Vettel: Michael Schumacher best driver despite Hamilton's records

Lewis Hamilton holds aloft a Michael Schumacher helmet after winning yesterday's Eifel Grand Prix.                     Image Bryn Lennon

Lewis Hamilton holds aloft a Michael Schumacher helmet after winning yesterday's Eifel Grand Prix. Image Bryn Lennon

Schumacher arrived at the 91-win mark at his 247th beginning, the 2006 Chinese Grand Prix.Hamilton is likewise on course to guarantee a seventh big showdown this season, which would move him to level with the main staying critical record in Schumacher's name.

"Michael will always be my hero forever", said the Ferrari driver. I think I tried that like six times in my time against Lewis and I always lost out. I don't think anybody, particularly me, though I'd be anyplace close to Michael as far as records.

"I think he was better than anybody else I've ever seen so far", he said. "It was very hard for them and they are still legends they were at that time".

'I think if you saw him go karting, obviously I didn't see him at a young age but I did at an older age, and I was happy to join him in the Race of Champions a couple of times.

"But it is a good tool to keep a little bit more heat in the front". At his age I could only try to guess what it was like mentally, what it was like to fight at work, I could just try to understand how hard it was. His condition has been enigmatic since then, with very few updates to his recovery.

Vettel emphasized that he looked up to Schumacher and would have even more admiration for his rival Hamilton in the coming decades.

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Hamilton hit back Stewart, claiming that many "older drivers" had a "bee in the hood".

"I think I can't respect his efforts enough", said Vettel about Hamilton's record-equalling achievement. But like I said, you can't appreciate him enough for what he's achieved. The greatest I believe there has been is Juan Manuel Fangio, followed by Jim Clark.

Valtteri Bottas' championship hopes were dealt a massive blow last weekend at the Nürburgring, but the Mercedes driver is keeping his faith, convinced that at his best he can be better than teammate Lewis Hamilton. He claimed Hamilton's Mercedes engines were "so superior that it's nearly unfair on the rest of the field".

Rosberg, who pipped Hamilton to the 2016 crown, was impressed by Bottas' bold fightback against Hamilton at the start of the race but says the Finn must eradicate his errors if he is to give Hamilton a proper fight.

"I think that what impresses me the most is as a human being he develops from year to year, the Lewis Hamilton that we see today has nothing to do with the Lewis Hamilton that I met in 2013", he said. "I don't know why it goes so slow, but maybe it's because everyone has got to catch up, whatever it was".

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