Lowe: Hamilton as fast as Senna, but not as ruthless

Lewis Hamilton has the same brilliant speed and raw talent that Ayrton Senna displayed but without the ruthlessness, says Paddy Lowe, one of the few people in the sport who worked with both of them.

Lowe: Hamilton as fast as Senna, but not as ruthless
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Race winner Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, in the drivers parade
Race winner Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08
Race winner Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1
Race winner Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1
Polesitter Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1
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After a Canadian Grand Prix weekend that witnessed Hamilton equal Senna's tally of 65 pole positions, there was plenty of debate on social media about how the two drivers stack up.

Lowe, who worked briefly with Senna at McLaren in 1993 and enjoyed spells with Hamilton at the same team from 1997 through to Mercedes, has no doubts they are among the very best drivers F1 has seen.

"They both stick within the handful of greats that there are within the history of the sport," said Lowe, who is now technical chief at Williams.

When asked if he believed Hamilton had the same raw speed as Senna, Lowe said: "Yes. Undoubtedly.

"Those great drivers are able to pull out an extraordinary lap and I think you kind of saw that with Lewis [with pole on Saturday], that probably on Mercedes estimations and simulations, that time wasn't in the car.

"They didn't have it on the charts. They probably thought Ferrari had them after P3, and then you see Lewis will go out there and really dig deep.

"These drivers cannot do it every Saturday but, every now and again, they go out there when something really extraordinary is required and produce a lap where you go, 'where on earth did that come from?' Lewis is certainly one to do that and Ayrton was certainly one to do that."

Different characters

Despite acknowledging that their speed is equal, Lowe reckoned there are big differences between the way the two approached the business of F1 – and especially the sporting aspects.

"I think character wise they were quite different," added Lowe. "People criticise him for a number of things but actually he is within it all a real gentleman and a very fair racer. Hard but fair.

"With Ayrton, we have a tendency to get a bit rose tinted. Mostly I was playing against Ayrton, that is why I struggle a bit with perspective, but mostly I was at Williams in those days and Ayrton was the guy we were struggling to beat.

"We eventually did in 1992 but it seemed impossible in the years building up to it, and he was ruthless. He had some various tactics to intimidate his opposition, but that was more the name of the game back then.

"I was talking to Riccardo Patrese the other day about this and without mentioning any specific instances, bearing in mind you didn't get a penalty for blocking in qualifying in those days, you just had to go and see the bloke and intimidate him so he didn't screw you over again.

"That is how it was back then. Now you can rely on the police to give the guy a ticket! It is a very different world and Ayrton played it how he had to back then."

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