Michael Schumacher remains Formula 1’s best driver, according to Sebastian Vettel, in the wake of Lewis Hamilton matching his all-time win record.
Hamilton’s win at the Nürburgring drew him level with Schumacher’s record tally of 91 victories.
Vettel, third on the all-time list with 53 wins, grew up idolising Schumacher before competing against him in Formula 1 for three years, as well as successfully teaming up at the Race of Champions on several occasions.
Vettel praised Hamilton for his ability and achievements but went on to adulate Schumacher, believing he remains the benchmark.
“I can always say Michael will always be my hero and I think Michael had something about him that I haven’t seen in other drivers so far,” he said.
“It’s probably the fact I looked up to him when I was a child, and Lewis I didn’t look up to when I was a child as I was racing him, so it’s a different situation.
“Probably in another 15-20 years’ time there will be more admiration for that.
“But obviously when you are still active you are looking at yourself and not so much at others.”
When pushed on that viewpoint Vettel said: “I think he was just better than anybody else I have seen so far. I think he had a natural talent that is very difficult to explain.
“If you see him go-karting, obviously I didn’t see him at a young age but at an older age, I was happy to join him in the Race of Champions a couple of times and you see a bit more skills and car control.
“I think 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 is a combination of the two that stands out. I haven’t seen a match yet.”