Walker’s words of wisdom
By Andy Darley
Thursday, December 6th, 2007
Murray Walker has revealed the future to Brits on Pole (via the medium of the Daily Telegraph) and it features Michael Schumacher victorious while Lewis Hamilton struggles to fend off a rapidly-closing pack of rivals.
The veteran commentator took part in a Q&A for the newspaper in which readers supplied the questions – and one submitted by us at Brits on Pole was chosen for him to answer.
Here’s the exchange in full – note the masterly way in which the wily Walker avoids expressing any definite opinion about anything even remotely controversial:
Will Lewis Hamilton be remembered in 20 years’ time as a driver as great as Schumacher or Alain Prost? Or has he just blown his chance for glory?
Murray Walker: Who knows how Hamilton will be regarded in 20 years’ time? I admire and respect him as a person and a driver but let’s not start comparing him with Schumacher and Prost yet. He is the most successful F1 rookie of all time. But Schumacher won seven world championships (it would never surprise me to see him return and win more and remember who told you first!), Prost won four. Hamilton has yet to win one, although he came so close. F1 is unpredictable and he has a long way to go. This year he was able to display his talents in the best car, but next year’s McLaren may not be a winner. It has happened before…
My belief is that, in 2008, the gaps between Ferrari, McLaren, BMW and Williams will close, that Red Bull will be nearer and that Honda, now led by the legendary Ross Brawn, could be too. In which case Lewis will have stiffer competition than he did this year.
If things continue as they have started then I have no doubt that he could indeed become the greatest of all time. However, you never know what life has in store for you and Hamilton is no exception.
But if Walker stays tactful there, he doesn’t mince his words in other parts of the Q&A where he deals frankly with questions about Fernando Alonso and the commercial success of F1.
Alonso hasn’t done himself any favours this year. I spent a lot of his F1 debut year with him in 2001 when he drove for my friend Paul Stoddart’s Minardi team. He was self-effacing and fun. But at Renault he threw toys out of his pram if ever team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella beat him – even in qualifying.
Then the balloon really went up when, at McLaren, he had the mistaken belief that he would be given preference over Hamilton.
There’s more – plenty more – even though only a disappointingly few questions were asked, so it’s worth a visit to the Telegraph’s site to read the Q&A in full.
• It was also announced this week that Walker would be returning to the commentary booth to do the honours in Sky Sports’ coverage of the Race of Champions on December 16. He said: “The Race of Champions is a brilliant concept and it’s going to be a fantastic occasion. The driver line-up is great and the venue unique. I’m raring to get into the Sky Sports commentary box. The prospect of seeing Michael Schumacher back in the seat is mouth-watering. I also can’t wait to see how the likes of Jenson Button, David Coulthard and Andy Priaulx get on against him too.”
Remember, if you’d rather see the Race of Champions live we have last-minute ticketing information here.