Lewis Hamilton has made the most of the dominant car at his disposal and there’s a strong possibility he will become F1‘s greatest driver of all time. That is the verdict of former F1 team boss Eddie Jordan, who has a problem with Michael Schumacher being branded as the sport’s best ever competitor.
Hamilton once again proved he is the man to beat in F1 by securing a sixth World Drivers’ Championship of his career last season.
The 35-year-old is now just seven Grand Prix wins from matching Schumacher’s record haul, while another title would see him equal the German’s tally.
Hamilton has another few years in F1 ahead of him and is expected to commit his future to reigning constructors’ champions Mercedes soon.
Jordan believes Hamilton can go on to surpass the likes of Hamilton, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost to become F1’s greatest of all time.
And the Irishman says there is a clear problem which stops him from heaping too much praise on Ferrari legend Schumacher.
“Michael Schumacher, I have a little issue with Michael and people often say to me ‘who was the best driver I ever had’,” Jordan told Off The Ball.
“We talk about [Heinz-Harald] Frentzen, [Giancarlo] Fisichella, [Rubens] Barrichello and [Eddie] Irvine. We left a couple of people out – Johnny Herbert, who won a championship with me, and [Jean] Alesi.
“I gave up driving in 1982 and took on a young driver and brought him to Macau, gave him his first ever drive in Formula 3, and then went to Macau with another team, the Marlboro team, and we won there.
“He changed his name, from there on in he drove in Formula 1 and his name was Ayrton Senna. People don’t often remember that Senna started with me, just like Damon Hill did, another world champion, and then Michael.
“But if you put them all together and you’re asking me who do I think was the best driver… of course Michael had outstanding talent, but so had Senna.
“It’s always a really difficult call to know which of the two… I’m usually one who causes some consternation or chaos with this because I believe neither of those drivers were the best I’ve driven against or been part of. I always come back to Alain Prost.
“People kind of say ‘what, is he being serious?’. But you know the thing is Alain Prost won four world titles, he lost one by half a point, he lost another world title… but what I liked about Alain – he stood the test of time.
“He now works with us, he’s on French television… and he’s still the same guy. We were in a team in 1979, with the Marlboro world championship team, he was a young kid there like me.
“What he achieved, a young Frenchman at that time then, was amazing. The one point that stuck out for me stronger than anyone else – he never minded who his team-mate was.
“He was a team player. And when I reflect back on all the contracts I had to sign with Ferrari with the great Michael Schumacher… no doubt about his outstanding talent… he lets himself down in one area for me.
“That one area was that in every contract, whether I signed with Irvine or Barrichello or whoever they were – there was a clause there that they always had to play second-fiddle to Michael Schumacher.
“I just wish for my own belief… I want him to be the best, but I can’t. I just feel, somebody who had the most unbelievable natural talent, in a similar sort of level to Senna. People had more of a love-affair about Senna because they wanted to believe he was the best.
“Probably Michael was the most talented, but for me the best driver I’ve seen in the thirty or so years I was around the thing was Alain Prost.
“That’s probably going to change very shortly because I do feel that Lewis Hamilton has achieved all of those things. Okay, in a different era where there is a monopoly – the car is quite simply staggering – but nevertheless he has maximised it.
“I would say by the next couple of months, if there is a championship this year, we’ll see yet another champion achieving seven world titles. I think Lewis Hamilton has every chance to be the greatest driver of all time.”