Hamilton has time to surpass Schumacher record - Andretti

Michael Schumacher's seven F1 titles previously looked untouchable to Mario Andretti, but he thinks Lewis Hamilton can surpass the tally.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton   -  Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton has enough time to break Michael Schumacher's record and become the most-decorated driver in Formula One history, according to 1978 champion Mario Andretti.

Mercedes driver Hamilton wrapped up his sixth F1 drivers' title in comfortable fashion last year, leaving him one short of Schumacher's record tally.

The 35-year-old was expected to lead the way again in 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic has created a significant delay to the start of the campaign, which is now due to begin with the French Grand Prix in June.

Andretti still expects Hamilton to surpass Schumacher, something he did not previously think would ever be possible.

Formula One looking to hold races behind closed doors  

"When you look at Formula One the record speaks for itself. He's young enough that he can probably become the all-time winningest," Andretti told Stats Perform of Hamilton.

"It's a record I never thought anyone would come close to, a record that's owned by Michael Schumacher.

"But Lewis has always had competitive cars. I don't remember in his Formula One career if at any time he was in a car without winning potential.

"But he did his job and he keeps doing it, so I'm all in. I've always been a fan of his and he's I'm sure the envy of many other drivers.

"He has the equipment and he's making the most of it and that's what a driver's supposed to do."

Mercedes is hoping to make history this season by surpassing Ferrari's record of six constructors' championship wins in succession.

Coronavirus: F1 team Mercedes to deliver breathing devices to UK hospitals  

No team outside the leading trio of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull has won an F1 race since Kimi Raikkonen's success for Lotus at the 2013 Australian Grand Prix.

Asked about trying to make the sport more competitive, Andretti said: "Well I think they're in the path of trying to establish some of that, even with the rules to some degrees, to bring it more to a level playing ground, just bring together more the haves and have nots.

"It's a natural direction I think they need to take. I think everyone in the sport is well aware that needs to happen in the future and so you have to just react with the times.

"But I feel the sport is still strong, it's solid, and with a bright future."

  Dugout videos