Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2017

Hamilton “undoubtedly” at Senna’s level – Lowe

F1 Fanatic Round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton’s former engineer Paddy Lowe rates him alongside fellow three-times champion Ayrton Senna, whose pole positions tally he equalled last week.

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Comment of the day

Is Max Verstappen realising his future lies outside Red Bull?

The awful truth of why Red Bull manages the car around the Renault engine so poorly is down to the very sole and important fact – but bluntly overlooked fact by many – that will make McLaren never leave Honda. You can’t win if your engine supplier has their own team in F1.

He knows Ron Dennis was right when he said ‘customers can’t win titles’, but he can’t change teams. And the team doesn’t want to lose him. He’s stuck and realising it.
Jules (@Xiasitlo)

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On this day in F1

  • Michael Schumacher took pole position for the Canadian GP today in 1997

151 comments on “Hamilton “undoubtedly” at Senna’s level – Lowe”

  1. Odd that Ocon is using the T-cam instead of the cockpit one!

    1. Also, driving a Mercedes…

    2. Says it all about cockpit view on the F1 titles doesn’t it.

      1. It’s official, I love Ocon now!

        1. Ocon is a future star forsure

      2. How does that say it all? Perhaps, and I know this might sound crazy, but perhaps he prefers the t-cam in the game, because it makes it way easier. FYI the cockpit cam in F1 games is fully adjustable for height and field of view, so it’s actually really good.

    3. What steering wheel is he using though? If it is good enough for him it must be good enough for us all!

      1. Looks to be a Logitech G29. Fairly standard.

      2. G29, and it’s not a good wheel, it’s a cheap entry level wheel, one of the weakest on the market.

  2. customers can’t win titles

    1. I’m trying to think back…
      Has anyone ever done it?

      1. Brawn, 2009.
        Red Bull, 2010.

        Before that, a dry spell of almost 30 years, going back to Williams in 1982, if I am not mistaken.

        1. Did McLaren have official works team status in 09 or what’s your reasoning?

          1. @faulty
            Does it really matter? Brawn was an engine customer team in 2009, and that’s what the question was about.

        2. Jared H (@thejaredhuang)
          14th June 2017, 20:12

          Neither Mercedes nor Renault were constructors in 2009 and 2010. Renault sold most of the team in 2010 and were definitely checked out as constructors by mid-season.

          To be clear I’m referring to winning the constructors title. I think there have been plenty of customers that have won races over works teams.

          I went back to 1980 and couldn’t find a customer WCC while their engine supplier had a works team.

        3. Benetton 1994 (Ford customer) and 1995 (Renault customer, supply obtained by purchasing Ligier)

      2. No-one has and will with the new generation of “power units.”

        1. @petebaldwin, as others have pointed out, there weren’t exactly a plethora of customer teams winning titles before the current engine rules were introduced. If you are a customer team, the chances are that you will almost certainly not have the same level of resources that the factory backed teams will have – that will probably be the very reason why you are a customer in the first place, and in that situation the engine format is effectively irrelevant.

          nase has given a few examples, but even they are something of an exception to the norm. Whilst Brawn did win in 2009, they were formed from the remnants of the works Honda team; as for Red Bull in 2010, although they were a customer, they were getting an enhanced level of support and were closer to being a semi-works team that year (by 2011, Horner declared that Red Bull has become the Renault works team).

          nase, just to clarify, when you are talking about winning a title, I presume from your examples that you are referring to the constructors title. If it is constructors, you’re probably thinking of Williams winning the title in 1981 – that said, I cannot recall correctly if Benetton was a works team or technically a customer Renault team in 1995.

          1. Even if the customer get the exact same engine/software than the manufacturer they are still 100% dependant on the manufacturer for the updates/upgrades. Renault/RedBull present situation is a very good example of this: RedBull needs a significant perf update to play their game, whereas Renault is more than happy to focus reliability with minor engine improvements in order to finish at their targeted 5th spot. They know there is more to gain from their chassis on a lap than with the 20hp deficit they have to Mercedes and this is much safer to do, too bad for RedBull.

            They can complain as much as they want, Renault have their own development program and RedBull needs are not part of it: this is effectively what it means to be a customer team.

  3. Interesting re: COTD.

    For me, Maxs actions and approach to F1 is a reflection of what Jos would of done differently if he was to have his F1 career all over again. By that, I mean he takes no prisoners, puts himself first and ensures he is not coming across as submissive or a “nice guy”. I respect that.

    The irony with this all, and hindsight is a wonderful thing, but a huge leverage point behind Max replacing Kvyat post Sochi 2016 was the Verstappens threats of signing to Mercedes if Max wasn’t put in the Red Bull, given Maxs initial contract was set to expire at the end of that season. If they had bide their time a little bit, or if Red Bull didn’t give in to the Verstappens threats, theres every possibility that Max would be driving the other Mercedes this year.

    1. Spot on. Max came so fast that they changed the requirements on the Super License. So there is an mentality gap between him and the others drivers in how they approach their careers. Max has a bigger risk in wasting his career by choices he’ll make. I’m very afraid he’ll turn into Grosjean. The similarities are there.

      Btw… thx for the COTD.

      1. 100% @xiasitlo. There’s all this talk about Max becoming a multiple world champion when in reality, at present, he is the winner of one Grand Prix.

        There has been 849 drivers participate in F1 races since 1950, and of them only 33 of them went on to become world champions. Thats a 3.9% strike rate. Point being, statistically most drivers end up when he finds himself at present, yet Max views it somewhat as a travesty of justice.

        Max has age on his side, and a lot of variables for him to become a WDC are simply out of his control. If I was him, I would simply shut up and get on with it. His day will come.

        1. So you need an other political correct PR puppy?

          1. What an irrelevant comment. Being politically correct or not does not change his frame of mind.

          2. @Erikje No, but his result don’t warrant his entitlement eihter imho. Max only has 1 win to his name, was more than matched by Sainz at Toro Rosso, was beaten in the standings last year by Ricciardo and yet again this year.

            Historically only 3.9% of F1 drivers become world champion, and with Max, although highly entertaining, it’s often hit and miss so far in his career. At the very least he has an awful lot to prove before he’s gonna be amongst the sport’s elite imho.

          3. @jeffreyj: Tell us about the ‘miss’ part of Verstappen’s career please? I’ll provide some analysis. Overall, it’s hard to make the point that he missed a beat anywhere.

