Having broken practically every rookie record going during the course of his remarkable maiden season in Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton has insisted he would now dearly love to be able to compare himself against the sport's all-time record-breaker - Michael Schumacher.

The McLaren-Mercedes ace triumphed four times and set six pole positions en route to the runner-up spot in the 2007 Drivers' World Championship - ahead of reigning double world champion team-mate Fernando Alonso. Indeed, he was only narrowly and agonisingly pipped to the laurels in the final race of the season in Brazil by Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, having sensationally led the way for the majority of the year.

With Schumacher's recent return to testing behind the wheel of one of the scarlet machines - shooting immediately to the top of the timing screens - having prompted speculation in some quarters that the seven-time world champion may yet make a full-time comeback to the top flight, Hamilton said he would willingly take the German on.

"Bring it on!" the 22-year-old assertively told British newspaper The Guardian. "I was disappointed when Schumacher left Formula 1 as it meant I never got the chance to race against him. He was a phenomenal driver.

"When I joined, Fernando Alonso was the champion and I beat him in a few races. That was a great feeling, but I'm sure beating Schumacher would be even better. I would love to race against him - it would be a great challenge and a great test for any driver."

At 38, Schumacher is certainly still young enough to make a racing return, and his Spanish testing form proved he had lost none of his raw pace since he stepped away from the cockpit at the end of the 2006 campaign.

"Niki Lauda was out for several seasons and came back and won the title," 1980 world champion Alan Jones remarked. "Michael could do the same."

 

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