

Hamilton now holds the all-time records for most wins, podiums, points, races led and pole positions, says Formula1.com.

All-time F1 race wins 

- Lewis Hamilton 92 - Michael Schumacher 91  - Sebastian Vettel 53  - Alain Prost 51  - Ayrton Senna 41

How F1 reacted to Hamilton’s 92nd win

Toto Wolff, Mercedes team boss 

“I’m never getting bored of questions about Lewis, because in ten or 20 years we will look back and really acknowledge what a special driver he is.”

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes

“An amazing achievement. Hats off. Respect.”

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari 

“I am happy for him. He deserves every victory he had. I am sure he will get 100. I don’t think you can praise him enough.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull

“It’s an incredible achievement 92 victories and he will go to over 100. It’s incredible, he looks like he will also get seven world titles as well which is very impressive. Everyone knows he is very quick, but what has been a strong point is he is also very consistent and he very rarely makes a mistake. That’s why he got to these numbers so quick. It’s just very impressive.”

F1’s best ever driver: Hamilton or Schumacher?

The debate over F1’s best ever driver has been revving up since Hamilton won his sixth world title in 2019. His victory at the Eifel GP on 11 October, the latest success in Portugal and his march towards a seventh world championship has seen the discussion continue even more. 

So, who is F1’s best ever? Hamilton or Schumacher? Here we look at the stats and the F1 pundits have their say…

How they compare 

- Race starts: Hamilton 262; Schumacher 306 - Number of seasons: Hamilton 14; Schumacher 19 - Seasons active: Hamilton 2007-counting; Schumacher 1991-2006 and 2010-2012 - World titles: Hamilton 6 (2008, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019); Schumacher 7 (1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004) - Race wins: Hamilton 92; Schumacher 91 - Podiums: Hamilton 161; Schumacher 155 - Pole positions: Hamilton 97; Schumacher 68 - Pole and win in same race: Hamilton 57; Schumacher 40

Coilin Higgins, DriveTribe

“As a young boy during the Schumacher/Ferrari dominance, I lean towards him being the best of all time because of the memories I have watching him compete. Older generations will tell me [Ayrton] Senna or [Jim] Clark is better, younger people will tell me, Hamilton. There cannot be a comparison. These two drivers [Schumacher and Hamilton] will stand apart from the rest because of what they numerously achieved, but you have to remember what and where they came from. After all, they all bare the title ‘world champion’ and that’s exactly what they are. But like many of us, I can say I’m pretty chuffed to have seen two iconic talents such as Schumacher and Hamilton rise to glory.” 

Damon Hill, 1996 F1 world champion 

“Well I guess I can’t say I’ve beaten the best driver in F1 any more. I had a good run though. Thanks Schumacher and welcome Lewis Hamilton #GOAT #f1.”

Andrew Benson, BBC Sport

“Looking through these lists of comparisons between the statistical achievements of the two drivers, the first impression is of how similar the numbers are in many respects. But there are also important differences that say a lot about their different abilities. Beyond the near-ties in championships and victories, their tallies of podium finishes are also remarkably similar. In all, though, the stats have one clear, obvious message - these were the finest drivers of their eras, and two of the greatest of all time.”

Fernando Alonso, two-time F1 champion, via The Daily Telegraph

“I think both of them have an amazing talent. They are legends of the sport and they capitalised on the machinery that they had in the right moment. They didn’t make any mistakes and they nailed it every time that they put the helmet on. They both deserve to be the two best in the sport.”

Martin Brundle, Sky Sports

“What Lewis continues to achieve is a Herculean effort and an outstanding performance by any metric for any sports person in history, in my opinion.”

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