Former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has huge respect for Lewis Hamilton’s achievements, but feels it’s time for a change of team-mate.
As a six-time World Champion, and surely soon to be seven-time, Hamilton is closing on a new level of dominance in Formula 1 on all fronts. The race wins record has already fallen to the Briton after he won his 92nd race at the Portuguese Grand Prix.
Since joining Mercedes only Hamilton’s former team-mate Nico Rosberg has been able to deny him in this run of dominance which started in 2014, Rosberg’s only World title coming in 2016 before retiring shortly after.
Valtteri Bottas has never pushed Hamilton hard in the title fight since he replaced Rosberg, so Ecclestone thinks it’s time Hamilton proved himself in the same team as ‘a Max Verstappen’.
“Lewis deserved it. He has always beaten his team mates, except for 2016. He makes almost no mistakes,” Ecclestone told Sport1.
“But I compare him to a poker player who knows he has four aces in his hand. You can play poker while the others sweat. I would like to see him on a team with a Max Verstappen. The question is whether he would then make as few mistakes as possible.”
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) October 26, 2020
And of course the question had to be asked, after bettering Schumacher’s tally of 91 race wins, is Hamilton now Formula 1’s greatest of all time?
“Lewis belongs in the ranks of the best, without question. So does Michael. But who is the best in the end can hardly be answered. You can hardly compare Michael, Lewis or Ayrton Senna,” Ecclestone replied.
“Before the Second World War, people told each other true miracles about Bernd Rosemeyer. In the 50s Juan-Manuel Fangio won five World Championship titles and he is still ahead in terms of victory rate.
“What would have happened if Jim Clark or Ayrton Senna hadn’t been injured so early? Or Jochen Rindt, who for me personally was the fastest, who had competitive cars earlier in his career?
“With his four World Championship titles, Alain Prost is also very high in my ranking. And also Sebastian Vettel.
“Not so long ago, he was also at the top of the eternal list of the best. Now, unfortunately, hardly anyone talks about him positively. In Formula 1 a driver is still dependent on his car. And his Ferrari does not seem to suit him very well at the moment.”