Author : cmunroe

Numerous countries experience different seasons. Some even have a wet season and a dry season – Jamaica. Australia, possibly thanks to its distant, southern location, retains unique traits. One such trait – Australia has a fire season.

It was a foregone conclusion that Lewis Hamilton would romp to his sixth grab of the world title long before the season ended. His spectacular performance throughout the season had tongues wagging. Some individuals chose to dive overboard. But, jumping into an emotional pool has a reckless propensity for stifling rational assessment.


We are all familiar with the treacherous outlay of F1 – its idiosyncrasies may render it an insurmountable task, for many on the grid, to ascend the top step. Arrange an interview with Williams! A glaring reality of the current F1 set up, is the undeniable fact that unless a rather unusual event occurs on a race weekend, or during a race, the possibility of a minnow embracing the checkered flag, wrapped in P1′s glory, is as remote as a research base in Antarctica!

So, the fact that Lewis Hamilton is knocking on the  F1′s G.O.A.T. door, is nothing to be scoffed at, but, when the helmet is removed – is Lewis Hamilton really as good as the statistics suggest?

I will insert this nugget. How many of us will willingly admit that Lewis Hamilton is highly favored (within the Caribbean) because of his hue.


At present, Lewis Hamilton is one title away from M. Schumacher’s superhuman feat of 7 world titles. Hamilton is one lap (title) ahead of Fangio, but 2 or more blistering laps ahead of Prost, Vettel, Brabham, Stewart, Lauda, Piquet and Senna. Did you read those names?Lewis Hamilton is ahead of all of those drivers in world titles.

Is he really better than all of those drivers on that list? Is Lewis Hamilton really that good? Are the numbers reflecting the truth and nothing but the truth? The actual truth is a a bit more sinister?

Is Lewis Hamilton over-rated? What do you think?

Cecil Munroe Gleaner On-Line Writer

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  1. Leon Ewart says:

    Lewis Hamilton is definitely not over-rated and Schumacher had seen is sheer brilliance in his driving skills and that’s the reason he took him to Mercedes and that’s a fact. His numbers speak for himself, yes his cars were good but likewise, Schumacher’s Ferrari was also the top car of that era. Vettel had a strong car this year but unlike Lewis and Schumacher, Vettel is yet to develop the nerves of steel. I think (and I hope) that Hamilton will get another title (maybe two more to silence his critics), and when he does I hope he gets the respect he truly deserves.

  2. reticent says:

    Dear Mr Cecil Munroe,

    No, I do not think Lewis Hamilton is over-rated. He has a natural talent for driving a fast car.

    But, I wonder if you question his ability “because of his hue”.

  3. cmunroe says:

    Welcome Reticent! No one will question Lewis’ ability to extract on-the-limit performance from his race-car. He has demonstrated repeatedly, the level at which he operates where this is concerned. And the fact that we share similar hue would be more than enough reason for me to beam with pride. But, I have to sidestep personal bias, stand at the top of the hill and look beyond that.

    The statistics elevate Lewis to a level occupied by 1 other driver in F1′s colourful history. If you accept the statistics as presented – Do you honestly think the numbers are a true measure of the man, when compared to the other drivers on the list I presented?

  4. cmunroe says:

    Welcome Leon! I hear you. Please read my response to Reticent. I will add the following. Why do you insert – “Yes his cars were good” as if it is an insignificant statement? Are you deliberately avoiding the crux of the matter? Are you accurately reflecting the Schumacher era with the statement – ” Schumacher’s Ferrari was also the top car of that era”?

    What role would you say Vettel has played in Lewis’ accomplishments since Rosberg won the title? And then think about this – What if Verstappen was Lewis’ team-mate? Would the gap still be a yawning one? What if Charles Leclerc was given the requisite support? Hamilton is good. But, is he as good as the numbers suggest? Are the numbers a reflection of the mediocrity in the current F1 field?
    Think on these things. Lol.

  5. errol parkinson says:

    At a media event Lewis & Sir Sterling Moss met up to view one of Moss’s cars. A question was asked of lewis if he could have driven Moss’s car competitively during the period when Moss was competing. Lewis’ response; make no mistake, I would not have been allowed near that car during that period, I am a Blackman. However, Sir Sterling and I have since driven this car.

    I am sure if Schumacher was driving today he would not have been allowed to use the dirty driving he got away with. On the other hand, if Lewis had done any such he would have been kicked out of F1.

