Posted 04 July 2004 - 10:49 PM
Michael Schumacher is a very good driver, arguably the best in F1 today, and he has many positive attributes: two of which are his impeccable physical fitness and his ability to push the car to the limits, posting successive fastest laps (as seen at this weeks French GP). However, he has a number of faults which mean that in my eyes at least, Senna is the best GP driver ever; despite what the majority of the statistics indicate.
For a start, although Michael Schumacher’s statistical achievements such as his number of career points and victories look, at first glance, to be mind-bogglingly good, if one looks deeper and analyses the situations and manner in which these records were achieved, the achievements diminish to a large extent.
Schumacher’s contractual status within Ferrari is a great bonus for him, the fact that none of his team-mates are of the same calibre of Senna’s - for whilst Senna battled Prost in equal machinery and without team orders in the heyday of F1, Michael races the likes of Brundle, Verstappen, Irvine and Barrichello etc whilst also using team orders, establishing himself as the clear NO: 1 driver, enabling him to take his team-mates car if he does not like the balance of his own car etc and when one adds to this the fact that Michael is given better machinery as well it certainly endangers the accuracy of the almost god-like image some have projected onto Michael Schumacher in recent times.
Further more, Michael Schumacher can’t overtake on the race track and he also cracks when subjected to intense pressure and looses concentration when not put under any pressure at all. Barrichello is also often very close to the World Champion’s pace, this is not as evident this year, as Barrichello is having a fairly poor season (although it was evident in the Australian, Canadian and USA GPs), but it was clearly seen last year where Barrichello was actually the best qualifier of the entire grid over the whole season (and thus a better qualifier than Michael. He actually outraced Michael at the British and Japanese GPs too).
There are two conclusions that one can reach from this data: either Rubens is underrated and is one of the best drivers ever as he is not much slower than `the best driver ever`, or Michael Schumacher is not as good as many people think, as he is not always substantially quicker than Barrichello (which perhaps he should be if he’s to be properly regarded as the best driver ever, as Rubens is good but certainly not one of the all-time greats…and Michael is on average, only around 0.2 sec per laps quicker than Rubens in very favourable circumstances for the German driver and quite unfavourable circumstances for Rubens.
I of course choose the latter option…