Mercedes principal Toto Wolff believes Lewis Hamilton is on the same level as Michael Schumacher

AUTO-GER-F1-MERCEDES

Mercedes principal Toto Wolff believes five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton will only be appreciated for how good he is when he has retired.

Wolff went as far as to say Hamilton is on the same level as German legend Michael Schumacher, who is the most successful F1 driver ever with seven world championship titles and 91 Grand Prix wins.

He told The National: “Lewis, in my opinion, along with Michael, are the best we have ever seen.

"We're only going to realise when he retires one day. We tend to never acknowledge somebody's great performance while it happens.”

Wolff has looked over all of Hamilton’s success at Mercedes when he joined back in 2013 after winning his first world title for McLaren in 2008.

Since then, he has been able to flourish under Mercedes’ wing, winning four world titles. His most impressive coming last season against Sebastian Vettel as he won 11 of the 21 races.

However, Hamilton and Wolff have never always seen eye-to-eye.

As we know in 2016, Hamilton’s rivalry with teammate Nico Rosberg heated up when Hamilton infamously slowed down in an attempt to affect his colleague finishing out the top three so he would claim the championship.

That all seems to be forgotten from Wolff, however, who admitted: “This guy is really unbelievable, we're alive to witness an exceptional performer.

F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi

"I think we should recognise that while we are still racing. He's become a strong pillar of winning with the team, which is rather unusual for a driver; your driver is more complaining about the team than praising, and he praises.”

Mercedes have won 74 of the last 100 races, with Hamilton claiming 51 of them which is a remarkable record for the Brit.

Hamilton will be gearing up for his seventh season under Wolff and will be partnered alongside Valtteri Bottas, however, the British driver still believes he has what it takes to beat anyone over the course of the season.

Hamilton said: “Working with this team, you know, and just being in different place in my life where I'm working with a team and really managing to extract the most from this team."

Mercedes Formula One Team Launch 2017 Car

Mercedes will have the pleasure of introducing their new gadget when the season starts in Australia on March 17. The new F1 W10 is set to launch next week ahead of pre-season testing in Spain.

Hamilton is sure to thrive in his new toy.

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