Former Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has declared that Lewis Hamilton is a Formula 1 great, up there with the legendary icons of our sport.

The Mercedes driver secured his sixth F1 drivers’ world title in Austin – a feat bettered only by Michael Schumacher in F1 history.

The accolades have poured in for the sport’s World Champion and among them Montezemolo – who himself presided over the legendary Schumacher and Niki Lauda eras at Maranello – offering the highest praise.

“Lewis is a great,” he told Italian radio RAI. “I believe his victory will give great pleasure to my friend Niki Lauda, in heaven, because it was he who did everything he could to take Hamilton to Mercedes when many did not believe it possible.”

Montezemolo’s words coincide with never-ending speculation that Hamilton, 34, may seek a new challenge by switching to Ferrari. Some now whispering that 2021 will be the year in which the Briton switches to Red.

“First of all,” 72-year-old Montezemolo said, “I admire his always sporting behaviour, both in and out of the car. Then there is his extraordinary ability to regulate his race according to the needs of the circuit.

“He is very fast, he knows how to use the machine and tyres intelligently, and he is great at bringing the results home. He is a driver who enters the world of Formula 1 legends. Last year he won even when in certain races his car was not the best.

“Starting with Fangio, I put him at the level of Lauda, Schumacher, Senna, Clark and Stewart,” added the Italian F1 veteran.

Big Question: Will Lewis-to-Ferrari ever happen?

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