Motor racing has witnessed two eras of dominance in their leading sports. There has not been a great amount of equality in the World Rally Championship and Formula One as two men have dominated the last decade.
Sebastien Ogier won six crowns on the bounce in the WRC with three different teams. Lewis Hamilton has won the last three Formula One Drivers’ Championships on the bounce and two of the last three in the years before 2016. The two men have sealed their legacy in the histories of their respective sports, but which one has been more impressive? We’ll now analyse their success.
Hamilton has won six world titles during his 13-year career. He came close to notching the crown in his debut campaign, only to be beaten by Kimi Raikkonen by the slimmest of margins. However, he earned his breakthrough in the 2008 season with his first title for McClaren. The Brit then endured a frustrating five-year period as he watched Jenson Button win the title the following season before Sebastian Vettel took a stranglehold of the sport with Red Bull Racing.
The German won four titles on the bounce between 2010 and 2013, displaying a high level of excellence on the track. Many believed that Vettel would be the man to challenge Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of seven crowns which remains the standard in the history of Formula One. Hamilton turned the sport on its head when he moved to Mercedes, making the switch at the right time following a change in the regulations.
Since 2014, no rival team has been able to muster a challenge for Mercedes at the top. Nico Rosberg, who was also on Mercedes’ team, has been the only other winner of the Drivers’ Championship in that time period, and only beat out Hamilton by five points in his triumph.
The Brit has been dominant in his victories since, with the narrowest of his margin of victories being 46 points in the 2017 campaign. Given that his success has mainly been one team that has dominated the sport, it’s difficult to judge that quality of Hamilton behind the wheel. On the other hand, only Schumacher has won more titles than the Brit…
Ogier has won six World Rally Championships during his career, ranking three crowns behind his compatriot Sebastien Loeb. Loeb dominated the previous generation, triumphing nine times in a row between 2004 and 2012 before Ogier took on the torch. All of Loeb’s wins came with the same team Citroen, while Ogier on the other hand has branched out, driving for Volkswagen and Ford – winning four crowns on the bounce with Volkswagen and another two with Ford. It’s a mark of Ogier’s talent that he was able to transfer between outfits and continue his dominance at the top.
He remains the top man to follow in the motor racing odds among the top bookmakers for the sport in the 2020 season. His run of six crowns was ended in the last campaign when the Frenchman finished third in the standings driving for the third team – Citroen.
Ogier did make a bright start to the 2019 season, but tailed off down the stretch allowing Ott Tanak to emerge at the top to win his first title. At the age of 36, Ogier is still competing at the highest level and has the chance to add further championships to close the gap on Loeb. His best days are probably behind him and unlike Hamilton he does not have a juggernaut of a team at his disposal. It’s a credit to his skill that he has been able to remain competitive, and arguably has shown greater pedigree than Hamilton to continue his title surges.