Ronnie O’Sullivan has questioned calls for Lewis Hamilton to receive a knighthood because he thinks that the Formula One world champion is not on a ‘level playing field’ with his competitors.
Hamilton made F1 history on Sunday when he equalled the legendary Michael Schumacher’s record with a seventh world-title win. Nobody has won more drivers’ championships than the pair in the sport.
Following the stunning achievement, clamours for Hamilton – who has an MBE – to become a ‘Sir’ have grown from those within and outside of F1
However, O’Sullivan has suggested that is too hasty as the 35-year-old’s feats aren’t comparable to those of other Brits, whose equipment doesn’t give them an unfair advantage like Hamilton’s Mercedes does.
‘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 [Valtteri] Bottas – who seems to be comfortable and happy playing second fiddle,’ he told the Daily Star.
‘It doesn’t mean as much as say a sport like tennis with [Roger] Federer playing everyone on a level playing field, or [Eliud] Kipchoge running against everyone on a level playing field.
‘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.
‘It’s a bit like driving around smoking a cigar with one finger on the wheel!
O’Sullivan lists Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Phil Taylor, Tiger Woods, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the best sportspeople ever based on his metrics. He also credited Tyson Fury because he ‘will fight anyone anywhere at any time’.
The 44-year-old was awarded an OBE in 2015 and has won six snooker world titles – with the latest one coming in August this year.
And comparing his sport to Hamilton’s, the snooker legend likened the driver’s ‘advantage’ to being able to pot balls into bigger pockets than his opponent.
‘I just think sport is where there is no advantage,’ he continued. ‘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.
‘At least in snooker everyone has the same equipment and it is totally a level playing field. I don’t choose my opponents or the table