            F3 2014: Verstappen won more races than Ocon in his first season of open wheel racing. His engine broke down which affected 4 races through multiple penalties, which took him out of the running for the championship.
            F1 2015: In his first season at Torro Rosso he battled Sainz who had 4 seasons of prior open wheel racing experience. In the beginning Sainz beat Verstappen in both qualifying and race. However, of the last 5 races, Verstappen beat Sainz 4 times in qualifying and 4 times in the race. This is clear progress, and it took him only one season to get ahead of a driver with much more experience.
            F1 2016: A similar progression can be seen at RB. He was catapulted into the RB12 after race 4 without having any decent preparation, so he was way behind Ricciardo when he started. Again, in the first half of the season he acquainted himself with the new situation, and at the end he was a match for Ricciardo in both qualifying and race results.
            F1 2017: This year at RB he has been ahead of Ricciardo in every single race. Go watch the races back if your have a different perception. It’s only due to bad luck that he couldn’t convert his performances into points. Ricciardo wouldn’t have any podium this year if Max hadn’t been eliminated by Bottas’ misjudgement, team strategy or car failure. Even in qualifying, which has been his (relative) weak point, he is now matching Ricciardo.

            As a Dutchie I am a Verstappen fan. But that doesn’t mean that I just blindly shout anything without doing some base analysis. Max shows a very steady progression in his career.

          4. @br444m I’m Dutch too and Max is my favorite driver to watch currently. But that doesn’t mean I watch every race through orange glasses…

            As for your list, I’m not going through everything because the sun is shining and I have something else to do ;) but you have to admit that some of his 2014 F3 retirements and non-scores were his own fault, along with some spectacular wins and overtakes (hit and miss). The same thing with his fantastic performances in first season and then also his mistakes at Monaco, UK and Abu Dhabi. Last year again was hit and miss with great drives in Spain, UK and Brazil but severe misses in Australia, Monaco and the US pitsop for example. Also, in races like Germany and Malaysia Ricciardo was simply better on pure pace and the standings showed it at the end of the season. This year Max has had three retirements due to technical issues but Ricciardo has two himself aswell and is just always there to bring home the points. That’s why he’s up by 22 pts.

            All I’m saying is that Max shows great potential but still has a lot to prove.

    2. Red Bull were tipped to be Championship Contenders this year. What if he had swapped and the Red Bull came good again?

      1. You mean “doing an Alonso?”

        1. @petebaldwin the Spanish Netherlands?

    3. @bamboo Threatened to sign with Mercedes? Did Mercedes know about that? But RBR gave in to the Verstappen’s threats? Perhaps you could provide a link to some quotes from the actual players in this to confirm what you are saying.

      1. No that’s utter BS. Max had a contract with RedBull for 2015 and 2016 that had him at Toro Rosso and then an option for 2017. That option was Max’ and not RedBull’s and it stipulated that Max could opt out IF he wasn’t moved up by Red Bull for 2017.

        If there were any threats, he might have threatend to opt out for 2017, but that’s it. RedBull decided to move him up early because of the toxic situation at Toro Rosso between Max and his engineers and Carlos and his engineers. That was just simply not workable and by swapping Max and Daniil around they solved both that issue and prevented Max from opting out.

  4. No, he’s not: Senna drove stick.

    1. If you look at how complex it was to drive one of the first ever geared cars, you’d say Senna had it easy as well.

      It’s all relative mate, get over it.

      1. — Cardboard box?
        — Aye.
        — You were lucky. We lived for three months in a brown paper bag in a septic tank.

        1. “Luxury. We used to have to get out of the lake at three o’clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of ‘ot gravel, work twenty hours a day at mill for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would beat us around the neck with a broken bottle, if we were lucky!” @charleski

          1. Lol again.

      2. How many buttons did Senna have on his steering wheel? You could make the argument either way.

    2. Hamilton and senna drove different cars and had very different careers, lewis never had to drive from rear of the grid in dogs aka toleman.lewis started from the front and and looked very average in his career at times…silly statement

      1. @nosehair Actually Hamilton did in Australia 2009 when the McLaren was almost two seconds slower then the Brawns. Hamilton started P18 and drove to P3 while Alonso who was around P12 or something did not managed to do better.

        1. After the 2nd safety car restart at Singapore in 2008 Alonso pulled away from Hamilton with the formers Renault being 90HP down.

      2. Ayrton was undoubtedly the best of his generation and Lewis is one of the best of the current drivers but comparisons between the two are irrelevant ….. everything between the two era’s is different, cars, technology, tyres, circuits and regulations.
        No-one can say how Lewis or any of today’s drivers would have fared in Aytron’s era and Ayrton for all his talent may not have managed so well in today’s hi-tech cars, the great Micheal Schumacher drove in both era’s, driving for Mercedes AMG between 2010 and 2012 (albeit after a 3 year sabbatical) during which time he scored a single podium and finishing 9th, 8th and 13th respectively in the WDC’s, that to me is the clearest indication of the massive difference between to two era’s, so comparison between the two is really all if’s but’s and maybe’s.

        You say that Lewis has looked average at times throughout his career and I have to agree that yes he certainly has but be lets honest, Ayrton was not always at his stella best every race weekend either.

        1. Back in The days those drivers knew there cars implicitly, beacuase you tested like crazy and if you wrecked one and where are the nr 1 driver you had 2 spare cars. A driver was less punished for a banzai approach.

          Today only 1 car per driver, extremely limited testing and you need your engineer to drive today’s cars. Comparing today’s F1 to yesteryears is a impossible. The driver still makes a difference but there is more luck involved in terms of getting your calculated guesses right.

  5. Honda have a dyno?

    1. @fletchuk – well, I’m sure they have a dunno.

        1. Maybe their dyno is a dynosaur.

    2. Well, I don’t know about their dyno but I’m sure the original concept diagram for their turbos looks like that kid’s Direct Exhaust Injection.

    3. Yes, but their dyno engine model only has one cylinder…..

  6. Last year, we could prove engine reliability on the dyno so we need to understand why now there is some difference from dyno to the circuit running – it’s not easy.

    As I’ve said before, before you can fix something you have to have an idea on how it should work. If you can reliably replicate a failure then isolating the cause of a problem should be easier. Every major system failure brings with it minor system failures.

