DTM series boss Berger, who drove alongside Senna at the Woking team from 1990 to 1992, rates Hamilton above all the other world champions that he raced against or has watched over the decades.

"Everybody always asks me, 'How do you see this driver against Ayrton?," said Berger. "And I always in all the years say, 'I don't see anybody near to Ayrton.' But Lewis is the first driver I put on the same level as Ayrton.

"The guy is outstandingly fast. He makes a bit less mistakes than the others, and what impressed me so much with him when you have won as much as he's won is you [might] think, 'Today now I'm second, either I'm going to run over his head and I win, or I'm out.'

"He doesn't do it, he just stays there and waits, 'OK I finish second, take the points.' It looks like he is just running the game in such a good way now that he's unbeatable at the moment.

"I see really a lot of the championships that was won by Mercedes in the last few years, it was Lewis and engine.

"The engine was outstanding, yes. But Lewis, in the wet, on a quick circuit, on a street circuit, qualifying, he's always there.

"He won the championship five times, he won one race after the next one. Yes, he's in the best car with the best engine, but he's also the best – by far the best man at the moment."

Berger believes that Hamilton can challenge Michael Schumacher's records, notably that of earning seven world championship titles.

"I think Lewis, if nothing happens to him and he keeps going like this, for the next two or three years, I think he's always going to be onto the championship. Definitely he has the chance.

"Also what happened with Michael, on one side I would like to protect Michael's success, because it's such a tragedy, and so sad. But when you put this all out for a moment, and say let's see, then Lewis Hamilton is a very special driver from all the time I watched F1."

Asked to compare Hamilton with Schumacher, he said: "You know, how you rate people, on the one side you can just go statistically, who won the most races or whatever, and that's what it is.

"And then you go a bit deeper, and say then who won the most races out of how many races he did, then you look at qualy. I go more by feeling and watching.

"For me there have always been great champions, like Nelson [Piquet], like Niki [Lauda], like [Alain] Prost, like Michael. But there was always one thing above them, Ayrton. Now I see Lewis in the same league.

"Difficult to say for me where I would put Jim Clark or Fangio. I saw the other day a documentary about Fangio, and I realised how strong this guy was."

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, 1st position, with his trophy on the podium

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, 1st position, with his trophy on the podium

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / LAT Images