Lewis Hamilton is an equal to Ayrton Senna on raw pace but lacks the utter ruthlessness which set the Brazilian apart from the rest, according to Paddy Lowe.
Williams chief technical officer Lowe is one of the few people to have worked with both Hamilton and Senna in Formula One, a pair of drivers who are often compared due to their similar styles of racing. Hamilton drew level with Senna's career tally of 65 pole positions in Canada with a scintillating lap, the quickest-ever at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Lowe says Hamilton's Montreal qualifying effort demonstrated the sort of level the three-time world champion can rise to when the situation requires.
"Stating the obvious, they both sit within the handful of greats we have in the sport," said Lowe, who worked with Senna after joining McLaren in 1993.
He was then asked if he felt Hamilton had the same raw pace as Senna, replying: "Yeah, undoubtedly. Those great drivers are able to pull out an extraordinary lap and I think you kind of saw that with Lewis [in qualifying]... probably on Mercedes estimations and simulations, that time wasn't in the car.
"They didn't have it on the charts. They probably thought Ferrari had them after P3, and then you see Lewis will go out there and really dig deep. These drivers cannot do it every Saturday but, every now and again, they go out there when something really extraordinary is required and produce a lap where you go, 'where on earth did that come from?' Lewis is certainly one to do that and Ayrton was certainly one to do that."
Lowe, who helped spearhead the Mercedes dominance which saw Hamilton claim two championships in 2014 and 2015, says the Englishman gets unfair criticism in comparison to Senna, who he thinks is remembered through "rose tinted" spectacles after his tragic accident at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.
"I think character wise they were quite different. People criticise [Lewis] for a number of things but actually he is within it all a real gentleman and a very fair racer. Hard but fair.
"It sounds like I'm about to say Ayrton wasn't! But, with Ayrton, we have a tendency to get a bit rose tinted. Mostly I was playing against Ayrton, that is why I struggle a bit with perspective, but mostly I was at Williams in those days and Ayrton was the guy we were struggling to beat. We eventually did in 1992 but it seemed impossible in the years building up to that, and he was ruthless. He had some various tactics to intimidate his opposition, but that was more the name of the game back then.
"I was talking to Riccardo Patrese the other day about this and without mentioning any specific instances, bearing in mind you didn't get a penalty for blocking in qualifying in those days, you actually just had to go and see the bloke and intimidate him so he didn't do it again! That is how it was back then. Now you can rely on the police to give the guy a ticket! It is a very different world and Ayrton played it how he had to back then."
Hamilton's effort in Canada means he is now three pole positions away from equalling Michael Schumacher's tally of 68, which remains the most in Formula One history. .