Ex-Formula 1 driver Gerhard Berger regards Lewis Hamilton as the first driver he has seen that he considers on the same level as his former team-mate Ayrton Senna.
Hamilton has won four of the last five world championships since the dawn of the V6 hybrid era in 2014, claiming victory in over 50% of the races contested in that period.
DTM boss Berger, who raced alongside three-time world champion Senna at McLaren, believes the Briton is worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as the Brazilian over all the world champion’s he’s either raced or watched over the years.
“Everybody always asks me, ‘How do you see this driver against Ayrton?,” said Berger, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“And I always in all the years say, ‘I don’t see anybody near to Ayrton.’ But Lewis is the first driver I put on the same level as Ayrton.
“The guy is outstandingly fast. He makes a bit less mistakes than the others, and what impressed me so much with him when you have won as much as he’s won is you [might] think, ‘Today now I’m second, either I’m going to run over his head and I win, or I’m out.’
“He doesn’t do it, he just stays there and waits, ‘OK I finish second, take the points.’ It looks like he is just running the game in such a good way now that he’s unbeatable at the moment.
“He won the championship five times, he won one race after the next one. Yes, he’s in the best car with the best engine, but he’s also the best – by far the best man at the moment.”
Hamilton is within touching distance of breaking the records for most championships and race victories held by seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.
The reigning world champion’s current Mercedes contract expires at the end of 2020, and, leading the standings in this year’s title race, Berger sees no reason why he can’t eclipse the German’s tally.
“I think Lewis, if nothing happens to him and he keeps going like this, for the next two or three years, I think he’s always going to be onto the championship. Definitely he has the chance,” he said.
“Also what happened with Michael, on one side I would like to protect Michael’s success, because it’s such a tragedy, and so sad.
“But when you put this all out for a moment, and say let’s see, then Lewis Hamilton is a very special driver from all the time I watched F1.”