Lewis Hamilton knighthood: Ross Brawn wades into argument after Ronnie O’Sullivan put-down

Lewis Hamilton’s former boss, Ross Brawn, has dismissed Ronnie O’Sullivan’s claim that the Formula 1 world champion isn’t one of the best British athletes of all time because of the quality of his Mercedes car.

Hamilton is set to receive a knighthood for his efforts on and off the track after becoming a seven-time F1 Drivers’ Championship-winner.

He is now widely regarded as the best driver of all time, having won more grands prix than any driver in history.

The 35-year-old has 94 race wins under his belt, and has used his platform to call for social justice and to stand against systematic racism.

As a result of his incredible achievements, he is set to receive a knighthood in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

Hamilton winning his seventh drivers championship has raised the question of whether he could be Britain’s all-time greatest sportsman.

Despite equalling the record set by Michael Schumacher in 2005 for most world titles, he has faced criticism due to the incredible speed of the Mercedes car.

Snooker hero O’Sullivan was particularly vocal about his feelings towards Hamilton’s achievements, attempting to downplay them due to the remarkable work done by the Silver Arrows technicians.

O’Sullivan said: “If you have a car that is going a second a lap quicker than the other cars, in theory all he has to beat is his team-mate [Valtteri] Bottas – who seems to be comfortable and happy playing second fiddle.

“It doesn’t mean as much as say a sport like tennis with Federer playing everyone on a level playing field, or [Eliud] Kipchoge running against everyone on a level playing field.

“It is fantastic for Lewis to win seven world titles, but if your car is going around quicker you can afford to make a few mistakes and still get away with it.

“It’s a bit like driving around smoking a cigar with one finger on the wheel!”

But Brawn disagreed with the 44-year-old, and downplayed any suggestion that his successes have been a sole consequence of having the best car on thegrid.

Brawn worked with Schumacher during his time at Ferrari, and spoke with Gazetta Dello Sport about comparisons between the German and Hamilton.

He said: “First of all we are talking about two truly exceptional riders, points of reference for entire generations.

“What Lewis did in Turkey, winning the race from a difficult position, reminded me of certain achievements of Michael under the same conditions.

“Some may object that these companies are facilitated by the fact that they have the best cars of the moment at their disposal, but often the two things go together, that is, very good cars are entrusted to them because they are very good!

“They obviously have different personalities.

“Michael was very focused on the family, away from the slopes he was very quiet, Lewis has a higher profile, has an intense social life between music, fashion and so on.

“Both, however, were aware of the problems of the planet: obviously we know Lewis’ ambitions, Michael also had different ones, probably more hidden from the public eye.

“Different in many things but obviously united by an incredible talent.

“You can win one or two [Drivers’ Championships], but when you get to seven it’s something incredible.”

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