WRITTEN BY CHARLES ODUGBESAN
Records are made to be broken.
Last time out at Spa Francorchamps, British Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton equalled the all time record for pole positions set by Michael Schumacher (incidentally the same track Michael won his first ever race at), a staggering 68. Today Hamilton stands alone as the single greatest one lap specialist in F1 history with a record setting 69th pole position at Monza, Italy; arguably the most famous of all tracks on the calendar.
To put things into perspective, Hamilton’s record pushes him out ahead of the likes of Schumacher (68), Ayrton Senna (65), Sebastian Vettel (48)and Alain Prost (33); four of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport. When we also pair this with the all time race wins list; Hamilton is a comfortable second (58), beaten out only by Schumacher (91). The man is in very good company to say the least!
Every top driver in Formula 1 has had their period of time in where, at the height of their powers, they excel above the rest, rewriting the history books and simply doing no wrong. Post Schumacher we can say that Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel have certainly reigned supreme for a length of time. And despite narrowly losing out on the Drivers Title last year to, now retired, former teammate Nico Rosberg, I think we can safely say that in recent years Formula 1 has become Lewis Hamilton’s world, taking 2 out of the last 3 Championships and making a strong claim for a 4th against arch rival Vettel this year. He’s also grown into becoming a global superstar and boasts on and off relationships with the likes of Nicole Scherzinger. Well I’d boast that at least! Clearly driving fast cars doesn’t just land you a place on the Top Gear panel!
What’s interesting is that Hamilton is rewriting history, achieving and drawing nearer to these sacred records at a similar, if not faster rate than any of the greats that he succeeds. He and Vettel are only in their 10th year of Formula 1 whereas some of the legends of the sport (with exception to the late Ayrton Senna) were nowhere near as decorated at that stage of their respective careers. Lewis is already a Hall of Fame driver and is only strengthening his position in it. I believe if he wins his 4th Driver’s Title this year, then pretty soon we’ll have to at least thrown him in the conversation of the greatest driver of all time.
This is the level that Lewis Hamilton is operating at! A fiercely competitive, once in a lifetime driver who is steadily surpassing some of the legends he grew up watching and idolising. Here’s hoping that he can cap a historic Saturday off with yet another victory in the race on Sunday!!