Lewis Hamilton says the legacy left behind by Ayrton Senna will always see him regarded as one of Formula 1’s “most iconic” drivers.

Wednesday marks 25 years since Senna died from injuries sustained in a crash during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, a weekend marred by tragedy as Austrian driver Roland Ratzenberger also lost his life following a separate incident in qualifying.

Senna won three world championship titles with McLaren and has been an idol for Hamilton throughout the Briton’s career.

Speaking during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend, Hamilton said: “For me, Ayrton is always in his own light, and he’s always on his own unique level that as a driver you just aspire to emulate or be like.

“I grew up watching videos. He’s the most iconic driver. He was an iconic individual, a real leader and a master of his craft.

“He was the driver that inspired me as a kid. Still, a hero today, and will always be.

“[It was] what he stood for and what he stood up against and what he was able to do in a car that I loved to see.”

Senna’s former teammate Gerhard Berger recently said Hamilton, who already has five drivers’ title to his name, is the only driver he considers to be on the same level as the Brazilian.

Asked about Berger’s comments, Hamilton replied: “Well that’s the first time I’ve heard of it. Wow.

“Gerhard got to race alongside him and was a really good friend of his. So that said means a lot coming from him, someone who knew him so well, and yeah it’s quite humbling to be put even in the same sentence as someone like him.”

Four-time world champion and Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel also paid tribute to Senna in Baku.

“Obviously Michael [Schumacher] is my big hero,” he said. “So a bit different and I know that for a lot of people they compare one with the other, some say Michael is better some say Ayrton is better, I don’t think it’s necessary to compare.

“I think they’re both great. Surely Ayrton had his peak era before Michael. It would’ve been interesting to see both of them go head to head. But yeah, I think for many reasons he’s considered one of the greatest.

“What he achieved in such a short amount of time and the precision he had behind the wheel was unique.

“I remember watching and following on TV, I’m not sure I understood back then what it meant, because it wasn’t clear straightaway that he was dead but yeah, my father was a big Senna fan and he was obviously shocked.

“So, I remember the moment for sure when it happened and I think all the fans around the world went silent for that time. Certainly a big loss for Formula 1.”