Champion of Champions: Michael Schumacher vs Jim Clark

Jim Clark vs Michael Schumacher

Champion of ChampionsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Champion of Champions: Michael Schumacher vs Jim Clark

As we head into the first quarter-final match-up the remaining drivers belong to that select few who were widely acknowledged as the best of their day. That is certainly true of Michael Schumacher and Jim Clark.

They spent much of their careers with the same team: Clark never drove for anyone other than Lotus.

Schumacher set a record by starting 180 races for Ferrari, having already won the championship twice with Benetton

In this time both drivers often had the best equipment available to them and little effective opposition from their team mates.

That changed for Clark in 1967 when he was joined by Graham Hill. Clark tended to have the upper hand but their cars were plagued by unreliability that year, and Clark was killed the following season.

Schumacher was beaten by a team mate for the first time in his career last year. Nico Rosberg held sway as Schumacher returned from a three-year break to drive for Mercedes.

By the end of this season Schumacher will have started exactly four times as many races as Clark did. But which of the drivers was the greater world champion?

Vote for which you think was best below and explain who you voted for and why in the comments.

Michael Schumacher Jim Clark
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Istanbul, 2010 Jim Clark, Indianapolis, 1967
Titles 1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 1963, 1965
Second in title year/s Damon Hill, Damon Hill, Mika Hakkinen, David Coulthard, Rubens Barrichello, Kimi R??ikk??nen, Rubens Barrichello Graham Hill, Graham Hill
Teams Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari, Mercedes Lotus
Notable team mates Nelson Piquet, Eddie Irvine, Rubens Barrichello Trevor Taylor, Mike Spence, Graham Hill
Starts 268 72
Wins 91 (33.96%) 25 (34.72%)
Poles 68 (25.37%) 33 (45.83%)
Modern points per start1 14.05 11.65
% car failures2 8.21 29.17
Modern points per finish3 15.30 16.45
Notes Missed several races in 1999 after breaking his leg at Silverstone An oil leak in the final race of 1962 cost him his first title
Retired in 2006 after 11 seasons with Ferrari Finished on the podium in every race where his car didn’t break down over the next three seasons
Returned with Mercedes in 2010 Killed in a Formula Two race during the 1968 season having won the first race of the year
Bio Michael Schumacher Jim Clark

1 How many points they scored in their career, adjusted to the 2010 points system, divided by the number of races they started
2 The percentage of races in which they were not classified due to a mechanical failure
3 How many points they scored in their career, adjusted to the 2010 points system, divided by the number of starts in which they did not suffer a race-ending mechanical failure

Round two

Round one

Which was the better world champion driver?

  • Michael Schumacher (51%)
  • Jim Clark (47%)

Total Voters: 817

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Images ?? Mercedes GP (Schumacher), (Clark)

317 comments on “Jim Clark vs Michael Schumacher”

  1. Michael Schumacher :)

  2. 1998-199 OMFG.

    When does this poll close?

  3. Wow… close! I voted for Jim Clark… partially on the strength of Jackie Stewarts comments about him.

  4. The battle of the Top 8 will be epic, I feel that Clark should have been paired with Senna. Still Clark have a good record given the time he was & he have a good percentage over Schumacher & had greater number of car faliure. & Who know where he would have ended his career if he didn’t had that tragic accident?Interestingly The Times recently placed Clark at the top of a list of the greatest Formula One drivers.

  5. OOOOH tie vote!

  6. Right now, 4:31pm Wednesday NZ time (3:31am England time) the score is 225 – Schumacher and 226 – Clark.

    I think this will be the closest yet

  7. 226-227, that’s mighty close!

  8. I think that anyone who votes for Schumacher is simply too young to have seen Clark drive. Schumacher is hands down the hardest working driver to win a WDC, but the best or most talented? No, Not close. Sorry.

  9. In addition, Clark was a quiet, self-effacing gentleman who would never have taken anyone off the road to win. MS has no class what so ever.

    1. Same can be said for Senna.

      1. Hey let’s put the record straight.
        Schumachers honesty and german naivness has stamped him arrogant since the very beginning… but actually, he was just to dumb to be political and answered journalist’s questions just straight forward.
        The move against Hill in 94 was the cleanest dirty move in history, Hill champion in 94 would have totally discredited F1.
        The move on Villeneuve in 97 was horrible and ruined a fantastic season for him. But that’s about it.
        The move against Barichello was at the limit, but, as he said, “thats racing”.

        1. You can defend his actions all you like and say Hill wouldn’t have deserved the title, which is probably correct. However there is absolutely no excuse for what he did, just as there isn’t for Senna in 1990.

          The fact remains that if Damon Hill had finished ahead of Schumacher in Adelaide he would have been world champion and Schumacher drove into him to prevent that happening. How is that clean?

          The move on Villeneuve was a disgrace,
          you’re also forgetting Monaco ’06 when he decided to park it at Rascasse to stop Alonso’s lap, and that move on Barrichello was way over what is now acceptable in F1.

          They’re not exactly one off incidents either.

  10. This was the hardest vote for me yet. Clark was brilliant in everything he drove. And as long as the car held together, he finished higher than 3rd on average. However all said and done, Clark drove for Lotus during one of their most dominant periods, while Schumacher was partly responsible for bringing Ferrari back to a dominant position.

    It has to be Schumacher for me. He defined the modern F1 driver.

