Lewis Hamilton still ’divides fans’ despite closing in on Michael Schumacher record

Lewis Hamilton is “clearly someone who divides fans,” according to F1 pundit Karun Chandhok.

The Brit won his sixth world title at the weekend to move to within one of Michael Schumacher’s record.

But Chandhok feels he is not appreciated as some of his fellow F1 greats.

“He’s clearly someone who divides fans. There are people who love him, but equally there are people who just can’t warm to him,” Chandhok wrote in his Sky Sports column.

“Drivers like [Ayrton] Senna, [Nigel] Mansell, Schumacher and [Fernando] Alonso garnered nationalistic support from their home countries on a level that Lewis has never quite been able to achieve for some reason.

“But love him or not, one thing you cannot question is that he’s an exceptional racing driver, the best of his generation and certainly one of the greatest of all time.”

Hamilton wrapped up the world title with two races to spare by finishing second at the United States Grand Prix.

The 34-year-old also played a major part in Mercedes securing their sixth Constructors’ Championship in as many years.

“Ultimately, at the end of it all, the biggest story of the weekend was of course Lewis winning his sixth World Championship,” Chandhok continued.

“I remember when I was growing up that everyone thought [Juan Manuel] Fangio’s record of five titles would never be beaten.

“Then we thought Michael Schumacher’s record of seven Championships would stand forever and really as recently as 2013, that seemed to be the case.

“But now, it looks very likely Lewis is going to beat that record which is an amazing feat.”

Meanwhile, Chandhok also reserved special praise for Max Verstappen who secured third place in Austin.

He said: “Max and Red Bull will be reasonably pleased to finish within five seconds of the winner.

“Christian Horner told me the Dutchman picked up some front wing damage on the opening lap which hurt his race and therefore finishing within a few seconds of the winning car was a good result for them.”

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