Lewis Hamilton is the only driver to perform at the same level as Ayrton Senna, according to the Brazilian’s former teammate Gerhard Berger.
May 1 will mark 25 years since the death of the three-time champion, who lost his life at Imola at the age of 34. Berger was Senna’s teammate at McLaren from 1990-1992, and says Hamilton is the first driver he ranks alongside the Brazilian, despite the likes of Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost, Juan Manuel Fangio and Sebastian Vettel having won more championships.
“Everybody asks me ‘How do you see this driver against Ayrton?’ and I always, in all the years, say ‘I don’t see anybody near to Ayrton’,” Berger is quoted as saying by Reuters. “But Lewis is (now) the first driver I put on the same level as Ayrton.
“I go more by feeling and watching (than statistics), and for me — and there were great champions like Nelson (Piquet), like Niki (Lauda), like Prost, like Michael – there has always been one above: Ayrton. And now Lewis I see in the same league.”
Hamilton surpassed Senna to hold the record for the most pole positions by one driver, and while Berger is certain Senna would have added to his record had he not suffered his fatal accident in 1994, he says the way Hamilton is accumulating results is what leads him to place the two side-by-side.
“The comparison? I see still Ayrton winning the game because in the end Ayrton was such a charming guy and a personality,” Berger said. “And obviously if someone loses his life and stays with us in the way of a legend, it’s always something special.
“But I try to see it from a performance point and from a performance point, Lewis is going from one pole position to the next one and Lewis is going from one race win to the next one. Just like Ayrton did.
“It looks like he’s just running the game in such a good way that he’s unbeatable at the moment. Yes he’s in the best car and best engine, but he also is the best. By far the best man at the moment.”