Lewis Hamilton is the greatest wheel-to-wheel racer in the history of Formula 1, outstripping legends such as Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna, according to Eddie Irvine.
Hamilton's consistent brilliance has steered him towards a sixth world title in 2019, with an error-strewn German GP the only major blot on his copy book this year.
Schumacher and Senna, while both the undoubted superstars of their eras, often got into scrapes when racing other drivers; Senna notoriously tangled with Alain Prost in successive title-deciders, while Schumacher won the 1994 championship in controversial circumstances after a collision with Damon Hill, before he was disqualified from the 1997 standings for a similar incident involving Jacques Villeneuve.
Schumacher's former Ferrari colleague believes Hamilton is the best Sunday driver that F1 has seen.
"Hamilton is the best racer ever, much better than Schumacher in the wheel-to-wheel duel, much better than Senna," Irvine told RTL.
The 1999 drivers' championship runner-up said Hamilton is "only very rarely involved in accidents" and the "cleanest driver in a very long time", whereas by comparison Schumacher made "many mistakes" in his career.
Although Hamilton has already surpassed Schumacher's record of pole positions, Irvine says his former team-mate's ability to extract pace remains untouchable.
"For sheer speed, Michael was one of a kind, he was so damn fast, there was never anybody who could get up to speed," said Irvine.
"It was incredible to be his teammate, sometimes I had his telemetry data in my hand and just wondering how he could be so fast."
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