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René Arnoux, the former Formula 1 driver and two-time Grand Prix winner, has declared his belief that Lewis Hamilton is the greatest of all time (GOAT) in the sport, despite having given Michael Schumacher his F1 debut.
Arnoux, who raced in Formula 1 between 1977 and 1989, said he remembers the day he gave Schumacher his big break as a 19-year-old in 1991.
The Frenchman, who was driving for the Ferrari team at the time, said he was impressed with the German’s speed and skill but believes that it is Hamilton, who has since taken the sport to new heights, who is the true GOAT.
“I gave Michael Schumacher his first chance in Formula 1, but I think Lewis Hamilton is the greatest of all time,” Arnoux said.
“Lewis has won seven championships and surpassed Michael’s record. He has taken the sport to a new level. He is a great driver and a great champion.
“I remember the day I gave Michael his first chance. I was driving for Ferrari and he was just 19 years old. He was fast and skilled, but I think Lewis has surpassed him. It’s a great achievement for any driver to win seven championships, but to do it in the same car is an even greater achievement.”
Arnoux's comments come after Hamilton broke Schumacher's record of 91 race wins in 2020, and is now well on his way to becoming the most successful driver in the history of the sport.
As a former driver, Arnoux has seen first-hand the transformation of the sport under Hamilton, who has become a household name and a global superstar.
“Lewis has changed the sport,” he said. “He has made it more popular and more accessible to the public. I think his success has made Formula 1 more attractive to the younger generation, which is great for the future of the sport.”