Sebastian Vettel says that he has not seen a better driver in Formula One than Michael Schumacher, despite Lewis Hamilton equalling the German’s record of 91 wins last weekend.
The British driver took the chequered flag to equal the record at the Nurburgring on Saturday, the same track at which Schumacher secured a circuit record five race victories during his own illustrious career.
Vettel, who is leaving his current team Ferrari to join Aston Martin from next season, believes that whilst he has a lot of respect for Hamilton, having raced against him throughout his Formula One career, Schumacher cannot be matched.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Vettel said: “I think I can’t respect his (Hamilton’s) efforts enough.
“It’s been the number in my head that I thought would never be beaten or equalled. I think we can be quite certain he will exceed this number.
“Nevertheless, I have to say that Michael will always be my hero. And I think Michael had something about him that I haven’t seen in another driver so far.
I think he was better than anybody else I’ve ever seen so far. I think he had a natural talent that is very difficult to explain.
“I think if you saw him go karting, obviously I didn’t see him at a young age, but I did at an older age, and I was happy to join him in the Race of Champions a couple of times. So you see a little bit more of the skills and the car control.
“On top of that, he had an incredible work ethic, but I think it’s the combination of the two that for me stands out. I haven’t seen a match yet.”
A four-time world champion, Vettel also raced in F1 alongside Schumacher when the German made his comeback to the sport between 2010 and 2012.
He has also had plenty of battles with Hamilton throughout their respective F1 careers, with the duo having both made their debuts in 2007.
The German raced at Indianapolis for BMW Sauber, before making the move to Toro Rosso, whilst Hamilton came within one point of his first Drivers’ Championship crown in his first full season with McLaren.
They were involved in a two-way fight for the title for large parts of 2017 and 2018, with Mercedes’ Hamilton triumphing on both occasions.
Vettel added: “I looked up to Michael when I was a child and Lewis, I didn’t look up to him when I was a child because I was racing him.
“But probably in another 10, 15 or 20 years’ time, there will be more admiration for that. But obviously when you’re still active, you’re looking at yourself and not so much others. But as I said you cannot cherish him enough for what he has achieved.”
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