Schumacher strike rate is better than the best

By winning the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday, Michael Schumacher has equalled the record he already shares with Nigel Mansell for taking nine wins in a Formula 1 season. But a closer examination of how the German has notched up his three world championships puts Schumacher firmly among the 'F1 greats'

Schumacher strike rate is better than the best

In 1992 Nigel Mansell took the world championship with nine victories - a feat equalled by Schumacher in a Benetton three years later. In doing it again this year, the Ferrari ace has taken his victory tally past the late Ayrton Senna and with 44 wins is now closing in on the all-time record of 51 career wins held by Alain Prost.

Schumacher may have been less dominant this year than Mansell was in '92 - the Brummie scored 14 pole positions and was a mammoth 52 points clear of the second-placed Riccardo Patrese in the end-of-year standings - but that goes some way to illustrating Schumacher's ability. To win a world championship in a technically superior Williams-Renault, as Mansell did, is an impressive achievement, but to do it against a highly competitive McLaren-Mercedes/Mika Hakkinen package is something else.

At a glance, a hat-trick of titles and 44 Grand Prix wins is an impressive record, but it is Schumacher's strike rate which propels him into the same league as the Sennas and Prosts. The 31-year-old has competed in just 144 races, giving him a win every 3.3 races, compared to the strike rates of 3.9 and 4 races per win of Senna and Prost respectively.

Schumacher's consistency over his 10-year career also makes impressive reading. The German has scored a massive 4.2 points per race, whereas Prost and Senna have averages of 'only' 3.9 and 3.7 points.

The formidable German also has time on his side as his contract with the Prancing Horse runs until the end of 2002, leaving at least another two years to further improve his record.

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