Vettel calls Hamilton 'our era's greatest'

·2-min read

Four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel has hailed Lewis Hamilton as the greatest driver of his era after the Mercedes driver celebrated his seventh Formula One title with victory in a wet Turkish Grand Prix.

As the tributes poured in to mark Hamilton's achievement of matching Michael Schumacher's record seven titles with his unprecedented 94th win, Vettel, who was third in Sunday's race, had a personal message for the champion.

"I told him that it's very special for us because we can witness history being made today," third-placed Vettel told reporters when asked what he had told Hamilton after stepping out of the car.

"He is the greatest of our era, for sure. I think it's always difficult to compare (eras) -- how can you possibly compare (Juan Manuel) Fangio and Stirling Moss to our generation? You can't.

"It doesn't matter. I think every era has its driver or drivers and Lewis is the greatest of our era," continued the Ferrari driver, who won his titles with Red Bull from 2010-13 and had hoped to add to them at Ferrari.

"To me, emotionally, Michael will always be the greatest driver but there is no doubt that Lewis is the greatest in terms of what he has achieved.

"He has equalled the championships, he has more races won, he has a lot more pole positions."

Hamilton smashed Schumacher's record of 91 wins with his 92nd in Portugal last month.

Vettel said Sunday's race, on a wet and slippery track that caught out plenty of drivers, was proof of Hamilton's extraordinary talent.

"Probably if we are honest, it wasn't his race to win and he still won it," said the German, who is leaving Ferrari at the end of the year.

"Once again, he managed to pull something special out of that bag and therefore I think he deserves everything he has achieved."

Amid a deluge of plaudits on social media, former world champion Nico Rosberg wrote: "7 x World Champion - that's insane! Massively deserved. Surely one of the greatest achievements in the history of sports."

Dario Franchitti, a four-time IndyCar Series champion and three-time Indy 500 winner, saluted the winning performance in Istanbul as a "masterclass".

French driver Romain Grosjean, who retired from the race on lap 52, had expected Schumacher's record to stand the test of time.

He wrote: "Congrats @LewisHamilton. Didn't think Michael record was ever going to be equalize. Very impressive Congrats @MercedesAMGF1 for the incredible work also."

Beyond the motorsport world, former England soccer striker Gary Lineker hailed Hamilton's display as "stunning", adding a goat emoji at the end of his tweet.

Britain's Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden posted: "Huge congratulations to @LewisHamilton 7 times @F1 World Champion and won in style #TurkishGP One of our greatest sports stars."