Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher cannot be compared because they have driven in different eras of F1. That is the verdict of four-time World Drivers’ Championship title-winner Alain Prost, who believes Hamilton is facing a battle to retain his F1 crown when the delayed 2020 season gets underway.
Hamilton underlined his status as the best driver on the grid last season by putting in dominant performance after dominant performance on the way to securing a sixth title.
The 35-year-old is now just seven wins adrift of Schumacher’s all-time record of 91 Grand Prix victories and would be well on the way to a seventh World Drivers’ Championship if he matched that feat.
Plenty of people in the world of F1 believe Hamilton has already surpassed Schumacher, while a whole host are adamant the German remains the sport’s greatest ever participant.
Prost, who drove for McLaren, Renault and Ferrari during his own storied F1 career, has now weighed in on the debate surrounding Hamilton and Schumacher.
While he would rather not compare the duo, he’s warned the Brit faces a fight to extend his reign at the top of F1 and match Schumacher’s race wins and title hauls.
“They are drivers of a different generation,” Prost told Dutch outlet NOS. “You should not compare them.
“What Hamilton has done with his team is without a doubt exceptional. Hamilton has a good chance [in the title race], but there will be more competition this season.”
Prost, who won his four World Drivers’ Championship titles during Bernie Ecclestone’s spell as the ruler of F1, is considered by some to have been a superior driver to Hamilton and Schumacher.
That is a belief shared by Ecclestone, who hailed the Frenchman, saying: “When they ask me who is the best, I always say Alain Prost. He barely had the support of a team in his day.
“Today’s drivers get so much data from the engineers; they no longer have to think so much.”
Hamilton now faces a lengthy wait to resume his quest to match Schumacher and one day surpass the seven-time F1 champion.
The start of the 2020 season has been pushed back from March until at least the latter stages of May due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic across the globe.
The Australian and Chinese Grands Prix have been cancelled, races in Bahrain and Vietnam have been postponed and the same fate is set to befall May’s F1 meets in Holland and Spain.
May 24’s Monaco Grand Prix has been pencilled in to kick things off, but that is subject to change due to the coronavirus pandemic.