Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Istanbul Park, 2020

‘Greatest of our era’, ‘statistically the best’: Hamilton’s rivals hail his seventh title

2020 Turkish Grand Prix

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Several of Lewis Hamilton’s rivals praised his achievements after he equalled Michael Schumacher’s record of winning seven world championships.

Sebastian Vettel – who won his fourth and most recent world championship when Hamilton still had only one title to his name – greeted Hamilton in parc ferme after yesterday’s race and told him: “We are witnessing you making history, man.”

Speaking in the FIA press conference after the race, Vettel said it was hard to compare between drivers from different times, but he believes Hamilton is the leading driver among the current generation.

“I told him it’s very special for us because we can witness history being made today,” said Vettel. “I think he is greatest of our era for sure.

Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Istanbul Park, 2020
Vettel told Hamilton he was “making history”
“It’s always difficult to compare. How can you possibly compare Fangio, Stirling Moss to our generation? You can’t. Maybe we would be useless because we would all be shitting ourselves in those cars. Maybe they would be useless in our cars because they’re way too fast. Who knows?

“But it doesn’t matter, I think every era has its driver or its drivers and Lewis is certainly the greatest of our era.”

Vettel acknowledges that, despite his deep respect for Schumacher, Hamilton has now matched or outstripped his greatest achievements.

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“To me, certainly emotionally, Michael will always be the greatest driver. But there’s no doubt that Lewis is the greatest in terms of what he has achieved. He’s equalled the championships, he’s won more races, he has a lot more pole positions so I think he’s done everything you can ask for.”

F1's seven-times champions: Hamilton and Schumacher
F1’s two seven-times champions: Hamilton and Schumacher’s title wins compared
Max Verstappen also said Hamilton’s record makes him statistically the best Formula 1 driver of all time.

“It was pretty obvious that he was going to win it but it’s incredible,” said the Red Bull driver. “He’s a very, very strong driver, of course also today.

“He’s I guess now the greatest driver in Formula 1, in terms of stats anyway. But a great result also for the whole team as well. Of course, there have been so, so dominant. So they really deserve it.”

Daniel Ricciardo was impressed that despite the 2020 season being shortened from 22 races to 17, Hamilton had still managed to win the world championship with three rounds to spare.

“Seven titles, also with a shortened season and three races to go, it’s like dominance. So congrats to him,” said Ricciardo.

“‘Congrats’ is not really enough but I don’t know what else to say. It’s pretty spectacular.”

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32 comments on “‘Greatest of our era’, ‘statistically the best’: Hamilton’s rivals hail his seventh title”

  1. As others will say, I’d have liked to see him struggle more in a tricky car. Red Bull, Ferrari…whatever.

    He’s made it all look so easy in such a dominant team that his achievements don’t feel especially valued, and that’s a shame.

    1. How can we know if the car is so easy to drive or if the drivers make the difference.
      I remember Fisichella had just taken pole position for Jordan/Spyker/ForceIndia, can’t remember what they were then, and then the following race he went to drive for Ferrari who needed a stand in for the injured Massa. Suddenly the Ferrari in his hands that was taking pole positions and wins could not be made to out of the back end of the grid. We could say he was unfamiliar with the car but after several races, Ferrari new they had to call his career as their driver.
      When I had much respect for Hamilton was in that Korean race a few years back when he still raced for Mclaren. He was practically dragging along half of the race circuit ( Who says halves have to be equal), and he still went on to score a points despite the aerodynamic and handling impediment.
      You don’t need to go reinventing the wheel to prove you are a good driver.
      Once you have established your capability, teams trust you with their better cars or that you will better their good cars.

      1. Spa 2009 he took pole but got stolen by Kimi who went on the outside in turn 1 by the start and restart if memory serve me correct.

    2. @joshgeake His achievements are valued by his peers, which is important.

      I’ll be the first to admit that I have been frustrated with this era of F1. For those of us who are fans of the sport as a whole, rather than any particular team or driver, it has been challenging at times to tune in week in, week out when things are so predictable.

      But you can’t reasonably blame Hamilton or Mercedes for that. They have done the best job over the last seven years and thoroughly deserve their success. Mainly I blame the rules, which restrict car development in such a way that they have hampered the other teams’ ability to catch up, and to a lesser extent the other teams themselves, some of whom have run Mercedes close on occasion but never on a consistent enough basis to seriously challenge.

