Toto Wolff said Mercedes "owe it" to Sebastian Vettel to consider the four-time Formula One world champion if they have a seat to fill next season.

Vettel will leave Ferrari at the end of this season and his future is up in the air.

Silver Arrows duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are only contracted until December, although talks with the defending champion are expected to be held once the season starts and the Finn is also tipped to stay on.

Mercedes boss Wolff said it would be remiss of the constructors champions to dismiss the prospect of signing Vettel, however, citing Nico Rosberg's sudden retirement in 2016 as proof that anything can happen.

He said: "It's not lip service, but we owe it to a four-time champion not to come out and say straight away, 'No'. You need to think about it.

"On the other side, we have a fantastic line-up and I've very happy with both our pilots and George [Russell], but you never know. One of them may decide he doesn't want to go racing anymore and suddenly you have a vacant spot.

"This is why I don't want to come out in June and say, 'No chance, Sebastian is not racing for us'.

"I wouldn't do it to him as a driver, to be that blunt, and on the otherwise side, I've seen black swans appearing when nobody suspected - remember Nico Rosberg.

"In that respect, we're just keeping our options open but of course concentrating our discussions with our current drivers."

Carlos Sainz was confirmed as Vettel's replacement and it was announced last month that Daniel Ricciardo will take the Spaniard's seat at McLaren.

Wolff did not expect deals to be confirmed before the first race of the campaign, which is due to start in Austria on July 5, and says Mercedes are keeping their options open.

"We were quite surprised with the early movements because you need to start the season with a driver that you know you're going to lose," the German added.

"It's very tricky to develop a car without having that driver be part of it, and every single driver needs to be a team player as well, and that becomes second priority in my opinion for the relevant guy. For us, we want to take our time.

"Our priority lies on the Mercedes drivers, Valtteri and Lewis, and then obviously George and the Williams situation we're looking at with interest. Beyond that, you do not discount any driver.

"This is why I said I don't want to discount Sebastian as a four-time world champion, because who knows what happens in the next months?

"If I had told you in January that we would not have any racing in the first half of the year, nobody would have believed it. So, in that respect, we are just keeping our options open at this stage."

Lewis Hamilton is "overcome with rage" at the "blatant disregard for the lives of our people" as unrest in the United States continues following the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, an African American, died last Monday while in the custody of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

His death has sparked protests across the USA and drawn widespread condemnation from around the world, including from Formula One world champion Hamilton.

Hamilton, F1's first black driver, criticised the "white-dominated" sport for its silence in the wake of Floyd's passing in an Instagram post on Sunday.

The Brit used the same social media platform on Tuesday to write: "This past week has been so dark. I have failed to keep hold of my emotions.

"I have felt so much anger, sadness and disbelief in what my eyes have seen. I am completely overcome with rage at the sight of such blatant disregard for the lives of our people.

"The injustice that we are seeing our brothers and sisters face all over the world time and time again is disgusting, and MUST stop.

"So many people seem surprised, but to us unfortunately, it is not surprising. Those of us who are black, brown or in between, see it everyday and should not have to feel as though we were born guilty, don't belong, or fear for our lives based on the colour of our skin.

"Will Smith said it best, racism is not getting worse, it's being filmed. Only now that the world is so well-equipped with cameras has this issue been able to come to light in such a big way.

"It is only when there are riots and screams for justice that the powers that be cave in and do something, but by then it is far too late and not enough has been done. It took hundreds of thousands of people's complaints and buildings to burn before officials reacted and decided to arrest Derek Chauvin for murder, and that is sad.

"Unfortunately, America is not the only place where racism lives and we continue to fail as humans when we cannot stand up for what is right. Please do not sit in silence, no matter the colour of your skin. Black Lives Matter."

Elite sport is gradually returning to our screens amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Germany's Bundesliga, the UFC and the NRL were among the first top-level events to forge a route back last month after pausing due to the global crisis.