    Verstapen & Leclerc have emerged as the new great hopes. Hamilton is so hated that a 15yr old kid on an F1 interview was wishing for him to retire so one of the above two would win.

    To sum it up, it’s all about the Hue.

  6. Turbomar says:

    In all professional sports, top teams target and attract top talent. This serves to further elevate the accomplishments of these talented individuals as the support structure and equipment around them is also exceptional.

    The Messi and LeBron level competitors do not reside on the “minnows” and we could also wonder how accomplished they would be with lesser support.

    What we know for sure is that obvious talent put Lewis where he is now – not his skin hue – and he is deserving of the accolades earned.

  7. Franz says:

    Lewis Hamilton cannot be considered overrated by any metric, IMO. Currently (by the numbers) his only real competition would be Schumacher, but we can throw Fangio, Prost, Vettel & Senna in if we’re being generous. How can we really compare them? Race craft? Well, Hamilton’s abilities in that area have been well documented since his karting days. He’s only gotten better since then. He’s quick, consistent & a very tough but fair racer wheel to wheel. Track record? He won all the lower formulas convincingly (his record F3 & GP2 seasons haven’t been matched yet).

    He had the strongest F1 debut of any rookie, period… first race, first turn, going around the outside of double world champ Alonso… & going on to score nine straight podiums (multiple wins included) & at the end barely lose the title that season due more to incompetence from his team than any fault of his own. He won the title in his second season & has added 5 more World Championship titles to his tally since then). Pace? He’s indisputably the quickest over one lap (by the numbers… & he’s certainly stacked up favorably against all his teammates in that area as well if you’re concerned about car advantage).

    He’s won a race every season he’s competed. He’s not gone longer than 10 races without a win since entering F1. He’s only been beaten by a teammate twice in decades of racing: once at McLaren when the meltdown of his personal life was in full display to the world & the other when he suffered mechanical issues over a season that NO OTHER Mercedes engined car did (including a spectacular blow up from a comfortable lead in Sepang).

    He’s beaten Vettel, Alonso & Rosberg in equal machinery (F3 Vettel, Alonso @ Mclaren & Rosberg loads when they were younger & most their time @ Mercedes). We know that Alonso was supposed to be F1′s heir apparent after Michael (not to mention we saw plenty of examples of how well Alonso compared to Schumacher on track at the peak of his powers in the mid 00′s) and we also know that Rosberg had no trouble beating Schumacher @ Mercedes (and anyone who thinks Michael was slow in 2012 should go have a look again at his onboards from that year’s Monaco pole lap… Schumy was still bloody quick).

    We also know that Michael never had to fight a teammate for any of his titles… neither did Alonso… neither did Vettel. They all enjoyed defacto number one status in their teams. Schumacher also had the added benefits of unlimited testing @ Fiorano (Ferrari’s private test track) and made-to-order tires for most of his titles. Alonso had unlimited testing for his two titles as well.

    Fangio raced at a time when most racers were amateurs. Prost was known more for being a tactician & leveraging his friendship with Jean-Marie Balestre (head of the FIA at the time) into getting decisions called his way than for his outright pace, car control or racecraft. Both Senna & Schumacher were well documented to not being above cheating. Vettel has been beaten by two of his three most recent teammates & endured a winless season (and several unforced errors) in cars clearly capable of more than he’s been getting out of them…

    So if, considering all this, Lewis still seems overrated, seems to me some of us should seriously be revising our opinions of the competition and these imaginary lofty standards that Hamilton is supposedly to aspire to. I don’t know what else Lewis need to do to prove he deserves his place at or very near the top of the pile. By any measurement.

  8. cmunroe says:

    Welcome Errol! We will not fool ourselves. We are fully aware that we operate in a world where hue is of significance to some individuals. How many of us are willing to admit it though, that the fact that Lewis reflects our (Caribbean ) orientation enhances his position in our rankings.
    Let me be abundantly clear. I am in no way attempting to subtract from Lewis’ accomplishments, but my curiosity forces me to question if he as good as the raw data suggests.
    The best drivers are ruthless in nature – Senna – that is a part of their repertoire. By mentioning Schumacher’s “dirty driving” are you suggesting that Lewis is innocent where similar tactics are concerned? Do not reveal your bias. Lol!

    Did you just include Verstappen in the “new great hopes”? Really? Verstappen? Here is something to think about. If you were Lewis Hamilton, would you consider Verstappen an ally or a foe? Lol!

