The extraordinary achievements of Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher are not comparable according to the German’s former Benetton Team Principal, Flavio Briatore.
Briatore worked with Schumacher from 1991-1995 with the pair claiming 19 race wins and two Driver’s World Championships in 1994 and 1995, with Benetton also taking the Constructors’ honours in ’95.
During that period together, Schumacher had joined F1 at a
time where he was pitted against multiple champions in the form of Ayrton
Senna, Alain Prost and Nelson Piquet.
The German subsequently moved to Ferrari for 1996 and then went on to win a further 72 races and five more Drivers’ Championships in succession for the Italian outfit.
Hamilton currently has six titles to his name and is only seven race wins behind Schumacher’s all-time record, however, Briatore believes the British driver’s success carries less weight, hinting Schumacher had to battle against drivers of a higher calibre during his career.
“Michael was fighting with the big guys, like Senna”, said the Italian whilst speaking to Formula 1’s ‘Beyond the Grid’ podcast.
“You need to recognise that when Michael arrived, the competition was tough; you are talking about Nigel Mansell, you are talking about Senna.
Briatore believes the lack of a definitive challenge to Hamilton’s current dominance of the championship means there is less value to his success.
“Now, is less, the competition,” he added. “You have two drivers, three drivers….the competition is less than before. For Hamilton, again, nobody put the pressure on to him…he can walk away.
“It is the same for everybody. When Schumacher, somebody gets close, he does a mistake, Fernando [Alonso] he does a mistake. Everybody does the mistake.
“If he’s driving like a taxi driver and is winning everything it’s because he’s a super driver, it’s fantastic. Hamilton is one of two star drivers in F1; it’s Hamilton and Verstappen.”