However with regards to the massive figures there are two drivers within the historical past of the game who’re in a category of their very own — Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.
Schumacher is a report seven-time world champion — a landmark that has stood for 15 years — and likewise owns a report 91 grand prix wins. However Hamilton is chasing his numbers onerous, already eclipsing the German nice’s complete variety of pole positions and most entrance row begins, amongst many others.
“Hamilton is the one driver to have gained races in each season during which he has competed, and simply as with Schumacher in his pomp, Hamilton appears to achieve a brand new milestone at each grand prix.
“He is very more likely to be the primary driver ever to win 100 grands prix and/or take 100 pole positions — and that is nearly 10% of all F1 races ever run.”
This weekend Hamilton returns to the Silverstone circuit, lower than 60 miles from the place he grew up, together with his sights set on a report sixth British Grand Prix.
A victory at his house monitor would additionally nudge the 34-year-old one step nearer to a sixth world title this season and tantalizingly near Schumacher’s world report haul.
Many followers and System 1 insiders thought the German’s landmark would by no means be bettered, not even by the all-conquering hero himself when Schumacher made a shock return to the game with Mercedes in 2010.
When the legendary German selected to step away from F1 for a second time, Hamilton inherited Schumacher’s race seat in 2013 and now, with the cruel Mercedes at his fingertips, he’s plotting a course to surpass all of Schumacher’s statistical landmarks.
However might components on and off monitor put the brakes on Hamilton’s golden period?
Rise of the Younger Weapons
With the Briton hampered by a grid penalty after which entrance wing harm, the race to the flag was between proficient 21-year-olds Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.
After a breathless duel, Verstappen,– who had fallen again to seventh at the beginning — muscled his Crimson Bull previous the Ferrari for the win, ending Mercedes’ profitable streak at 10 consecutive races.
“We all know that Verstappen is a good expertise,” says Ben Edwards, F1 commentator for Channel four’s UK broadcasts. “He’s actually going to be in prime type over the following couple of years.
“Verstappen has picked up his sport as crew chief at Crimson Bull they usually’re working round what he needs. If he and Crimson Bull actually get their act collectively subsequent yr that may very well be a serious menace for Hamilton and Mercedes.
The F1 rumor mill was additionally churning in Austria with discuss of a break clause in Verstappen’s Crimson Bull contract, which at present ties him to the crew till the top of 2020.
There’s even hypothesis that Verstappen might substitute Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes subsequent yr which might give the Dutch dynamo precisely the identical equipment to take the title struggle to Hamilton and cease his run into the report books.
“Mercedes crew principal Toto Wolff most likely would not need to put Verstappen alongside Hamilton from a crew concord perspective,” says Edwards. “However he’d most likely need him to cease him going anyplace else as he’ll be a menace wherever he’s.
“Hamilton could be up for it, as he has stated, as he is at all times able to take down anyone. It would imply Mercedes dominate however that might be superior, an unbelievable combine.”
‘Too many errors’
Ferrari drivers Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel ought to, in idea, additionally be capable to throw a spanner within the works of Hamilton’s record-breaking ambitions, in spite of everything they began the 2019 season as favorites after impressing in testing.
However the Italian crew, who Schumacher spurred on to 5 straight crew and driver titles between 2000 and 2004, simply have not had the luck to date this season, with each Leclerc and Vettel shedding out on race wins.
“Leclerc has the potential to be an actual star of the long run,” says Edwards. “He has already proven us he has what it takes and his psychological perspective is unbelievable.”
For the final 13 years both Hamilton or Vettel, who each made their F1 debuts in 2007, has been on the coronary heart of the title struggle, typically sparring in opposition to one another.
“It is nonetheless doable that Vettel might put a world championship-winning season collectively,” provides Edwards. “However it’s an important time in his profession proper now.
“He is made too many errors and on this turbo-hybrid period I do not assume he is ever had a automobile that completely talks to him in the way in which that the Crimson Bull did.
“Vettel remains to be a possible menace — however I do not see it taking place this yr.”
The one driver to halt Hamilton in his golden period, which stretches again to 2014, has been his former teammate Nico Rosberg.
In 2016, the German delivered an epic marketing campaign to disclaim Hamilton what would have then been a fourth world title. However it was a bruising bodily and psychological battle that noticed Rosberg stop F1, unwilling to go head-to-head together with his outdated buddy once more.
