Nico Rosberg, the 2016 Formula 1 world champion, is in a good position to compare Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher , having driven alongside both racers.
The German, who retired from F1 just five days after his memorable title triumph, spent three years driving alongside Schumacher with Mercedes before the seven-time world champion stepped away from the sport in 2012.
In came Hamilton, with Rosberg and the Brit enduring a tricky four-year partnership with the Silver Arrows, which involved a number of high-profile squabbles both on and off the track.
And Rosberg, speaking ahead of the new season which gets underway in Australia this weekend, suggested Hamilton, who has won five world titles, has more natural talent than Ferrari icon Schumacher.
Rosberg told Auto Motor und Sport : “Lewis probably has a bit more natural talent than Michael.
“Lewis has one of the greatest natural talents our sport has ever seen, so he makes the difference.
“In terms of work ethic, Schumacher was something else.
“Things come very easily to Lewis naturally. Instinct, natural talent. Michael was the complete package.”
Schumacher initially retired from F1 in 2006 before returning in 2010 as part of Mercedes’ new era as a works team – and Rosberg has opened up on their partnership.
He added: ”The first thought with Michael Schumacher? A little bit scared. Can I even compete?.
“Michael was a warrior. Every day after getting up, he would think: How do I make my teammate small?
“When I finally got the better of Michael, then came Lewis. At least I knew him from go-karts. He was not as alien to me as Michael.”