A clutch of Europe's other top football leagues, cricket, motorsport and the United States' major competitions all have designs on behind-closed-doors resumptions in the near future, too, which could create a significant backlog of crucial fixtures.

One positive is that sports fans might now be treated to a number of colossal match-ups back-to-back on the same day at some point over the coming months.

That prospect gives us the opportunity to reflect on five similar occasions with the greatest sporting days since the turn of the century - including one exactly a year ago.


JULY 23, 2000

The US had a day to remember as two of their most prominent stars bolstered their still burgeoning reputations with big victories on foreign soil.

The paths of Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong have subsequently diverged a little, however.

Woods became the youngest player to complete golf's career grand slam with a record-breaking victory at The Open in 2000, while Armstrong wrapped up a second straight Tour de France title.

The American duo stood at the top of the world, yet history will recall Armstrong's achievements rather differently now he has been stripped of each of his seven successive yellow jerseys for doping.

Woods at least maintained his high standards and held all four major titles after the 2001 Masters, winning again at Augusta as recently as last year.

FEBRUARY 1, 2004

Two more sporting greats shared the same special page in the calendar early in 2004.

It was a long day for anyone who took in both Roger Federer's performance in Melbourne's Australian Open final and Tom Brady's Super Bowl display in Houston, but they were duly rewarded.

Twenty-time grand slam champion Federer had won just one major before facing down Marat Safin in Australia, also becoming the ATP Tour's top-ranked player for the first time. He stayed at number one for a record-shattering 237 weeks.

Brady similarly then doubled his tally of Super Bowl rings by delivering a second triumph in three years for the Patriots, in what was a classic encounter against the Carolina Panthers.

Brady threw for 354 yards and three touchdowns, before Adam Vinatieri's field goal secured a 32-29 win with four seconds remaining.

AUGUST 4-5, 2012

One would struggle to find a greater array of star-studded athletes of various sports than those who congregated in London across the penultimate weekend of the 2012 Olympic Games.

On the Saturday evening, at the Aquatics Centre, swimming prepared to say goodbye to its greatest name. Michael Phelps and the United States won the 4x100m medley, clinching his 18th gold medal in what appeared set to be his final race.

Indeed, Phelps confirmed his retirement following the Games, only to return in predictably dominant fashion in 2016.

Across the city that same night, Team GB athletes were capping a stunning run of medals that would see the day dubbed "Super Saturday". There were six home golds in all, including big wins for Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah in quick succession.

The drama only continued the next day, too, as Andy Murray finally sealed a Wimbledon win over Federer in the tennis event, while Usain Bolt lit up London Stadium in the 100m.

JUNE 1, 2019

It is 12 months to the day since another epic sporting stretch, one that concluded in stunning fashion with one of boxing's great modern upsets.

Rugby union and football each had their respective turns in the spotlight earlier, with Saracens following up their European Champions Cup success - a third in four years - by retaining the Premiership title with victory over Exeter Chiefs.

In Madrid, two more English teams were in action as Liverpool edged past Tottenham in the Champions League final.

But as Sarries and the Reds celebrated, focus turned towards Madison Square Garden where Anthony Joshua was expected to make light work of Andy Ruiz Jr, a replacement for Jarrell Miller following a failed drugs test.

The heavyweight title match did not go to script, however, as Ruiz floored Joshua four times and forced a stoppage to claim his belts, albeit only until the rematch where the Briton saved face.

JULY 14, 2019

These crazy spectacles have largely seen sport spread throughout the day, but three sets of eyes were required to keep up with the action on an epic afternoon last July.

With England hosting and then reaching the Cricket World Cup final, the scene-stealing decider fell on the same day as the Wimbledon men's final and the British Grand Prix, ensuring the United Kingdom was the focus of the sporting world.

The cricket started off several hours before either the tennis or the F1 but still managed to outlast its rival events, with Ben Stokes determined to put on a show as England won via a dramatic Super Over at the end of a nine-hour saga against New Zealand.

