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Last Updated: Monday, 13 October, 2003, 12:51 GMT 13:51 UK
Schumacher's place in history
ALL-TIME GREATS
Clockwise from top left: Pele, Muhammad Ali, Michael Schumacher and Don Bradman
Schumacher's achievements rank with those of the sporting greats
News of yet another Formula One world championship for Michael Schumacher might cause some to switch off.

But while the domination of the German star and his Ferrari team may have become repetitive, that should not detract from what is undoubtedly one of the all-time great sporting achievements.

Even the arguments raging over whether Schumacher is the greatest racing driver of all time miss a bigger point.

He may or may not be the greatest driver, but there can be no doubt that winning six world titles is the greatest achievement in F1 - and perhaps even in the history of sport.

When Juan Manuel Fangio won his fifth world title in 1957, it was considered a record so extraordinary that it would never be beaten.

SCHUMI'S RECORDS
Drivers titles: Six
Wins: 70
Points: 1,038
Points in season: 144 (2002)
Consecutive podium finishes: 19 (United States 2001 - Japan 2002)
Most podium finishes: 122
Now, not only has Schumacher eclipsed it, he could yet extend it in the coming seasons.

In terms of sustained dominance, Schumacher's six titles bears sharpest comparison to the five-time winners of the Tour de France: Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Miguel Indurain and Lance Armstrong.

Schumacher has more than unrivalled success in common with tennis' most prolific Grand Slam winner Pete Sampras, who also finished a record six years as the world number one.

Schumacher and Sampras both have their detractors, but both have earned the right to let their results and records speak for themselves.

In contrast, Muhammad Ali is generally regarded as the greatest sportsman of the 20th century, a title he achieved as much for his contributions outside the sporting arena as for twice winning back the heavyweight boxing crown.

But if Fangio's record was unlikely to be broken, then Schumacher's new mark looks set to stand the test of time - like Pele's 1281 career goals and swimmer Mark Spitz's seven gold medals at the 1972 Olympics.

With his outstanding run of success, Schumacher has set the highest of standards in his single-minded dedication to being the best in his chosen career, something Jack Nicklaus achieved with his record 18 golf Majors.

Don Bradman's career Test batting average of 99.94 remains the mark to which every great batsman aspires.

Before Sunday, Fangio's record stood as a reminder to Schumacher that he still had work to do before he booked a definitive place in the sport's history books.

With his sixth world title, which sits alongside a wealth of other records he has set in a 12-year career, the 34-year-old has become the barometer by which every future driver must now be measured.




F1 REVIEW 2003

SCHUMI'S RECORD YEAR

PHOTO GALLERIES

EVERY TEAM ANALYSED
 

EACH DRIVER PROFILED
 

2003 SEASON RACE BY RACE
 

A LAP OF ALL THE CIRCUITS
 



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