Ralf: ‘Hamilton the most complete driver in F1’

Date published: September 28 2021 - Jamie Woodhouse

Lewis Hamilton smiling during an interview at the Dutch GP. September 2021.

Ex-F1 driver Ralf Schumacher is certain that Lewis Hamilton is the best all-round driving talent on the current grid.

The seven-time World Champion is locked in an epic title battle with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, looking to secure an eighth World Championship which would see Hamilton surpass the record of Ralf’s brother Michael Schumacher.

And after victory in a chaotic Russian Grand Prix where rain fell in the closing stages, Hamilton is now back on top of the Drivers’ Championship, leading Verstappen by two points.

There has been plenty of debate over how these two drivers stack up against the other, though both are very much considered elite racing talents.

Schumacher though regards Hamilton as superior when it comes to his full skill set, which the German feels makes Hamilton the most complete racing driver in the series.

“Lewis is currently the most complete racing driver in the field,” Schumacher wrote in his Sky Germany column.

“He has a lot of experience and works closely with the team. Whenever it matters in qualifying or in the race, he can deliver his performance flawlessly.”

Russia was a milestone victory for Hamilton as he became the first driver to win 100 grands prix, but how many he will add to that tally is less certain now according to Schumacher, with Mercedes no longer the one and only dominant force in F1.

The situation could then change again completely with the new rules for 2022.

“He has two years left on his contract with Mercedes after this season. How many wins he can get during that time also depends on how strong the car is next year,” said Schumacher.

“The superiority is there, but not as it used to be. Accordingly, it is also noticeable that Mercedes makes mistakes now and then. Be it strategically or Hamilton himself not coming into the pits in Hungary or not realising now in Sochi qualifying that he has to change tyres.”

It is these mistakes though which Schumacher believes this title fight is feeding off, creating drama, twists and turns at every round.

“These mistakes contribute to keeping the World Championship battle exciting,” he stated.

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton on the podium at Sochi.

Check all the latest 2021 teamwear via the official Formula 1 store

The late downpour in Sochi allowed Verstappen to go from P20 on the grid to P2 at the finish, a result which was the stuff of dreams for Red Bull.

Hamilton was somewhat in disbelief after the race to see Verstappen pull off the ultimate damage limitation drive, and now tracks are to come which should favour Red Bull, starting with Istanbul Park, where Verstappen will arrive only two points behind Hamilton.

But while the change in weather at Sochi was lucky for Verstappen and Red Bull, Schumacher says it was deserved considering the misfortune which Red Bull had encountered earlier in the season.

“Now we have a couple of Red Bull tracks coming up,” he said.

 

“If you listened to Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff on Sunday, they were already very contrite there that Max could still finish P2, which is why it would have been better for Mercedes if it hadn’t rained. Then Hamilton would have only finished second, but the gap to Verstappen would have remained larger.

“That was luck for Red Bull. But they have honestly had so much bad luck this season. If they hadn’t had that, they would have been far ahead. That’s why they deserved their luck here.

“In addition, Hamilton will probably have to change the engine again soon. That would mean that he – like Max this weekend – would have to start from further back.”