LONDON: Gerhard Berger has always rated former team mate Ayrton Senna in a league of his own but he says Lewis Hamilton now ranks alongside the late Brazilian Formula One champion in his estimation. Speaking ahead of the 25th anniversary of Senna’s death at Imola on May 1, Berger told reporters his friend still led as a personality and the legend that surrounds him. In purely sporting terms, however, the similarities were clear. “Everybody asks me ‘How do you see this driver against Ayrton?’ and I always, in all the years, say ‘I don’t see anybody near to Ayrton’,” explained the Austrian, who partnered Senna at McLaren from 1990-92. “But Lewis is (now) the first driver I put on the same level as Ayrton.” Berger, who won 10 races for Benetton, McLaren and Ferrari between 1986 and 1997 and now runs the DTM (German Touring Car) series, said statistics were only one way of measuring greatness. “I go more by feeling and watching, and for me – and there were great champions like Nelson (Piquet), like Niki (Lauda), like (Alain) Prost, like Michael (Schumacher) – there has always been one above: Ayrton,” he said. “And now Lewis I see in the same league.” Hamilton has five championships, one with McLaren in 2008 and four with Mercedes in the last five seasons. He is leading the championship into this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The 34-year-old Briton holds several records, including most pole positions (84), and his 75 wins are second only to seven times champion Schumacher’s career haul of 91. Senna won three championships with McLaren and held the record for poles (65) before Hamilton. The Brazilian won 41 races and would surely have gone on to many more had he not died at the age of 34.