Former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer believes the performances of Lewis Hamilton in 2019 have made team-mate Valtteri Bottas look “very average”.
Bottas won the United States Grand Prix by passing Hamilton on-track – the minimum result he needed to extend the title fight.
But P2 for Hamilton was more than enough for him to secure a sixth World Championship, making him the outright second most successful driver in F1 behind Michael Schumacher.
Hamilton has wrapped up the title with two races to spare, and Palmer was in awe at how his fellow Brit has “completely destroyed the competition” and made Bottas look “very average“.
“He has completely destroyed the competition,” said the former Renault driver on BBC’s Chequered Flag podcast.
“Yes he’s had the odd off day, but let’s not forget that Valtteri Bottas is a world class driver in a top car, Hamilton over the course of a season makes him look very average, to the point where every year we question should he even be at Mercedes.
“That’s because Hamilton has obliterated all the competition this year, he’s only taken four poles, but 11 wins, he’s been sensational.”
Palmer has sympathy for F1’s stars of the future such as Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, saying Hamilton has set them a “savage benchmark”.
“He’s come in and taken Formula 1 to another level and the likes of your Verstappens and your Leclercs, they’ve got to up their game to be on Hamilton’s level,” he explained.
“The driver before that who I think really moved the game on was Schumacher. Formula 1 was at a certain state.
“You had Senna who came in and brought the aggression and sheer speed, then Schumacher came in and brought the professionalism, the ruthlessness as well.
“Hamilton has come in and moved the whole sport on. Six world titles later and he’s still there fighting at the top for number seven, and for youngsters coming through it’s just such a savage benchmark.”