  11. A extremely tough decision The great driver of my youth against the thinking calculated superior race driver. How I wish this was the final 2 and not still round 3

  12. in general, people tend to forget the numerous legendary drives schumacher has had, and reduce him to a good car, no competition and good pit stop strategy.
    Spa 1995, Barcelona 1996, Nurburgring (I don’t remember the year); even his qualifying performance in Spa 91, his first race with a really crappy car, was simply astonishing. not to mention his many spa and monaco wins, which are really drivers circuits.
    Even his “last” race in 2006, in Interlagos, was an incredible tribute to his talent.
    Alonso did beat him in 2005 and 2006, but he also had the better car. And I do think Alonso is a Top Ten of all time driver.
    Just another quick comment: I don’t think there has been so much quantity in quality as today. Rosberg, Sutil, Vettel, Hamilton, Button (great with tyres), Alonso, Schumacher, Kubica… and the list goes on. Give me any other season with this quantity of high talent!

  13. Clark

    “Finished on the podium in every race where his car didn’t break down over the next three seasons”

    Thats enough .

    1. if you think about it, rabbit, this would be unthinkable today. and you know why? because at the time, if you were rich and had connections, you could be a f1 driver. in other words, only a handful were really great drivers.
      if anyone were to always get to the podium in this era (something that schumacher was able to do for some years), we would say it’s because of the car, never the driver.
      again: clark had some good competition, but most of all crap competition.
      clark was a genius, no doubt, a Top 4 for me. but the argument with the podiums just shows how different times were.

      1. Indeed. Also, Schumacher finished on the podium in every race in 2002. Full stop.

      2. Having read some of your previous comments on this thread Magon4 and concluded that you’re a Schumi fanboy who knows nothing about the history of the sport, I find this comment unsurprising. Mostly crap competition??? How do you dare saying that about G.Hill, Brabham,P.Hill, Surtees, Stewart, Rindt,Hulme, Gurney, Amon, Ginther, Siffert, P. Rodriguez, Bandini, Ickx, Mclaren, Bonnier, Beltoise?(and I apologize to any hero I forgot).

        Do you consider 2002 field better Journeyer? Who are better? Coulthard? Barrichello? Is it the same as having G.Hill as team-mate? Montoya and Raikkonen were the only worthy competition that season in a team that could at least give some small fight to f2002 superiority. That was definetely not the case in Clark’s era. Times change don’t you think, magon4?

  14. Oh Keith, man, this is a wicked pairing. I couldn’t decide for a long time, but I voted for Clark, because he was an immensely fast, incredibly talented racing driver and also a humble man.

    Statistically, Schumacher is leagues ahead, and his role in lifting the Ferrari team back to title-contention proves his greatness as a team leader.

    But for all that, Jim was a better sportsman, and I think a better driver as well. Some of his drives, like Monza ’67 and Spa ’63 were beyond comparison.

  15. Keith, I don’t know if you’re reading all the posts, but you need to start recording votes by login as opposed to IP+cookies. I read at home and at work, and can vote from both locations as if I’ve never voted before. Unless you value my opinion so much as to give me two votes to everyone else’s one of course, in which case I’m not complaining ;)

  16. It is important for such votes whether one has seen the driver racing or not. Most of the people on this forum have seen only Schumacher (me included) and hence we can’t imagine how good Clark was.
    I tried to abstract myself from what I’ve seen from Schumacher and really compare apples to apples. The facts are the stats and that Clark got killed and could not continue racing. If we imagine Schumacher in a similar situation they are very close, but Clark stands out by a few inches.

    Winning every 3rd race with a 3 times less reliable car – this is really great.

    1. the “seen” and “not seen” factor goes both ways. to make schumachers wins seem common and romanticize clark’s achievements…
      i mean, i’m a huge clark fan.
      if schumacher had won his 7 titles in the 60s, he’d be a legend too. but because his feat is so recent, people prefer to look at other things rather than pure achievements.
      the gutsiest decision ever by any f1 driver was to leave a benetton team he transformed into a winning car to go to the ferrari, at that time just an old myth.

  17. While it’s arguable whose achievements were greatest there can be no argument about the way they went about them.

    A lot of people vote for Schumacher because they don’t know any better. A lot for Clark because they do.

    It’s a shame that these votes don’t come with documentary previews (e.g. JIM CLARK: THE QUIET CHAMPION) so that more people get to know the man they are voting for/against.

    1. A lot of people vote for Schumacher because they don’t know any better. A lot for Clark because they do.

      Oh, please. People don’t agree with you so they don’t know better? Or maybe some of them watched the videos posted about Clark, researched about him before deciding to vote for Schumacher because they felt he was greater?

  18. Which was the better world champion driver?

    Looking quantitatively at the stats Schumacher.
    Looking qualitatively I would say Clark… I can’t imagine him wanting to win by parking at Monaco for example.

    Clark was the ‘better’ world champion driver, in my subjective opinion.

  19. well the voting started like any race in the 60’s, with clark pulling in front, and the rest behind. But after a few hours, with a little strategy and the overwhelming ferrari might( schumacher numbers) he got in front to win the race by a small marging.
    I think is understandable that schumacher won. When a person is killed you not only take what he’s got, but what he’s ever going to get.

    1. I don’t think the poll is closed yet, is it? If it’s still open, this is still anyone’s race to win.

  20. Only SCHUMI!!!!

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