Jim Clark vs Michael Schumacher

Champion of Champions

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 (49%)

Total Voters: 817

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Images ?? Mercedes GP (Schumacher), Ford.com (Clark)

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317 comments on Jim Clark vs Michael Schumacher

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  1. Definitely Clark! I still remember Schumacher parking his car at Rascasse corner to block Alonso – nuff said.

  2. Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 27th January 2011, 18:55

    Oh my God after spending days with 30 votes behind, Clark now only needs 13 more.

  3. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 27th January 2011, 18:59

    A user had created multiple accounts to try to influence the result of the poll. Their votes have been deleted.

  4. Clark was one of a kind. The greatest hands down. Watch Jim Clark: The Quiet Champion, it’ll explain more than can be explained here. Unfortunately, many of the voters will have never seen Clark drive, and so cannot comprehend his gift. The best in so many ways.

  5. FerrariF150 said on 28th January 2011, 7:54

    Sorry i ackknowledge Schumacher as being statistically the greatest driver ever however you have to look deeper. I never saw Jim Clark race yet i grew up suporting Schumacher and always did until 2006. now i first read about clark and how he was a master at the wheel and how nearly everytime he failed would be due to problems with the car. Clark was one of the most amazing drivers f1 had seen and probably will. he dominated 63 and 65 and in 62 he had lost out in the final race. He once went a lap down over a pit stop(had problems) then overtook the cars that lapped him then gained first position only to be robbed off first as lotus were just short of enough fuel. Then in sopa he had lapped every car except Bruce mclaren but he was over 5 minutes behind him in foggy conditions. I know Clark wont win this as few ever saw him race or fail to acknowledge his carrer as mmuch as schumacher but i feel Clark is the better driver.

    • Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 28th January 2011, 13:20

      I voted for Clark too but I want to come up with a few arguments for your consideration.

      Clark often had the dominant force in terms of technics as well as Schumacher. And Schumacher also had memorable races as well as Clark’s Monza 1967. For example Spa 1995 or Hungaroring 1998. Later these heroics became less frequent – maybe because he had the dominant car later on. But Interlagos 2006 stands out for me nevertheless.

      I voted for Clark because even his greatest opponents acknowledged his skills and admired him and because he dominated almost every race he finished – in case of Schumacher this was not the case.

      Another reason is that Senna got the best out of Schumacher in Interlagos and Imola in 1994 with a clearly inferior car. So for me Senna > Schumacher but I’m not so sure about Senna-Clark…

  6. Brownsugar42 (@brownsugar42) said on 28th January 2011, 12:20

    Schumacher’s 7 titles don’t really mean much…his car was so dominant, and he raced during a time when F1 was short on star talent. I think people should give Ross Brawn and Jean Todt just as much props as they give Schumi. For example 13 wins in 2004, and 0 in 2005…Schumacher is a great driver, but his cars, the fact that he didn’t have to fight a worthy team mate, and the lack of competition, are a huge reason for his success.

    I’d still give him a slight edge over Clark though.

    • sam3110 (@sam3110) said on 28th January 2011, 23:32

      Thing is, I think Schumi would have even more titles if he didn’t break his leg/move to Ferrari in ’96, and I know people go on about the ‘Dominant’ car he had, but it wasn’t a case of picking and choosing the best cars like some champions, he went there and took Ferrari from midtable strugglers back to their very best, and this seems to be forgotten by most here. Show me a driver who can revolutionise a sport and I will show you a true legend, Nicklaus, Lara, Ali, Pele, Schumacher, Sampras, Johnson, and that is why, despite the heroics of Clark etc. I have to vote for Schumi

      • Kenny (@kenny) said on 29th January 2011, 9:05

        What seems to be fotgotten is Schumacher’s oft demonstrated lack of concern for the safety of his fellow drivers…the fact that he knowingly and intentionally placed the lives of his fellow drivers in danger time and time again.

  7. Well said sam3110

  8. So did Senna…sometimes some people just exaggerate a thing like the drama queen Rubens Barrichello, noone injured at that time. Great champions always push to the limit this is racing not “reality show”. Vote for Schumi

    • Kenny (@kenny) said on 29th January 2011, 12:01

      What does Senna have to do with this? Nothing. But that’s the standard reply when Schumi fans are confronted with his cheating. “Senna did it, too.” Is that supposed to be some kind of justification?

      One of the greatest drivers who ever lived just got voted out in favor of a cheater. Oh well…on to the next round…

      • Kenny (@kenny) said on 29th January 2011, 12:03

        I meant to say “dangerous cheater”.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 29th January 2011, 15:22

        “Senna did it, too.” Is that supposed to be some kind of justification?

        Some people clearly do think it is. They are wrong however.

        But Senna’s dark side is undeniably undermentioned especially when compared to Schumacher.

        One of the greatest drivers who ever lived just got voted out in favor of a cheater.

        Perhaps, but Michael Schumacher is certainly still one of the greatest drivers who ever lived, and far more than just a “dangerous cheater”.

        • Kenny (@kenny) said on 30th January 2011, 4:39

          In my book dangerous cheater is all there is…cancels out everything else. I know I’m in the minority (of one, maybe).

          • fortunately your unreasonable book of hate is in the minority like you said :D

          • Kenny (@kenny) said on 30th January 2011, 16:23

            “Hate” is a strong word, Dave. I don’t hate anyone. I just don’t like cheaters.

          • Kenny (@kenny) said on 30th January 2011, 16:24

            And I’m not a minority of one. Stirling Moss agrees with me. That’s pretty good company.

          • dave5 (@dave5) said on 30th January 2011, 18:22

            Yeahh right..For you a cheater and yes among the minority of Schumi hater but for most, Schumacher is one of the greatest Niki Lauda, Murray Walker agree. They are even better company

  9. Crispin said on 30th January 2011, 15:05

    I voted for Jim. I didn’t vote for him because he’s British, as I am Swiss. I voted for him, because of his awesome driving ability.
    Furthermore, Schumi started in F1 in 1991, and retired in 2006, only to make a comeback in 2010.
    That’s about 15 or 16 seasons in F1. Clark had 8 or 9, and the Lotuses he drove were notoriously unreliable, yet he still managed to dominate in them. For example, South Africa, 1963: Clark had a 30 second lead after 50 laps or so. Then a bolt fell out of his distributer drive, and all the oil drained away.
    If he hadn’t had any of the unreliability problems, he would have been an easy 5-time champion, and had he not died, he could have been a 10 time champ, purely because of his driving skill.

    • Kenny (@kenny) said on 30th January 2011, 16:38

      There’s no way of knowing what Clark would have done had he lived. He did talk of retirement from time to time, but he’d been doing that since 1966. He would have been the man to beat in 1968…if he had won the WDC that year that may have motivated him to stay on for a few more years. Hill, Stewart, Rindt, Andretti, Fittipaldi, Peterson, Cevert…and Clark- that would have been something to see.

  10. SennaTheG.O.A.T said on 1st February 2011, 2:14

    Really why this site made polls when most of the voters are 20 years old and vote for Schumacher?
    It’s ridiculous compare Schumacher to Clark.
    Clark was Senna before Senna.The 2 biggest talents this sport has ever..
    People(kids) continue to overrate Schumacher……………..

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