Toto Wolff takes firm stance on greatest F1 driver regardless if Lewis Hamilton wins title

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes no one will overshadow the greatest of Michael Schumacher, even if Lewis Hamilton wins a record-breaking eighth world title on Sunday. Hamilton is on the brink of history if he can beat Max Verstappen at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with the pair level on points heading into the season finale this weekend.

Hamilton would automatically become the greatest Formula One driver of all time, if he manages to clinch his eighth title and do one better than Schumacher’s seven.

But Wolff believes the German “shaped a generation” in his journey to the top, before his retirement from the sport in 2012.

“Nobody will ever be bigger than Schumi,” Wolff told German newspaper BILD. “Even if the statistics sees Lewis in front. But Michael shaped a generation like no other, he is iconic.

“You cannot make comparisons across generations. Lewis is the greatest of his generation.”

In a winner-take-all duel in the desert, both Verstappen and Hamilton know the title could be decided by the smallest of margins.

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Whoever finishes ahead will win the title, but if neither scores it will go to Verstappen on the tie-break of race wins.

After the pair have clashed on numerous occasions, there has been some concerns about how each driver will approach the race.

When asked if he thought there could be a crash between the pair, Wolff replied: “That is unpredictable.

“But it is good that, after we have seen situations like this again and again in the past races, the race management has drawn attention to the fact that an intentional accident will not be tolerated.”

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Hamilton slammed into the back of the Red Bull during the penultimate race of the season in Saudi Arabia after the Dutchman braked hard after being told to give back the lead to his main title rival.

The Briton was heard calling him “f****** crazy” over the Mercedes team radio, claiming the Dutchman “brake tested” him, with the stewards handing the 24-year-old a 10-second time penalty.

Speaking of Verstappen’s racing style, Wolff added: “It’s extremely tough racing.

“You have to know if you are going into manoeuvres like that, even though you know you won’t get the corner.

“But he’s got away with that so far. Then it is of course difficult for him to accept that this will not work if one is punished for it at some point.”

The final race of the 2021 season gets underway at 1pm GMT on Sunday on Channel 4 alongside its usual home of Sky Sports F1, with the normal coverage on BBC 5 Live in the UK.

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