Does Lewis Hamilton now deserve recognition as one of the all time greats?

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Lewis Hamilton - One of the Greats?

Hamilton one of the greats or not.jpg

Lewis Hamilton secured championship success for the fifth time this weekend in Mexico, but is he one of the greatest?

It is often said in Motorsport that half the battle is to find yourself in the right car at the right time, something that Hamilton has achieved with aplomb during his 11 year stay in the top flight - often driving the best machine of the field and using it to good effect as he continues the push to secure the most race victories and podium finishes in the history of the sport.

However, when looking at the Britons career from a distance, the newly minted five-time World Champion has often struggled when put under pressure from within the team, a rare occurrence in itself, but quite a telling trait for one of the finest drivers of his generation.

Much like the great Michael Schumacher before him, Hamilton has rarely had a teammate of the same class as the 71 time Grand Prix winner, often finding himself as the main focus of attention from his squad as they look to challenge for title success in any given season. Of the occasions that Hamilton has found himself challenged from within his own ranks, the Englishman has occasionally shows signs of cracks that just don’t seem to appear when battling drivers from rival teams.

During his debut year in 2007 Hamilton would team up with newly crowned World Champion Fernando Alonso, moving from the Renault squad in what the Spaniard assumed would be a team leader role at Woking. Much to Alonso’s surprise, the Rookie GP2 champion would prove more than a match for his illustrious teammate, each driver matching the other move for move until the team focus appeared to steadily weigh towards the Brit, aided no doubt by the increasing inter team politics that favoured “home” driver Hamilton over the often difficult new recruit.

2007 would be a great season for Hamilton, coming so close to the title in his rookie year against stiff competition from within and outside of the team - but this would arguably be the final occasion in which the most successful British racing driver of all time would provide such a fine performance with an equal alongside him.

Fast forward to 2010 and Hamilton is now well entrenched in the McLaren team, having since dominated the outfit following the departure of Alonso at the end of a challenging '07 season, the Spaniard replaced by the firmly second string Heikki Kovalainen in the other silver car, a combination alongside Hamilton that never rose to the level of challenge afforded by Alonso back in that first season.

With newly crowned champion Jenson Button now on the market, McLaren would swoop for the British driver to partner up with Hamilton for the next three years. With Button having been fortunate to find himself in title winning position during 2009, many expected Hamilton to easily best the driver in “his” team..., however things didn’t quite work out that way...

Looking at the bare facts it clearly shows Hamilton had the pace advantage on Saturday afternoons, however over the course of the three years together it would be Button who led the way, the Frome Flyer taking more points over those three seasons than his more established team mate. What is more, Hamilton would show many signs of feeling the pressure from within as he spent much of the ‘10, ‘11 and 2012 seasons displaying out of character behaviours both on and off the circuit - who remembers his sharing confidential team telemetry with the media in order to try and explain why Button out qualified him at Spa as a perfect example of this internal pressure situation?

Mistakes and odd behaviours would follow Hamilton throughout the usually good natured but often pressured relationship with Button, increasingly highlighting the first signs that all might not be well with within Hamilton's mindset when really put under pressure from the man in the second seat.

With the start of 2013 came a move for Hamilton to Mercedes, teaming up alongside old rival Nico Rosberg as he left McLaren following an association that lasted throughout his junior career in the sport.

With Rosberg and Hamilton looking to build the team back into winning form once again, 2013 would be a relatively calm year for both drivers, with form swinging regularly between the two as Hamilton showed strong indications that he is back at peace with himself following severing of ties with the McLaren team.

Once the modern turbo hybrid era dawned in 2014, and it became clear that Mercedes held a considerable advantage over their rivals, that’s when the cracks in the relationship between the two drivers again began to surface. Rosberg, arguably the more technical and thinking of the two, Hamilton the raw talent and outright pace, began to form a dominant combination as they fought at the head of the field, despite Rosberg having never really shown title potential in his Grand Prix career up to that point.

Boiling point within the team would come at the conclusion of the 2016 season, Rosberg taking a hard fought crown against his teammate and showing that Hamilton is indeed beatable in Formula One, despite no-one really considering the German driver to be in the same league as his big name rivals in Grand Prix racing circles.

So the question remains, although undoubtedly exceptionally driven and talented, has much of Hamilton’s success come by way of being in the best car, with a support driver, or can the skills displayed by the man so far in his top flight career rank him as one of the all time greats of the sport?

At just 33-years-old, and with a new 2-year contract in his pocket, it is not beyond question that the Englishman could equal or surpass the records set by Schumacher all the way back in the mid 2000s. The question is, are the results a marker of the talent Hamilton displays, or a case of right place, right time?

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What do you think as to the standing of Hamilton against the best ever? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
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Durge Driven

Jun 17, 2017
Present day Lewis has achieved with 2 Teams what the others haven't

Driver of each decade is more fair way to look at it imo
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I hate VR. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Oct 2, 2010
Obviously he is the greatest British F1 racer and possibly the 2nd or 3rd best F1 racer the World has ever known. The facts can't be argued against. :thumbsup:
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Apr 19, 2010
You can not compare times with each other. But yeah he is good no doubt.
But certainly three others can being world champion with the rocket ship the last 7 years.. Raikonen.. Vettel.. Alonso and now Verstappen. But Lewis is a killer always sharp on the big moments

Patrik Marek

Oct 25, 2014
well of course yes, one of the greats , but for me just not the greatest , not yet anyhow :) , but if you have 5th driver's championship title, it can't be just the car or being lucky


Feb 15, 2017
In his era? Probably but he never proved this in a bad car, he always had car from the top and in Mercedes era it's near impossible to lose especially when your main rival is Ferrari which commits suicide regularly.
All time? No, never. There was a lot more better drivers in history. He's and will be one of the better drivers but not the best.


