Lewis Hamilton slams F1 legend Sir Jackie Stewart over GOAT row and reveals he has 'never been so close' with his dad
LEWIS HAMILTON has hit back at Formula One legends with 'a bee in their bonnet' over his claim to be the sport’s greatest of all-time.
Speaking just hours after equalling Michael Schumacher’s 91 race wins with victory in the Eifel Grand Prix, the enormity of the 35-year-old's achievement was beginning to sink in.
But with his position in the GOAT debate downplayed by the likes of Sir Jackie Stewart, Hamilton revealed he will instead be cheering the next generation of F1 stars, such as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, to go one step better after he retires.
He also opened up on his relationship with his dad, Anthony, a bond that has been tested to breaking point during his F1 career.
Hamilton said: "On Saturday night, my dad sent me a text and said, 'You know what to do tomorrow and I know you're going to do it'.
"That's how he has been since day one. Family is everything and I feel really really fortunate to have a dad who has been there since the start who has been supporting me.
"Dad and I have never been so close as we are now, which brings me so much happiness.
"We talk a lot, which I never ever thought me and my dad would do. We have conversations, grown-up conversations about all sorts, politics, food, training, relationships.
"I never thought I would be in that place with him. Just calling him after the race, were like, 'Jeez, remember when we were having that bacon sarnie on the Sunday watching the race, or remember that time we won that championship and the guy who we were racing who had millions'.
"We just reminisce a lot because it was, it's been an emotional roller-coaster."
STEW VS LEW
Despite all his success, Hamilton is a divisive character who splits opinions, none more so than in the old racing fraternity.
And while his statistics might have him nailed down as the sport's greatest driver, it is a reputation he struggles to get accepted – not that he wants it.
He added: "There's a lot of talk, in all sport, of the greatest past and present, but it's impossible to compare people. It's different times – we are evolving as human beings.
"If you put all the top drivers that have been the most successful in the sport and put them in the same cars, wouldn't that be something?
"But all the talk of who is and who's not, that's not important to me, what's important is the journey in this time and while I've been here.
"I'm proud of what I've been able to do, how I've navigated through, definitely made lots of mistakes, but that's life, we all do that.
"I think yes you can be definitely remembered for having the most and that will be something special to have, but as I said, it's the journey.
"It's what we've done along the way, it's obstacles you've faced, and everyone's got a different journey and a different way of doing things.
"I don't think you should knock anybody for the way you do things. I get knocked by many people, particularly older drivers.
"They still have a bee in their bonnet, I don't know why, maybe they'll get over it one day.
"I have so much respect for the past legends, even though they do continue to talk negatively about me all the time.
"But I still hold them in high regard as I know it was so difficult at a different time in history, it was incredibly tough for them, they remain the legends.
The responsibility as an older driver is to shine the light as bright as possible and encourage those.
"In 20 years’ time, whenever it is, when I'm looking back, I can promise you this, I will not be talking down any young driver that is coming through and succeeding.
"The responsibility as an older driver is to shine the light as bright as possible and encourage those.
"There'll be someone else, whether it is Max or whoever it may be, who is going to be chasing the record that I eventually set.
"It would be the wrong kind of characteristic and approach to be hoping he doesn't break it."
Hamilton now says he will take time out this week to think about his 91 wins, his first coming in the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix.
But he says he will not lose sight of the fact that, despite having a 69 point lead in the championship, he is still waiting for his seventh world title.
He said: "I'm definitely going to take this next couple of days to try to really try to understand, let it marinate and what I can not do is drop the ball.
"Yes I have a gap, yes I have the great wins, but the championship is to be won, the job is not done yet.
"Training will continue to be important, diet, getting the right sleep. This moment will pass very quickly and we'll be on to the next thing."
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