  9. cmunroe says:

    Welcome Turbomar! We have no argument. I am in agreement with almost everything you stated. May I ask a question? If you were asked to rank the following drivers – in terms of G.O.A.T. – Prost, Fangio, Senna, Hamilton and Schumacher – in what order would they appear?

  10. cmunroe says:

    Welcome Franz! What hue are you? Lol! I appreciate the novel you have written but I am somewhat puzzled by what you have presented in few of the ‘chapters’. Your second sentence captures the essence of my current ‘raised-brow’ stance. Based on the numbers Hamilton’s only competitor is Schumacher and if we are to go by your assessment of Schumacher throughout your piece and when compared to Rosberg, his opportunity to test at Fiorano and his use of ‘special’ tyres, Schumacher is not even a worthy competitor!

    Did you actually state ” we can throw Fangio, Prost, Vettel & Senna in if we’re being generous” when addressing Hamilton’s competition? Without planning to, you have successfully elaborated my case.

    Vettel and Senna’s name in the same sentence? As if they exist in the same universe? We are in dire straits!

  11. Franz says:

    Which part puzzles you? Are you actually interested in debate, or just reiterating the existence of your “raised brow stance”? Anything erroneous in my “chapters”? Any real reason Hamilton shouldn’t be considered one of the greatest, or even the greatest? If Alonso, Raikkonen, Vettel had the same numbers Lewis has been able to maintain, showing the level of consistency he has over a dozen or so years, would anybody really be debating their place among the pantheon of F1 greats?

  12. cmunroe says:

    Franz, I could use your second sentence by itself to illustrate why I am puzzled. How can you be taken seriously when you seek to insert Fangio, Prost, Vettel and Senna in a debate discussing F1 G.O.A.T. as an act of generosity? I am willing to listen to the opinion of each contributor, just to get some feedback, in terms of what others think.

    I will admit though, that I am not surprised, based on what I have read thus far. But, for clarity, let me lay the winning cards on the table. It is a given that the numbers, any statistician will tell you, can always be manipulated to advance a specific case. The raw data/ numbers will never accurately reveal the true or a complete picture. There are salient facts that the data, at the superficial level, will not reveal. For example, Senna has three world titles. Is that an accurate reflection of Senna’s ability? So, in this case – F1 Greats/ Greatest Driver, titles, pole position, laps led etc. though they provide a measuring stick, are woefully inadequate when determining the G.O.A.T.

    Honestly, it is my view that G.O.A.T. especially in motorsports, will be excessively subjective and more times than not, the positions taken will be affected, as I think this discourse is/will be, by personal bias which we will vehemently deny.

    Let me insert a diamond-piece now. The fact that you mentioned Vettel, in the same breath that you mentioned Senna forces me to wonder if you are suicidal (re the debate). You presented a lecture of points to make your case re Hamilton, but not before you slit your wrist with that sentence. Vettel is a train wreck seeking a junk-yard! But he boasts 4 titles! Which says a lot about the merit which should be attached to titles. It is a treasonous representation when you create neighbors of Senna and Vettel!

    F1 is what I would refer to as an ‘era-sport’. And in any era a dominant driver may emerge. And by and large his ‘greatness’ will be significantly enhanced or impeded by those he encounters each time he grabs a spot on the grid. For example, Adrian Newey’s Red Bull machines, when Vettel sat in the seat, were Usain Bolt pieces which required auto-pilot to win. Fortunately, for Vettel, he was that auto-pilot. He secured championships at will. When the real Vettel stood up, devoid of that which Red Bull’s superiority delivered, when it was allowed to, – what did we see and what are we still seeing?

    Will we admit that Mercedes AMG has been the dominant F1 force for several years? Will we willingly admit that even in teams where good drivers exist, the equipment still resides in the third world and as such no meaningful or consistent challenge can be mounted? Will we willingly admit that Hamilton’s current team-mate cannot consistently rattle his cage?

    Did you realise that on the current grid, the only driver (other than Hamilton) who has won more than one title is Vettel? A weak grid which features a main opposition which is plagued by managerial blunders and has play-dough as its #1 driver will always allow a sublime talent (Hamilton) to rise to the top. Do you listen to Hamilton when he speaks about Vettel? Hamilton must smile to himself each time he watches Vettel implode without being provoked! Did you know that Senna, yes, Senna, who you have shown generosity, is still ahead of Hamilton in one field? Which field is it?

    Generosity? To include Senna? Hamilton, sir, in this era of F1 is the boss. He is a F1 Great. No debate there. But, let us maintain our sanity.