  7. I think that drivers of the past in general are overly glorified compared to the drivers of today. No one can really objectively prove that Senna was any better than Hamilton is today, but we rank him higher by default anyway. Nostalgia does that to you.

    1. @kingshark It’s not only about the time that has passed, otherwise people would remember Prost outscoring Senna on points. Self-presentation, self-marketing does a lot to public perception. This is also why, to link towards what @bamboo wrote above, Jos is surely telling Max to market himself as aggressive as possible; He saw that first hand when Schumacher established himself as F1s top-dog.
      Now, with Senna there’s obviously the added effect of a death on live-TV.

      1. @crammond, one thing that is very noticeable in surveys of whom fans and even motorsport commentators think was a great driver, quite often the drivers who do best are often the ones that hit their peak about 30 years earlier (i.e. when the respondents were probably a young child).

        If you look at surveys from the early 1990’s, Clark, Gurney, Graham Hill and other drivers of the 1960’s tend to crop up quite regularly – by the time that you get to the end of that decade and into the early 2000’s, you start to see the likes of Stewart, Ickx, Fittipaldi and other drivers of the 1970’s being given greater prominence.

        These days, it is the drivers of the 1980’s that how have a very high weighting in polls and other surveys – as you say, combined with the effective self promotion that occurred during his lifetime, plus the dramatic and tragic nature of his death, which would have seared those memories into the minds of viewers, and Senna becomes the talisman of the age, even though, as you say, Prost was the more successful driver.

      2. @crammond
        So Senna dying on live TV made people think he was better? That’s a crazy comment mate!
        Ayrton was regarded as one of the best of all time before he died and widely regarded so by people that know more than most of us!

        Yes Prost got one more title but in a car I could have driven to the title and he vetoed Senna and Mansell to being his team mate to make sure he won (he later reversed the Mansell veto but he was already at Ferrair). Smart move from Prost, but he knew he didn’t want to race Senna again in 1993- Prost past his prime and Senna at his best despite his car.

        Senna would have won more titles had he not died (and Schumi less, especially with a legal car in 1994 and not taking out Hill in 1995) but if you look at start to win ratio’s between Senna & Prost I think they are very much equal- 25% (ish) I think. Both all time greats no doubt!

        As for Hamilton?? I cant put him a Senna’s level at the moment as I don’t see Hamilton as an all time great- a few more year of his driving like in Canada and he will have to be up there!

        1. @evilhomer Prost did not only get one more title, he outscored Senna during the time when both had the same car, too. He was the better driver.

          1. @crammond You’re absolutely right mate. Not only that, but one of Senna’s titles only came due to the stupid 11 best results rule. Senna was out-scored by Prost that year, yet Senna won the title…

            Engineers who worked with them both say Senna at times had a pace that Prost couldn’t match, but that Prost was the better all-round racer, because he was far more consistent than Senna. Senna was extremely crash-prone. Watching old GPs and old Season reviews, it’s shocking how regularly Senna crashed, both into other drivers and into walls and stuff all by himself. It was a common occurrence.

          2. Senna had 6 retirements in ’89 to Prost’s 2.

        2. For Hamilton, try Canada 2007, 2012 and 2015… 2010, 2016 and 2017 were kind of boring from Hamilton’s point of view. :)

          Most people claim Alonso is the most “complete” driver out there, but I think Hamilton outdoes Alonso on the “one lap” performance. Alonso may have a slight edge on overtaking. They’re both very good at car management, and both do well with team strategy and understanding other drivers are doing (this is the second time at Canada that Hamilton was right and his engineers were wrong on rival strategies).

          It’s true that Hamilton has been fortunate in his choice of cars– but then again, I think the teams that have had Hamilton, and Alonso have been fortunate in their choice of drivers, as both drivers have both been able to make under-performing cars look better than they are.

          1. @crammond)
            Sven- but that is only comparing them over the two seasons they raced together rather than their whole careers. In 1988 & 89 Prost was at the top of his game but Senna still young and probably didn’t reach his peak until maybe 1992 or 93 when the McLaren wasn’t competitive (insert Alonso here). You cant compare who is better out of Alonso or Hamilton based on their one year as team-mates.

            Anyway its an argument that will go on for the ages LOL

            So do you put Hamilton up there with Prost and Senna?

          2. @evilhomer I’d put the top half-dozen of today (including Hamilton) on the same level as the top3 of the late 80ies/early 90ies.

          3. Regarding Hamilton’s wins in Canada:
            2010 was anything but boring. Great pole lap (first non Red Bull pole of the season). Losing out to Alonso on the pits and then pulling off an amazing opportunistic move starting on the hairpin(and yeah he got past on the straight but the work was done before) to get back in front. Overtaking Webber for P1 as soon as he got on the back of the Red Bull to create some space between him and Alonso(not to forget that the Bulls looked like they were going to win during the 1st stint as both Web and Vet were passing Alo and Ham before they peeled in the pits). That was vintage Mclaren Hamilton at his best: great qualifying, great pace, great moves and just managing to win against just as good opposition. 2012 would be his 2nd most exciting win in Canada(similar win but Mclaren 2 stop strategy made life a bit easier).
            Speaking of vintage Hamilton and his comparison to Senna just look at the last few wet races and just see who won them. China 2017, Brazil 2016, Hungary 2016 (would have gotten pole in wet quali weren’t for the Yellows and people who lift off slightly to double yellows), Silverstone 2016, Austria 2016 (wet qualifying), Monaco 2016, Austin 2015(not really deserved though; gotta love those gusts of winds), Silverstone 2015, Suzuka 2014. The only last time he lost on real pace on a wet qualifying was Austin 2015(also tittle decider). Not to mention some other other brilliant wet races of his China 2010, Monza 2008, Silverstone 2008, Monaco 2008, Fuji 2007 where Alonso crashed out behind the rookie (everyone makes mistakes in those conditions, even the best like Alonso). I know Lewis has had a very good car in the rain and he’s also had some bad wet races where he made mistakes, but he doesn’t really get much recognition for these drives when people talk about him being compared to Senna in this site. It might look a bit of an absurd statement when you see the praise he gets from brit media (when is Sky gonna get objective with british drivers?), but if you go back to Brazil 2016 everyone was praising Verstappen for his amazing race(and rightfully: great pace, best overtakes of the season material, etc) while Hamilton was so much faster and never put a foot wrong while making the best strategic decisions which costed Verstappen 2nd place. He made it look easy while people were spinning left and right on the main straight (Vettel, Alonso, Raikkonen, Massa, etc). It wasn’t all about how he had an amazing car in the wet as Red Bull is regarded to be as good as the Merc in the wet( or very close at least).
            I wouldn’t really say Alonso or Vettel have a slight edge in overtaking(maybe a bit bias from my side) as there are too many variables to consider. Hamilton does tend to play it safer these days(since the horrible 2011 season), but he has pulled of a number of outrageous moves that were contenders for move of the year in this site a couple of years back showing he has the skill. Out braking Kimi in Monza 2007 (was nearly a second behind), his duel with Kimi in Belgium 2008, the overtake shows in Monza 2008, Australia 2010- Overtaking Rosberg on the outside of 11-12, China 2010, China 2011, Hungary 2014, etc and the upper hand he had against Rosberg in this area ( Bahrain 2014 comes to mind).
            To conclude, he has the speed, the overtakes, the stats and the number of great drives to be considered a great in the future. The opinion seems to be a bit forced a bit by Sky(British pride yay), but that doesn’t make Lewis any less of driver than he is. The only problem for him to be considered a great is that he isn’t retired yet and still is fighting for championships. If you focus on his mistakes and his teammates beating him time to time, people should also remember that Barichello also beat Schumacker, Berger beat Senna once in a while, etc. You can’t expect him to be on it every single race when people that are considered greats of the sports weren’t. As for the number of times he was arguably driver of the race in his career ( or considered to be in the top 3) just watch past seasons.

