Yesterday as the chequered flag fluttered at the end of qualifying for the British Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton equalled a record that had stood for some 50 Years. He had equalled the great Jim Clark’s haul of five pole positions at the British Grand Prix. No mean feat, and something to be congratulated as Lewis heads towards the all-time greatest number of pole positions scored in Formula One.
Lewis wasn’t even on the cool down lap before commentators and the media began comparing him with Jim Clark – and as he approaches that all time record – Micheal Schumacher. In my humble opinion, I believe this is unfair – not only on Hamilton, but also on the other drivers he is being compared alongside of.
There is no doubting Lewis Hamilton’s talent – the man is a three times Formula One World Champion. He has stood on the top step of the podium 56 times to date, won a staggering 67 pole positions and so far has 36 fastest laps to his credit. At just 32 years of age and ten years into his F1 career, no doubt many more records will fall and new standards will be set.
Then we have Jim Clark, a legend in his own right. Clark was just 32 when he was tragically killed at Hockenheim and in just eight years of racing, managed to win two championships, 25 victories and score 28 fastest laps. Had Clark not been killed, his tallies would have certainly been higher.
Comparing Lewis Hamilton with a driver that is not currently in the class in which he races is pointless. The cars were different, the tracks were different, the skill sets were vastly different. Clark was taken in his prime – some would say Hamilton is at the peak of his – and when compared to Senna, Schumacher, Prost et al, it becomes a one sided battle as Hamilton is running a car that was beyond the bounds of thinking 10 – even 5 years – ago. The cars are faster, they have DRS, KERS and every imaginable gizmo you can think of to race faster, further and longer. The weight of the argument will always fall the side of the current driver, owing to the incredible technological advances that have emerged in the last few years.
The stats will always be there. Records are set and are made to be broken – but let’s do each driver the justice and respect they deserve and compare the stats – not the driver.
Lewis Hamilton is not this generations Clark. Nor is he this generations Senna, Prost or Schumacher.
Lewis Hamilton is this generations Lewis Hamilton.
A champion and quality driver in his own right.