With Lewis Hamilton equalling Michael Schumacher’s seven World Championships and breaking his grand prix win record this season, the Brit was increasingly being presented as the greatest driver to ever race in Formula One.
Of course, not everyone was in agreement.
Many people still consider Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna, among others, to have had more raw talent in their prime – and many critics inside and outside the F1 paddock like to stress that Hamilton’s success has come as a result of him having the best car on the grid and a relatively weak, compliant team-mate in Valtteri Bottas.
However, the same could be argued for most other greats of the sport, but the Sakhir Grand Prix has highlighted just how dominate the Mercedes W11 is and has lowered Valtteri Bottas’ stock in the paddock.
There’s no doubting that George Russell, like Lewis Hamilton, is an exceptional racing driver.
But, the fact that he was able to jump into the Mercedes and top numerous sessions over the weekend and be set to win the race shows just how dominant the car is.
Furthermore, it shows that Bottas is perhaps not as good as many of us think – and the fact he is able to get so close to Hamilton in qualifying (and even occasionally beats him) unquestionably makes the seven-time World Champion look bad.
After all, Bottas has been with Mercedes for several years and he really shouldn’t be getting outperformed by a guy making his F1 debut with the team in a car which he can barely squeeze into.
All things considered, Russell and Bottas’ performance at the Sakhir GP unquestionably adds weight to the argument that Lewis Hamilton’s success in Formula One is ultimately down to him having the best car.
And, in light of this, I think it’s impossible to argue that Hamilton is Formula One’s GOAT, as he just has to beat a relatively weak team-mate and let the car take him to victory.
It’s even difficult to argue that he is the best driver on the current F1 grid, especially when you look at how well Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen are doing in their respective underperforming cars.