Iconic Formula 1 broadcaster Murray Walker believes Lewis Hamilton is on course to be the greatest of all time, suggesting his ‘clean’ record places him above Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher.
Six-time World Champion Hamilton recorded his 91st pole position and 87th victory at last weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone, putting him just four wins shy of Michael Schumacher’s all-time record.
Walker, 96, is widely regarded as the voice of motorsport, having begun his commentary career prior to the start of the World Championship, before stepping back from a full-time role in 2001.
Speaking to the official podcast of the Australian Grand Prix, In the Fast Lane, Walker was asked for his opinion on where Hamilton slots in among the greatest participants.
“I always say, ‘Look, I think it’s impossible to say [who is the greatest], because the drivers and the circuits and the cars were different’,” he said.
“You can say who was the best of his generation, like [Michael] Schumacher was the best of his generation and [Ayrton] Senna and various other people, but there’s no common yardstick that you can measure all the Formula 1 grand prix drivers over the years against, so it’s entirely subjective who one thinks is the greatest.
“For me the greatest of all time is a chap called Tazio Nuvolari, who was an Italian before World War II, and when I mention his name people look blankly at me because they don’t understand, they’ve never heard of him!
“But [Juan Manuel] Fangio took a lot of beating, Jim Clark, Sir Jackie Stewart — there again I could go on — but which is the best I really don’t know.
“I used to say Fangio. I think I’m going to have to say very shortly Lewis Hamilton, because if you look at it in terms of statistics, he’s already got more poles than Michael Schumacher.
“He’s got at least three years in him if he doesn’t hurt himself or leave Mercedes for some reason or they decide to stop, in which case he’s got at least another three championships ahead of him, so statistically he will become the greatest.”
Formula 1 is celebrating its history with the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone this weekend and Walker suggested Hamilton’s on-track conduct elevates him above Senna and Schumacher.
“He’s also in my opinion — and this is very contentious indeed — better than either Schumacher or Senna,” Walker went on to comment.
“Because both of them, Schumacher and Senna, adopted at various times in their career highly debatable driving tactics.
“Like Schumacher stopping deliberately at Monaco to prevent [Fernando Alonso] getting pole position, like Schumacher colliding with [Jacques] Villeneuve at Jerez in 1997, like Senna with [Alain] Prost in 1990 in Japan.
“Lewis Hamilton has never been anything like that. He’s always driven as clean as a whistle.
“He’s an extremely nice, gigantically talented driver, and I don’t think we’ve ever seen anybody like him before.”