Hamilton Breaks Record but Continues to Miss Out on Dream
Lewis Hamilton broke a record in Malaysia previously set by Jim Clark for being the driver with the most Grand Prix with his only team.
Mclaren nurtured him into being the credible talent that he has proven to be on the track and he has been rewarded with a long-term drive with the team.
It is certain that more accolades will come his way, yet one of his own personally-stated ambitions has never materialised.
When Lewis began his career, he spoke of his desire to drive against seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.
Sadly for Lewis, his first season in the sport was Schumacher's first season out of it and his dream never looked likely to see the light of day.
But fast forward a few years, and we witness the comeback of all comebacks that Lewis and the world of F1 relished.
Schumacher returned to Mercedes, a team fresh off its triumph in the constructors' title under their former guise of Brawn GP.
The scene was supposedly set for Schumacher and Hamilton to tussle. Formula 1's most accomplished driver would be taking on a driver judged to be amidst the new batch of excellency behind a racing wheel.
Unfortunately, the tremendous battle we expected to see did not come to fruition. Schumacher re-emerged as a pale imitation of his former self, as his raw speed and reputation for dominance failed to surface.
Instead, the new breed of talent in Sebastien Vettel and Fernando Alonso took centre stage alongside the likes of old hands Jenson Button and Mark Webber.
This season looks even less likely to give us the fantastical duel between Schumacher and Hamilton. Schumacher seems to have drifted further behind, partly due to the inability of his Mercedes car to perform.
There can't be many seasons left in the man who broke record after record, especially with two qualifying performances this season where he has fallen short of a top-10 placing.
On the upside, he seems to be matching the performance of his teammate Nico Rosberg, something which he failed to do last season. If Mercedes could therefore propel their car forward, they might gift their drivers a fighting chance.
For Hamilton though, he may not have been given the battle he relished.
However, he has gained something more rewarding in the absence of the Schumacher competition.
The action is now more intense and diverse than it ever would have been with Schumacher. The German driver found himself dominating the sport with the occasional Hakkinen, Coulthard or Kimi Raikkonen challenging him.
Fernando Alonso was the first driver to ever push him to the limits, but the Spaniard lost his dominance when he switched to Mclaren and then to a faltering Renault team.
Would Hamilton Defeat The Old Schumacher?
What I can't help but wonder is whether Hamilton would have been able to compete against Schumacher on a consistent basis in his glory days.
Would Hamilton just have been a distant second? The boy definitely has speed, but Schumacher was able to exceed the car beneath him, whereas Hamilton was gifted a race leader.
Some criticism has consequentially fallen upon Hamilton for errors in judgement such as his title-losing mistake in China and his high-speed crash in Monza.
We do, however, know that at his best, he is masterful and an inspiration.
In the end, Hamilton may have lost the opportunity to compete side by side against the driver dubbed the "World's Greatest," but who is to say that the likes of Vettel will not move beyond that reputation and force themselves a legendary status that eclipses even Schumacher's?
The current signs are that he can most certainly achieve this and more with seasons in a mediocre Toro Rosso car that yielded the surprise win in Monza before his title heroics of last season.
These two wins from two poles in two races have kick-started his current season and give Hamilton the inspiration to take the fight to Vettel and the Red Bull team.
It's just coincidental that Vettel is German—a modern generation Michael Schumacher, but without his predecessor's flair for controversy.
As of yet, Vettel has not deliberately shunted someone off the road or made personal threats to a hardened Scot still wearing his race helmet!
In retrospect, the Hamilton-Vettel combination seems more riveting than the Hamilton-Schumacher one.
We will never know what Hamilton could have done against Schumacher, but considering the fact that Lewis was still in school when Schumacher was at his peak, it was impossible for Hamilton to catch him at his desired point.
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