As McLaren’s test driver from 2007-9, De la Rosa witnessed Hamilton’s abilities closer than most. Having worked with both, he rates Hamilton and Alonso as the two best drivers he has ever seen first hand - including Schumacher.
Where they differentiate themselves from the rest, he says, is in the entry phase of a corner.
“Where they are special, Lewis and Fernando, is how much speed they can run into the apex and still have a decent exit speed,” he says. “It is very easy to say; it is very difficult to do.
“Most drivers, over one lap, when the rear tyres are at their peak grip, can do that. So if you look at [Hamilton’s current Mercedes team-mate Valtteri] Bottas, for example, over one lap many times he is matching Lewis.
“The problem comes when the rear tyres drop off. That’s when they are so much better than the rest. They still keep the speed going in.”
Lowe says an ability to control his car in this way not only “makes you go faster in the moment, but also allows you to set the car up to be nearer the limit, so it is inherently quicker”.
These skills also explain why Hamilton is often so much more effective in races than Bottas, when it comes to key techniques such as following another car closely, overtaking or keeping tyres in optimum condition.
“Some drivers cannot get that close to the car in front,” De la Rosa says. "But Lewis and Fernando, always, when they’re behind they’re nearly touching the gearbox.
“You can see they are following in a different manner, in an aggressive manner, in a way that is not comfortable at all for the car in front.
“You lose a lot of grip when you are following - especially with these modern F1 cars - but this type of driver knows how to compensate by balancing with speed and brakes.
“It doesn’t really matter if the car is understeering or oversteering, they will sort the balance out with their feeling. They don’t know why they are doing it. They just know it’s faster. And that’s all talent - pure, raw talent.”
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/extra/c1nx5 ... lton-story
“Hamilton’s talent is perhaps even more than that of Ayrton or Schumacher or Fernando." - Rubens Barrichello