  13. Franz says:

    This articles purpose is to question whether or not Lewis Hamilton is overrated, yes? I made sure to put “by the numbers” in parentheses to illustrate the fact that the first comparison was only about the numbers. That seems to have been lost on you. The “being generous” part was again because I was only talking about the numbers. It was not meant to be taken towards anything else. Mentioning “Vettel in the same sentence” as Senna was again only because we were talking about the numbers… and again, the question we’re supposed to be answering is whether or not Lewis Hamilton is overrated. Not where Sebastian Vettel stacks up. I included all the multiple world champions because who else can we compare him to? I highlighted what I consider to be serious shortcomings of all of them… all factual & recorded by various media outlets over the years. The point of all of that was to ask the question that if Hamilton is overrated, what can we say about his peers? My opinion is a simple one & to the original question asked: if Lewis is overrated, they all are. I didn’t realize it was that difficult to understand. The fact is, no matter what comparison you want to make, Lewis Hamilton stacks up favorably against his peers, past or present.

    Now, I have to state that I am no fan of Sebastian Vettel. I think he is in fact massively overrated. I’ve had that opinion since his F3 days & it has never wavered. I’ve been watching F1 since the mid 80s so I’m not some brand new fan. I’ve seen Senna & Schumacher & Alonso live. I think Senna was definitely the best of his era, & probably the best of all time, but subjective statements are impossible to quantify. I do think Schumacher was also overrated, & a cheat.

    In terms of machinery, F1 cars don’t develop in a vacuum. Newey & company developed the EBD as a direct result of feedback from Vettel wanting a more stable rear end. It’s a crutch Seb used to devastating effect, but is now feeling the effects of at Ferrari where he can’t seem to keep the car pointed straight coming of low to medium speed corners because he never bothered to learn how to modulate his throttle instead of booting it & letting the EBD sort it out. Likewise, there’s a reason why Nico Rosberg had to start studying Lewis Hamilton’s data & copying his setup after Hamilton had some input in the ’14 car. Hamilton brought performance to the car Rosberg couldn’t access on his own. The best drivers contribute a lot to the best machines. It’s always a symbiotic relationship. & all hyberbole aside, this is F1: none of these guys are terrible drivers.

  14. Franz says:

    Also, when you consider the opinion of people who’ve actually worked with both Schumacher & Hamilton (Brawn, Rosberg, Aldo Costa), they all say they think Hamilton is more talented than Michael, but Michael got more involved in the team/technical stuff. Even some who’ve raced with both Shumacher & Senna say they think Lewis is better, or at least as good.

    “I would rate Lewis above Michael,by miles.There’s been too many negative stories re Schumacher. Too many question marks on how some races or championships were won. And being a great champion is more than just winning races.There’s very little negativity regarding Lewis.You can like or not the way he is in life but there’s nothing nasty or negative with it.There’s nothing nasty towards his opponents.There’s respect towards his opponents.There’s no question mark on ‘Is he cheating or not? Has he been dirty?’.That makes a big difference.And that’s how every champion should be.” (J Villneueve)

    ” People speak about the greats but the way Lewis has gone about racing I believe makes him the greatest. I am in awe of what I see, even as an ex-racing driver. From everything I know from the history of F1, from competing & watching racing, from Juan Manuel Fangio through Jimmy Clark & Graham Hill & Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Schumacher & all the other guys in between, I think Lewis is the best.” (Johnny Herbert).

    “Hamilton is the best racer there has ever been. In wheel-to-wheel combat, he is much better than Schumacher & much better than Senna. Hamilton is rarely involved in accidents & knows how to settle duels with ‘almost always’ in his favor. Schumacher, on the other hand, made ‘a lot of mistakes.Hamilton is the best racer there has ever been.In terms of pure speed, Michael was exceptional. He was so damn fast. No one approached his speed. Hamilton is the “cleanest” F1 great “in a very long time”(Eddie Irvine)

    “I am of the view he’s (Hamilton) already surpassed Michael. Michael started with me so there is a love affair there, but there is a situation some people may not fully grasp.At the time I handled people like Barrichello, Irvine, Fisichella & Alesi, & every time we went to sign a contract with Schumacher or Ferrari it always had conditions in it, where what we saw in Austin wouldn’t have been allowed to happen.Lewis, if he had in his contract the same things, he would have had to been able to pass Bottas [to win the race].You can’t have that in a competitive sport, where one part of the team dictates to the other. For me, that is a flaw factor for Michael”(Eddie Jordan).

