Lewis Hamilton is on the path to greatness - Sir Jackie Stewart

By Lawrence BarrettoBBC Sport
Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton is only the fourth British driver to win multiple world championships

Newly crowned Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton cannot be considered a great yet, but he is on the right path, according to Sir Jackie Stewart.

Hamilton joins Stewart, Jim Clark and Graham Hill as the only British drivers to have won two or more titles.

Stewart, 75, told BBC Sport: "Lewis can become one of the great drivers.

"But you can't judge that based purely on this year's performance because of Mercedes' superiority throughout the whole season."

In a wide-ranging interview with BBC Sport, Stewart suggests:

  • F1 fans can expect "greater things" from Hamilton in the future
  • Hamilton must avoid the distractions that come with success
  • Mercedes's domination in the sport has made F1 "boring"
  • Mercedes will have greater competition in the 2015 season

A second world title has raised Hamilton's profile to even greater heights, and Stewart suggests his compatriot must be wary of distractions away from the circuit.

He added: "There's a lot still to be done to achieve the greatness that I think everyone has perhaps placed on him prematurely.

"But he's a young man, so he has many more years in the sport and I think we are going to see even greater things from him."

Lewis Hamilton: Second championship doesn't feel real

Hamilton, 29, burst on to the Formula 1 scene in 2007 with McLaren, narrowly missing out on the title in a tense decider. But he was not to be denied the following season, winning a thriller in Brazil.

Four unsuccessful years with McLaren followed before Hamilton joined Mercedes in 2013.

And after a season-long battle with Nico Rosberg, Hamilton won his second title, six years after the first, with victory in Abu Dhabi.

"To become a great, Lewis has to continue to win," added three-time champion Stewart. "He must choose the best teams to drive for and keep his head focused on being a professional.

Leading Formula 1 world champions
7Michael Schumacher
5Juan Manuel Fangio
4Alain Prost, Sebastian Vettel
3Jack Brabham, Sir Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna
2Alberto Ascari, Graham Hill, Jim Clark, Emerson Fittipaldi, Mika Hakkinen, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton

"There are a lot of distractions which come with success and earning that kind of money and that threatens long-term success.

"But Lewis made the right decision to leave McLaren and join Mercedes and that is what has brought him the World Championship."

Hamilton's current deal with Mercedes runs out at the end of next season, but he is expected to sit down with the team's management in the coming days to discuss an extension.

"Without question, Mercedes is the team to be with," said Stewart. "It's a very good team of people. If they keep the advantage they have enjoyed this season, I see no reason why Hamilton can't win the title next year and thereafter."

The moment Hamilton clinched the title

After Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel dominated the sport for the past four years, Mercedes have moved to the top of the pile with an arguably bigger advantage over the field.

"It's made it slightly dull this year," said Stewart. "Everyone expected Mercedes to win the races. Complete domination by any particular make of car is always boring for the spectators.

"Fans would like to see more competition and I think next year there will be more competition.

"Honda are coming in to provide engines for McLaren, while Williams will hope to build on their tremendous performance this season and Red Bull will come back strong."

Meanwhile, fellow Briton Sir Stirling Moss, widely regarded as the greatest driver never to win a world title, said Hamilton's performance made him a better driver than seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.

"It was a wonderful result for the guy who deserved it," Moss told BBC Radio 5 live. "I'd put him above Schumacher. I mean Schumacher just happened to win a lot of titles, but he wasn't as quick."

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