Ronnie O’Sullivan has called into question Lewis Hamilton’s status as one of the greatest sportspeople of all time.
Lewis Hamilton won his seventh Formula One world title over the weekend, equalling Michael Schumacher’s record in the process, but it’s clear that Ronnie O’Sullivan doesn’t rate that achievement the same way he views other feats of sporting greatness.
O’Sullivan credited quite a bit of Hamilton’s dominance to the car he’s driving and compared the Mercedes driver’s success to him playing on a snooker table with bigger pockets.
“It is fantastic for Lewis to win seven world titles, but if your car is going around quicker you can afford to make a few mistakes and still get away with it,” O’Sullivan said during an interview with the Daily Star.
“It’s a bit like driving around smoking a cigar with one finger on the wheel!
“I think it’s difficult to say where he is (among the greats). A lot of the sports I watch – the people that have done it, you have to look whether it’s a level playing field.
“If you have a car that is going a second a lap quicker than the other cars, in theory all he has to beat is his team-mate Bottas – who seems to be comfortable and happy playing second fiddle.
“I wouldn’t have felt as good about my career in snooker if I had been playing on a table where the pockets I was using were bigger than my opponent’s.”
O’Sullivan, who has six world titles to his name, is never one to shy away from a controversial comment and his take on Formula One is sure to divide opinion.
‘The Rocket’ suggested that Hamilton is competing with an advantage that lessens the value of his dominance on the track.
O’Sullivan went on to name the sportspeople he considers the greatest of all time and there was no place on his list for Hamilton.
He continued: “It doesn’t mean as much as say a sport like tennis with Federer is playing everyone on a level playing field, or Kipchoge running against everyone on a level playing field.
“Snooker is like that, too, with a level playing field. In boxing certain boxers avoid certain fighters so that makes it hard for them to have credibility unless they fought the best.
“That’s why you have to give credit to people like Tyson Fury because you know they won’t duck anyone and will fight anyone anywhere at any time.
“I just think sport is where there is no advantage.
“You don’t get to choose your opponent or have better equipment. So for me, Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Phil Taylor in darts, Tiger Woods, Messi, Ronaldo… it’s there to see.”