Novak Djokovic was battling Stokes for attention as he was taken all the way by that man Federer at the All England Club before finally prevailing 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 13-12 (7-3) in the tournament's longest singles final.

The respective classics made the British GP, completed earlier in the day, something of an afterthought - but not for Lewis Hamilton, who claimed a record sixth victory.

Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo expressed his anger over "toxic" and disgraceful racism after George Floyd's death in the United States.

Floyd – an African-American man – died in Minneapolis after a police officer was filmed kneeling on his neck during an arrest on Monday.

Violent protests have broken out across the USA since Floyd's death, during which he was filmed crying out for help as he was handcuffed and pinned to the ground.

After world champion Lewis Hamilton called out the "white-dominated" Formula One over its silence amid the outcry, F1 rival Ricciardo also vented his frustration.

"Seeing the news the last few days has left me saddened," Australian star Ricciardo, who will join McLaren next season, wrote via social media on Monday.

"What happened to George Floyd and what continues to happen in today's society is a disgrace.

"Now more than ever we need to stand together, unified together. Racism is toxic and needs to be addressed not with violence or silence, but with unity and action.

"We need to stand up, we need to be a WE. Let's be better, people. It's 2020 ffs. Black lives matter."

World champion and Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton called out the "white-dominated" Formula One over its silence amid "injustice" following the death of George Floyd.

Floyd – an African-American man – died in Minneapolis after a police officer was filmed kneeling on his neck during an arrest on Monday.

Violent protests have broken out across the USA since Floyd's death, during which he was filmed crying out for help as he was handcuffed and pinned to the ground.

The NFL and NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan have headlined the outcry for change in the country, which has been engulfed by riots.

Hamilton – the first and only black driver in F1's history – used social media to hit out at motorsport.

"I see those of you who are staying silent, some of you the biggest stars yet you stay silent in the midst of injustice. Not a sign from anybody in my industry which of course is a white-dominated sport," Hamilton wrote on Instagram on Sunday.

"I'm one of the only people of colour there, yet I stand alone. I would have thought by now you would see why this happens and say something about it but you can't stand alongside us. Just know I know who you ... are and I see you..."

Hamilton, who has claimed six world titles, continued: "I do not stand with those looting and burning buildings but those who are protesting peacefully. There can be no peace until our so-called leaders make change.

"This is not just America, this is the UK, this is Spain, this is Italy and all over. The way minorities are treated has to change, how you educate those in your country of equality, racism, classism and that we are all the same. We are not born with racism and hate in our hearts, it is taught by those we look up to."

Valtteri Bottas is looking better than ever and intends to launch a serious bid for the Formula One world title in 2020, says his adviser Mika Hakkinen.

The coronavirus pandemic saw the season-opening Australian Grand Prix cancelled at short notice in March, and the campaign is now set to get under way in Austria on July 5.

Bottas will be out to quickly prove his worth to Mercedes, with his contract set to expire at the end of the season and four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel without a seat for 2021 after agreeing to leave Ferrari.

Meanwhile, team-mate Lewis Hamilton will be hoping to win the championship for a fourth straight year and take his overall haul to seven titles, equalling the record set by Michael Schumacher.

However, two-time champion Hakkinen believes Bottas is primed to challenge for glory in 2020.

"Valtteri has a great position in Mercedes. He's a mega great driver, and I am confident that he's better than ever," Hakkinen told the F1 Nation podcast.

"I have an extremely high expectation for him to be world champion this year – and that's what we've been working very hard on for years, [giving him] all the qualities, all the tools for him to get there. He's been working hard."

On Vettel's future and his departure from Ferrari, Hakkinen added: "His age is not a problem, he's still a young guy.

"He had a big disappointment with Ferrari, the enjoyment of the teamwork disappeared for Vettel, I think. He didn't enjoy it so much anymore inside the team because he was criticised all the time and when you're in the team it has to be shared.

"If he wants to win, it's pretty tough out there."