    “Lewis probably has a bit more natural talent than Michael, Lewis has one of the greatest natural talents our sport has ever seen, so he makes the difference. In terms of work ethic, Schumacher was something else.Things come very easily to Lewis naturally. Instinct, natural talent. Michael was the complete package.”(Nico Rosberg)

    “Lewis is definitely one of the best drivers in formula one history.He is on a level with Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna” (Felipe Massa)

  15. Franz says:

    Finally I think I need to add that I don’t really get caught up in many discussions regarding “hue”. My own is quite a bit darker than Hamilton’s, but my Grandfather on my dad’s side is Indian & both sets of great grandparents have Scottish & Irish ancestry (white as white can be). Family reunions have always been “multi-hued”. We never had that chip. In our house growing up, I was a McLaren fan, my oldest bro was a Williams man & my other brother is Ferrari all day. We’ve rarely ever supported the same drivers either (Senna & Lewis are the exceptions) but have always acknowledged the greats & great performances. Over the years we’ve admired them all. Matter of fact, this year after the rumors broke that Lewis might one day head to Ferrari, my brother joked that he wishes it’ll happen because it would finally unite the family on a Sunday! But Schumacher is still his favorite… like I said, we never got the chip where you get all hung up on & make decisions or base preferences on “hue”.

  16. Leon says:

    how can someone like this be writing in the gleaner, well i guess standards is not something that is appreciated these days.
    he knows nothing about what he is writing about.
    if Hamilton was white like the German you would not have seen such nonsense coming out.
    Hamilton is great, just like Tiger Woods, Jordan and Bolt.

  17. cmunroe says:

    Franz, can we agree that we all have our preferences. The reason why we prefer ‘our’ driver will not be debated here. Hue in today’s sporting arena, we will all accept is of no significance. We will also accept that what speaks volumes is one’s ability to deliver consistently, especially when the chips are down. We agree on all of these things.

    So, hue was inserted to make a point but it is not an essential point. As humans, honesty has a tendency of fleeing rather quickly when our weaknesses are exposed. Which Caribbean F1 fan would dispute the fact that they experience even more pride when Lewis steps to P1 because of what he represents? That aside, please note I have always maintained that Lewis is a phenomenal driver, but I was simply questioning if the numbers are a true reflection of where he falls on the list of F1 Greats.

    Think about this – In a hypothetical race with similar machines, at the peak of their careers, five drivers on the grid – Hamilton, Schumacher, Senna, Prost and Fangio – in what order would they finish?

  18. cmunroe says:

    Leon, with all due respect, while you were busy wrestling with your response, you allowed the essence of the conversation to overtake you. Read what has been said thus far by Franz and others and my response to each. And if you are still of the view that valid substance may be found in your response, then my friend, no force, whether here, or elsewhere, can assist.

  19. Ricardo says:

    Clearly, the talent of Hamilton is unquestionable. However, if not stats, on what are we making the comparison. How are we to determine if he is overrated, if we take away the wins column. Schumacher won 72 times with Ferrari of his 91 wins and five of his 7 world championship with them.Is Schumacher as good as the stats suggest? I would agree the his hue has caused me support him, for far too long people of that hue has been excluded. I will always, apolitically, support people look like me. No he is not overrated and the statistics tell me so.

  20. cmunroe says:

    Welcome Ricardo. We applaud your honesty. Yes, statistics provide the platform from which comparisons can be made, but I raised the issue because I wanted to challenge the minds of F1 aficionados, to compel them somewhat, to dig beyond the numbers, to assess critically, the driver who is Lewis Hamilton and then determine where he would fall among F1 greats.

    Let us reason. Hamilton has 6 titles at present, one behind the leader in that regard – Schumacher. Would we agree, that for at least two of the most recent campaigns, Ferrari had a quicker machine and a machine worthy of winning the championship. Would we also agree, that if the 4-times World Champion, Vettel, was as good as his numbers suggest, chances are Hamilton would still be confined to 4 championships?

    So, when the question was posed, I was waiting to see if his fans ( and I am one of his fans) would discuss his (Hamilton’s) performance, especially when he was faced with stern opposition, as a measure of the man’s greatness. Do you remember Hamilton’s bewilderment after being blown away at Spa? Was it 2018? He was a wounded warrior then, searching for answers to a formidable foe. And how did the season unfold after that?

    The numbers will always tell a story, but I as I said I wanted readers to explore beyond the numbers and defend their position re Hamilton’s greatness.

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