Will Hamilton Match Schumacher’s Record This Season?

Lewis_Hamilton_2016_Malaysia_2
CREDIT: By Morio, Wikipedia

Lewis Hamilton is a six-time Formula One (F1) World Champion, and has looked invincible of late, winning the last three World Championships. Given this run, it seems inevitable that he will match Michael Schumacher’s record seven titles. With F1 given the go-signal to commence this July, the question now is: Will Hamilton pull even with The Red Baron this season?

The answer is likely yes. Coming into this season, which would have started in March with the Australian Grand Prix, all signs were pointing to Hamilton winning the World Championship again. He was in-shape and in-form, winning the past three titles by an average margin of 73.6 points. Crucially, he remains the alpha in Mercedes-AMG Petronas team, winners of the past 6 Constructors’ Championships and arguably the superior team in F1.

Tying Schumacher’s mark would be quite the feat. The Red Baron, after all, is widely regarded as F1’s greatest — something Hamilton, himself, alluded to after winning his 5th World Championship in 2018. Curiously, the German great last drove for Mercedes in 2012, and was replaced by, yes, Hamilton. Since then, Schumacher has been struggling after a devastating skiing accident, while Hamilton has ascended to the top of F1. Read here for the latest news on Schumacher, who was scheduled for another surgery in relation to his near-fatal ski accident years ago.)

Most pundits, unsurprisingly, believe that Hamilton will tie Schumacher’s mark at the season’s end. Bwin Sports even predict that had there been no disturbance to the season, Hamilton would have finished with 344 points — considerably lower than last season’s but likely good enough to give Hamilton a piece of F1 history. Unfortunately, the 2020 season has been disrupted, due to the ongoing global health crisis. This season, F1’s 70th anniversary season, will restart on July 5, with 8 confirmed races, 7 races canceled, and lots of uncertainty along the way.

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The only thing certain, it seems, is that Hamilton will remain the favorite to win the driver’s championship. Known for his excellent fitness, Hamilton has stayed in optimum shape during the break, and is arguably at his best physically thanks in part to being on a plant-based diet.

“I was already at the top before changing my approach to food, but I was definitely struggling more and my energy was inconsistent. I had days when I felt strong and others when I was just sapped,” Hamilton told Men’s Health. “When I switched to a plant-based diet, those highs and lows decreased significantly…. I’ve honestly never felt better. I’m 35 now, and though theoretically I should be less fit than before, I’m more mobile and in better shape than I was at 25.”

Just as important, Hamilton isn’t weighed down by the pressures of chasing Schumacher’s record. “I honestly don’t think about it much,” Hamilton admits, noting how he doesn’t want his pursuit of history to be a distraction. Instead, he prefers to focus on being on top of his game every season.

An in-shape and extremely focused Hamilton is certainly bad news for the rest of the F1 field, notably his biggest rival, four-time champ Sebastian Vettel. While Vettel is a talented driver in his own right, it will take a gargantuan effort to stop Hamilton winning a 7th World Championship this season.

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