Damon Hill says just like when he was racing Michael Schumacher, people think Lewis Hamilton can be beaten, but he can’t.
Since joining Mercedes in 2013 Hamilton has gone on to add another five World Championships to his CV, making him a six-time World Champion.
At the Eifel Grand Prix he did what many thought was impossible and matched Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 wins in Formula 1, while he is on course to match the legendary German’s other record which many thought would stand for ever, that being winning seven titles.
And Hill was keen to pay tribute to both drivers, saying champions like Schumacher and Hamilton are “very rarely born”.
“Champions of Lewis and Michael’s level are very rarely born,” he is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“How do you understand that they are special? The fact that when they arrived in F1 everyone stands up their antennas, they are incredulous at what they combine and a particular excitement arises in the sport.”
Of course Hill is a former World Champion in his own right and enjoyed one of Formula 1’s most epic rivalries with Schumacher.
Hill’s title in 1996 was even more special for the fact that he had come from a background in motorbike racing, while he had also been forced into leading the Williams team following Ayrton Senna’s tragic death in 1994.
But despite these achievements, Hill doesn’t see himself in the same light as Schumacher or Hamilton. Simply put, both drivers were unbeatable in Hill’s eyes, even when others thought they could be beaten.
“In my case, it didn’t happen… They have something magical,” he explained.
“You think they can be beaten but they can’t. They are human, of course, but if you don’t have their natural gift you have to find something deep inside you: sometimes you can put them behind you, but it’s always impossible.
“Because they know how to fish in the reserves of talent they have, like Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer in tennis.”
Hamilton’s first opportunity to take the outright Formula 1 record with 92 wins will come at this weekends’ Portuguese Grand Prix as Formula 1 returns to the country for the first time since Hill’s title-winning year of 1996.
Mercedes will also have the chance to secure a seventh Constructors’ Championship in a row.