    2. It’s funny, before seeing this article today, this morning I was pondering about Senna’s legacy, and if, at the time, onlookers knew there was something special about Senna. Did they know how well his legacy would stand the test of time?

      I’d suggest a simple test for this legendary status – do non-F1 fans know his name? Is it a household name? Think Jordan, Beckham, Federer; all legends in their sports and are household names. Senna fits this bill.

      I think Hamilton isn’t far from it. Verstappen has all the potential for it.

      Whereas someone like Alonso, who arguably deserves this status, is likely only going to be remembered by fans of motorsport.

      1. I get what you want a to achieve, but today it doesn’t work, Cr7. He’s not the best player on earth but he promotes himself and is promoted as such. Hence a lot of people think that he’s close to Leonel Messi.

        Lewis Hamilton is a monster on the track and off it. Verstappen is the new big thing in F1, he has no presence outside of F1 to speak of off yet. That might change in the future.

    3. I can’t wait to read, several years later if gow

    4. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      14th June 2017, 8:36

      Senna like many others was before my time so it’s not fair for me to make a judgement, but what I will say is that professionalism, money even sports science and intelligence always increases the standard of the competitors as time moves on and that can be seen in any sport. In F1 now the least fit driver is probably as fit as the fittest driver from 30 years ago, the talent pool is so much bigger through junior series and karting, the standards are higher, it’s so much harder for drivers to jump between series nowadays because the professionalism across the board is so high, the margins are so fine these days. On top of that there’s so much data and telemetry that can be used to fill the gaps where some drivers are weaker. Simulations are so accurate you can learn new driving techniques in the comfort of your own home (e.g. Max). Also the cars are easier to drive than a lot of days gone bye so that makes the margins finer again and it’s all about procession, so for drivers like Lewis, Nando, Seb and Max to stand out the way they do on a grid that’s filled with more quality than ever, they must be pretty special by any era’s standards.

      1. … for drivers like Lewis, Nando, Seb and Max to stand out the way they do on a grid that’s filled with more quality than ever, they must be pretty special by any era’s standards.

        Do they all really stand out that much? Lewis is very good but he lost out in a 2-car championship last year and this year VB has been better at a couple of races. And both Seb and Max have been outscored whenever they’ve been teamed with Danny Ric.

        1. and Alo was outscored by the rookie Hamilton, so they are all cr*p apart from Danny Ric. But wait, Kvyat outscored him, so that makes Sainz the best of them all? No! Max outscored Sainz, what now?

          I could do this all day

          1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
            14th June 2017, 11:27

            😂😂😂😂 @johnmilk

            Hill beat Villeneuve, Villeneuve beat Frentzen but then Frentzen beat Hill!!!!! I don’t know what to believe anymore! The world makes no sense.

          2. @johnmilk

            Alo was outscored by the rookie Hamilton

            You are fake news! ;)

          3. This occurred in 2012. Button was the best driver as he was the only driver to beat Hamilton as a teammate. But then Alonso beat him. But Alonso was beaten by Hamilton, who was beaten by Button…

          4. Lol ya trying to figure out how 109 points each equates to LH out scoring FA…must be some sarcasm going on.

          5. @nase that is my favourite kind of news

            @robbie you get my point, it was just a joke regarding the comment I was answering to

            I wanted to say that he finished above in the standings, it came out like that because I got over-excited about my impromptu stand up comedy

        2. He lost out in a 2 car battle last year, don’t forget he won a 2 car battle the two previous years so your comment lacks merit.

        3. Hamilton lost because of a blown motor– this theory that Rosberg would have fought harder if he knew Hamilton could catch him is bogus– because even a minor technical glitch would have cost Rosberg the championship, and he knew it.

          And while it may have been a “2 car championship”, that second car was being driven by a very good, underrated driver. With just about any other driver as a teammate (including Schumacher, based on 2010-2012), Rosberg would have been a multiple world champion. He just had the bad luck to have a teammate who’d been driving with (and against) him for decades.

        4. Don’t be such a Bernie, errh Bernie!

  8. Why dont Honda have a chassis to simulate those dyno runs in. Having such an Iron Bird to run an engine in and integrate all systems, will give a totally different heat and vibration profile, that may sometimes have an influence on reliability.
    Does Mclaren not believe that to be important, or Honda didnt request for it.

    1. Sad for Honda and sad for McLaren but the rules don’t allow it. Agree that Honda need it but they can’t.
      Ferrari had a mule car in 2013 to test their engine and you’d think Honda would likewise have used one in 2014 before they were official. (Possibly didn’t have any engine ready at that stage.)

    2. “Cost Savings”. See, by having to show up and blow up engines on track, in front of sponsors, McLaren-Honda is saving HUGE amounts of money!