Pedro de la Rosa believes "all the stars line up" for Carlos Sainz to join Ferrari as the former Formula One driver talked up a partnership with Charles Leclerc.

Sainz is reportedly set to replace Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari next season following the announcement that the four-time F1 world champion will leave the Italian manufacturer at the end of 2020.

Mercedes and six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and Renault's Daniel Ricciardo have both been linked to Ferrari.

However, McLaren driver and Spaniard Sainz has reportedly been chosen by Ferrari on a two-year deal.

De la Rosa – who featured in 107 grands prix for the likes of Jaguar, McLaren and Sauber, while he was Ferrari's development driver in 2013 – backed Sainz to make the high-profile switch.

"If I were [Ferrari team principle] Mattia Binotto I would seriously consider having a Leclerc-Sainz partner," De la Rosa said via Marca. "Two very talented young men, especially if you do without Vettel to make a bet for the future. Hopefully it is Carlos, who is very well placed."

Sainz made his F1 debut as a 20-year-old in 2015 and gained experience with the Torro Rosso, Renault and McLaren teams.

The 25-year-old finished sixth in last season's F1 drivers' championship.

"Sainz has had some spectacular seasons, the last one was spectacular and he was sixth," De la Rosa added.

"He got involved between the three untouchable teams. He is very young but he has a lot of experience, all the stars line up."

On Vettel and his Ferrari departure, De la Rosa said: "He is no longer talking about winning races or world championships but about wanting the best for his future, which is probably far from racing. His words sound like farewell.

"Being a four-time champion, he can either continue or leave, but I doubt he will go to a lesser team than Ferrari and if Vettel continues it has to be with Mercedes, or not. For me this is pretty clear."

Nico Hulkenberg believes his Formula One career could have followed a different trajectory were it not for a crash involving Lewis Hamilton.

The 32-year-old German, who made his debut for Williams 10 years ago, boasts the unfortunate record of the highest number of races - 177 - without ever achieving a podium finish.

At Interlagos in 2012, Hulkenberg had qualified sixth and was vying for the lead at turn one on lap 54 when his Force India collided with Hamilton's McLaren.

The incident ended their chances of victory, with Jenson Button taking the chequered flag at the end of an eventful day in Brazil.

Looking back on the race, Hulkenberg, who had briefly held the lead before a spin, told CNN: "Obviously, it was looking very promising. With Lewis, I was kind of racing, I debate with myself, 'Was that a mistake or not?'.

"I was trying to get the lead back. It was a bit unfortunate, it was damp still on one side and we had this other lapped car in front, which didn't help as well.

"It was racing, but also a bit too rushed, [I was] not patient in the moment, that was maybe not the smartest thing. So, if I had maybe settled in that corner and waited for another opportunity it could've been a very different day.

"It was early in my career and that could have put my career in a different path, a different trajectory."

Hulkenberg was replaced at Renault by Esteban Ocon for 2020, but he is still hopeful of securing a seat when the sport resumes some form of normality after the coronavirus crisis.

"I'm very much up for it, that's still my goal, my aim, but at the moment it's tricky to say, a lot of factors in there – and now everything's upside down anyway," he said.

"I'm staying in contact with people anyway. It's early. If there's a chance, I'll grab it. If it's a good opportunity and something that really excites me and gets me going then definitely, I will push for that."

Nico Rosberg says Lewis Hamilton excels in wheel-to-wheel battles in a way that ensures any incidents are "never really his fault" and conceded the breakdown of their friendship was "tough".

Six-time Formula One world champion Hamilton spent four seasons alongside Rosberg after joining Mercedes in 2013.

The Briton won world titles in 2014 and 2015 but Rosberg got the better of him in 2016, a year where the team-mates' relationship, which had been growing increasingly tense, broke down completely.

Rosberg called time on his career after his world championship success in a year that included an infamous crash between the two at the Spanish Grand Prix.