      I think what this article shows is that, while some fans may be turned off by Hamilton and Mercedes making it look so easy, his rivals know how much work and sacrifice has gone into making them the most formidable force F1 has ever seen. And it is probably their opinion that matters most to Hamilton, in so far as he thinks about it at all.

      1. Yeah it’s great to see the other drivers congratulating him and I can’t take anything away from his achievements. He’s managed to do what so many British sportsmen can’t – when given the tools, he didn’t choke!

      2. +1
        Vettel acknowledging is the epitome of sportsmanship. Anybody who thinks it’s easy over a season to be so incredibly consistent is plain averse of facts. If Max will polish his craft over time like Lewis did, he might have a chance of being like LH. But I guess the closest challenger to emerge next is C.L and maybe G.R.

        1. But I guess the closest challenger to emerge next is C.L and maybe G.R.

          Apart from the quite stupid errors recently by George ( can happen) he still has a lot to learn. And charles is a excellent driver but extremely error prone ( as shown this sunday again)
          To eager ( as was VER) so they still need some years to grow.
          Sometimes you win a race by being patient.

        2. Vettel very magnanimous when you consider that Alonso and Hamilton would routinely take swipes at Vettel back in 2013 about his car advantage being the reason for him winning, implying that he has illegal traction control, etc.

    3. I think Turkey has shown that in the same car and conditions Valteri struggled immensely during this race – So I think that the car speed dominance isn’t all that’s made Lewis a 7 time world champion! His judgement call yesterday regarding his tyres in the closing stages of the race shows he understands his car, the track environment and the risks – all done while driving the car to the limit!

      If it was all due to the car, why are other team’s 2nd drivers also not matching the lead team drivers… 2 spring straight to mind Alex Albon, Seb Vettel??

      Of course Mercedes’ engine / chassis combination is dominant, but that’s due to the immense hard work put in by all the people behind the 2 team drivers, and it’s for the other teams to put in the development to match and beat them – that’s what a competition is!! F1 isn’t a single car championship after all!

      So for all of the people making complaints about Mercedes dominance, don’t look at them – ask the question of the team you support and ask why they aren’t able to develop their car to the same performance! (Without falling foul of the regulations /cheating!!!)

    4. @joshgeake Yet it’s Hamilton’s strength to make the best of it even with a tricky car and then to provide feedback to the engineers that help them solve the issues. So you are basically bringing down his performance by disregarding what exactly makes him so great.

    5. Watch the 2009 Australian grand prix, he dragged a garbage McLaren onto the podium. Of course he was later dq’d for an off track infringement(which had never happened before in F1 history), but his racing prowess was incredible that day. Probably one of his best drives.

  2. If it was really all about the Mercedes and not about the driver then Bottas should be 50/50 with Lewis

    1. Of course part of it is driver. But that doesn’t make Bottas an exceptional driver. There are drivers on the grid that can take the fight to Lewis, some might not have his experience, others might not have his consistency, but there are some that very well might have had the exact same run as Lewis did had they been in that Mercedes.

      Does that mean Lewis isn’t exceptional, no, of course not. But the team played its part in helping Lewis get there.

      Mind you, I’m sure he’d have gotten to 7 last year if Bottas had been in that seat since 2014, rather than one Nico Rosberg, for instance.

      But this exact same thing goes for Schumacher, too. He also didn’t get to 7 just on his ability alone. It’s a team sport and always has been.

      1. @aiii Bottas would have won the WDC in 2016 too if he had the same advantage Rosberg had.

  3. There’s a funny side of Turkish GP, by the way.
    Verstappen brags all the time about how easy it supposedly is to win in a Mercedes car and how 90% (or 60%, as he corrects later) would be champion in that car, yet this weekend he had the absolute best machine and failed to deliver both in quali and race.
    Eventually, it must not be THAT easy to deliver, when you are expected to, huh maxi?

    1. Well said Fantomius. Its easy to say something when you not in the hot seat. This weekend was Redbulls. Amd in perticular Verstappens. Yet he failed to meet expectations.

    2. The Red Bull and Racing Points were the best earlier in the race, but once it started to dry out the Merc came into its own once again. Hamilton drove superbly, but let’s not act like the race didn’t come to the Merc chassis.

