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The Greatest Ever

Well, the statistics say so...

Posted Sep 03, 2010 by Shaun Edwards

Everyone has a sports person they really dislike for some irrational reason.  Whether it’s because of a goal they buried to send your home team down at the start of the season, or they refused to give you an autograph that day you bumped into them in Hyde Park, EVERYONE has someone they hate.

Well, some of you are lucky.  Many of those hated sportsmen and women can be mocked at for their lack of achievement (Emile Heskey, Tim Henman), and you can sit in the comfort of your chair, knowing that your sporting nemesis is a bit crap.

I can’t.  Why?  Because the man I hate is a bona fide bloody legend, and here I am writing a column on why he’s so magnificent.

This is going to hurt...

Michael Schumacher is statistically the greatest Formula One driver of all time.  Yes, there it is – I don’t want to admit it, but it’s true.  The man was simply a colossus of the sport, holding records for the most driver’s championships obtained (with a quite frankly absurd seven), the most race victories, pole positions, points scored, and the most races won in a single season. 

As well as the statistics, he has driven some of the greatest individual races of all time, including the 1996 Spanish Grand Prix, which no less than Stirling Moss described as ‘a demonstration of brilliance’ rather than a race.  In wet conditions, Schumacher lapped everyone up to third place: it was as thrilling and compelling as watching a master at the peak of his form always is.

I’ll happily admit that watching him win five consecutive world titles from 2000 to 2005 was fairly akin to having ones nails pulled out with a pair of pliars for six years, but then that’s fairly normal in any sport when there’s a massive overachiever who consistently wins everything. 

The flip side is, of course, when the man lost – when Mika Hakkinen won the driver’s title in 1999, I ran around the living room breaking things in joy.  When Fernando Alonso won the championship in 2005, breaking the streak, I went to the pub and got very drunk in celebration, ending up raising my kebab in a toast to the masterful young Italian. Yes, it was 12 o clock on a Sunday and many people were judging me, but it was totally worth it.

So, Schumacher is back.  Yes, I’m happy to report that his first season has been more or less a failure, and I’m not so happy to see that the git is still cheating and ramming other drivers off the road, and making half-assed apologies for it afterwards.  Of course, this failure is partially down to the Mercedes car not being really good enough, but rest assured you’ll find me staring at the screen and wishing his engines to blow up in the first lap, every damn race.

Yes, he’s a legend....the b**tard.

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