Sainz: Yes, 90% could win at Mercedes, but 90% wouldn't beat Hamilton

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While Carlos Sainz agrees 90% of Formula 1 drivers could win at Mercedes, he feels another 90% wouldn't beat Lewis Hamilton.

Over the past six weeks, the Briton has confirmed himself as the statistical greatest of all time by surpassing Michael Schumacher for the most F1 wins as well as tieing the German legend as a seven-time world champion

However, such has been the performance advantage that Mercedes has enjoyed this season, Max Verstappen suggested he wasn't frustrated by Hamilton's success because 90% of the current grid would win driving his car.

Even so, Sainz believes that shouldn't overshadow Lewis' achievement because even in the same car, most of those drivers would still finish second to him.

“A tricky question. I agree with Max that 90% would probably win in the Mercedes, in the race and qualifying, but if you put half of the field against Hamilton in a Mercedes, then 90% of them would not beat him,” he told

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“If you take Hamilton out of the competition, however, then everyone in the current field would probably win in a Mercedes. That describes quite well what is happening in Formula 1 today, but also that Hamilton is one of the very best – even if he has the best car.

“I look very carefully at how Hamilton delivers under pressure. How he manages to master all sectors so well in Q3 and to take pole position, even if he only has a small lead over [Valtteri] Bottas," Sainz noted.

“In Austria, he beat Bottas by a second and a half in the rain. He can do things that not everyone can do, but I would have to be his teammate to give even more details.”

Adding his view on the 'Is it Hamilton or is it the car?' debate, former McLaren and Mercedes chief Paddy Lowe suggested Lewis' own contribution towards those cars shouldn't be overlooked, nor should his longevity to remain at the level he's at for so long.

“Taking the [Turkey] race, it was pretty clear he made the difference in that car,” he told

“Yes, it’s a good car, but if you compare him to his teammates, and you compare him to the mistakes of many other great drivers in that race, then he produced a perfect performance.

“So for me, if it’s not 100% him in that individual race, then it’s certainly in the high 90s.

“If you take his entire career so far, and seven World Championships, then you have to average out the massive contribution of the teams in making great cars.

“But then if you’ve got a leading driver like Lewis who, over 14 seasons, generally in one of the leading cars, has delivered seven Championships then it is down to his driving," Lowe argued.

“You can pick individual championships and say, ‘Well, okay, that one was an easy one for him’, but they weren’t all easy and other factors come into play, such as endurance, consistency.

“There are many great drivers who you might say have made a major contribution with their own talent, and they’ve won championships, single championships, but to win seven requires a very special consistency and endurance.”