Sebastian Vettel says that Lewis Hamilton's outstanding success in F1 is inseparable from Mercedes' technical dominance, but the German insists the opposite also holds true.
Vettel has been racing wheel-to-wheel with Hamilton for the better part of the last ten years, with the two men allotting to themselves eight - four titles each - of the current decade's world championships.
But the overwhelming bulk of Hamilton's track record has been complied during the hybrid era, a period during which Mercedes' technical excellence has consistently put it ahead of its rivals.
While others such as Max Verstappen contend that the Briton has benefited massively from having the best car, Vettel believes the blend of Hamilton's talent with his team's sovereignty has made his opponent worthy of every single one of his five titles, not to mention a sixth crown likely laying just around the corner.
"I think obviously Mercedes has had the best car over the last couple of years and I think there are other drivers who have had a good chance at winning, a championship, the championship, whichever you talk about," Vettel said.
"But it's more than that, it's the combination of that. As much as I didn't enjoy the years he was winning, especially when we were fighting, not so much towards the end as I would have loved to, you have to appreciate the fact that it's the combination."
The German driver, whose mistakes coupled with Ferrari's own blunders undermined his chances of beating Hamilton to the title in the past couple of season, says the Hamilton-Mercedes tandem is now one that is "very, very difficult" to beat.
"It's not just Lewis, it's not just Mercedes, it's the combination too that has got to a point where they are very, very difficult to beat, very consistent and very little errors," Vettel admitted.
"So credit to him, credit to the team. I don't think you can separate the two, it's only fair to mention the two of them."