Hamilton wrapped up a seventh Drivers’ Championship title with a brilliant win at Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix.
Qualifying down in sixth place, Hamilton briefly went off the track early in the race before he was stuck behind Vettel, while the Racing Point drivers stormed off into the distance.
As the track dried, Hamilton came into his own, working his way up the order before passing Sergio Perez for the lead.
Within three laps he had put five seconds between himself and the Mexican driver, going on to take the win on a set of smooth intermediate tyres by 31.6 seconds.
Vettel, who finished P3, was one of the first to congratulate the British driver, reportedly telling him he was the “greatest F1 driver ever”.
Asked about that comment in the post race press conference, the Ferrari driver acknowledged that Hamilton, who this season also broke the record for the most F1 wins ever, is the best driver in today’s era.
“Well, I told him it’s very special for us because we can witness history being made today,” he said.
“I think he is greatest of our era for sure.
“I think it’s always difficult to compare… how can you possibly compare Fangio, Stirling Moss to our generation? You can’t.
“Maybe we would be useless because we would all be shitting ourselves in those cars. Maybe they would be useless in our cars because they’re way too fast. Who know.
“But it doesn’t matter, I think every era has its driver or its drivers and Lewis is certainly the greatest of our era.”
Hamilton’s numbers this season mean he is now four wins ahead of Schumacher, who has been relegated to number two on the all-time winners’ list.
He also equalled the German’s tally for the most Drivers’ titles.
Vettel continued: “To me, certainly emotionally, Michael will always be the most… the greatest driver but there’s no doubt that Lewis is the greatest in terms of what he has achieved.
“He’s equalled the championships, he’s won more races, he has a lot more pole positions so I think he’s done everything you can ask for.”
The Ferrari driver reckons Sunday’s showing is proof of just how good Hamilton is.
“I think today is the best proof,” he added.
“It’s a difficult race, a very difficult race to stay on track and two hours long and probably, if we’re honest, it wasn’t his race to win and he still won it.
“I think, once again, he managed to pull out something special out of that bag and therefore I think he deserves everything he has achieved.”