Charles Leclerc's impressive performances in 2021 may suggest he is on a par with Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, according to F1 pundits Tom Clarkson, Damon Hill and Natalie Pinkham.
The Ferrari man has shown his consistency this year with a string of solid results, barring the bad luck of the Monaco Grand Prix where damage to his car left him unable to start the race that he had claimed pole position for. As such, some have argued that he is showing himself to be one of the best drivers on the grid.
"Leclerc bangs it in now every weekend," Clarkson told the F1 Nation podcast. "He's Mr Consistent. Who's better in Formula 1 than Charles Leclerc?"
Hill agrees that Leclerc is a top driver, but believes there are several future stars of the sport right now.
"Lewis Hamilton," Hill responded to the question of who is better than Leclerc. "I'm only going with that because he's got credentials. I mean he hasn't won a World Championship, Charles Leclerc, yet.
"But there's so many really good drivers. It's going to get very difficult to pick through these guys."
Clarkson added: "I would say I don't think there's anyone better [than Leclerc]. I think there's three drivers right on the top level - Charles, Max, Lewis."
"I tend to agree with that," Hill said.
Pinkham thinks that the Azerbaijan Grand Prix - which saw Sergio Perez win ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly respectively - highlighted just how many competitive drivers there are in the 2021 season.
"What really excited me about this weekend was just how much talent there is out there," the presenter explained.
"You know that at any stage of a Grand Prix, when things go wrong, there are drivers able [and] capable to seize those opportunities when they present themselves, and that was really invigorating as a fan of the sport.
"I was just so pleased to see such a mixed-up podium. It told me that the talent is everywhere you look up and down that grid, hugely talented drivers, and so it should be."