F1: Bernie Ecclestone has 'no doubts' over best driver ever with Lewis Hamilton snubbed

F1 Bernie Ecclestone Lewis Hamilton

F1: Bernie Ecclestone has had his say on the GOAT debate in Formula One

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 22/09/2023

- 10:00

The 92-year-old has given his verdict

F1 icon Bernie Ecclestone has claimed Lewis Hamilton isn't the best driver in the history of the sport.

Instead, the 92-year-old believes that mantle belongs to Max Verstappen - who is set to win his third title in a row this year.

Hamilton has seven crowns, the same amount as Ferrari icon Michael Schumacher, having won his first title all the way back in 2007.

But it's Verstappen who, is the eyes of Ecclestone, is in a league of his own.

F1 Lewis Hamilton

F1 star Lewis Hamilton has been snubbed by Bernie Ecclestone


Speaking to the Daily Mail, he said: "Max is the best driver ever. No doubts.

"I used to say Alain Prost. Now I would say Max.

"He’s the greatest. He is brightest with regards to getting the best out of the car.

"He doesn’t muck around. He gets right on the programme. In my list he is above Lewis Hamilton.

"Lewis is obviously super-super bright, super-super talented. Lewis understands people and gets the best out of them, whereas Max gets the best out of the car.

"He’s very different from Max. When Lewis stops racing, he can get into a different world — entertainment or whatever — but that won’t be the way Max could go.

"I’ll tell you Max is one of us. In our sphere of Formula One nobody is like Lewis, nobody is.

"I think in the early days he was a bit different from other people. At school, I was a bit under-sized, so it is a bit different, too. As it was with Lewis. He had his dad’s support.

"When you are a little undersized, or whatever, you have to have a bit to look after yourself.

"You have to be a fighter, perhaps. You see that a lot in business generally."

F1 plans to add more races to the schedule going forward, with 23 events already pencilled in.

Yet that's something Ecclestone isn't in favour of, insisting they're already overdoing it.

"My opinion is that 18 races is enough. We did 20 and I often thought that that was a bit too much," he said.

"Because you have to think of the teams. Before long, they will have to employ double staff.

"With 22 or 23 races there will be too many divorces. It is a matter of when.

"I can understand the commercial people because they can say they are signing long-time agreements and that apparently makes the company they work for a lot more money. They can say they have 10-year contracts or whatever.

"So what they are doing is 100 per cent right for them at the moment commercially.

"But without any shadow of a doubt I would stick to 18 prestigious races.

"That’s because we don’t know, however long-term the contracts are on paper.

"We don’t know whether they will suddenly decide that it isn’t working too well and stop.


F1 Max Verstappen

F1 icon Bernie Ecclestone believes Max Verstappen is the best driver in the history of the sport


"Singapore were about to stop. They phoned me and asked me what I thought.

"I said they should see how it all works out but don’t stop now. I moved it from 18 to 20.

"I don’t want to make excuses for myself, but that was at a time we were moving it out of Europe to the rest of the world."

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