Monday 1st September 2008
Schumi fans have been appalled that Lewis Hamilton should compare himself - even in a tangential fashion - to the blessed Saint Michael. In fact the letters page is full of representations from fans of Schumacher who cannot believe he would do such a thing.
However they're not the only ones who are appalled. Lewis's stylist is also not happy that Lewis should compare himself to the man who - fashionwise - was the biggest disaster since MC Hammer's baggy pants. The evidence? Check out the Mullet Years.
Ultimately, does it matter? Of course not, but for the record Schumi and Lewis are similar in quite a few aspects and dissimilar in just as many.
Dissimilar: Michael was a staunch member of the Grand Prix Drivers Association. Lewis, like Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen has yet to join.
Similar: Both men are fantastic drivers in the wet. Schumi earned his name Der Regenmeister for his supreme car control in the wet. When Lewis Hamilton finished the 2008 British GP sixty seconds clear of the second placed man following his monumental drive at Mount Fuji in 2007, it was clear that Lewis was the new Regenmeister.
Dissimilar: Even though Rolf Schumacher knew a lot about motorsport and managing his kart track in Kerpen, he realised that Michael's career would be better served by having Willi Webber guide him. Lewis is still managed by his father and many see that as something that could hold Lewis back.
Similar:Schumi and Lewis are both able to overtake people against the odds. Lewis showed this as early as his second grand prix. Some of Schumacher's overtaking moves are the stuff of legend. (Except we've got them on videotape, so we don't need a legend).
Dissimilar:With Lewis Hamilton the worst bit of skulduggery he's ever done on the track is not to let his team-mate by in an early fuel burning phase of qualifying
With Schumi - where do you want to start? His critics would claim he is the single biggest cheat in motorsport. He's crashed into Damon Hill to claim the 1994 World Championship, caused accidents with Mika Hakkinen in F3 and swerved into him at speed in F1, parked his car on the racing line to try and stop a GP (Austria), parked his car in qualifying to prevent other people grabbing pole at Monaco and tried to claim the 1997 World Championship by crashing into Jacques Villeneuve. Schumi is the Dick Dastardly of F1 but his charisma has seen him through.
Similar: Both Lewis and Michael elicit strong emotions in racing fans. They're either loved or hated. It might be because they both have a very high opinion of theirown respective talents.
Dissimilar: Michael always used to have a stand-off relationship with his championship rivals - he couldn't stand DC, Jacques Villeneuve and Damon Hill disliked him. Schumi never spent much time with Hakkinen, Montoya, Raikkonen or Alonso. Lewis is quite the opposite - he's big mates with Felipe Massa and Robert Kubica.
Similar: Neither Lewis or Michael like(d) doing interviews on the grid before a race. Lewis makes up for it by giving ITV dedicated interviews after qualifying on Saturday and Schumi made the financial most of his dislike by signing an exclusive deal with German TV broadcasters to talk to them on the grid.
Dissimilar: Michael's a god-fearing man who gave an enormous amount to charity after the Asian tsunami. There's no record of Lewis showing any kind of religious devotion - other than to the God of Bling.
Similar: They both like having passive No.2 drivers - Michael had a succession of No.2s - Irvine, Barrichello and Massa. Lewis Hamilton learned a lot from Fernando Alonso but prefers Kovalainen.
Dissimilar: Michael had a lot of help from the FIA in his career. His critics maintain that without a sympathetic FIA it's likely he wouldn't have won the 94 (Unnecesary collision with Hill), 95 (Benetton ban for use of traction control in 94), 2000 (Mystifying punishment of Hakkinen in deciding race) and 2003 (Re-writing of tyre rules) titles, making him just a three-time World Champion like Jackie Stewart. On the other hand Lewis Hamilton, though having a honeymoon period at the start of his career, cannot put a wheel wrong in 2008 without punishment.
Similar: Both Michael and Lewis drive with a karting style, driving on the very edge of adhesion and waiting to lose the back end of the car before making the tiniest and most sublime of adjustments. However, Schumi did it a hell of a lot longer than Lewis.For more comparisons between them, read what Keith of F1Fanatic has to say here.