Stewart denies Hamilton claim of 'knocking' him over his F1 success

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active

Triple Formula 1 world champion Sir Jackie Stewart has denied "knocking" Lewis Hamilton over his success after comments made before the Eifel Grand Prix.

Ahead of the race at the Nurburgring, which saw the Mercedes driver match Michael Schumacher's record of 91 career wins, the Scot cast doubt on Hamilton as one of the greatest in F1 history.

Responding to Stewart, Lewis questioned why drivers from the past are so reluctant to consider today's champions on a similar or higher level to their era.

"I don't think you should knock anybody for the way they do things," Hamilton said.

"I get knocked by many people, particularly like older drivers. They still have a bee in their bonnet. I don't know why. Maybe one day they'll get over it.

Also Read:

"I have so much respect for the past and the past legends, even those that do continue to talk negatively about me all the time. I still hold them in high regard because I know it was so difficult, a different time in history," he explained.

"It was incredibly tough for them and they remain the legends that they were then. In 20 years' time, whatever it is, when I'm looking back, I can promise you this, I will not be talking down any young driver that is coming through and succeeding.

"Our responsibility as an older driver is to shine a light as bright as possible."

That led Stewart to try and clarify his initial position by claiming he simply didn't think it possible to compare sportsmen from different generations.

"I am not trying to diminish Lewis Hamilton and I hold his performances with incredible respect. He is the best driver of the present time," he told the PA news agency.

"I am not knocking him down and I am disappointed he thinks that way. What do I have to gain from that? I am 81 years of age.

"I was asked what did I think about Lewis becoming the most winning driver of all time and if that made him the greatest there has been. I said it is very difficult to say that.


"The greatest I believe there has been was Juan Manuel Fangio, followed by Jim Clark, but even then, is it correct to say someone is the best?

"Is Lionel Messi better than Pele or Sir Stanley Matthews, who was the greatest of all time when I was a child? Is Roger Federer better than Rod Laver?

"They are different eras. You can say Lewis is the best of his time and that is not in any way demeaning towards him," he maintained.

"He is doing one hell of a job, and he is his own man, which is different to Niki Lauda, different to Jackie Stewart, different to Jim Clark and different to Graham Hill."

With many now tipping Hamilton to go on and set records on a level never thought imaginable after Schumacher, the 35-year-old says it should be up to those who have had success to push the next big stars to replicate and even surpass what they've done.

"There's going to be someone else, whether it's Max [Verstappen] or whoever it may be, that is going to be chasing the record that I eventually set," he said.

"It's the wrong kind of character and approach to hope that he doesn't break it. I should be encouraging him and hoping that they live to their full potential.

"If that means them getting to that record, that's amazing."