Webber: Hamilton the best qualifier since Senna

  • 17 Dec 2018 10:31
  • comments 9
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Former Grand Prix driver Mark Webber says that Lewis Hamilton is the best qualifier Formula 1 has seen since Ayrton Senna. Hamilton currently holds the record for the most poles ever secured in F1's history, with 83.

Last season in Italy, the Briton became the most successful qualifier of all time, surpassing Michael Schumacher's record. Hamilton clinched 11 pole positions in 2018, one shy of his record of 12 in one year, which he picked up in 2016.

Earlier this year, Hamilton signed a contract extension with Mercedes, which ties him to the team until the end of 2020. Going by his qualifying record in recent years, that makes it entirely possible that he could become the first F1 driver to clinch 100 poles.

And Webber heaped his praise on the five-time world champion, saying that he is absolutely better than Schumacher on a Saturday: “In qualifying, I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, he’s the best since Senna. I mean he is better than Michael over one lap,” Webber told Speedcafe.com.

“Arguably he is definitely the best in the last, getting on for 40 years. He’s up there with Ayrton on one lap. Lewis doesn’t go off the road much on Saturdays but he’s had this devastating turn of speed when he needs to turn it on,” Webber added.

Webber, who shared the track with Hamilton from 2007 to 2013, says that he doesn't quite know what the 33-year-old's weaknesses are, which is what makes him such a mighty force to his competitors.

“I don’t know what his real weaknesses are, that is why he is so dangerous,” he said. “He has definitely had the measure of Sebastian (Vettel) of late. We know he is as strong as Fernando, so he’s been hard work for all of us over the years and that’s why he’s got the track record that he has.”

And Webber believes that Hamilton could topple Schumacher's record of seven world titles going forward: "He is one of the greats (and) he’s not finished yet, so he can be at the top of a lot of the statistics, which is incredibly, incredibly impressive feat,” the Australian commented.

“He could go all the way, especially if he gets (his sixth world championship) next year. I think that’s going to be a big indication of whether he’s got the motivation to try and get past Michael, which obviously will be eight.

“Have the next three years on the bounce, a lot of people probably would have switched off by then. To watch the record happen would be incredible but there is a lot, a lot of racing to be done.”

Replies (9)

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  • It's relatively easier when your car is officially the most dominating car in F1 history and your teammate is a muppet who's only there to be your wingman. (but yes, he is very good at qualifying, for sure)

    • + 0
    • Dec 17 2018 - 12:08
    • Is that a dig on Schumacher and Vettel too? Because it also applies. You probably didn't meant to do that.

      • + 1
      • Dec 17 2018 - 15:45
    • mcbhargav

      Posts: 886

      Now that brings in the debate for, who is the best puppet in the other car in F1 in recent times.

      • + 0
      • Dec 17 2018 - 23:06
    • That may be true, but when watching his laps onboard, I have to agree that he did a phenomenal job qualifying. Sometimes he was able to pull 2-3 tenths out of the car when it looked like he had already given it everything.

      • + 0
      • Dec 18 2018 - 23:22
    • @Ram there isn't a single respectable pundit or former driver that hasn't praised Lewis' qualifying performances. It's just blowhard disingenuous fans that say otherwise. You can dislike a driver and still acknowledge top performances, but that's impossible for a lot of fans.

      • + 0
      • Dec 19 2018 - 04:17
  • He's statistically correct. But given the fact he has had a winning, or at least decent car throughout his entire F1-career (and Senna did not), one could argue he could have got even more than he did:

    1. Fangio 57%
    2. Clark 46%
    3. Ascari 44%
    4. Senna 40%
    5. Hamilton 36%

    • + 0
    • Dec 17 2018 - 13:03
    • mcbhargav

      Posts: 886

      Webber neither raced along with Senna, nor did he know of the machinery used by previous pilots. His opinion is as good as anyone elses.

      • + 0
      • Dec 17 2018 - 23:02
  • blade

    Posts: 341

    I guess you can only beat who else is out there, he out qualified Vettell in similar class of car two years running and of course, heavily out qualifies his teams too in recent years. In terms of his strike rate, the only one with similar number of races ( !) is Schumacher (306 vs 229?) and he's out performed him. As a massive Ham fan, I admit even I would like to see someone else win !! Or, at the least, for Ferrari or RBR to break up this sequence.

    • + 0
    • Dec 17 2018 - 14:51
    • boudy

      Posts: 1,066

      For me in order to be one of the greats he must be able to get another team that's not powered by Mercedes to win an WC. It's always hard to compare against different era's. How would you Senna vs Schumacher vs Vettel vs Prost vs Hamilton vs Fangio?

      I like to see an 3-way championship fight but I really enjoyed the year that Nico became WC.

      • + 0
      • Dec 17 2018 - 22:40

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