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Bernie Ecclestone wanted Lewis Hamilton to retire this year because of Michael Schumacher

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Lewis Hamilton is locked in a battle with Max Verstappen to claim this year’s Formula One title. Hamilton trails the Dutch driver by eight points ahead of the final two Grands Prix of the season in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi respectively.

Verstappen has dominated much of the F1 calendar and has won nine races, to Hamilton’s seven.

But the Red Bull driver has faltered at the last two races in Brazil and Qatar and Hamilton has tasted victory in both of them.

Those results mean the Briton has cut Verstappen’s lead at the top of the standings and has the momentum at the right time.

If Hamilton can complete a season turnaround and storm to glory, he will win a record-breaking eighth title.

The 36-year-old is currently tied with the legendary Michael Schumacher at the top of the all-time leaderboard and could be set to become the most successful driver in F1 history if the last two races go in his favour.

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Ecclestone’s revelations appear astounding given the fact that Hamilton has clearly always been hungry to become the best driver in F1 history.

The Mercedes ace has already won 102 Grands Prix – 11 more than Schumacher managed.

Ecclestone even went as far as insisting that title-success for Hamilton this year wouldn’t make him a better driver than Schumacher.

“No, not at all,” Ecclestone hissed when asked if an eighth title would make him the greatest driver in the history of the sport.

Schumacher is still regarded by many as the best F1 driver of all-time.

The German won his first title in 1994 as a 25-year-old with Benetton, before backing that up with more glory the following season.

Schumacher then won five consecutive F1 titles with Ferrari from 2000 to 2004.

He retired from racing for the first time in 2006 but made a return to drive for Mercedes between 2010 and 2012.

It was Hamilton who replaced Schumacher at Mercedes after the Briton had won his first F1 title with McLaren in 2008.

And the Stevenage-born racer has gone on to dominate the sport, winning six of the last seven championships.



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