He praised the ability of Hamilton, who has gone on to add three consecutive drivers' titles with Valtteri Bottas as his team-mate, when it came to their scraps on the track.

"The guy is phenomenal in a wheel-to-wheel battle," Rosberg said in an interview for Heineken with David Coulthard.

"It's unbelievable how he positions the car so smartly. Whenever I would go up against him, hold my own and fight back, he would always manage to stay in the grey area. 

"He would be so skilled at keeping it in the grey area, and never really making it 100 per cent his fault. That was a huge strength of his, one of the huge strengths he has of the many.

"Sometimes I would just straightaway jump over the grey area into the black area, which is not allowed."

Rosberg insisted he was not daunted by Hamilton's arrival as his team-mate, having spent three years with Mercedes and won just one race before his old friend's move from McLaren.

"I knew how good Lewis was because I raced him in go-karts for many years and I knew that he was extra special," added Rosberg.

"I was like, okay, done, I've conquered the most difficult guy out there [Michael Schumacher] and then they say Lewis is incoming.

"There wasn't any negativity in my mind, I was looking forward to the challenge because he was a world champion. I was able to play level field with Lewis all the way through.

"In 2013, it was still pretty much easy going because we weren't fighting for race wins, and we used to be best friends, so that was a decent start.

"But then going into 2014, that's where you noticed because once you are fighting for race wins and championships, there is so much at stake.

"Your dream is at stake. Both of us dreamed of winning the world championship with Mercedes. It's so big.

"It's hard to make compromises, and it's the friendship that gets compromised, in return for winning races. It just went small step by small step, and it just builds up. It was tough."

Lewis Hamilton fears Formula One races without fans will feel "worse than a test day" but he feels rejuvenated after an unexpected break and is raring to drive again.

The six-time world champion has yet to compete this year, with the season having been effectively suspended in the week leading up to the Australian Grand Prix.

Given the prevalence of the coronavirus pandemic, there appears little prospect of fans being allowed into circuits this season, meaning any race weekend that can happen may lack a familiar crowd buzz.

The current plan is for the season to begin in Austria on July 5, with Hamilton's home British Grand Prix scheduled for a fortnight later.

Driving at Silverstone in front of empty stands leaves Hamilton, a six-time winner of the race, rather cold.

"It gave me a really empty feeling because the fans really make that race," Hamilton said.

"Around the world, all the races we go to, the more fans there, the more atmosphere you have.

"It's going to be very empty. But what's great is I'm getting messages from people around the world who are struggling because they're not getting to watch sports, and it just shows how significant sport is in people's lives.

"It brings us all together and it's so exciting and captivating. I don't know how exciting it's going to be for people watching it on TV, but it's going to be better than nothing."

In a video interview released by Mercedes on Saturday, Hamilton said: "For us, it's going to be like a test day - probably even worse than a test day in the sense where on a test day there's not many people that come to Barcelona to watch, but there are still some.

"Whereas here, you're going to have nobody in the crowd and you're just going to see empty seats as you're driving down.

"But racing is racing and I've not really had - any of us have had - the chance to unleash the potential of our cars, so I'm excited to get back in."

Hamilton spoke of finding time to catch up with friends on video calls, learning a little French, and working on aspects of his fitness that might otherwise have been neglected.

He makes no secret of the fact he believes he has benefited from a break from the sport.

"It's been nice not to be bothered so much, to have a bit of that time, but I miss seeing my team, I miss seeing my friends as everyone does," he said.

"But in some ways I looked at it at the beginning and thought there have been times in the past five years or so when I thought to myself it'll be good for my mind and my body to take a rest for a year.

"But you can't step away. I don't think that for an athlete that's in their prime that is ever a good thing, to step away for a year and then come back.

"Technology moves so fast, at such a rate, you need to stay on top of this car and what is the development - to take a sabbatical is not on the cards.

"But we've been handed a part-sabbatical which I'm enjoying - and I feel fresher and healthier than I've ever been and the struggle is for everyone to keep your mind clear.

