Michael Schumacher will remain one the best Formula One drivers of all time even if Lewis Hamilton breaks his records, according to Carlos Sainz Jr.
Mercedes driver Hamilton matched Schumacher’s record career haul of 68 pole positions at Spa-Francorchamps last weekend and has a chance to surpass the German at Monza on Saturday.
The Brit is still some way short of the seven-time world champion’s 91 race wins and 155 podium finishes, possessing 58 and 111 respectively.
Should Hamilton secure a landmark 69th pole at the Italian Grand Prix, Toro Rosso driver Sainz has no doubt Schumacher will remain one of the most iconic figures in the sport.
He told Omnisport: “Schumacher left his mark in Formula One and this will never change. Even if Hamilton will beat all his records, Schumacher will remain one of the best in the history.
“If Hamilton beats all his records it’s okay and good for him, but it will not change for me. I think that to win seven titles and lots of races you need to be in the right place at the right time.
“I don’t think that [Fernando] Alonso or [Ayrton] Senna are worse than Schumacher or Hamilton. It’s just all about to being in the right place and they did not have the same chances of Schumacher and Hamilton.
“But they still had the talent to win a title. I don’t care about the numbers, for a driver the best thing is to be remembered as one of the best drivers in the history.”
Hamilton is in the hunt for a fourth world title this season, trailing leader Sebastian Vettel by just seven points with eight races remaining.
The Brit has topped the standings twice in the past three years but Sainz thinks Ferrari driver Vettel is well positioned to hold him off and taste championship glory for the fifth time in his career.
“I don’t know who will win. It would be great for Formula One to see a different title winner and not one who won in the last seasons,” said the Spaniard.
“But it will be difficult because Hamilton and Mercedes are really strong, especially in the qualifying sessions – and everybody knows how important the qualifying sessions are.
“But we’ll see. Ferrari is strong now and is near to Mercedes in the standings and I think they have the right mixture to win at the end.”