Lewis Hamilton the best and worst thing to happen to F1 - Bernie Ecclestone

Lewis Hamilton is "the best and worst" thing to happen to Formula 1, according to former CEO Bernie Ecclestone.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Ecclestone praised Hamilton and what he's done for the sport, but believes he's now reached such a celebrity status that the attention is often on him, rather than F1.

"Lewis is super and there is no doubt about that," the 88-year-old said. "He is the only real character we have got in the sport, and it is a pity there are not two or three drivers like him."

"It is almost as if he now treats Formula 1 as a hobby", Ecclestone added in relation to the Briton's lifestyle away from F1. He has more than 10 million followers on Instagram, is frequently spotted with Hollywood A-listers and has his own fashion collection in partnership with Tommy Hilfiger.

"Lewis is the best and worst thing to happen to Formula 1.

"The best, because he is Formula 1. The worst, because he takes so much of the attention for himself and that is not his fault.

"I wouldn't like to think anyone is bigger than Formula 1 but he is certainly bigger than anyone else, even any of the teams.

"We have a Formula 1 superstar in England, but do we appreciate him? Probably not."

Although Ecclestone is backing Sebastian Vettel for the title this year, he says there's no reason why Hamilton cannot go on to beat Michael Schumacher's record seven championships.

"There is no reason why he shouldn't," he added.