A bold prediction Murray Walker made about the career of Lewis Hamilton all the way back in 2008 is found to have come true, with the ‘Voice of F1’ having predicted “he could eclipse Michael Schumacher’s overwhelming string of records.”
Walker made this prediction with the caveat of Hamilton having the support and infrastructure of a top team throughout his career, with Formula 1’s iconic English-language commentator having witnessed the Briton equal Schumacher’s tally of seven World Championships shortly before he passed away in March 2021, aged 97.
With Schumacher’s tallies having been overwhelming in comparison to the rest of Formula 1’s records at the time, Hamilton’s dominance in the turbo hybrid era meant a significant number of records took a long time to materialise, but one by one he has toppled some of the key landmarks of the great German.
Bold Murray Walker prediction on Lewis Hamilton revisited after his first title
Hamilton had just won his first World Championship in only his second season in Formula 1, passing Timo Glock at the last corner in the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix to beat Ferrari’s Felipe Massa to the title in one of the sport’s most dramatic title conclusions in its history.
The then-McLaren driver had arrived in the sport as a prodigious rookie, standing on the podium in each of his first nine races in Formula 1 and missing out on the World Championship by a solitary point in 2007.
Since then, Hamilton has gone on to equal Schumacher’s seven-title tally, while overtaking his records for Formula 1’s highest ever win total (103), podiums (197) and pole positions (104), among others.
Writing in the December 2008 edition of F1 Racing Magazine [now GP Racing] in the aftermath of the drama of Interlagos, Walker waxed lyrical about Hamilton’s title success – with words that turned out to be quite prophetic about what was to come in his career.
“I’ve seen them come and I’ve seen them go, but never before have I had so many strangers stop me in the street wanting to know about this fresh-faced youngster who had kindled their interest in a sport they knew little about,” Walker wrote.
“Lewis has been a power of good for F1 at a time when it badly needed something to brighten its tarnished image.
“We enthusiasts judge him with a slightly different yardstick, and he measures up to it very well.
“I’ve had people describe him as the greatest driver who has ever lived, which is a patently ridiculous thing to say, but in years to come he could be.
“To miss the title by a single point and to win four races in your debut season are unique achievements, but now, even as champion, he is only just beginning.
“With, potentially, another 15 years of racing ahead of him, he could eclipse Michael Schumacher’s overwhelming string of records – provided, and it’s a very big ‘provided’, he continues to enjoy the support of a top team with the right infrastructure.
“I’m delighted for Lewis, for his family and for everyone at McLaren, who have done a superb job. They’ve overcome seemingly crippling conditions, created in places other than their track rivals, that would have broken lesser people and they richly deserve their success. Well done indeed!”
Back in the present day, Hamilton signed a new two-year deal with Mercedes that will see him continue in Formula 1 until the 2025 season, extending his career beyond his 40th birthday as he goes in search of an eighth World Championship.
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