KEY POINTS

  • F1 legend Sir Jackie Stewart talked about the sport's greatest of all time
  • Stewart hailed Juan Manuel Fangio as the G.O.A.T.
  • Lewis Hamilton also addressed the Formula One G.O.A.T. debate after he equaled Michael Schumacher’s seven world titles

A Formula One legend is certain about who he thinks is the greatest driver in the history of the sport.

Speaking on an episode of the “In The Fastlane” podcast in October 2020, three-time world champion Sir Jackie Stewart explained why it is “difficult” for him to admit that Mercedes superstar Hamilton is the greatest driver in history.

According to Stewart, it is the late Juan Manuel Fangio who deserves the title.

"Just because today there are 20, 22 races, whereas in the old days when for example Juan Manuel Fangio, raced maybe sometimes six, eight or nine races a year in Formula 1, to say that Lewis [Hamilton] is the greatest driver of all time, would be difficult for me to justify, in the sheer power of what the other drivers were doing,” Stewart explained.

“Flying Scot” didn’t even put Hamilton at second and never mentioned Michael Schumacher’s name in the subject.

"Juan Manuel Fangio in my mind is the greatest driver that’s ever lived,” the 81-year-old added. “With Jim Clark as the second-greatest, even ahead of [Ayrton] Senna.”

"Lewis drives extremely well, make no mistake, I’m not in any way diminishing his skills, but it isn’t the same,” he continued. “Lewis made a very good decision when he left McLaren at that time and went to Mercedes-Benz. And I take my hat off to him for making that decision. But frankly, the car and the engine are now so superior that it’s almost unfair on the rest of the field."

Like in any other sport, the so-called “G.O.A.T.” is a never-ending debate in Formula One. While Stewart’s hailing of Fangio as the greatest to ever hit the track might raise a couple of eyebrows, the Argentine’s resume is undeniably impressive as well.

Fangio was widely-regarded as the most dominant driver of his generation and during Formula One’s formative years. He won five remarkable championships between 1951 and 1957 and was a star of Alfa Romeo, Mercedes, Ferrari and Maserati.

ayrton senna Ayrton Senna is one of the greatest Formula One racers of all time. Photo: The Drive

Hamilton, meanwhile, already addressed the Formula One G.O.A.T. debate after he equaled Schumacher’s seven world titles.

According to the Brit, each of them had a “different journey,” but in the end, all of them worked hard to get to the top.

“There’s a lot of talk in all sports about greatest, past and present, and I think it’s almost impossible to compare,” Hamilton told Reuters in October. “There’s all this talk of who is and who is not and it’s not important to me.”

“What’s important is the journey...it’s what we’ve done along the way, the obstacles you’ve faced,” he added “And everyone’s got a different journey. Maybe one day they’ll get over it.”

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was recently crowned world champion for a seventh time Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was recently crowned world champion for a seventh time Photo: POOL / TOLGA BOZOGLU