      But yeah, Honda should have slapped one of these power units in an NSX chassis, called it a “Le Mans research project”, and banged it around Suzuka 24 hours a day for a week or two.

  9. Well said from The Guardian. There’s no point to keep the echo chamber going on what F1 could be. Let’s see what they come up with and what it will be. 2020, can’t wait. Put some meat on those bones, Liberty.

  10. I can’t wait to read, several years later of how…

    Stroll in his first season, was catching the attention of rival team principals, with his speed and extreme car control and constantly being let down by unreliable equipment. He scored his first championship points at the Canadian grandprix, wrestling his ill handling car while at the same time jostling with a world champion driving his Mclaren Honda super turbo producing 1000bhp. Eventually overtaking him with a late and very brave dive before the final chicane, and laying his mark as a future world champion.

    Thank Goodness for this internet thing.

  11. Wow, spy pics from Force India’s simulator! Sure looks lean as well as comfy compared to the big teams’ leviathan contraptions…
    Thanks, Esteban!

    1. I think now we know who bought the Manor simulator from auction!!!

  12. Senna level .. He is probably several levels above Senna level.

    But in his time Senna was way above everyones elses level.

    Lewis is nowhere near being that far above average level of his competitors.

    That has most to do with level current F1 drivers are at. I am sure most current F1 drivers would destroy the field of 1980.

    Each new generation features a new step of professionalism.

    1. So who should we believe, you or the man who worked with BOTH drivers?

      1. One person’s opinion does not set anything in stone, even if he has worked with both drivers.

        For me it is not about numbers. If it was, Gilles wouldn’t be considered amongst the greats. I can only speak for myself of course with my one ‘vote,’ and all I know is that Senna fascinated me. I found him to be a genius, and deeply philosophical. He simply had that ‘it’ factor that segregated him. He invoked something in me that I have never felt from LH. The emotion from AS, the passion, the determination, the focus, the performance. It really is hard to put into words, and I think that is the point.

        I fully acknowledged LH’s numbers, but again for me personally he’s never come even remotely close to evoking out of me what Senna did.

        1. “One person’s opinion does not set anything in stone, even if he has worked with both drivers.”

          No, but it carries more weight than that of people like us who sit behind our computers/phones etc and pretend that our views is more important than someone like Lowe.

          He may not evoke those feelings in you, but that doesn’t make him any less deserving. I’m no fan of Schumacher, because I think he was one of the most privileged drivers we’ve ever seen, but that’s for a different day. However it would be foolish of me to deny that he’s not one of the sports true greats, possibly greatest, but even that is debatable.

          At the end of it all, our own personal biases has a lot to do with how we view each driver. Because if we where to remove those biases & judge on pure talent alone, it’s very hard to say that Lewis is not one of the greatest drivers we have ever seen.

          1. @kgn11 No I don’t consider Lowe’s opinion to carry more weight than my own, since it is my own. Lowe’s opinion has nothing to do with what I felt during Senna’s career in F1. Or the lack of emotion I have felt over LH.

            To me LH is much lesser than Senna partly because of the way he nearly threw his first WDC away by just barely doing enough in that last race whereas it was FM that did everything right when the pressure was at it’s greatest. LH’s next two WDC’s were achieved in cars that bored the drivers, so limited were they from pushing themselves or their cars to any kind of limits. Trundling along monitoring and conserving everything at once while waiting for a drs zone on tracks way more forgiving than they used to be has little to do with great feats imho.

          2. Your feelings is the yardstick then. We’ll stick to those feelings, I’ll stick with Paddys belief and his feelings then.

          3. @Fritz Yup that’s perfect. I have my yardstick and you have yours or Lowe’s or whomever’s. There may well be other F1 insiders who worked with Senna and LH that would disagree with Lowe too. And their opinions will be based on their yardstick. I certainly haven’t insisted everybody use mine.

        2. Yet, there are many who believe otherwise. I have always considered it “just fun” to compare drivers from different eras – it is not science-based.

          1. Exactly. Thankfully we all have our own fingerprint or wouldn’t life be boring.

            Just as a little aside, I have in 1/18th and 1/43 scale diecast everything I could get my hands on of Gilles, Senna, and Jacques, and not a piece of Schumacher or Hamilton. Not a piece of Rosberg either which might surprise some around here, although I may seek out a piece of him in his 2016 car but it’s not like it’s been high on my radar.

      2. @Kgn11
        “So who should we believe, you or the man who worked with BOTH drivers?”

        25 years apart makes the comparison quite a lot different mate, much more professional now but doesn’t mean they are better.

        There is a café/restaurant in Hilton in Adelaide where the owner (an old Greek or Italian man) invited all the drivers on the Saturday night before the 1989 Australian GP. The photo’s and the wall show about 12-15 were there, enjoying a wine and chatting with the guy they are racing tomorrow (I know it was Saturday night as I have a photo with Senna in the same shirt that day). Pretty special as that wont happen these days as they are at sponsors evenings and the like- more professional but that doesn’t mean better!?

        1. Yes the comparison maybe different in terms of machinery, but Lowe has seen first hand how both men operate & is more qualified to give an informed opinion than any of us can.

          1. Yet someone’s ‘informed opinion’ is still their own opinion based on their personal experience and takeaway but that doesn’t suddenly make me consider LH anywhere near Senna other than in numbers, so it’s not like stating Lowe is informed makes any difference. And a stellar quali in Montreal and a cakewalk of a race doesn’t make me forget how LH struggled only two weeks earlier. Was Lowe saying this of LH after Monaco? Or was it just because of a hot quali lap that happened to also tie him with Senna. Does Lowe actually go around these days saying to himself ‘my goodness LH reminds me of Senna.’ I doubt it.

    2. Lewis is nowhere near being that far above average level of his competitors.

      He isn’t but the biased reporting and comments by the British media and Hamilton supporters are trying to create that impression.

      I am not disputing that Hamilton is a very good driver but he is far from being among the all time best. Since 2014 he has had the fastest and the best designed car that till 2017 was not even close to receiving any competition from other teams. Between 2014 and 2016 Mercedes won all but 8 races and only the teammates posed any threat to each other. So, winning poles or races under those circumstances, while still great achievements, does not elevate the driver to the uppermost echelons.

