Brawn: Hamilton broke through 'surreal level', like Schumacher and Senna

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F1 sporting manager Ross Brawn believes Lewis Hamilton has now established a new reference in F1, just like Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna did back in their winning times.

Hamilton conquered his fifth world title in 2018, winning 11 of the season's 21 races after a close-fought battle with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

The Mercedes driver's post-summer run was particularly impressive, with six victories from eight races and a performance in qualifying in Singapore - where he wasn't expected to be on pole - that astonished Brawn.

"Sometimes you get a driver who finds the performance you just don’t expect," Brawn told

"There are a couple of occasions, particularly in qualifying, when Lewis did that.

"He just took people’s breath away. Those are the things you look at, and you just don’t know where the performance comes from."

For Brawn, Hamilton's ability to push the envelope brought back memories of two F1 legends who also extended the limits of what appeared as possible.

"Everyone thinks they know what the reference is and suddenly the driver does something that changes the reference.

"I was fortunate to see that sometimes in Michael Schumacher. We saw it with drivers like [Ayrton] Senna. And I think we saw that on a couple of occasions with Lewis this year.

"Those are the things you remember because as an engineer, you almost can’t work out where it's come from.

"It’s like a surreal level that they’ve reached and that's always very special when you see a driver do that."

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