Since leaving McLaren at the end of 2012 to join Mercedes, Hamilton has gone on to become statistically the most successful F1 driver of all time, racking up the most wins, pole positions and equalling Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world championships. 

Vergne, who competed in F1 with Toro Rosso between 2012 and 2014, argued that Hamilton created his own luck with the timing of his move to Mercedes in an interview on F1’s Beyond The Grid podcast. 

“Some people may call it luck but with time I realise that this is not entirely true,” Vergne said. “The best example to me is Lewis. 

“I remember in India 2012, he was still with McLaren and he was going to Mercedes. Mercedes was a new team, it was not winning any races - it was far from winning any races. 

“I told him ‘you’re crazy, why do you go there? You’re in the best Formula 1 team with McLaren’ and he said: ‘because I need to build this team around me, I need that to beat Sebastian [Vettel]’, who was of course winning everything back then. 

“And when I look at the career that Lewis now has with Mercedes, what he’s done is anything but luck. 

“The guy trusted the people that were in the team at the beginning,” Vergne added. “He could read them, he could understand them, with Toto Wolff and all the technical guys behind and the money that was going to be injected into this team. 

"He knew that he had all the chances if he worked well with the team to make this team the most successful team in the decade and him the most successful driver of all time - and that’s what he has done. 

“Many people can say ‘he has the best car, it has been easy for him’, but he’s built that luck. He’s built that team together with Toto and all the people in Mercedes. 

“That’s not luck. That’s hard work and that’s having a long-term vision that he had, and that’s something many drivers don’t have.” 

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Hamilton is aiming to become the first driver in history to win eight world championships but is currently 12 points behind Red Bull driver Max Verstappen in this year’s title race. 

Asked who he feels is going to come out on top in the final five races, Vergne replied: “I cannot tell you, I really cannot tell you. 

“I think Lewis doesn’t have anything more to prove in Formula 1, I don’t know if the driver who will improve his record is even born. I would love to see Max and Lewis in the same car, it would be very interesting.” 

Hamilton and Verstappen have crashed twice so far this season at Silverstone and Imola as their title fight has intensified, prompting comparisons to other famous F1 rivalries such as Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost

“May the best one win and I just hope there will not be any Senna-Prost things like at Suzuka, I hope none of these things are going to happen at the end of the season, regarding who is going to have the most points,” Vergne continued. 

“I hope to see a good fight. I also like to see Lewis fight with Max, I think he has been very nice to Max more than once at the beginning of the year with Max being very aggressive. 

“Lewis responded to him. I think the crash at Silverstone was just Lewis responding. He was also on the inside and it was a racing incident but for once Lewis did not back up, like he did a few times at Imola. 

“The tension between them is just increasing and it’s nice to see.”