Daniel Ricciardo has denied that Lewis Hamilton only wins so much because of his car, stating that doing so is “easier said than done”.
Hamilton officially became the joint-most prolific winner the sport has ever seen at the Eifel Grand Prix as he took his 91st victory, putting him level with Michael Schumacher.
However, many feel that, despite the numbers, he isn’t one of the best drivers ever, claiming that he has only been so successful because of how dominant his car has been at Mercedes.
Ricciardo, who finished the race at the Nurburgring alongside Hamilton on the podium in P3, doesn’t think that this is the case.
“His career now has been well over a decade in the sport and to keep coming back and to show that level of consistency at the front, that’s not easy,” the Renault driver said as quoted by Autosport.com.
“I think us up here [on the podium], I think we understand that. You can have a package and a car to do it, but it’s doing it every weekend when the lights go out. It’s easier said than done. Certainly big respect.
“I think also the gift that he received: one of Michael’s helmets, that’s one of the coolest gifts I’ve ever seen in the sport.”
Claims that Hamilton is only so successful because of the car have been around ever since he won his first title with Mercedes in 2014. From that year onwards, the German team has dominated the sport.
The Brit says that his desire to be a part of turning a team into such a force was largely why he left McLaren to replace Schumacher there in the first place.
“I wanted to be a part of a team that perhaps hadn’t had as much success, was in the growing phase, and I wanted to be a part of that, that growing journey, building something relatively new,” he said.
“That was an exciting challenge and I didn’t know how long it would be until we got to winning ways. But I truly believed we would get there at some stage.”