Lewis Hamilton won the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix, bringing his total Formula 1 victories to 100. After surpassing Michael Schumacher’s record in 2020, Hamilton became the first driver ever to win 100 Grand Prix. The seven-time world champion aims to achieve his eighth title while continuing to break records and achieve unprecedented achievements.
Ever since Hamilton announced his contract extension for 2021, and more so after his last two-year contract with Mercedes, there’s been a sense of inevitability over the world of Formula 1. But whether you’re a Hamilton fan or not, that sense of inevitability shouldn’t obscure the vision of a stunning achievement. .
Hamilton entered Formula One in 2007 and had a lot of expectations on his shoulders. And to some extent, the then McLaren driver was delivered on the spot. He took the podiums in Australia, Malaysia, Bahrain, Spain and Monaco before winning Grand Prix races in Canada and the United States. Ten races had to go before Hamilton failed to podium in the Grand Prix.
Even in the current era, where young drivers have the upper hand, the driver still needs some time to adapt to the top level of Formula 1. A great start for Hamilton, who has been able to show his skills at the pinnacle of motorsport from day one. A good harbinger of what’s to come, but we know very little how far he will raise the bar in the next decade and beyond.
When Schumacher put his best foot forward in the ’90s and ’80s, no one could believe it. The general consensus at the time was that no one would come close to what the German driver had achieved. But in the relatively short time that has passed since then, Hamilton has taken the milestones to a whole new level. Despite the surprising success early in his career and showing Hamilton’s skills, his 100 wins were not even called into question. An astonishing and unexpected achievement not to be underestimated by the latter’s sense of inevitability.
Is Hamilton the greatest driver ever?
Statistically yes. Hamilton is without a doubt the greatest driver in the history of the sport if you look at the stats. Hamilton has the most number of championship victories, has the most victories, has the most number of first places and has the most podiums. Nobody can argue with this. But the old adage “stats never lie” doesn’t hold true in Formula 1.
It is almost impossible to compare drivers from different eras, given the huge difference in tracks, cars and technology. Today the rules and regulations are also in effect, the sport currently has 23 grand prix per season, 25 points are available to the winner, as well as the possibility of an additional point for the fastest lap. It certainly wasn’t always the case. The seasons were good for 15 races and there was a very different and smaller point system.
Even comparing drivers of the same era is almost impossible. Often forgotten, F1 is a team sport and some of the strongest drivers could not be found among the strongest teams at the height of their careers. Again, no one can argue that Hamilton has driven the most powerful car since the introduction of the hybrid era.
But for those who want to get into the debate, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to argue against those who put Hamilton first. The 2021 fight with Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen adds more fuel to this discussion. The Dutchman puts Hamilton to the test and the Red Bull car is the strongest in certain tracks. Hamilton could have another big thumbs up by winning this fight, and another if he wins a title in a third era after 2022.
It is a great achievement for the driver to start the 100 Grands Prix. Only about 10% of F1 drivers manage to do this. Winning 100 races is crazy. Hamilton’s legacy is settled no matter what happens in the next three seasons. In recent years, Hamilton has shown that he is using this legacy positively to address other issues not only within the sport but around the world. Sustainability, Diversity and Inclusion to name a few. The Hamilton Commission is a very strong part of that.
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