His successor, Bottas, is arguably in the most effective place to cease Hamilton racing away to a sixth world title this season however after a superb begin to 2019, profitable in Australia and Azerbaijan, the Finn’s problem appears to be faltering.
“The issue for Bottas is sustaining that degree it is advisable beat Hamilton,” provides Edwards. “As we noticed with Rosberg, it is so intense attempting to tackle and beat Hamilton and preserving it up all yr lengthy.
“I have been impressed with Bottas this yr and I do not assume his problem has fully vanished. However he is positively going via a rocky patch and that is the stage within the season the place Hamilton historically begins to come back on actually robust.”
It is not solely rival drivers, nevertheless, that may flip purple patches right into a dose of the blues.
“F1 historical past is affected by examples of dominant drivers seeing their reign come to a sudden finish,” explains Kelly.
“Proper now it looks like Mercedes and Hamilton will go on dominating endlessly, however when Vettel gained 4 consecutive titles from 2010-13 he then did not win a race in 2014.
“Schumacher himself gained 5 consecutive championships with Ferrari after which only a single race in 2005.”
Each Schumacher and Vettel have been halted not by drivers, however by adjustments to the F1 rulebook.
In 2005 it was tires and in 2014 main new guidelines on engines successfully ended the Crimson Bull period and laid the foundations for Hamilton’s 4 world titles due to the dominant Mercedes hybrid V6 engine.
With a regulation shake-up deliberate for 2021 — probably the season Hamilton goes for a report eighth title — ought to he be frightened?
“For 2021 there are going to be pretty main adjustments,” explains Edwards. “The aerodynamic design of the automobiles shall be fairly a serious shift. It is not fairly like a clean sheet of paper however it’s going to definitely be a giant step change.
“That might open the door extra extensively for any of the highest groups to provide you with a profitable package deal.”
Kelly agrees: “The adjustments coming in 2021 current a possibility for different groups to depose Mercedes.”
Alongside the proposed new technical rules, the FIA and Liberty Media, who purchased F1 for $eight billion in 2017, additionally need to introduce a funds cap of round $175 million to assist degree the enjoying subject among the many groups.
Getting caught in
Hamilton can also be the grasp of his personal future. How lengthy Hamilton, who divides his time between Monaco and his houses within the US, needs to maintain jetting around the globe for the day job stays to be seen.
On his weekend off earlier than the British Grand Prix, he was photographed partying together with his superstar circle of associates in Los Angeles.
The British racer has spoken earlier than about life exterior F1 and even mooted a second profession in vogue, music or appearing.
Hamilton’s present contract with Mercedes ends on the finish of 2020 — conveniently giving him time to match Schumacher’s seven world titles.
However would he need to go on?
“He is a troublesome man to learn,” says Edwards, who has commentated on motorsport for greater than 25 years. “However I get the sensation that he is actually having fun with himself and relishing the problem of the younger stars coming alongside. He form of needs to get caught in and have a go along with them.
“When a driver will get to the extra mature years he has to keep up that motivation.
“Hamilton is doing that fantastically properly in the intervening time. Someone near the circle working with him stated to me he thinks Lewis is working more durable this yr than he has previously on the technical understanding of the automobile and dealing with the crew.
“So, I do not see him stopping imminently. I see him battling on subsequent yr — after which he’ll be intrigued by the brand new guidelines. If he will get his seventh title subsequent yr then you definately would assume he would need to keep it up to see if he can get that further one.”
An ideal 10
Kelly provides: “On the present charge, Hamilton ought to overhaul Schumacher’s 91 wins and 155 podium finishes all through 2020, and he might additionally equal his seven world titles if he wins the championship in 2019 and 2020.
“He’d nonetheless solely be 35 by then. Kimi Raikkonen was a race winner final yr simply shy of 39 years outdated, so Hamilton would have time to pile on much more numbers.”
Think about that, 5 extra years would take Hamilton to a possible excellent 10 world titles.
However ask any driver within the F1 paddock and they’ll let you know they merely take it one race at a time as a result of as legendary F1 commentator Murray Walker famously stated: “Something can occur in Grand Prix racing… and it often does.”