Lewis Hamilton has avoided passing comment on whether F1 rival Sebastian Vettel has what it takes to ever taking the world championship title following the German's error-strewn 2010 campaign.
As the F1 field prepares for the final race in Europe before heading off on a five-round 'flyaway' finale in Asia and South America, Hamilton was asked for his view on the credential of title rivals Vettel and Mark Webber, who lead the chase in a five-way battle for the crown. Webber, who chased the Briton to the line in Belgium last time out, lies just three points adrift in second place, but Vettel - who crashed into another contender, Jenson Button, early on at Spa - is now 31 points behind in third place.
"You can see without a doubt that [Vettel] is extremely talented, he sits in a great car, is with a great team and I think that he has a good approach," Hamilton pointed out to the official F1 website, "He has clocked many pole positions so far and the difficult bit seems to turn those poles into wins. But that goes for everyone.
"Generally, when he's on form, he is fantastic. Sure, he had some troublesome races, but we all do once in a while and you always learn from these experiences. He is still so young and, for sure, he still has much to learn."
Asked whether he could empathise with what many have described as 'growing pains', the McLaren driver admitted that his sometimes troubled 2007 campaign was beginning to fade from memory.
"I cannot remember how I felt in 2007, [but] I can just say that I expected to make mistakes," he conceded, "But, hey, I was fighting for the world championship and I felt great.
"I would have never dreamed of being in such a situation in my first year in F1. I think it is completely different when it's your first year than being here for a couple of years. Sure, you question yourself all the time and try to improve your very self as everything that you're doing is commented on, but that is the name of the game."
Regardless of Vettel's faux pas
this year, Hamilton refuses to dismiss any of his rivals - a number that also includes former McLaren nemesis Fernando Alonso following Wednesday's FIA ruling on the latest team orders row - as all bar Webber have won championships in their career.
"Most of the drivers on the F1 grid have, at one stage of their career, won a championship, and I would say that it is not much difference if it is the F1 championship, or European or British championship," he reasoned, "When you win a championship, the effort to get the title is very similar, so we have all experienced that."