Lewis Hamilton is adamant that in 20 years time he won’t criticise F1 drivers, rather he’ll “encourage them” unlike what happens today.
Gearing up for a race weekend in which he could equal Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 grand prix wins, Sir Jackie Stewart was asked for his thoughts on Hamilton’s achievements.
The triple World Champion reckons Hamilton doesn’t even rank inside the top three, behind Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark and Ayrton Senna. He’s even behind Stirling Moss.
“Lewis drives extremely well, make no mistake, I’m not in any way diminishing his skills. But it’s not the same,” the triple World Champion told the ‘In the Fast Lane podcast’.
He added: “The car and the engine are now so superior that it’s almost unfair on the rest of the field.”
Hamilton, who claimed that 91st grand prix win when he beat Max Verstappen at the Eifel Grand Prix, has hit back.
“I get knocked by many people, particularly by older drivers,” he told the Daily Mail. “They have a bee in their bonnet. I don’t know why.
“I have so much respect for the past legends, even though they continue to speak negatively about me.
“In 20 years’ time, I can promise you that I will not be talking down about any young driver that is coming through.
“There is a responsibility as an older driver to shine the light and encourage them, whether it is Max Verstappen, or whoever it may be, chasing the record that I eventually set.”
The next big record that awaits Hamilton is Schumacher’s all-time World title record.
The German won seven titles in the 1990s and 2000s, including a run with Ferrari from 2000 to 2004.
Hamilton, who is chasing his fourth successive title with Mercedes and his sixth with the team, is on course to bag his seventh in total.
He leads the championship by 69 points.
“There is a lot of talk in all sports about this, but it is impossible to compare people,” he said when asked the GOAT question.
“If you put all the top drivers in the sport in the same season and the same car that would be something, but it is not important to me.
“You can be remembered for having the most wins and that is something special. But it is the obstacles I have faced that matter most.
“Everyone has a different journey and you should not be knocked for that.”