      Just go back a few years what most British people said during Vettel’s years with Red Bull. It was always Newey’s car and not the driver winning races. They continued to say that even in the second half of the 2013 season when Vettel won 9 consecutive races and effectively took the WCC as well all by himself. Yet, comparing the Red Bull of 2013 with the Merc 2014-16 will show anyone that while the Red Bull was the best car on the field, it was never as comprehensively dominant as the Merc.

      The Merc remains as good even in 2017; the difference now though is that Ferrari are catching-up.

      1. So what about the years from 2007 to 2012? What, did he not win a title, races & poles during that era?

        Let’s not make it look like all of Senna’s accomplishments was achieved by driving inferior machinery, because we all know that’s not the case. All the great drivers in F1 at some point all drove cars that were utterly dominant during their era.

        1. He was outpointed by his teammate over a 3 year time frame. Yes, he whipped Button in qualifying soundly, but not in wins.

          Not too impressive..

          https://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2012/11/hamilton-and-buttons-head-to-head-record-at-mclaren/

          1. @Walt

            Prost also outscored Senna over their time as teammates, but no one ever talks about that. Why is that?

            F1 points system counts season by season, it all resets by back to zero when one is done. Everyone draws for that manufactured stat so as to somehow demean Hamilton & elevate Button. The only stat that counts, is it, Lewis beat him 2-1 whilst teammates.

            Lewis lost to Nico, what it proves is, no one is unbeatable, doesn’t make him inferior or less worthy to regarded as one of the true legends of the sport & up there with the likes of Senna, Schumacher, Clark, Fangio, Seb et al. But it matters not what Lewis does, not everyone will give him the recognition he deserves, that’s life, can’t please everybody.

          2. So what if he was outscored by Button? Senna was outscored by Prost (including in his title winning year) but they had 1 championship apiece. Also that link you shared is very telling of the score in a 2 car finish. If you watched 210-2012 you would have seen how many points Hamilton lost due to mechanical failures. From the same website https://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2012/11/analysis-how-the-points-and-the-title-slipped-away-for-lewis-hamilton/. In any case the FIA regulations are clear- cumulative points beyond the season count for j@ck s……

          3. Also you forget that Button is a WDC and he also outpointed Alonso over a season. Hardly a driver you can talk down.

          4. That 3 year argument makes me laugh everytime I read it. At least the article tells us that when both drivers finished Hamilton was ahead in 24 occasions against 13 for Button. That will give a better hindsight on those 3 years. As points will vary depending on the competitiveness of the car.

          5. Hamilton also finished higher than Button in the championship two out of three times. And arguably had one of the worst seasons in his career, by his own admission, in 2011, while his teammate put in some astonishingly good drives (like Canada).

            But hey, you, and James Allen (who should have known better) keep beating that statistically bent drum, if it helps you sleep at night.

        2. All the great drivers in F1 at some point all drove cars that were utterly dominant during their era.

          Or never became champion (but still great – Maybe Stirling Moss?)

          1. And Gilles Villeneuve.

        3. All the great drivers in F1 at some point all drove cars that were utterly dominant during their era.

          Yes, and I’ll probably go further than that and say that all “great” drivers drove dominant machinery most of the time that they won F1 WDCs. Fangio was not only NOT an exception, but perhaps one of the biggest beneficieries. In his day, with ‘flexible’ rules, he is known to have demanded his teammate’s machine if he thought that it was better; also threaten to leave and join a rival team if he did not get what he wanted.

          But there are a few exceptions. Senna’s 1991 WDC is an example. By mid-season the rapidly evolving Williams Renault was definitely a superior machine to the McHonda but probably short of its 1992 reliability.

          Alonso’s 2 WDCs were against very good Ferraris and competitive McLarens; his Renault was probably equal but not superior to the other two.

          In 2008 the McLaren and Ferrari were more or less equal. The Red Bull in 2010 and 2012 about the same as the Ferrari.

          Actually, what I was protesting were the double standards used in rating Vettel and Hamilton.

          1. @loup-garou, in the case of Alonso in 2005, McLaren’s MP4/20 was considered to be a faster car than the R25 that Alonso drove, but McLaren did have more problems with reliability and occasionally found the car to be slightly harder to set up.

            As for 2006, the R26 was probably the fastest car at the beginning of the season – however, after the mass damper ban was brought in, the general consensus is that Ferrari’s 248 F1 became the fastest car in the field.

            As for 2008, whilst McLaren and Ferrari seem to have produced fairly closely matched cars that season, the feeling is that the F2008 was probably the slightly superior car. I’d also argue that, in 2010 and 2012, Red Bull did have a superior car to Ferrari – Ferrari had major problems with their car in early 2012, especially with the front suspension and front tyres, whilst in 2010 cornering speeds suggest that Red Bull’s car probably produced the most downforce out of the front running cars that year (for example, in the Turkish GP Red Bull’s cars were the only ones, IIRC, that could take Turn 8 flat out – everybody else had to slightly lift off the throttle).

      2. Senna was driving dominant McLaren’s as well, he was also competing in two-drivers championship battles. I am everything but a fan of Hamilton, but I just can’t deny he’s among the best in the history of F1. Not based on his performances at Mercedes alone, as he showcased this at McLaren as well. If we want to review Hamilton’s talent, we can go back to 2009, where the car was everything but good when the season started, struggled to get into Q2 in the beginning of the season. Yet he achieved great results (already in the first half of the season). 2013 he had a very good season at Mercedes too, while arriving in what was Rosberg’s team.

        He’s up up there among the very best. Like Alonso (who I’d rate even higher) and just like Vettel (equal to Lewis). With more experience, I expect Verstappen to be among them too.

      3. McLaren-Honda MP4/4.
        McLaren-Honda MP4/5.
        McLaren-Honda MP4/6.

        *shrug*

  13. I’m so excited for the F2007 and the F2004! Two cars which I’ve never driven before on a video game, however, I would have preferred having the F2008 instead and the MP4-22 from 2007 (who even wants to drive as Kovalainen?).

    1. Kovalainen moved to McLaren in 2008. So you’ll be driving as Alonso or Hamilton in the mp4-22

  14. Yeezy918 (@offdutyrockstar)
    14th June 2017, 10:57

    The full excerpt from the Paddy Lowe interview is far more interesting than that BBC article by the way. He describes that Hamilton has the raw speed of Senna but not the sometimes unsportsmanlike ruthlessness, which is invariably why he lost as many wins to Rosberg as he did. He is always fair.

