Lewis Hamilton sealed his seventh F1 title last time out at Istanbul to equal Michael Schumacher’s longstanding record.
And, it should come as no surprise that this feat has once again ignited the debate about whether Hamilton’s success should be mainly attributed to driver skill or him driving the best car on the grid for almost all of the V6 hybrid era of Formula One.
Carlos Sainz, who will leave McLaren at the end of the season to join Scuderia Ferrari, has weighed in on the debate.
The Spaniard described Lewis Hamilton as one of F1’s “very best” drivers and said he believes 90 percent of the field would not be able to beat the Brit in equal machinery.
“I agree with Max [Verstappen] that 90 percent would probably win in the Mercedes, in the race and qualifying, but if you put half of the field against Hamilton in a Mercedes, then 90 percent of them would not beat him,” Sainz said.
“If you take Hamilton out of the competition, however, then everyone in the current field would probably win in a Mercedes. That describes quite well what is happening in Formula 1 today, but also that Hamilton is one of the very best – even if he has the best car,” he added.
“I look very carefully at how Hamilton delivers under pressure. How he manages to master all sectors so well in Q3 and to take pole position, even if he only has a small lead over [Valtteri] Bottas.
“In Austria, he beat Bottas by a second-and-a-half in the rain. He can do things that not everyone can do. But I would have to be his team-mate to give even more details,” Sainz concluded.
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