F1 commentator Peter Windsor went to town on a Michael Schumacher-Lewis Hamilton comparison allegedly made by Mercedes technical director James Allison.
Schumacher and Hamilton are both drivers who have defined generations in Formula 1, the result being that the duo are now tied on the Formula 1 record for most World Championship crowns with seven apiece.
And Allison is a figure who has experience of working alongside both, having been with Ferrari through the early 2000s when their dominance alongside Schumacher was at its peak, while he would in the February of 2017 join Mercedes, Hamilton at that point preparing to go on a streak of four World titles in succession.
And during a YouTube live chat with former Ferrari and Williams team manager Windsor, a fan suggested to Windsor that Allison had previously said Schumacher and Hamilton were the best drivers he has worked with, though picked Schumacher as the one who was slightly faster over one lap.
Windsor says there is “absolutely no way” that is true when comparing the respective peaks of each driver’s career, and explained his scepticism when it comes to such alleged comments made by engineers, although he was keen to stress that he was not questioning Allison’s talents and judgement in any way.
“I think engineers are entitled to their opinion, but I’ve had my fair share of race engineers, performance engineers, giving their opinion on drivers,” said Windsor.
“And most of their opinions are based on conversations with the drivers in debriefs, or in the car, lap times, quality of handshake and what it’s like having dinner, very few are based on actually watching the driver out on the circuit and looking at what he does.
“And I’m not saying that James Allison doesn’t know exactly what he’s talking about, I’m sure he’s basing all that on all his own information, but to me there is absolutely no way in the world Michael Schumacher, at his peak, was quicker over one lap than Lewis Hamilton at his peak over one lap, no way.
“Sorry, I just totally don’t get that, I disagree with it.”
An impossible Michael Schumacher-Lewis Hamilton comparison
Comparing eras and specific abilities between drivers in this way is absolute gold for some top quality F1 chat, but while it is perfect content for opinion, it cannot really be any more than that.
Ultimately it was not possible to ever compare Schumacher and Hamilton in their prime at the same time, with very similar machinery, which would have been the only way to get some kind of accurate picture over who was the fastest outright over a single lap.
The pair did for a time share the grid together during Schumacher’s comeback from 2010-12, Hamilton at that time driving for McLaren, but at that stage Schumacher was arguably past his prime, and Hamilton was still yet to enter his.
Like Windsor’s opinion then clashes with Allison’s, this at the end of the day is all they are.