Jun 27, 2015
Absolutely one of the greats... sure, he's had the good fortune to be in the fastest car in most of his title years (arguably not this one) but can't the same be said for most champions?


Dec 6, 2013
Top 10 without any reasonable debate, possibly higher.
Fernando Alonso stated that Hamilton is one of the top 5 F1 drivers all time.

One of the most technically proficient there has been - rain driving skills show that clearly since 2007.
I'd have to agree with Julian Palmer for once too - LH would have won this year in either the Mercedes or the Ferrari.

About "button leading the way", don't follow how that is a fact:
Button did score more points over three years (2011 was definitely the poorest year for LH).
But, LH clearly beat Button 2 years out of the 3; 2012 was one of LH best performances let down severely by five retirements from the unreliable McLaren.
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Appie Kuipers

Jun 8, 2007
Sure he is super racing driver! But I stated before world champion is in mine opinion overdone, this because there are just 4cars!!!!!!!:(
Feb 2, 2018
The perfect racing driver - if he could be inserted into and extracted out of his car every other weekend.

It may be a consequence of little boys being forced into cars before they can read or write and spend all of their adolescent days there, but the character of many modern racing drivers, Hamilton included, leaves much to be desired. The last world champion I can truly look up to is Damon Hill.

Deleted member 503495

What is the definition of "one of the greats"? Is it a list of the Top 5, Top 10, Top 20...? Lewis Hamilton certainly features in the Top 15 with Fernando Alonso.

There is undoubted skill to push the current cars to their limit but whereas before there was more impact from a driver and varying technology and variation (matching RPM, manual gearboxes, extremely long races, mechanically unaided machinery, turbos, smaller engineering teams, more driver input into setups, people younger than 24 really struggling physically to handle a F1 car, etc) than today, where F1 is not worlds apart from feeder series but instead, less difficult to drive albeit driving quickly is a different matter.

One of the greats of his era? Unquestionably so. Top 3, Top 3 at worst. Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton stand on their own. Lewis has a Michael Schumacher-like ability to drive minus the extreme scandals. One of the greats of all time? Ayrton Senna, Jim Clark, Juan Manuel Fangio, Jackie Stewart, Tazio Nuvolari (permission for non-F1 driver), Niki Lauda, Stirling Moss, Fernando Alonso, Alberto Ascari, Nelson Piquet, Alain Prost, Emerson Fittipaldi, Ronnie Peterson, Michael Schumacher,.... welcoming Lewis into the the fold.

Had he grown up in the 1970s or 1980s it is very likely that his talent would have placed him among the elite, but he would not have the dominating Mercedes power behind him or the numbers, which are very relative and far from telling the story, as he would have begun later in his life. To his credit he did dominate lower series and has a good match-up record to his teammates. He also is probably at his prime, which should last until he's at least 35 and in this stage has proven to be less error prone than Vettel and even more mentally stable on the track, despite certain outbursts and radio complaints.

Had the other drivers driven at the same period as Lewis or the the luck of having very competitive cars for at least 80% of their careers, they would very likely have been able to transfer their talent to the forefront. Jim Clark was a god in the '60s. Ayrton Senna was thought of as someone truly capable of winning all rounds of the calendar had he the machinery to the level both Mansell and Prost enjoyed at Williams.

It is outside of his control that F1 is so unbalanced and when Ferrari was able to innovate on the engine, instead of permitting other teams to catch up the FIA ruled Ferrari had to revert back their advances. Until at least through 2020, likely through 2021, Lewis can expect a Top 2 car on the grid so his numbers will continue to grow at Schumacher-esque levels.

Durge Driven

Jun 17, 2017
If the best coders in the world created the best algorithm to determine " greatest F1 driver " and fed it into a super computer it would blue screen p

How do you reconcile Sébastien Loeb's 9 in a row with any of 'em :devilish:


Aug 28, 2018
Yes. The only way to make an argument against this I think, is to grab a handful of F1 drivers and put them in the exact same scenario (Same team, cars, years, etc.) and see how the results vary. Which of course is impossible.


Mar 30, 2016
He is one of the 15 (maybe 10) best of all time, but can not be placed as a candidate to the greatest of all time. Not yet. Hamilton is the best of his era.

Durge Driven

Jun 17, 2017
I think Lewis's greatest achievement is advertising F1 better then anyone before

Without him makes me wonder where it would be today

The rest of them have personality like wet sponges

Jonny Austin

Nov 25, 2017
In his era? Probably but he never proved this in a bad car, he always had car from the top and in Mercedes era it's near impossible to lose especially when your main rival is Ferrari which commits suicide regularly.
All time? No, never. There was a lot more better drivers in history. He's and will be one of the better drivers but not the best.
Part of the reason some F1 drivers become "Greats" is that they put theirself in good cars.Hamilton's move to Mercedes from McLaren was questioned at the time(me included) but he was correct.Contrast this with Alonso who has made some poor decisions combined with bad luck.

Ask yourself why has Hamilton not been in a bad car?He moved straight to McLaren in F1 because he had virtually dominated every series he competed in on the way to F1.Webber & Alonso did not so they started F1 in a Minardi.Also Hamiltons Mercedes in 2013 was not a great car.He won 1 race.

Durge Driven

Jun 17, 2017
You should re-phrase topic "One of the F1 Greats"

F1 is the pinnacle in Motorsports for me but not greatest driver not even Micheal

They don't drive all terrain, mud, ice, snow, without a gravel-trap or runoff in sight , instead trees to hit all the while putting faith in a co-pilot ...... :alien:
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