Sebastian Vettel says he is full of admiration and respect for Lewis Hamilton after he equalled the all-time Formula 1 wins record, but believes Michael Schumacher remains the sport’s greatest driver.

Hamilton claimed the 91st victory of his career at the Eifel Grand Prix, moving him level with Schumacher’s benchmark for most F1 wins and likely to break the record before the end of the 2020 season. 

Four-time world champion Vettel admitted he never thought the record would be matched or beaten but said his “hero” Schumacher is still the best racing driver he has ever seen. 

"I think I can't respect his efforts enough," Vettel said about Hamilton’s record-equalling achievement at the Nurburgring. 

"It's been the number in my head that I thought would never be beaten or equalled. I think we can be quite certain he will exceed this number.

"Nevertheless, I have to say that Michael will always be my hero. And I think Michael had something about him that I haven't seen in another driver so far.”

Vettel believes Schumacher is a step ahead of his fellow competitors due a combination of his natural talent and incredible work ethic. 

"I think he was better than anybody else I've ever seen so far,” Vettel explained. “I think he had a natural talent that is very difficult to explain.

"I think if you saw him go karting, obviously I didn't see him at a young age but I did at an older age, and I was happy to join him in the Race of Champions a couple of times. So you see a little bit more of the skills and the car control.

"And both the karting experience and the Race of Champions experience, I think [showed] he had a natural ability that, as I said, I haven't seen with anyone else so far.

"On top of that, he had an incredible work ethic, but I think it's the combination of the two that for me stands out. I haven't seen a match yet.

"I looked up to Michael when I was a child and Lewis, I didn't look up to him when I was a child because I was racing him," Vettel added. "So it's a different situation going in.

“But probably in another 10, 15 or 20 years' time, there will be more admiration for that.

"Obviously, when you're still active, you're looking at yourself and not so much others. But as I said you cannot cherish him enough for what he has achieved."

 

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