      1. That kind of ignores that Verstappen was fastest all weekend in the dry and wet.

    3. @liko41 it was just a question of time to see these kind om “comments”. Just enjoy the commanding victory and championship of Lewis and do not try to make other drivers less.

      1. erikje, with all due respect, I think it’s a valid comment. Not just his fans, Verstappen has come out with countless barbed comments about Hamilton having the best machinery (and not very good team mates). And yet in a race where he had a better car than Hamilton, he failed to capitalize. Doesn’t make Verstappen any less of a driver. But it does erode the worth of his own comments detracting from other drivers.

        1. If we go that way as you noticed the inters were not to best tyres for RB while he was fast on them they were also very slippery. He just spinned once (what matters) on a wrong spot and in hindsite he should wait for 10-20 rounds more and them overtake Perez with DRS.

    4. There were many instances where Max had the best car and threw it away, brazil when he crashed into ocon, Mexico 2019 when he ignored yellow flags crashed into everyone, and several others.

  4. I have always held the one who has won the most as the greatest so he is now the greatest for my criteria, there are a few others who could have won the most but circumstances meant this did not happen but to me those drivers are potentially the greatest and that’s where heated debate can take place but by my criteria there can be no debate so any heated discussion would be comparing apples and oranges unless we make a clear definition of what the greatest means, to agree on the criteria of the greatest is impossible as is so subjective. Hamilton is now the greatest for me and it would be an almighty shock if this time next year he is not an 8 time champion with over 100 wins.

  5. Yes Hamilton will be remembered as best of his era no doubt. The argument will go on about the title of GOAT, which of course is ridicules. But the fan boys of various drivers will persist no matter what the facts show. Whether the likes of Verstappen, Leclerc, Norris or Russell can go on to equal or beat Hamilton’s record remains to be seen. The ability/luck? to move to the right team at the right time is obviously of the highest importance as seen by Alonso and Vettel.

  6. Schumacher was the current double world champion when he left to go to a basketcase Ferrari team. He left wins and championships on the table in the mid-90’s to bring Ferrari back to greatness.

    Of all the options available at the end of 95, going to Ferrari would be your 4th option behind Williams, Benetton, McLaren if you were hoping to be successful. They really were a rabble.

    Schumacher just never had a car as dominant as Hamilton. Had to wait until 10 years in F1 to get the best car over the course of a season. That’s what everyone forgets when they talk about dominant seasons like 2002, 2004 and to a lesser extent 2001. Whereas Hamilton has had the clear best car since 2014. Even 2017-19 when Mercedes were relatively not as strong the Merc was still on par with the RBR of 2011, or Ferrari of 2001.

    Ferrari 15 front row lockouts 2000-04. Mercedes are up to 81 or 82 since the start of the hybrid era. McLaren in 1998 alone had 8 front row lockouts.

    Alonso in Hamilton’s seat wins 7/7 in the hybrid era not 6/7. That’s for sure.

    1. Aren’t you tired yet? You’ve tried and failed to diminish Lewis’ achievements so far, while we see Lewis showcasing his skills and talent week after week. At this moment, Lewis is the best driver ever seen in F1 so give it up now, mate!

    2. Schumacher was the current double world champion when he and his entire team left to go to Ferrari team and there could continue their work with an even larger budget and financial and regulatory sponsoring from the FIA.

      Front row lockouts mean nothing in a #1 driver team like Ferrari and Red Bull. Their #2 driver is never going to be close behind the #1 due to the difference in level of support and focus from the team.

      1. Mercedes is built around Hamilton. 2017 and 18 Bottas routinely had his strategy sacrificed to be rear gunner for Hamilton and was even forced to move over and hand a win to Hamilton.

        Schumacher didn’t take the team over at the end of 1995 the followed at the end of 1996. In the John Barnard car Schumacher got three sensational wins in 1996.

        1. Bondi

          Give it up

          Constant rants about front row starts is a waste of time when you consider refuelling and mandatory pit stops…

  7. Very gracious of Vettel – definitely appropriate to see him on the podium when Lewis clinched his 7th. This is after all the driver we expected to have a chance at equaling Schumacher’s records.

  8. “Statiatically the best”.Yes and had we since 2014 all 52 weeks /year a race, and 2 or 3 championship/year LH wld ve resulted with 20 wdc on his head more less.
    What a silly sport F1 has become.

  9. Max Verstappen, statistically 34th best Formula 1 driver of all time.

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