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Stewart maintains view Vettel still isn't an F1 great

13 December 2012

Three-time F1 world champion Sir Jackie Stewart has reiterated the belief that Sebastian Vettel still can't be considered a 'great of the sport', despite the fact the German won his third title in succession last month in Brazil.

In an interview on Sky Sports F1, Stewart emphasised that while he does rate the Red Bull Racing man very highly, he thinks the 25-year-old still needs to prove himself in lesser machinery before he can be ranked alongside the likes of Juan Manuel Fangio, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher.

Stewart also added that it is foolish to grade a current driver against those of the past while they are still actively competing.

“I don't think anyone can [be considered a great of the sport] while they're still racing. I don't think you can be considered that way until time has passed. It's like I don't think there should be a Hall of Fame [place] for somebody because they did well last year,” Stewart explained.

“He's won three World Championships now but he has unquestionably had the very best car for three consecutive years if you like. So it's not that I'm in any way diminishing his achievement - I think he's the most mature 25-year-old F1 driver I've ever experienced or seen or witnessed, so my respect for his qualities are fantastic.

"But just because he's won three World Championships doesn't necessarily mean he's up to Fangio or he's up to [Alain] Prost or [Jim] Clark or [Niki] Lauda or [Nelson] Piquet.

"You've got to do it with the less good cars and you've got to see where the real opposition's coming from in order for that to happen.

“But having said that, because of his age he should eventually without doubt be one of the greatest drivers in the world.”