Former F1 driver David Coulthard says a Michael Schumacher in his prime today would be “staring in the eyes of his equal” if he competed against Lewis Hamilton.

Coulthard chimed in on the great debate comparing the two F1 legends after Hamilton broke even with the great German in Turkey, where the Mercedes driver clinched his seventh world crown.

Coulthard, who raced against both Schumacher and Hamilton, insists both drivers are on the same exceptional level.

“There is no question that if Michael was still racing today, at his prime, he would be staring in the eyes of his equal,” the Channel 4 pundit and 13-time Grand Prix winner told Stats Perform News.

“Because I think Michael is exceptional and I think Lewis is exceptional. And I think the way that he won his championship in Istanbul was the perfect way to show how good he is.

“Coming from sixth on the grid, in very difficult conditions and to win by what was quite a big margin in the end.

“So there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that he is the real deal and not only is he one of the best drivers of his generation, arguably he is one of the best drivers in the history of the sport.”

Schumacher won five of his seven titles with Ferrari during a period of commanding domination of F1 by the House of Maranello, not unlike Mercedes’ current supremacy.

But today, the Italian outfit is in search of a turnaround of its fortunes following one of the most disappointing campaigns in its modern-day history.

However, Coulthard believes Ferrari will bounce back in the future.

“They recognise that they have obviously had some issues, and the feedback they were getting from their development, the CFD, the wind tunnel, and what has actually happened out on the racetrack,” said the Scot.

“There has also been a clarification on the engine which means that they haven’t been able to extract the same performance.

“But in Charles Leclerc they have an exceptional young driver, they have got Carlos [Sainz] coming there.

“What I think is actually a bit confusing is the drop-off in performance of Sebastian Vettel, which you just wouldn’t expect from a driver of that quality.

“But it is what it is, Ferrari will be back in the future, next year’s regulations are small changes, but they could be significant in terms of what happens around the rear of the car, aerodynamically.

“I believe Ferrari have a new engine in development which should hopefully bring them forward. So in the same way that they were dominant for a period with Michael [Schumacher], and then Red Bull were dominant, now Mercedes are dominant – every cycle comes to an end, and Ferrari will be back.”

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Source: Formula 1 – F1I