Damon Hill has singled out Lewis Hamilton as the epitome of exceptional racecraft among the three illustrious multiple World Champions currently gracing the grid.
During the recent Canadian Grand Prix, Hamilton once again showcased his remarkable prowess by securing a podium finish alongside the formidable talents of Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso.
This marked the second occasion this season where these three distinguished champions converged on the prestigious podium. During a compelling discussion delving into the comparisons among these three remarkable drivers, Damon Hill, the 1996 World Champion, expressed his thoughts on their respective strengths.
According to Hill, Max Verstappen possesses an unrivalled outright pace, fearlessly venturing into the realms of the “danger zone” with his blistering speed. On the other hand, Fernando Alonso demonstrates exceptional situational awareness, maintaining a keen sense of his surroundings on the track.
However, when it comes to the drivers’ overall approach to racing and how it materializes in terms of on-track performance, Hill confidently asserts that Lewis Hamilton, the revered talent behind the wheel of a Mercedes, takes the lead. With a distinctive edge over his rivals, Hamilton’s racing philosophy evidently translates into remarkable results on the circuit.
Hill’s astute observation sheds light on the unique attributes each driver brings to the table, ultimately recognizing Hamilton’s prowess in the art of racing as a key differentiating factor.
When posed with the question of which among the three World Champions on the grid possesses the finest racecraft, Damon Hill candidly shared his perspective on the matter. Speaking on the F1 Nation podcast, Hill unequivocally stated, “I think it’s Lewis.”
In his expert opinion, Lewis Hamilton stands out as the driver with the utmost mastery of racecraft among the trio of World Champions in Formula 1.
In a spirited exchange of opinions, podcast host Tom Clarkson respectfully presented a different viewpoint, asserting that Fernando Alonso holds the title for the best racecraft among the trio of World Champions.
To support his argument, Clarkson cited a notable move by Alonso during the French Grand Prix. In a calculated strategic manoeuvre, Alonso deliberately decelerated, purposefully creating turbulence in the air to impede the car trailing behind and expedite the degradation of their tires. This astute display of tactical prowess further solidifies Alonso’s claim as a master of racecraft.
While elaborating on his reasoning for selecting Hamilton, Hill provided further insight into his decision: “Lewis probably works with his engineers very effectively, whereas Fernando can probably do it without his engineers, or he tells the engineers what to do, rather than the other way around – and he manages to fit in a few sort of clever comments in the process as well, while he’s got other things to do.
“I take your point about Fernando and racecraft, but I’m just going to go back to Lewis again. I think the thing is with Lewis is that in a race, he’s able to produce stunning laps when he needs to, I don’t know Fernando’s still got that ability to do that.
“So if you say to Lewis ‘we’ve got a target and this is it’, he manages to pull it out somehow.”
After carefully considering all the aspects of comparison, taking into account the overall performance of the drivers at present, Hill confidently endorsed the reigning World Champion and current leader in the championship as the one worth placing bets on.
“I think if you’re going to do this comparing drivers, you have to say, ‘okay, we haven’t seen the full extent of Max’s career’, not that I have any doubts about it at all,” Hill explained.
“But you know, we’ve seen what Fernando can do over many years, nearly decades, and Lewis as well.
“So when you try and compare drivers like this, you have to say currently where we’re at, you’d put your money on Max, wouldn’t you? Because he seems to have all the ingredients and he’s got a bright future ahead of him.
“Whereas the others are, whichever way you cut it, they’re past the middle of their career, they’ve done the bulk of their work and so they’re slightly different characters or in a different phase of their of their development. But yeah, Max has got it.”