Lewis Hamilton tipped to break Michael Schumacher record by old foe Nico Rosberg

F1: How Hamilton compares to Schumacher

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Former F1 world champion Nico Rosberg is backing his old Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton to scoop an unprecedented eighth driver’s title at the end of the year. Hamilton is aiming to cement his status as the greatest driver of all time with yet another triumph in 2021, with the Brit able to break Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles.

Hamilton and Rosberg partnered each other at Mercedes between 2013 and 2016, with the pair developing a strong rivalry during their time together.

During the 2016 season, when both drivers were fighting for the world championship, tensions threatened to boil over on more than one occasion, with the rivalry peaking when they sensationally crashed into each other at the Belgian Grand Prix.

However, Rosberg kept his cool and managed to pip Hamilton to the title before retiring immediately afterwards.

Since the German’s departure from F1, his old foe has scooped every championship to date, a trend that Rosberg believes will continue into 2021.

He has suggested that the upcoming season is Hamilton’s to lose, claiming that he is not confident in the idea of current team-mate Valtteri Bottas mounting a sustained title challenge.

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“He has incredible talent and the best car,” Rosberg told the Augsburger Allgemeine.

“The only one who can get a little closer is Max Verstappen. Maybe his new team-mate Sergio Perez too, if the Red Bull car is going well.

“Otherwise his Mercedes colleague, Valtteri Bottas. But with him, the chances dwindle with every year he doesn’t make it.”

The debate over F1’s all-time greatest driver has raged on in recent years, with Hamilton and Schumacher often named ahead of Ayrton Senna, Jim Clark and Juan Manuel Fangio as the sport’s very best.

Rosberg is firmly in the Hamilton camp, revealing that it was easy to appreciate the Stevenage-born racer’s unrivalled talent having driven alongside both men at Mercedes.

“I knew how good he was,” added Rosberg. “For the outside world it is now a confirmation that he is the best of all time, even by titles.

“That I beat him in the same car gives me extra confirmation of my success.”

Hamilton has already surpassed Schumacher’s number of race wins, pole positions and podium finishes since making his debut in 2007.

Despite Rosberg’s backing, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has warned that Hamilton will not receive an easy ride in his search for greatness.

The 49-year-old has urged his star man to avoid getting too caught up in the prospect of making history, instead claiming he should approach the upcoming campaign on a race-by-race basis.

“If you start to spend too much time thinking about an eighth title, you forget that in between there are 20 or so races that you need to finish in the best possible outcome,” Wolff told reporters earlier this week.

“In that respect, of course, the eighth title is out there. But it’s not going to be something that’s going to play on his mind a lot, nor does it play on our mind a lot because we need to concentrate on the job.”

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