Gerhard Berger has hailed Lewis Hamilton as being one of the greatest ever drivers in Formula 1, but admits that he doesn’t think the Briton is the ultimate best in history.
Hamilton equalled Michael Schumacher’s seven world titles in 2020 and also surpassed the German’s record number of 91 race wins. Yet former F1 star Berger believes that Ayrton Senna - who he was teammates with at McLaren during 1990 and 1991 - remains the best driver to compete in the sport.
“We’ve had [Juan Manuel] Fangio, [Alain] Prost, Michael Schumacher, [Fernando] Alonso, [Sebastian] Vettel and others who have shaped an era,” Berger told F1 Insider. “For me, Hamilton is right up there with them. But the best of all time for me stays Ayrton Senna.
“Ayrton had no weaknesses and additionally enchanted those around him with his incredible charisma.”
Despite this, Berger believes that Hamilton is still outstanding and thinks that the Briton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas faces an almost impossible task in trying to beat him.
“Lewis is already absolutely world class. On top of his crazy speed and extreme talent, he now also has experience,” the Austrian explained. “Team mate Valtteri Bottas isn’t slow either, but in the end he doesn’t stand a chance against Hamilton. That’s how most drivers would feel.”
However, Berger - who raced in 210 grand prix and scored 10 victories during his career - has named three current drivers who he believes could also become a world champion in the Mercedes.
“Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel in normal form,” Berger said. “Otherwise, I don’t see anyone at this top level. But Lewis is still number one for me at the moment.”
Hamilton will enter into his 15th season in Formula 1 in 2021, though his contract with Mercedes has still yet to be finalised.