Ayrton Senna's former teammate Gerhard Berger says Lewis Hamilton is the only driver he rates on the same level as the Brazilian legend.
Three-time world champion Senna is regarded by many to be the greatest driver in F1 history. Hamilton entered F1 in 2007 with a yellow helmet in tribute to his boyhood hero and has now surpassed him in terms of wins and championships, with 75 victories and five titles to his name and only Michael Schumacher's name ahead of him in both categories. In 2017 Hamilton surpassed the pole position record of 65 set by Senna.
Berger, a winner of 10 F1 races in a 14-year career, was Senna's teammate when the Brazilian won titles with McLaren in 1990 and 1991. The former Ferrari driver has been impressed with Hamilton's recent run of dominance, which includes four titles in the past five years, and thinks the two champions are worthy of comparison.
"Everybody always asks me, 'How do you see this driver against Ayrton?" Berger said. "And I always in all the years say, 'I don't see anybody near to Ayrton.' But Lewis is the first driver I put on the same level as Ayrton.
"The guy is outstandingly fast. He makes a bit less mistakes than the others, and what impressed me so much with him when you have won as much as he's won is you [might] think, 'Today now I'm second, either I'm going to run over his head and I win, or I'm out.'
"He doesn't do it, he just stays there and waits, 'OK I finish second, take the points.' It looks like he is just running the game in such a good way now that he's unbeatable at the moment.
"I see really a lot of the championships that was won by Mercedes in the last few years, it was Lewis and engine. The engine was outstanding, yes. But Lewis, in the wet, on a quick circuit, on a street circuit, qualifying, he's always there.
"He won the championship five times, he won one race after the next one. Yes, he's in the best car with the best engine, but he's also the best -- by far the best man at the moment."
Schumacher currently holds the F1 record for victories (91) and world championships (seven). The health of the Ferrari legend is still a closely-guarded secret, although it is believed he still requires care for the head injuries he sustained in a skiing accident in December 2013.
Berger believes Hamilton has a legitimate shot at replacing Schumacher at the top, even if he wants the German to stay there given his current condition.
"I think Lewis, if nothing happens to him and he keeps going like this, for the next two or three years, I think he's always going to be onto the championship. Definitely he has the chance.
"Also what happened with Michael, on one side I would like to protect Michael's success, because it's such a tragedy, and so sad. But when you put this all out for a moment, and say let's see, then Lewis Hamilton is a very special driver from all the time I watched F1."