    He also describes how in Senna’s era, the stewards got far less involved with for example, blocking during qualifying. It was all part of the game and between the drivers to intimidate their rivals into mistakes.

    You can read it here.
    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/130130/hamilton-has-senna-speed-but-not-ruthlessness

    The BBC headline is effectively telling half the story only.

    1. thanks for pointing this out!

      1. Yeezy918 (@offdutyrockstar)
        14th June 2017, 13:02

        @fletchuk I thought it was a great read, particularly because he has worked with both and the old spirit of competition was definitely much more gladiatorial which is what they are trying to recapture now.

    2. You’re saying we can’t get the full story from a headline? /s

      1. No he’s saying you can’t get the full story from British press.

  15. Errr… “customers can’t win titles” has been changed to “customers can’t win if your engine supplier has their own team in F1”?? Whatever, but that is certainly not a fact! Fact is maybe customers have never won titles.

    But anyway, it doesn’t matter at all whether that “fact” was correct or not, because “customers can’t win” simply doesn’t mean that you can win with any engine supplier as a work team! Certainly with not Honda! Before you can win, your team will been driven to ruins, you will lose everything: important sponsors, best drivers, best engineers… you whole life blood as a team in F1.

  16. I actually laughed really hard.Good one Pady dude.

  17. Esteban Ocon leaks Force India’s simulator!

  18. In my opinion- and it’s just that- Senna’s tragic death at the wheel of an F1 car earned him immortal skills that his driving skills could never do. I was born during the Senna/Prost era and so cannot comment first hand on what it was like. Being the F1 nerd that I am though, I did buy DVDs of the 1988-1990 seasons and what I saw a driver with a big personality, blistering 1 lap pace and the race pace to match often. However I also saw a driver who was mistake prone who so far as I could see- at best was no better than Prost overall.

    As others above have said- perhaps there is nostalgia in regards to these old drivers. I have always believed that comparing drivers from different eras or with different machinery is a futile exercise.

    1. I have always believed that comparing drivers from different eras or with different machinery is a futile exercise.

      Agreed. In the past some drivers lived the playboy lifestyle, something that would never be acceptable by today’s highly competitive standards. James Hunt would have been beaten out of sight my most of today’s regular F1 drivers in comparable cars. His sort of lifestyle invariably affects reflexes, ability to concentrate etc.

  19. Are you kidding ?! Hamilton is a good driver even a very good driver but, he has not shown that he is a great driver.
    Yes, he has over 60 wins but over 30 took place from 2014 to 2016 when the ONLY competition he had was his team mate and he could not even beat him for the driver’s title in 2016 ( note also that no one ever called Rosberg a great driver but, he still often bested Hamilton ).
    Anyone of a dozen driver could have accumulated that same number of wins or more if given a hybrid Silver Arrow to drive and when half of what you have done can directly be credited to having a tool that was far superior to all save one other on the grid no reasonable and intellectually honest person will say that such a record supports a finding of greatness by the driver . It supports a finding of greatness by the constructor .
    What we have in Hamilton is a good to very good driver who had the great fortune of signing on with a constructor who had just built a better mouse trap and sprung it on an unsuspecting world. For 3 seasons no one had a chance against Mercedes and even now they still are fielding the best cars on the grid .
    Just look at what Rosberg did and what Bottas is doing .
    Imagine what Alonso would have done if he had Rosberg’s ride . We would be asking what ever happened to that Hamilton fellow .

    1. Erm, you not watched 2007? Rookie Hamilton matched Alonso in his first year. 2007-2008 Ferraris were faster than McLaren (as admitted by Ferrari themselves) but Alonso and Hamilton made up the difference. 2009 McLaren was one of the slowest cars that season in the first half car yet he achieved 4 poles and 2 wins by season end. Hamilton outscored everyone else in the second half of 2009 despite starting in one of the slowest cars at season start. 2010 Hamilton was ranked in top 2 in all F1 surveys as the best driver that season along with Alonso. He beat reigning champion Jenson Button by 26 points and finished only 16 points behind Vettel despite Red Bull being regularly 0.5-1 second quicker in qualifying that year. 2011 was his worst season to date and was completely his own fault yet he still outqualified Button by a hefty margin and scored the same number of wins as Button in Button’s best ever season to date. 2012 was Hamilton’s best and most consistent season to date – he was ranked in the top 2 in most F1 surveys and by the team principals themselves. He lost over 100 points due to mechanical dailures, poor pitstops, drivers crashing into him (all those drivers were penalised so the stewards clearly saw it was not Hamilton’s fault). James Allen did an article on this back in 2012. He lost 3 clear wins by mechanical failures. Moving onto 2013 – I believe this was the only ‘average’ season for Hamilton so far, despite that he was on par with Rosberg in his first season with the team – outqualifying him, scored 5-3poles in his favour and lost a definite win in Britain that year due to tyre failure, despite him leading the race and qualifying 4 tenths over his teammate to achieve pole.

      Just to be clear, I do not believe Hamilton is on Senna’s level yet, in fact I would rate him 1 point below Vettel in consistency so far. But, anyone who looks at his whole career cannot deny he is one of the very best drivers in history. Button himself said thet ‘Lewis is one of the fastest ever drivers in history’ as have many others. Shame Alonso is stuck in that McLaren though, I feel really bad for him, I hope it ends ofr him soon and he gets a fast car again…

    2. @rikdi

      So how did Hamilton beat Alonso in his rookie season then?

      1. I’d say the fact that they were even close would be helped by Hamilton doing over 25000kms of testing with the McLaren team in 2006 in the leadup to pre season testing for the 2007 season and being very closely involved with the team at that time and the 2007 car’s development. Before Alonso even got to turn a wheel in the car (had to wait until 2007 pre season testing for first drive). Alonso also had to learn to use a different brand of tyre manufacturer from what he was used to as well, whereas Hamilton did all that testing on said tyre. Bearing that in mind the fact that Alonso just came in and won the first few races (whilst struggling to learn the new tyre in racing situations) is all the more impressive, no?

        1. Well, no.

          Hamilton had lots of testing as you say, but to come in and get the better of the 2 times champion as a rookie was just outstanding.

