In Brief

F1 in focus: Lewis Hamilton ‘on the same level’ as Ayrton Senna

News from on and off the Formula 1 track on 24 April

Berger: Hamilton at ‘same level’ as Senna

Ex-Formula 1 driver Gerhard Berger believes that Lewis Hamilton is now “on the same level” as the late Ayrton Senna.

With three world titles and 41 grands prix victories Senna is regarded as the “greatest driver in the history of Formula 1”, the BBC reports. Aged 34, Senna was killed in a crash at the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994.

Hamilton has 75 race wins and is a five-time world champion. Berger, a former team-mate of Senna at McLaren, says the British driver is now on a par with the Brazilian.

Berger, 59, said: “Everybody asks me: ‘How do you see this driver against Ayrton?’ And I always, in all the years, say: ‘I don’t see anybody near to Ayrton’. But Lewis is [now] the first driver I put on the same level as Ayrton.”

But if he had to choose between the two, Berger would still pick his old team-mate. “The comparison? I see still Ayrton winning the game because in the end Ayrton was such a charming guy and a personality,” said the Austrian. “And obviously if someone loses his life and stays with us in the way of a legend, it’s always something special.

“But I try to see it from a performance point and from a performance point, Lewis is going from one pole position to the next one and Lewis is going from one race win to the next one. Just like Ayrton did.”

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph in 2017 Hamilton said his dream was always to emulate his idol Senna, not seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.

After matching Senna’s 65 pole positions, 34-year-old Hamilton said at the time: “My goal has never been to reach Michael. I always wanted to do something similar to Ayrton, so now that I am beyond that, the dream is expanding to an area that I wasn’t planning.”

Wolff: Merc need to keep pushing

Mercedes have started the 2019 season with one-twos in the opening three races and they will be going for more glory at this weekend’s F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku.

Mercedes lead the constructors’ championship with 130 points while second-placed Ferrari are 57 points behind. In the drivers’ championship Lewis Hamilton is top of the standings with 68 points from three races and his team-mate Valtteri Bottas is second on 62 points.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s street race in Baku, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said: “Three one-twos in the first three races represent a fantastic start to the season. But we know that we need to keep pushing. The next stop will take us to Azerbaijan where we’ve seen some very entertaining races in recent years and I’m sure that this year will be no different.”

F1 news headlines

A round up of what the media are writing about in the world of Formula 1.

  • Prost: I hate the Senna movie (GP Fans
  • Red Bull and Toro Rosso get Honda upgrade for Baku (Formula1.com
  • Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Ferrari say they need strong showing after disappointing start (BBC Sport
  • Ferrari head for ‘important’ Azerbaijan GP with car upgrades (Sky Sports
  • Mark Hughes: How’s Daniel Ricciardo getting on at Renault? (Sky Sports
  • ‘Still a long road ahead for McLaren’ (Planet F1)

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