Two-time Formula 1 champion Mika Häkkinen talks about Lewis Hamilton equalling his championship rival Michael Schumacher’s record.
If there’s a person who knows how hard Michael Schumacher fought to achieve every one of his 91 victories, it’s Mika Häkkinen. The two drivers enjoyed a fierce but respectful rivalry from 1998 until 2001.
Taking into account that Häkkinen was powered by Mercedes for most of his career, the Finn is a perfect person to comment on Lewis Hamilton equalling Schumacher’s record at the Eifel Grand Prix.
“It has been really impressive to watch Lewis Hamilton match Michael Schumacher’s 91 Grand Prix victories at Sunday’s Eifel Grand Prix,” wrote Häkkinen in his Unibet blog.
“To win one Grand Prix is not easy, so to repeat that so many times over 14 years in Formula 1 is a very special achievement and one that Lewis has every right to be proud of.
“To win races and a World Championship requires many things, including a great car, strong teammate and excellent team of people to support you, and Lewis has benefitted from all of those things at Mercedes.
“But you also have to perform yourself, because no matter how good your car is, you have to do the driving, operate the systems in the right way, execute the right strategy and, most importantly of all, be a really good racing driver.
“Lewis’s ability to deliver victories, and then to repeat them over time, starting at the age of 21 and continuing now that he is 35, is no easy task.
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“I know how much energy it took to win the title twice, and when I stopped racing in Formula 1 I knew it was the right moment – at 33 – so no one should think that what Lewis has done is simply a question of having the best car.
“It requires ability, fitness, application and focus to keep on winning, and clearly Lewis has found the way to do that.”
Häkkinen was also pleased to see Michael’s son Mick present Hamilton with one of his father’s helmets.
“I was very happy to see Mick Schumacher present Lewis with one of his father’s helmets at the end of the race.
“The Schumacher family is very strong, and Michael is a formidable competitor who will be the first person to recognise Lewis’s achievements, so it was a good moment for Mick to represent him and acknowledge the record of 91 race wins being matched.
“We all now expect it to be broken very soon, and we cannot imagine what the new record will be before Lewis decides to retire.
“Michael, of course, still holds records such as the most wins in a single season – 13 – and his place in history is assured, but Lewis is right there with him at the top of the record books,” concluded the Flying Finn.