Lewis Hamilton is “on the same level” as Formula 1 legend Ayrton Senna, says the late Brazilian’s former team-mate Gerhard Berger.
The Austrian said he had always regarded Senna as a class apart but now considered Hamilton, 34, on a par.
Berger 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.”
Berger, 59, was team-mate to Senna at McLaren from 1990-92 and became a close friend.
Senna won 41 of the 161 grands prix in which he competed, three world titles and 65 pole positions before he was killed in a crash at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.
Mercedes driver Hamilton, for whom Senna was a childhood idol, has won 75 of his 232 races so far, five world titles and an all-time record of 84 pole positions.
Overall, however, Berger said he still held Senna in higher regard, when also considering his charisma and character.
“The comparison? I see still Ayrton winning the game because in the end Ayrton was such a charming guy and a personality,” said Berger.
“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.”