Formula 1 managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn believes that while Max Verstappen has been unlucky this year, Lewis Hamilton has set a new benchmark for the sport.
Hamilton, en route his 2020 Formula 1 world championship, equalled Michael Schumacher’s record of seven titles.
Although statistically Hamilton is still at the same level as Schumacher, Brawn feels that the British driver is one of the finest to have graced the sport. He ranked all the drivers in the past season and has no doubt that Hamilton is a clear frontrunner in the current generation.
“It has to be Lewis,” Brawn told the F1 Nation podcast. “I say has to be in the sense that he has set a new benchmark in terms of world championships.
“I think it’s very easy for people to assume that he had the best car,” he said. “It’s an easy exercise and it’s far from the case. He definitely won races he shouldn’t have won.”
Brawn said that the Istanbul race was Hamilton’s finest moment last term, where he started from the third row and went on to triumph.
“We think of Turkey, probably the most difficult race of the year, and he sat there quietly getting on with it until the opportunity came and there he was in the pound seat and he won the race.
“He just endorsed what we already knew, that he is a truly exceptional driver. Definitely in the higher echelons of the Schumacher’s and the Senna’s, he’s in that group, there’s no doubt about it.”
‘Verstappen the next best’
Brawn believes that Verstappen is the second-best driver on the circuit but luck has not been on his side.
“I thought Max matured very well this year,” he said. “If we think back to the Max of a couple of years ago…
“He was unlucky this year. There were a couple of times the car didn’t quite perform. He got caught up in accidents that were not his fault and we were deprived of seeing some great races.
“We’ve got a really great run of drivers and I think we were all massively excited by George Russell getting in the Mercedes. That was a fairy-tale story that didn’t quite happen but I don’t think we will forget that.
“We’ve had some great stories this year. I’m optimistic that we are going to have some great races in the future. We are going to try and improve the cars and the competitiveness and the ability to follow.”