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Lewis Hamilton is 'on the same level' as Ayrton Senna – Gerhard Berger

McLaren drivers Gerhard Berger and Ayrton Senna on the podium at the 1991 Belgium Grand Prix

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.”

This article is from the BBC Sport website / bbc.co.uk - Lewis Hamilton is 'on the same level' as Ayrton Senna - Gerhard Berger

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