Verstappen is on course to win his third consecutive drivers’ title in F1 2023 after enjoying a dominant campaign.

The Dutchman broke the record for consecutive victories at the Italian Grand Prix, winning 10 races in a row.

Verstappen is on course to move ahead of Sebastian Vettel in the all-time F1 winners list this year, with Hamilton and Michael Schumacher only ahead of him.

While Ecclestone believes Verstappen is now F1’s best driver, he still had praise for Hamilton, labelling him as super-super bright, super-super talented, while making a clear distinction.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, the former F1 boss said: “Max is the best driver ever. No doubts. I used to say Alain Prost. Now I would say Max. He’s the greatest. He is brightest with regards to getting the best out of the car. He doesn’t muck around. He gets right on the programme. In my list he is above Lewis Hamilton.

“Lewis is obviously super-super bright, super-super talented. Lewis understands people and gets the best out of them, whereas Max gets the best out of the car. He’s very different from Max. When Lewis stops racing, he can get into a different world - entertainment or whatever - but that won’t be the way Max could go.”

Ecclestone continued to explain what makes Verstappen and Hamilton different, stating “nobody is like Lewis” in F1.

“I’ll tell you Max is one of us,” he added. “In our sphere of Formula One nobody is like Lewis, nobody is. I think in the early days he was a bit different from other people. At school, I was a bit under-sized, so it is a bit different, too. As it was with Lewis. He had his dad’s support.

“When you are a little undersized, or whatever, you have to have a bit to look after yourself. You have to be a fighter, perhaps. You see that a lot in business generally.”