Sir Jackie Stewart has said that he believes that current Formula 1 World Championship title leader Lewis Hamilton has the potential to 'create the benchmark' for F1 stars of the future.

Just four races in to his F1 career, Hamilton has rocked the established order by leading the title race after a run of four podiums in as many starts - including a hat-trick of second places. It means he now leads defending champion, and team-mate, Fernando Alonso by two points.

While his performances so far mean he has already secured his place in the record books with the best start to a season for a rookie driver, Stewart said Hamilton's success to date is merely the first step on the ladder to the top.

"I think he is going to rewrite the book," the triple champion told The Daily Telegraph. "We will see a new generation of what I call properly prepared professional racing drivers. I don't think there is one who is that. Schumacher became that but I am talking about fully-rounded. Schumacher was not as good as he should have been, not in terms of the driving but the total package.

"I believe Lewis will create the new benchmark for a whole generation of drivers. Nikki Lauda and James Hunt changed the culture of racing drivers. They were not role models. They said nothing, didn't give a damn. Lewis Hamilton can become the role model. Everybody needs one."

Stewart added that Hamilton's approach to F1 was totally different to that of Kimi Raikkonen, the man charged with trying to continue the run of success enjoyed at Ferrari by seven-time champion Michael Schumacher, and it was that differing approach that will ultimately give the young Briton the edge.

"The way he [Raikkonen] lives his life is contrary to allowing him to put together the complete package, the kind that allowed Schumacher to win multiple championships, Senna and Prost, Jim Clark or even me," JYS added. "It is an attitude, a mentality, a way of doing business. Our lifestyle, mind, make-up was different from a Raikkonen.

"That is why Hamilton has the opportunity to be dominant over time and Raikkonen doesn't, unless something substantial changes."



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