sPerhaps one of Lewis Hamilton’s most impressive characteristics is the reluctance to amplify his success. Often his reaction when prompted is a real, faint disbelief. This weekend at the Eifel Grand Prix, the world champion’s victory would equal Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 wins in Formula 1. If Hamilton did so it would be an achievement that, as far as he might not believe, places him as one of the greats in the sports pantheon and a pivotal force in Formula 1 history. .

There is also symbolism about where his second attempt to equalize the sign; Just 50 miles from Kerpen, where the great German was born, the Nürburgring is a track in which Schumacher has achieved more wins – five – than any other driver.

When Schumacher dominated the sport, winning five successive Ferrari titles between 2000 and 2004 and raising his total to seven, no one was expected to come close to matching, let alone outperforming him. Hamilton, now 35 and 14The tenth Season, he almost did. Schumacher’s greatest achievement is those seven titles, He’ll definitely play Hamilton this year, too.

After winning the Tuscan Grand Prix, the Englishman considered a possible equalization of Schumacher’s victories in the race. He said, “It doesn’t look real.” As usual, he thanked his Mercedes team but concluded with astonishment at his success. “I’m just a link in the chain. But I never thought I’d be here, that’s for sure.”

Hamilton and Schumacher belonged to different eras, although they raced to each other. Schumacher retired from sport for the first time in 2006, and Hamilton made his debut in 2007. In 2008, Hamilton won his first title, while Schumacher returned with Mercedes between 2010 and 2012. Withdrawing again, Hamilton took his place at Mercedes in 2013 and started The march towards the rape of Mr.

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He has won five titles in six years since then. Those futile numbers saw Schumacher fall into a relentless chase in which only Hamilton improved. His raw talent is now strengthened by the judgment, the racing craft, maturity and work ethic that the German might admit.

In fact, one driver realized he had the talent to do it back in 2008. “I’d say, for sure, yeah [Hamilton could win seven titles]Schumacher said. “No one, not even me, thought I could win [Juan Manuel] Fangio. Then it did. The records are there to be beaten. “

Debates have raged over who is the better driver, Schumacher or Hamilton, since the pair began sharing loose air in F1 records. However, a true comparison between drivers of different eras is almost impossible. The regulations change, so do the machinery and competition, and the places, and every challenge evolves.

The final judgment will be subjective at best. Both are from humble backgrounds. Schumacher’s father was a construction worker, while Hamilton held three IT jobs to support his son. They both entered the sport with an intimidating desire to succeed and both took vital but risky career steps. Schumacher went to Ferrari in 1996, with a brief period to rebuild the team to become the championship winning force again. It took four years but he did. Hamilton left a successful and racing McLaren team to join the yet-to-be-proven Mercedes.

Schumacher was praised for building the Ferrari team around him, working with engineers and mechanics and then going for a beer with them afterward. Hamilton is often not given enough credit for doing the same at Mercedes. His role has grown and Mercedes has emphasized the time and effort he puts into developing the car and his team. What strong relationship he now has is evidenced by the deep disappointment across a Mercedes garage when he or they are not making the delivery.

Lewis Hamilton signs during a signing session with fans at Buddha Arena in the suburbs of New Delhi in October 2012.
Lewis Hamilton signs during a signing session with fans at Buddha Arena in the suburbs of New Delhi in October 2012. Photo: Frank Robichon / Environmental Protection Agency
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However, the two also differ in one major area. Schumacher, who was ruthless and assertive, was criticized for going too far. Williams’ team still believes they intentionally took Damon Hill off the track to end the title challenge in Adelaide in 1994; He was punished for trying to do the same with Jacques Villeneuve in the Jerez Championship in 1997 and in 2006 he got off the right track in Monaco, preventing Fernando Alonso from completing his qualifying career.

This does not mean that Schumacher’s accomplishments are underestimated, but that Hamilton’s career has been marked by his tough but meticulously fair performance. He made mistakes and raised his hands. He was tested but did not resort to what Villeneuve clearly referred to as “dirty tricks”.

What defines Hamilton now is his personal development. Perhaps the biggest catalyst was his release alone, away from McLaren, the team that has nurtured him since he was 13, in 2012. It was the act of a young man who wanted to make his own mark, in his own way. He did it on the right track and this year has proven unequivocally that he can do it off the right track as well.

As his confidence grew and embraced life after Formula One, fashion, and music, he also became involved in broader issues. He has become a committed environmental activist, vegan, and his strong support for the anti-racism and Black Lives Matter movement this year has made him important globally, well beyond the fame he already has as a driver.

A web poster in Sochi last month shows the number of race winners for Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Alan Prost, Ayrton Senna and Fernando Alonso.
A web poster in Sochi last month shows the number of race winners for Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Alan Prost, Ayrton Senna and Fernando Alonso. Photo: Clive Mason / Formula 1 / Getty Images
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Time magazine recently ranked him on its list of the 100 most influential people in the world, certainly in recognition of his insistence that racial injustice can no longer be ignored. He has received criticism for doing so, not least from those who believe politics does not belong to sport. The same critics who easily ignored the role the South African Sports Boycott played in ending apartheid. Hamilton has rightly understood that every aspect of life is political and has chosen to participate in it.

They should not be seen as mere political signals. F1 proved before that one can make a difference. Sir Jackie Stewart has been criticized and insulted by some for his drive to make the sport safer. Decades later, the impact of his pioneering efforts bears witness to his convictions.

Hamilton is not afraid to act, and while his success fuels much of his confidence, he remains the bearer of change. His spot on the track is no longer in doubt, and when the numbers fall on him, Hamilton will be the sport’s most successful and influential driver, setting him apart from Schumacher and all the rest. Undoubtedly, he might find it hard to believe, but it is a fact that it will probably only sank long after all of the records fall.