Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel revealed he told Lewis Hamilton it was “special” to see “history being made” after the Mercedes driver sealed a record-equalling seventh Formula 1 world title at the Turkish Grand Prix.
Hamilton’s Turkey victory was his 10th of the season and the 94th of his career, helping the Briton match Michael Schumacher’s record of seven drivers’ titles.
Vettel was the first driver to congratulate Hamilton in parc ferme after the race, and the two shared a short moment before Hamilton celebrated his triumph with his team.
While the conversation between the two wasn’t audible on television, Vettel later explained that he wanted to let Hamilton know how significant the moment was in the sport’s history.
“I told him that it’s very special for us because we can witness history being made today,” Vettel told reporters after the race.
Asked whether he now considered Hamilton the greatest of all time, Vettel added: “I think he is the greatest of our era for sure. I think it’s always difficult to compare, how can you possibly compare (Juan Manuel) Fangio, Stirling Moss to our generation? You can’t.
“Maybe we would be useless because we’d all be shitting ourselves in those cars, maybe they would be useless in our cars because they’re way too fast, who knows? But it doesn’t matter. I think every era has its driver, or its drivers, and Lewis is certainly the biggest, greatest of our era.”
A final lap error from Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc helped Vettel onto the podium, which he shared with Hamilton and Racing Point’s Sergio Perez.
Vettel, who has now shared 10 of the last 11 championships with Hamilton, affirmed that countryman Schumacher remains his own personal benchmark.
However, Vettel said that Hamilton’s flawless drive in trying conditions in Turkey was “proof” of the Mercedes driver’s greatness, with Hamilton winning by over 30 seconds despite a lowly qualifying and poor start.
“To me, certainly emotionally, Michael will always be the greatest driver,” Vettel said.
“But there’s no doubt Lewis is the greatest in terms of what he has achieved. He’s equalled the championships, he has more races won, he has a lot more pole positions so I think he’s done everything you can ask for.
“I think today’s the best proof (of Hamilton’s greatness)… it’s a difficult race, a very difficult race to stay on track and two hours long, and probably if we’re honest, it wasn’t his race to win, and he still won it.
“I think once again he managed to pull something special out of that bag, and therefore I think he deserves everything he has achieved.”