"Some days you're sluggish and other days you're positive. The key is to remain centred, find things you enjoy doing. Don't waste this time."

Formula One lost one of the greatest drivers of all time on May 1, 1994.

Three-time world champion Ayrton Senna died aged 34 when his Williams crashed at the San Marino Grand Prix in Imola.

The likes of Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton – the sport's most successful drivers – have been moved to tears by surpassing milestones from the revered Brazilian's career.

In the 26 years since his death, his importance has not waned in the slightest, with many of the biggest names ensuring he continues to be held in the highest regard.


Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton
"A lot of the way I drive today is inspired by the way I saw him drive. People say I have an aggressive style and sometimes I don't think that is all just me. I think it's partly because I watched Ayrton Senna when I was young, and I thought: 'This is how I want to drive when I get the opportunity.' And I went out there and tried it on the kart track. And my whole approach to racing has developed from there. He was also such a magnetic personality. I particularly loved his vulnerability and his openness. I only met him once, the year before he died, but it left a lasting impression on me. As a kid, you see these people and you think they're super-heroes. But everyone has weaknesses. And for all Senna's brilliance and achievements, so did he."

1996 world champion Damon Hill (via The Guardian)
"The Japanese and the Brazilians saw him as a god. His passion was undeniable, and I sincerely believe he wanted to make the world a better place. Ayrton was heroic in that sense because he felt deeply and compassionately, and he was struggling as to how best he could use his position to help people."

Former McLaren team principal Ron Dennis (via
"I raised my game because I could see the commitment he brought to his driving. Like any team situation, if someone demonstrates that you can try even harder, then you do. He showed what he was prepared to do to achieve his objectives. He raised my game because I think that you try to be as good as the person you are with. I liked his principles – they played to my strengths. He changed Formula One because he raised everybody's game."

Former team-mate and 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell (via BBC Sport)
"Ayrton was our toughest rival. He would leave no stone unturned to get the utmost out of his car and his team. As the years ticked on, we developed a healthy respect and understanding for each other and became friends. [He was a] true thoroughbred racer."

Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso
"He was an inspiration. I remember some of the races that we could see in the news in Spain, because we didn’t have the TV coverage of Formula One. I remember I went to school, and on my book, I didn't have girls – obviously I was too young to have girls on the book – but I had Ayrton there, and the same in my room. I had a big poster of Ayrton and even my first go-karts were in the colours of Ayrton's McLaren because my father also liked him."

Two-time world champion Emerson Fittipaldi (via
"Ayrton transcended the state of mere driver and reached a level of respect and envy that puts him on a higher plain than any of his rivals. It is my opinion that, had Ayrton walked uninjured from his Imola 1994 accident, he would have won the world championship for Williams in all three of those years – 1994, 1995 and 1996 – which would have given him a career total of six world championships to Michael's [Schumacher] five."

Former team-mate and four-time world champion Alain Prost (via Autoweek)
"I always said, Ayrton didn't want to beat me, he wanted to destroy me. That was his motivation from the first day; on my last day, in Adelaide, everything changed completely. On the podium in Japan two weeks earlier, he wouldn't even look at me, but now I was retiring, and he put his arm around me!"

Former Williams team principal Frank Williams
"Ayrton knew what he wanted, and he knew who in the company could deliver and he went after the guys and got them onside. He got the best out of everybody; that's what he was good at. And on the track in a racing car, he was extraordinarily special. [He had] immense brain power, charm, charisma and determination like you can't believe."

Three-time world champion Niki Lauda
"He was the best and most charismatic race driver F1 has ever had. He had personality, he was fast and he had charisma. No wonder that he won everything."

Lewis Hamilton says he misses racing every day and not being able to start his quest for a seventh Formula One world title has left "a big void" in his life.

There has been no F1 so far this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and the French Grand Prix, scheduled for late June, was the latest race to be called off on Monday.

