Ronnie O’Sullivan has taken a dig at Lewis Hamilton

November 20 2020 , 3:28 pm

Ronnie O’Sullivan insists Lewis Hamilton cannot be Britain’s best ever sportsman because the Formula One world champion is not on a “level playing field” with his competitors.

The 35-year-old equalled F1 icon Michael Schumacher for the most titles in history at the weekend, with victory at the Turkish Grand Prix sealing Hamilton’s seventh success.

O’Sullivan, 44, declared from this week’s Northern Ireland Open as quoted in the Daily Star: “I think it’s difficult to say where he is [among the country’s sporting icons].

“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 [Valtteri] Bottas – who seems to be comfortable and happy playing second fiddle.

“It doesn’t mean as much as say a sport like tennis with Federer 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, [Roger] Federer, [Rafael] Nadal, [Novak] Djokovic, Phil Taylor in darts, Tiger Woods, [Lionel] Messi, [Cristiano] Ronaldo… it’s there to see.

“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.

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