Lewis Hamilton could justifiably be called the “best of his generation”.
That was the view of quadruple world champion and F1 legend Alain Prost, after the Mercedes driver raced past his own title tally by securing a fifth drivers’ crown in Mexico.
Prost said it makes Hamilton “one of the best, if not the best of his generation”.
“He deserves it so much this year, because Ferrari had the better car over the season,” said another former world champion, Nico Rosberg, according to Auto Bild.
“Now he really can look at what Michael (Schumacher) achieved. He has two more years of contract and 20 more wins so the possibility exists for him to be statistically the best of all time. I’m sure that will motivate him more,” said the German.
Indeed, as he digested his title loss to Hamilton, Vettel told the British driver in person to “to keep pushing for next year”.
“I need him at his best to fight him again,” the German said on Sunday.
Frenchman Prost, now an advisor for Renault, was particularly impressed with the new five-time champion Hamilton.
“Multiple world champions are obviously doing something different from the others. The biggest different I notice about Lewis is how he forces himself to become an even better driver.
“This was perhaps his best season and he can be even better,” Prost said. “Even if his car is not that good, he takes second or third place, and if he has to do something special in qualifying he is able to, like in Singapore.”
Prost also praised Mercedes for how it supports Hamilton in expressing his talent.
“His team supports Lewis in his special way of life, which gives him a lot of confidence and strength which is very important to him.”
As for how Hamilton stacks up against the greats of all time, Prost answered: “You cannot compare the generations.
“Senna and I were perhaps the best of ours. Now you can only say that Lewis is one of the best, if not the best of his generation.
“Sebastian also had a good season, but not good enough to beat the combination of Lewis and Mercedes. He made mistakes at the wrong time, as in Baku or Hockenheim, otherwise he would have been 30 points ahead at the time and with less pressure.
“Lewis was just psychologically very strong against Seb this year,” said Prost. “He was very mature. Under the circumstances, it was impossible to beat him.”