Written by: Jagat
Edited by: Lucas
Visual by: Issy
Racing is one of the most thrilling and nerve racking sports. Highly technical and suspenseful, drivers at the top level have mastered both the concentration and focus required to minimize distance travelled in turns and skillfully maneuver the vehicle in accordance with scientific principles. Beyond technique and the foundational principles of racing lies the immense pressure that comes with competition, especially at the most prestigious tournaments. Undoubtedly, all Formula One drivers experience a day to day pressure to succeed and bring titles to their name and constructors. However, this pressure is exponentially higher for those like Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher. They are always highly expected of, and yet, they fought against all obstacles to achieve greatness in the sport.
On November 15, upon winning the Turkish Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton made headlines to secure the season title, tying all-time leader Schumacher for the most Formula One World Drivers Championships in the history of the sport. While the Constructors’ Championship is the title for a car constructor/team, e.g Mercedes, the Drivers Championship is the award for having most points garnered by an individual driver over the course of a Formula One season. This record is a testament to unmatched skill, longevity, and consistency like none other, and of course, sheer greatness.
Michael Schumacher is very much considered to be the greatest ever to race in a Formula One event. As the predecessor to Lewis Hamilton on the Mercedes roster, Schumacher revolutionized the brand’s consistency in success long before Hamilton came into the picture. Many recall his tragic incident in 2013, where a death-defying head-on collision with a rock during skiing left him in a critical condition that forced doctors to put him in a coma. Fortunately, Schumacher made an incredible recovery, but he has not been seen in public since starting rehabilitation. Hamilton has spoken on many occasions of his idolization of the German great and incredulity of tying Schumacher’s records.
Greatness can never be earned solely off an athlete’s performance in their area of expertise. The charisma that any all-time sporting great holds is largely due to their distinct personality, and the two drivers are no different with their undeniable selflessness and humility. Hamilton has given huge donations and support to charitable organizations around the world, such as UNICEF, Education Africa, and Save the Children. In January of this year, it was confirmed that he pledged to donate £380,000 to support efforts to fight Australian bushfires. Schumacher was closely involved with UNESCO, UNICEF, and other charitable organizations. Most notably, Schumacher contributed a whopping €7 million to various disaster relief funds following the deadly 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.
While they are drivers of different eras, Schumacher and Hamilton are both embodiments of greatness within the sports world. They are huge factors of the popularity growth of Formula One racing, and have used their hard-earned platform to do good and help those in need.