Michael Schumacher does not believe that experience will have any role to play in which of the five drivers currently vying for the World Championship will come out on top.
Title rivals Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton all have knowledge of fighting for – and winning – World Championships, but neither of the Red Bull Racing duo of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel has been through such a trial. Although there is a belief that experience could be an advantage for the McLaren duo and Hamilton, Schumacher is not so sure – especially as he believes compatriot Sebastian Vettel still has a good chance of the title.
When asked if he believed experience could provide Hamilton, Button and Alonso with an edge, Schumacher said, "That would excuse certain drivers I believe have big chances to win the championship, so I don't think experience is the key part to this championship."
Reflecting on his own time in the sport, and how his own title efforts changed after he had won the championship, said: "I don't think you look back at what you had in your pocket. Yes, you had a bit more experience but at the end of the day you drive, you fight and that is one aim – to win the championship. And having a win under your belt or not does not change the situation."
Hamilton said he hoped Schumacher was wrong, however, as he reckoned there was a difference between those who had won the title before and those who were going for it for the first time.
"Pretty much all the top drivers have won championships in our careers, so we know what it feels like – but when you get to F1 it is on a much larger scale and the pressure is multiplied," he said. "So definitely Fernando has no worries, in my mind. He has been there, done it before, so he knows the pressures.
"It is the same for Michael, for example. Jenson has also been there and experienced it, and I have been there and experienced it. When you are doing it for the first time, in terms of the pressure, it is your first attempt at dealing with that pressure, and then if it does get to you – you have to take it how it comes.
"I am hoping the ones who have won it do have a little bit of an advantage."