Damon Hill has evaluated Lewis Hamilton’s prospective status as the greatest F1 driver of all time, which could change depending on whether his revenge mission against Max Verstappen results in failure or success. The 37-year-old missed out on perhaps his most important record in December when the Red Bull youngster denied him an eighth world title.
A timeless one-lap shootout decided the Drivers’ Championship last season as Verstappen prevailed on fresher tyres. Mercedes and Hamilton felt cheated, however, by ousted race director Michael Masi’s decision to wipe out his lead behind a late safety car.
The Brit appeared to be cruising towards an eighth crown, which would have put him one clear of Michael Schumacher at the top of the all-time list. Hill suggests that if Hamilton exacts revenge and wins number eight this season, the F1 ‘GOAT’ debate will be a done deal, but failure may leave it open to interpretation.
“In a funny way, I’m wondering whether not winning last year has relieved him of pressure,” the Sky Sports F1 expert told Express Sport, “He has got seven world titles and more race victories and pole positions than anybody else.
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“We saw Mick [Schumacher] presenting him with the Michael [Schumacher] helmet, which acknowledged that he superseded Michael’s record. If he gets eight, fantastic. You don’t need any further proof [that he is the greatest].
“If he doesn’t get the eight, he has had a fantastic career by any standards. Seven and eight world titles, that’s an enormous amount of pressure to put on yourself.
Hamilton could therefore have his work cut out to cement his GOAT status, if it is not secured already. He and new team-mate George Russell both voiced their concerns over Mercedes’ W13 which struggled to deal with understeer and porpoising issues in Bahrain last week.
Some have suggested that their claims are little more than a Silver Arrows bluff, but all will become clear on March 20 when the new season gets underway.
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