Nov 15 (Reuters) - Four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel hailed Lewis Hamilton as the greatest of his era after the Mercedes driver celebrated his seventh Formula One title with victory in a wet Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday.
The German was quick to congratulate his British rival after Hamilton equalled Ferrari great Michael Schumacher’s record seven and, with an unprecedented 94 wins, became the most successful driver in the sport’s history.
“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.” (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)
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