Bernie Ecclestone doesn't think Lewis Hamilton is the undisputed top name in F1, as he thinks there are as many as six drivers that can beat the Briton and Max Verstappen if given the car.
Hamilton has been a dominant force in the sport, winning seven World Drivers' Championships including the last four. The Briton and Mercedes are being tested by Max Verstappen and Red Bull this season, and while Ecclestone isn't writing Hamilton off, he doesn't think he is at the same level that he used to be.
"No, I don't think he is right now," Ecclestone told Bild. "The top six drivers can beat Lewis and Max if they have the car. That's the difference between a real champion and one that can cope with difficult situations, but under no circumstances should Lewis be written off. It will be an exciting duel between him and Verstappen.
"As a top driver in F1 you don't just need the best car, you always need a bit of luck. Lewis had that for many, many years. At the moment it isn't always on his and Mercedes' side. But I have to say that Red Bull are doing a great job."
Hamilton signed a new two-year contract with Mercedes on Saturday, meaning all eyes are now on who will partner the British driver next season. Although George Russell has been linked with the seat, Ecclestone sees now reason why Mercedes should move on from Valtteri Bottas.
"I wouldn't," Ecclestone stated when asked if he would make the swap. "I don't understand the criticism of Bottas. He has been a loyal teammate and a loyal helper to Hamilton over the years.
"As a team you shouldn't forget that, and stand behind such a man."