Newly-crowned five-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton can be considered a “legend” of the sport, according to outgoing Daimler chairman and head of Mercedes-Benz cars Dieter Zetsche.

Hamilton moved level with former Mercedes driver Juan Manuel Fangio on five world championships as he beat Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to the 2018 title by finishing fourth in Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix.

Long-time supporter of Mercedes’ racing activities Zetsche celebrated Hamilton’s “well-deserved” feat of becoming just the third F1 driver in history - along with Fangio and all-time record holder Michael Schumacher – to win five or more championships.

Driver Ratings - Mexican GP

"This was one of the most epic race weekends I can recall," said Zetsche, who will step down from his role as chairman of the board of management at Daimler after 12 years in 2019.

"It's rare that one gets the opportunity to watch up close when athletes become legends and teams truly seal to become the absolute best in the world. That's what just happened.

"With this result, Lewis punched his well-deserved ticket to join that super exclusive club of just three drivers who've won five or more Formula 1 titles.

“I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet and work with all three of them at Mercedes-Benz. Each of those drivers dominated an era in motorsport - in his own way. Each is a very special personality and great athlete."

Zetsche praised the relentless work of the entire Mercedes team as it continued its remarkable run of securing every single drivers’ title on offer in the V6 hybrid era, while the German manufacturer is also poised to win a fifth consecutive constructors’ crown.

"With Lewis joining our team the most recent era of Mercedes success in motorsport began - now crowned by five drivers' world championships in a row for the team, four of them with Lewis,” he added.

“Even as the success grew, Lewis never stopped pushing himself to get even better. And so did the team, again and again.

"It's incredible what they have achieved and how far they have come thanks to tremendous passion, hard work and a lot of outstanding expertise."

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