Lewis Hamilton says having the opportunity to draw level with Michael Schumacher on 91 Formula 1 wins at the Russian Grand Prix doesn’t feel real.
Schumacher has been the most successful driver in F1 history in terms of race wins since the 2001 Belgian Grand Prix, when he took his 52nd victory to pull clear of Alain Prost. The legendary German duly extended that record to 91 wins at the 2006 Chinese Grand Prix, but Hamilton (pictured above with Schumacher in 2012) is now just one adrift of that mark after his latest victory at Mugello.
“It just doesn’t seem real,” Hamilton says. “Obviously it’s ultimately a privilege to be in a position and have such a great team and a car to be able to deliver weekend in, weekend out but I just feel forever grateful to the people that continue to work hard — I’m just a link in the chain but getting the wins is not easy when you have a great driver in Valtteri (Bottas) pushing you to the limit, weekend in, weekend out. But I never thought that I would be here, that’s for sure.”
Should Hamilton win in Russia, he would then have the opportunity to break Schumacher’s record at the German’s home circuit of the Nurburgring, where F1 will race on October 11.
Despite the record being so close for Hamilton, and with form suggesting it is only a matter of time as he has won six of the nine races so far this season, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says there is nothing planned to mark the occasion and will only react if and when Hamilton sets a new benchmark.
“No, because we very much believe in karma,” Wolff said. “You need to be able to let things happen. Who would have ever imagined that somebody was going to break that record of 91 wins? If that were the case I’m sure we will come up with some creative ideas.”
Schumacher’s 91st victory came on his 246th start, while Hamilton currently has 259 starts to his name.