Is it even worth comparing Lewis Hamilton with Michael Schumacher?
Well, let me break it down for you. Any Formula 1 fan would say Michael is the best, irrespective of them being his fan or not. Even if you're born Australian and follow Cricket, you'd still agree Sachin is the best. It's something similar. Hate his arrogance, his bull-shitting when it comes to being beaten, but you gotta hand it to Schumi. He undoubtedly is one of the best there ever was/will be.
Let me tell you why. Schumi made his debut in a pretty popular Jordan team back in 1991. That was the year of Ayrton Senna's finest. He produced some mind-blowing drives which hasn't been bettered by anyone yet. Well, when the season moved on to 1992, Schumi won his first ever race at Belgium's Spa Francorchamps. Senna commented saying Michael is a "Prodigy" waiting to happen. Well, he was right but he wasn't alive to see it happen. Senna sadly died in a tragic Imola GP in 1994. That was the year when MIchael won his first of his Championship titles. Again in 1995, he won his 2nd Consecutive title with the Benetton Racing team.
In 1996, Michael made the "Most Stupidest Move" ever according to Damon Hill, who eventually won the Championship Title in 1996. Michael moved from a perfectly dominating team to a mid-level lost Ferrari. Ferrari had had its dominant years, but that was in the 80s. So when Michael moved there, he was in a hapless team resting on its past glories. Well, he did the unthinkable. Just in his 2nd season with Ferrari, in 1997, Michael was competing with Jacques Villeneuve for the Title once again. Well, to be frank, Michael pulled a Senna there. Senna in 88, had deliberately crashed into Alain Prost to prevent him from winning the title, both the drivers were disqualified, thus handing the title to Senna. That was aggression at its best. But when Michael did the same to Villeneuve, FIA had learnt its lesson and it disqualified only Michael handing the title to Villeneuve.
2 years of denial again but those 2 years brought out the best of MSC. His competition with Mika Hakinnen resulted in a Classic Rivalry to the likes of Senna and Prost. Hakinnen beat him both the times, though in 1999, Michael crashed in Silverstone and didn't race for the rest of the season. But in 2000, MSC came back with vengeance in his blood and speed in his car. He won the Championship, that title was long overdue and he proved it with complete dominance for 5 continous seasons. 2000-2004 was the best of Ferrari, technically brilliant. An easy 2 seconds faster than any other team on any track. In 2001, Schumi dominated so much, that just to stop him from being successful, the FIA changed the whole points scheme. 51 years of GP History was changed just for one man. It's like saying "Sachin will get only 2 runs for hitting over the ropes"!! Yet, Schumi went on to win 4 more.
Let's get to Hamilton now. He's inexperienced, but young and restless at the same time. But get this, he came in to McLaren in his first ever season. McLaren weren't at their best, but they sure were pretty good. He's skilled, agreed. But he is too agitated and over zealous. He doesn't know how to handle fame. He's young and it'll take some time for him to come to terms with being a successful F1 driver.
I am fed up with people comparing him with Schumi. He had a freaking brilliant car in his debut season for Christ's sake. He's got skill, I ain't denying it. I'm not saying he got lucky with his driving either. He rode on the back of an awesome car and his talent to get where he is right now. But that doesn't mean you can compare him with one of the Sport's greatest. It's like saying, "Yay, Suresh Raina's got 1000 runs in ODIs in his debut season, so he is as good as Ganguly"!!! Nonsense isn't it?
But today, at the Italian GP, better known as Monza for us Tifosis (who are pure breed ferrari fans btw), when I saw Hamilton race, I was reminded of MSC. Well, I'm not saying he's as good as MSC. He can never be, No one can be. But the way he overtook everyone in his path. It was pouring like crazy there and the rooster tails made it Impossible to judge the overtaking manoeuvres. But the way he overtook everybody, the way he made them give him their position, not take it from them. This is very important in F1. Overtaking says a lot about a Driver's skills. MSC is great at it, he is extremely aggressive, brakes when the Corner is almost over, locks his wheels, but still ends up overtaking the other person. He closes the door when someone tries to overtake him, shifts from the Inside line to the Outside line as easily as licking an Ice Cream. He isn't someone who gives away his Position that easily. One's gotta be as good as MSC himself, if not better, to overtake him successfully. Hamilton showed shades of that aggression today. He was able to close the lines and deny the other driver an opportunity to get back his position.
This was awesome indeed, the way he made his way from 15th to 7th by the end of the race. His overtaking methods remind me of MSC, nostalgia, nothing else. Whenever he overtakes someone, I imagine how easily MSC would've done that.
Well, in short, Hamilton is talented, agreed, no denying. But it's just WAY too early to compare him with Schumacher. If, probably, he goes on to win this year's title (which isn't happening by the way, mark my words, this is Massa's season), or probably the next one, then we may start talking about it.