F1 chief executive Chase Carey is confident the season can begin with the Austrian Grand Prix in July and hopes up to 18 races will be possible.

Hamilton, who will match Michael Schumacher's record tally of titles if he is crowned champion again, is itching to get back behind the wheel of his Mercedes.

And the Briton hopes people will have a different outlook on life when the COVID-19 crisis is over.

He posted on Instagram: "I miss racing every day. This is the first time since I was 8 that I haven't started a season.

"When you live and breath something you love, when it's gone there's definitely a big void. But there's always positives to take from these times.

"Right now, we all have time in the world to reflect on life, our decisions, our goals, the people we have around us, our careers.

"Today, we see clearer skies all over the world, less animals being slaughtered for our pleasure simply because our demands are much lower and everyone staying in.

"Let's not come back the same as we went into this tough time, let's come out of it with better knowledge of our world, changing our personal choices and habits.

"Let's come out of this as a new us, a new reinvigorated you, fitter, healthier and more focused but above all, kinder, more generous and gracious and caring for our world and the people in it. I hope we all do"

Lewis Hamilton is revered in Formula One (F1) racing as much for his massive achievements as for tearing down race walls.

He is F1’s first and only black driver and only the brilliant German Michael Schumacher compares statistically with the 35-year-old Briton, whose grandfather is from Grenada.

Schumacher is the all-time leading seven-time World Championship winner but Hamilton is just one shy with his six triumphs and also not far off in overall F1 victories at 84, seven behind Schumacher’s 91.

Some aspects of Hamilton’s numbers are already superior, setting up my view that he can already claim the best-of-all-time label.

Hamilton’s winning strike rate in F1 is 33.6% from his 250 starts while Schumacher is at 29.7% from his 306 races. Hamilton is also at 60.4% in podium finishes to Schumacher’s 50.6%.

Hamilton’s debut season in 2007 was record-breaking and it was clear then to the F1 world, the 22-year-old was not normal talent. After collecting an unparalleled nine consecutive podium finishes to start an F1 career, Hamilton edged two-time defending World Champion and McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso for second spot while losing the championship by a single point to Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen. Hamilton also established other firsts during a rookie season, collecting the most points ever (109) plus joint-most wins at four for a driver on F1 debut, speeding to victories in Canada, the USA, Hungary and Japan.

Schumacher’s first full season in 1992 was far inferior, placing third with 53 points behind champions Nigel Mansell (108 points) and runner-up Riccardo Patrese (56). 

A study of the quality opposition they toppled for World Championship wins is also instructive.

With the exception of 2019 when he topped Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen, Hamilton beat World Champions in all of his previous five triumphs.

He bested Felipe Massa and defending champion Raikkonen for his first title in 2008 before back-to-back wins in 2014 and 2015 when his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg was runner-up. Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel was third in 2015. Vettel was runner-up to Hamilton in 2017 and 2018 and Raikkonen had to settle for third in the 2018 championship.

Schumacher also had world champions behind him – like Mika Hakkinen, Damon Hill and Raikkonen -- in his title-winning years, but it is widely accepted there has been more pedigree in those conquered by Hamilton.

Both January Capricorns, Hamilton, born the 7th and Schumacher, the 3rd, the two are also the same height at 5’ 8-1/2” but completely opposite in temperament as world-class drivers.

Schumacher’s many assets included a fearless and ruthless manner, playing dirty if he needs to because his was an approach of winning at all costs.

But if Schumacher was the fierce and rugged Mike Tyson, then Hamilton has been the silky smooth, composed under pressure Muhammad Ali.

Hamilton is also fearless but floats through his F1 assignments with an uncanny efficiency, resulting in tough victories made to look easy amid the often frenzied atmosphere of an F1 event.

Experts are also amazed by Hamilton’s dexterity in saving his tyres, an obvious knack that sets him apart from his rivals.

Schumacher towers over Hamilton with the number of victories he landed without being on pole. Hamilton – with his 84 lifetime wins -- has secured a world record 88 pole positions while the aggressive Schumacher’s world-leading 91 triumphs have come on the back of “only” 68 pole positions attained.

