'Magical' Hamilton & Schumacher would have been 'thousandths' apart

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Had they raced together in their prime, Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher would have been "thousandths" apart.

That is the view of former Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug as he reacted to Hamilton matching Schumacher with 91 race wins at the Eifel Grand Prix.

Of course, the two drivers did race each other during the German's second stint in Formula 1, between 2010-2012, and enjoyed several on-track battles, notably at Monza in 2011.

However, most will agree the Michael which returned to the grid at Mercedes was never quite the same one that won five straight F1 championships with Ferrari between 2000-2004.

“If they had both raced each other in their prime, there would probably only have been a few thousandths of a second between them,” Haug told the Dutch version of Motorsport.com.

“Both drivers also have the utmost respect for each other, which is nice to see. I have never heard one of them speak a bad word about the other.”

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“All kinds of pictures on Instagram really do not deliver fast lap times,” Haug said in response.

“All extremely good drivers are willing to make those extra metres [in terms of training work]. They are both perfectionists, always ask questions and even after a one-two punch they want a very long debrief.

“That’s why they can get on people’s nerves.”

Adding his view, 1996 world champion Damon Hill explained the quality that puts both of them ahead of the rest.

“Champions of Lewis and Michael’s level are very rarely born,” he is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“How do you understand that they are special? The fact that when they arrived in F1 everyone stands up their antennas.

“They have something magical,” he added.

“You think they can be beaten but they can’t. They are human, of course, but if you don’t have their natural gift you have to find something deep inside you: sometimes you can put them behind you, but it’s always impossible.

“Because they know how to fish in the reserves of talent they have, like Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer in tennis.”