Legendary F1 commentator Murray Walker says that Lewis Hamilton is a better driver than both Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna.
Walker, who turns 97 in October, did F1 commentaries for the BBC over four different decades before retiring from full-time work in 2001.
Mercedes driver Hamilton leads the World Drivers’ Championship heading into this weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone, and winning the title this season would draw him level with Schumacher’s record of seven.
He says Hamilton is greater than Schumacher, who won his titles between 1994 and 2004, and Brazilian legend Senna, because he is as “clean as a whistle”.
He explained, as per The Sun: “Well, people say to me, ‘Who is the greatest?’, and I always say, ‘Look, I think it’s impossible to say, because the drivers and the circuits and the cars were different’.
“Juan Manuel Fangio took a lot of beating, Jim Clark, Sir Jackie Stewart – there again I could go on – but which is the best I really don’t know.
“I used to say Fangio. I think I’m going to have to say very shortly Lewis Hamilton, because if you look at it in terms of statistics, he’s already got more poles than Schumacher.
“He’s (Hamilton) got at least three years in him if he doesn’t hurt himself or leave Mercedes for some reason or they decide to stop, in which case he’s got at least another three championships ahead of him, so statistically he will become the greatest.
“But he’s also in my opinion – and this is very contentious indeed – better than either Schumacher or Senna because both of them, Schumacher and Senna, adopted at various times in their career highly debatable driving tactics.
“Like Schumacher stopping deliberately at Monaco to prevent Fernando Alonso getting pole position, like Schumacher colliding with Jacques Villeneuve at Jerez in 1997, like Senna with Alain Prost in 1990 in Japan, and Lewis Hamilton has never been anything like that.
“He’s always driven as clean as a whistle. He’s an extremely nice, gigantically talented driver, and I don’t think we’ve ever seen anybody like him before.”
Hamilton and Mercedes have dominated the V6 turbo engine era, which began in 2014, claiming the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship double in every season bar one.
On that occasion, in 2016, the 35-year-old’s then-teammate Nico Rosberg won the title before retiring that winter.
Hamilton’s win at the British Grand Prix last weekend – in which he completed the majority of the final lap with a punctured front left tyre – was his 87th win in the sport, four behind Schumacher’s record of 91.
He also has the record for most pole positions, his 91 putting him ahead of Schumacher, Senna and current Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel.
Victory at Silverstone this weekend would see Hamilton extend his lead at the top of the championship, which currently stands at 30 points over teammate Valtteri Bottas, with four of the provisionally scheduled 13 races already completed.
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