As the world’s best of their generation and comfortably hovering over the pantheon of excellent drivers since F1 started in 1950, Schumacher and Hamilton have had the best machines to work with.

Six of Schumacher’s seven titles -- one with Benetton and five with Ferrari -- delivered Constructors’ titles. For Hamilton’s first title with McLaren in 2008, Ferrari were the champions, but the Brit switched to Mercedes in 2013 and they have been Constructors’ World Champions every year since 2014.

It is no secret that Schumacher’s merciless approach always ensured he was his team’s designated No.1 driver, unlike Hamilton’s arrangement at Mercedes. There was always a clause in Schumacher’s team contracts that ensured his partners were resigned to playing second-fiddle to him.

Hamilton, with Rosberg previously and now Bottas, are pretty much on even terms at Mercedes. Indeed, Hamilton lost the 2016 title by five points to teammate Rosberg, the only blemish in Hamilton’s run since 2014 and Bottas, the Briton’s current teammate is given every chance by Mercedes to do well. There is an annual rotation policy of mechanics and engineers in the Mercedes team, which means the group that worked with Hamilton in his 2019 championship win are assigned to Bottas in 2020. 

Schumacher and Hamilton are from the most dominant countries in F1 history, Hamilton’s UK the leaders with 19 World Championship titles and Schumacher’s Germany with 12.

No other country has double-digit wins, Brazil are next best with eight, propelled by triple champions Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna.

Fellow Brits Nigel Mansell and Graham Hill won World Championships at almost 40 years old and if Hamilton displays their longevity, it’s reasonable to think he will soon erase Schumacher’s world-leading marks making it patently obvious he is the best ever.

Lewis Hamilton is "very likely" to at least match Michael Schumacher's haul of seven Formula One titles, according to Juan Pablo Montoya.

After finishing second in the drivers' standings in his rookie year with McLaren, Hamilton topped the pile for the first time in 2008.

The Briton switched to Mercedes in 2013 and claimed a sixth championship triumph last season, putting him one behind Ferrari legend Schumacher.

Although the coronavirus pandemic has thrown the 2020 campaign into disarray, former McLaren driver Montoya reckons 35-year-old Hamilton can make history when racing resumes.

"Michael had an amazing career, did an amazing job with Ferrari and I think Lewis has done the same with Mercedes. He's had an amazing career," Montoya told Stats Perform.

"He changed teams at exactly the right time which was key. It worked for him and he's taken full advantage of it. He's done an amazing job.

"The possibility of him winning seven is very likely, or even eight. It depends on how long he wants to go."

Hamilton is contracted to Mercedes until the end of the 2020 season and has been linked with a switch to Ferrari.

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has paid tribute to Stirling Moss, describing him as a "racing legend".

Moss died at the age of 90 at his home on Sunday after a long battle with illness.

The esteemed former F1 driver, considered to be the greatest never to win the world championship, won widespread acclaim for a career in motorsport that included a record-breaking victory in the Mille Miglia road race in 1955.

Moss won the British Grand Prix in the same year while driving for Mercedes, the team with which Hamilton has won five of his six drivers' championships.

Hamilton forged what he describes as an "unusual" friendship with Moss and says he "truly grateful" to have shared some "special moments".

On his official Instagram page, Hamilton wrote: "Today we say goodbye to Sir Stirling Moss, the racing legend.

"I think it's important that we celebrate his incredible life and the great man he was. Saying goodbye is never easy and can be sad but he will always be here, in our memories and will always be such a huge part of British motorsports heritage.

"I certainly will miss our conversations. To be honest, it was such an unusual pairing, our friendship. Two people from massively different times and backgrounds but we clicked and ultimately found that the love for racing we both shared made us comrades.

"I am truly grateful to have had these special moments with him. Sending my prayers and thoughts to his family. May he rest in peace."

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