Two-time F1 world champion Mika Hakkinen says that Lewis Hamilton's outstanding success in F1 is not rooted in merely having the best car on the grid.
Seventy of Hamilton's record 91 wins in F1 - a benchmark shared with Michael Schumacher - and g-five of his six world titles have been achieved with Mercedes on the back of the German manufacturer's dominance of Grand Prix racing's hybrid engine era.
Hamilton's remarkable streak of success since 2014 was only interrupted once, in 2016 when Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg conquered the crown at the final round of the season in Abu Dhabi.
For all of Mercedes' supremacy and accomplishments, Hakkinen says the Brackley outfit could not have reached its impressive track record without a potent driver to make the most of its technological excellence.
“To win one Grand Prix is not easy, so to repeat that so many times over 14 years in Formula 1 is a very special achievement and one that Lewis has every right to be proud of," Hakkinen wrote this week in his Unibet column.
"To win races and a World Championship requires many things, including a great car, strong teammate and excellent team of people to support you, and Lewis has benefitted from all of those things at Mercedes.
"But you also have to perform yourself, because no matter how good your car is, you have to do the driving, operate the systems in the right way, execute the right strategy and, most importantly of all, be a really good racing driver."
Hakkinen underlined Hamilton's consistency over the years and a dedication and energy that show no signs of weakening.
"Lewis’s ability to deliver victories, and then to repeat them over time, starting at the age of 21 and continuing now that he is 35, is no easy task.
"I know how much energy it took to win the title twice, and when I stopped racing in Formula 1 I knew it was the right moment – at 33.
"So no one should think that what Lewis has done is simply a question of having the best car. It requires ability, fitness, application and focus to keep on winning, and clearly Lewis has found the way to do that."