The formula 1 immediately tweeted a video with michael schumacher. "He is a very talented driver," he said in the interview of a british broadcaster before the 2007 season. Schumacher was then for the first time in horsepower retirement. About whom he spoke? Lewis hamilton.
The briton started his career in the king's class of motorsports at that time. At the end of this year, this hamilton will most likely have replaced schumacher as the most successful driver in the history of formula 1.
"I don't really know what to say about these things," hamilton professed after winning his 88th race. Career victory on sunday had made clear. Three still missing from schumacher's 91 grand prix victories. "We, all the drivers, have grown up watching michael drive" hamilton told us. "What is happening now is a far cry from what i dreamed of as a child."
Title number seven at the end of this season no longer seems doubtful anyway, after hamilton and mercedes solved the problems with the tires within a very short time, despite the three-week stress test. That makes him "proudest of all," stressed team boss toto wolff.
His team does right what ferrari does wrong. The scuderia experienced another disaster weekend, even if vettel saved seventh place and the car seemed at least somewhat improved with the new chassis. But the retirement of charles leclerc due to a defect was a hard hit. In addition, there was the dispute over the right tire strategy, which the parties involved played down after the race in their usual manner. Former formula 1 driver ralf schumacher, on the other hand, spoke plainly as a sky expert: "sorry, ferrari, that's not on at all. A team fighting for the world championship that can't even manage to communicate properly."
But this year ferrari won't even be competing for the world championship. That makes actually only one. Four hamilton wins in six races this season, 37 points ahead of max verstappen, who has to settle for the role of mercedes splitter at the red bull. Valtteri bottas, hamilton's teammate, finished third behind verstappen in spain. Total frustration for 30-year-old finn: "right now i just wanted to be somewhere else than here."Understandable with a world championship backlog of 43 points.
Hamilton, meanwhile, was enjoying the moment, buzzing about one of the best races of his career. 24 seconds ahead of verstappen, 44 ahead of bottas, the rest was lapped. "I was in the perfect zone i always dream of," enthused hamilton.
Some felt reminded of ayrton senna, who had experienced a drive like "in another dimension" at the 1988 monaco grand prix qualifier. "It was beyond my imagination."Hamilton did not experience it the way senna did, however. But he is humble and feels honored every time he is mentioned in the same sentence as drivers such as schumacher, senna and five-time champion juan-manuel fangio.
The fact that he ultimately decided in the car which tires he wanted to finish the race on and voted against the strategists' choice is proof of both the 35-year-old brit's undisputed standing in the team and his understanding of racing. In almost 14 years of formula 1, hamilton has matured into a complete driver. Once a test-drive muffin, he has long since realized that even tasks that don't make any sense are part of success. Hamilton has perfected himself.
92 pole positions and 24 more than schumacher so far. With his spain victory, he also overtook schumacher in the total number of podium places (156:155). He can set the record for grand prix victories in three races – at the grand prix in mugello, of all places, where schumacher's former team ferrari celebrated its 1000th victory. Wants to celebrate grand prix participation.
In the race before – the italian grand prix in monza – hamilton can mathematically win the 100th place. Mercedes clinches victory in formula 1. "Who is going to stop this man??" the swiss tabloid "blick" asked. Schumacher, who hasn't been in public, let alone on a race track, since his serious skiing accident at the end of 2013, and whose successor at the silver arrows is hamilton, probably already suspected it then.