Michael Schumacher would be “staring in the eyes of his equal” had he competed against Lewis Hamilton during his prime in Formula One.
That’s the verdict of former British racer David Coulthard, who enjoyed many squabbles with Schumacher and also competed against Hamilton in his latter days in the sport.
Coulthard won 13 Grands Prix during a stellar 15-year career which included stints at Williams, McLaren and Red Bull.
The ex-F1 favourite is now a pundit for Channel 4 and watched with delight as Hamilton joined Schumacher on a record seven world titles with a win at the Turkish Grand Prix last weekend.
And Coulthard is in no doubt that Hamilton should be regarded in the same category as the legendary Schumacher.
He told Stats Perform News: “There is no question that if Michael was still racing today, at his prime, he would be staring in the eyes of his equal [Hamilton].
“Because I think Michael is exceptional and I think Lewis is exceptional. And I think the way that he won his championship in Istanbul was the perfect way to show how good he is.
“Coming from sixth on the grid, in very difficult conditions and to win by what was quite a big margin in the end.
“So there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that he is the real deal and not only is he one of the best drivers of his generation, arguably he is one of the best drivers in the history of the sport.”
Meanwhile, Hamilton is set to receive a knighthood in the New Year Honours following his record-breaking heroics this season.
And the reported news has been welcomed as “long overdue” for Britain’s “biggest sporting star”.
Hamilton won a record-equalling seventh world championship last Sunday and will receive the accolade in the New Year Honours, according to The Sun.
Former Labour cabinet minister Lord Hain, who serves as Chair for the All Party Parliamentary Group for Formula One, has written on two occasions to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for Hamilton, 35, to be honoured with a knighthood.
“If it is correct, I will be thrilled to see Lewis joining the pantheon of sporting knights because he is right up there with Sir Bradley Wiggins, Sir Mo Farah, Sir Andy Murray, Sir Alastair Cook and the others,” Hain told the PA news agency on Sunday.
“Lewis is not just a serial champion, he is actually the biggest British sporting star in the world by far. It is long overdue.
“The fact that his background is so humble, and the fact that he is black, just adds to his incredible achievement.
“It is not just what you see in the cockpit of his car, but also his charitable work and improving diversity in Formula One, which could have an impact on other sports.
“He is a role model for young girls and boys whatever their backgrounds, whatever their colour, to be able to reach for the sky.”