• Head of Mercedes' F1 engine development Andy Cowell said praised six-time drivers' champion Lewis Hamilton.
• Cowell, who has worked with some of the sport's greats such as Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher said 'Lewis is the best'.
• Hamilton is nearing Schumacher's record of seven world titles.
Lewis Hamilton is the outstanding champion in modern Formula 1 because of his sportsmanship and his ability to motivate a team said departing head of Mercedes engine development Andy Cowell.
The power-unit guru, who has worked with three-time champion Ayrton Senna, two-time champion Mika Hakkinen and seven-time champion Michael Schumacher, joined the recent chorus of praise for Hamilton from the Mercedes ranks.
"Lewis is the best," Cowell told the 'Beyond the Grid' podcast.
He said that the six-time champion and championship leader had: "Outstanding natural talent and that inquisitive curiosity and tenacity."
"He'll push for progress - he'll push for people to hear his viewpoint in a nice way."
He added that for him, it was not only Hamilton's pure talent that made him stand out from other top champion drivers.
"And his sportsmanship," he said. "He doesn't want to get away with things, he wants to win fair and square. He wants the sporting field to be level and fair and I think that's what he wants in Formula One. I admire Lewis tremendously as an individual and as a racing driver."
"As an individual he's not competitive to the point of being nasty -- and there are some individuals on the planet who push competitiveness to the point where it bubbles over to just not being sporting," he said.
Cowell was regarded as the architect of Mercedes modern success with their V6 hybrid engine.
He announced his intention to leave the team in June, but agreed to continue in a consultative role to oversee the transition to a new engine team.
He said that Hamilton offered much more than talent, speed and results to the team.
"His exemplary performance makes everybody look up and go 'oh, I need to be at that level, I need to be operating my game at that level'."