Like Light could do anything without his death note.
Light was actually smarter then L. He was the #1 student in Japan, while L was #2.
So if he applied himself to solve cases he could have done a better job.
After all, he defeated 2 out of the three who were after him and controlled the world.
Plus, he was supernaturally good at "playing it cool". I still don't know how he was genius enough to write blindly with his left hand, eat chips, and study for exams at the same time. All while having a camera to your back. To make all of the necessary movements in order to avoid L even suspecting anything is unparalleled in its genius.
Light > L
Light >> Near
Light >>> Mello
Light < Mello + Near
Now do you see the light?