      2. Paul ,Really ? That is your question ? Check the history : Hamilton, who if I recall had the same or just about the same point total for the year as did Alonso and I think they were awarded 2nd and 3rd even though the points were the same ( If memory serves) .
        As to how Hamilton did what he did relative to Alonso the facts showed ( at least as most believe) that Hamilton, at the Hungaroroing, broke the deal that McLaren made to treat the two drivers . This ultimately lead to a total break down in the team with the team’s principal going so far as to say that the team felt that it was racing “against Alonso” . The impact on Alonso was substantial costing him several places in several races .
        Further, McLlaren’s improprieties were made public during their internal breakdown and the FIA fined McLaren and barred it from the constructor’s competition.
        If that is what you call a winning performance by Hamilton I must say you are in a minority of one .

        1. Rik, it is a long way off from me being in a minority of one. Hamilton’s rookie season is regarded by many experts from within the sport (not laptop warriors) as being the best in F1 history.

    3. I think you could say Hamilton is one of the greats. Same with Alonso. Drivers like that don’t come around too often. We know a lot of fans are anti Hamilton, but appreciate a great driver while he’s around. At the end of the day, F1 is all about entertainment and he’s giving it to us in spades

    4. So– fluke that Rosberg beat Schumacher three years running, and Hamilton beat Rosberg in 2013?

      Rosberg is a much better driver than people credit him with– Easily a match for Vettel, and probably Schumacher (heresy, I know).

      1. Rosberg proved to be a better driver than most ever gave him credit for, but you’re stretching it with the Schumacher comparison. He beat him over their three years as teammates, no question, though their pace seemed to be fairly equal in 2012, rather ironically.

        But who did he beat? The Schumacher of the 90’s, or the guy who returned from a three year absence in which he had fractured his neck? He beat a washed-up Schumacher, and to claim anything else is lunacy.

    5. @Richard. Jesus Christ you’re swimming so far out you don’t what you’re talking about.

  20. Guybrush Threepwood
    14th June 2017, 23:26

    Hamilton and Senna in the same sentence… Hahahaha. It was only a couple of races ago he couldn’t keep up with his team mate. And only last season got beaten by his other team mate.

    1. @Guybrush Threepwood

      Yep, just keep your head buried in the sand.

    2. his car beat him last year not Rosberg. It must be a tough pill to swallow Ham having the most poles of all time. Don’t fret, have an ice cream, enjoy the sunshine

  21. Its a very, very silly comparison, Senna vs Hamilton.

    I was a kid watching Senna race , grew up on that era. I would really suggest anyone to see the “Senna” documentary . It shows.a glimpse of not only the driver, but the man.

    I followed Senna since his Formula 3 days. In the most demanding city circuit in the World, and racing against an established formula 1 driver at the time and a strong field with Brundle, Berger, etc, Ayrton Senna completely blew away the opposition, making the first ever Formula 3 race in Macau “boring”. Such domination we could rarely see in Macau. I’ve seen Schumacher, Hakkinen, Lewis vs Rosberg… Almost every single “legend” we rate since the 80’ies over here. And only very, very few compared to Senna in pure driving talent. (Lewis and Rosberg crashed against each other while fighting for the lead- the same happened to Schumacher and Hakkinen, with Schumacher’s car being able to finish the race in first place.)

    Why did most Formula 1 drivers rate Senna the best? Because he was. You can see this on most of his performances in the rain, in Monaco, with the JPS Lotus, the Camel Lotus, the Toleman. Lewis is a great driver. One of the all time greats? Maybe. But even himself rates Senna higher.

    I would compare Hamilton to Alonso. I think both are at a similar level. But not Senna.

    1. Tom Johnson
      17th June 2017, 14:23

      I think I’ll attach greater weight to Paddy’s opinion than yours if you don’t mind. He’s worked with both looked at the data from both and formed an educated view.

  22. Hammy Hebert
    15th June 2017, 10:11

    Lowe is an expert, unlike pretty much everyone on this forum. He saw both drivers up close and has access to information that no one here has access to. When he says Hamilton is as good or better than Senna, he knows what he’s saying.

  23. It seems some doubt! I kinda doubt it too, at least regarding the Qualifying. It took HAM a lot more races (33) to equal AS number of pole positions. At the moment they have the same amount of seasons spent in F1 – 10 seasons completed (1994 was the 11th season for SEN in F1, 2017 is the 11th season for HAM in F1), then HAM is a unique case of a driver that spent all his seasons in a winning car. Plus, if we consider that the cars are loooooot more reliable in the last decade, the circuits are a loooot more forgiving too (gravel traps are gone for some time now and let’s not forget that a simple mistake ended with a DNF so many times in pre-2000 seasons)… it could that SEN still is the more consistent driver, to say the least. But, things are relative, there were all kind of differences between cars… so maybe it’s better to look at them as the best of their time. Look at MSchumacher, he was great until 2006, but he was almost completely dominated by ROS in post 2010 cars. The age and maybe lack of motivation didn’t help for sure, but it looked like he didn’t fully “decrypted” the way those cars and tyres worked either.

  24. Meanwhile in Spain : Oh Aloso is as good as Senna. In Germany Oh Vettel is as good as Senna. Verstappen is as good as Senna. Everybody including Hamilton wants to be like Senna and Everybody wants to be like Mike Jordan when it comes to basketball. I mean Hamilton in 2012 he qualified behind Maldonado in Silverstone.

    1. Of course Vettel and Alonso aren’t about to have the most poles of all time…plus Ham beat Alonso in his rookie year etc etc..

      1. Even in 2007 in Monaco he’s driving was bad in qualy he looked like a rookie. Alonso that year defeated himself because he wanted easy wins .
        If Verstappen drives the best possible car like the Mercedes for just 5 years He’s going to score 65 poles too but that doesn’t make him automatically as good as Senna and maybe not even Hamilton.Hamilton made big mistakes in qulifying too many times.

        1. Not to mention how many more poles Senna would have gotten in the dominant 94.95.96.97 Williams .Or how cars ware a lot less reliable to drive and a lot more dangerous.

  25. What does that make Vettel who is leading Lewis 4-2 in championships this decade and already leading this season.
    Fangio? Or do we only like to hype up about English drivers? Lewis has suffered dips in form in every season and was lucky to win 2008 after bottling the last race. Not very Senna-esqe

    1. I’m the biggest Senna fan but i can’t say for sure he’s better than Fangio .Fangio started verry late to drive in f1.
      To say “without a doubt he’s as good as ” is nonsense.

      1. Or even at same level as Fangio.

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