The Mercedes driver is battling with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen for this season’s title, which would elevate the Briton above the legendary German to eight titles.
And the former F1 supremo maintains such a feat would not instantly confirm his status as the greatest driver in the sport’s history.
“No, not at all,” Ecclestone told RTL when discussing whether Hamilton would be remembered as the greatest if he secured the record for most world titles by himself.
“In fact, I’m surprised Lewis didn’t say at the beginning of the year, ‘I’m stepping down, I don’t want to win more races or World Championships than Michael’.”
Ecclestone admits there is also relief that the sport has fierce competition once more, with the title race likely to extend beyond this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to the season-finale in Abu Dhabi.
“It’s a fight we’ve been waiting for seven or eight years, finally a competition again,” he added.
“This is what people want when they watch Formula 1, or any sport for that matter. They want competition.
“They are both very competitive in their own way. They have a different style, a different way of dealing with things and then that suits the races.”
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