Lewis Hamilton can secure his 100th victory and extend a record if he prevails at the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday, where another Formula One legend, Michael Schumacher, took the first of his 91 triumphs 30 years ago.
Not surprisingly, this was Schumacher’s favorite track.
The 36-year-old Hamilton has scored 78 of his 99 Mercedes victories since 2013 after leaving McLaren.
Six of his seven Formula One titles have come with Mercedes. The Briton considers that he has exceeded his own expectations.
“When I decided to leave McLaren and join this team I really believed that we would experience great success,” said Hamilton at the Belgian Grand Prix. “But, of course, I would never have imagined the success we have had.”
In 2007, Hamilton was on the podium nine times in a row, still a record for a driver in his debut season. Although in that year he was just one point below Kimi Raikkonen, who won the title with Ferrari, he beat Brazilian Felipe Massa, from that same team, by one unit the following year.
Hamilton has won almost every title since 2014. The exception was 2016, when Nico Rosberg, who was his teammate at Mercedes at the time, was crowned in the last race.
The Brit attributes his success to a sustained work ethic and his fitness for driving in the most demanding conditions.
“I don’t think the win is the part that makes this addictive. Maybe when you’re young that’s what you pursue all the time, ”Hamilton pointed out. “But what is important is everything behind it, all the effort that one makes.
Hamilton credits Schumacher with changing the dynamics of F1 drivers. At that time, some had a reputation for hanging out at parties.
As a result of the German’s success, everyone focused much more on improving their physical condition.
“We continue to focus on being in good shape and in good health. Michael started that many years ago, ”said Hamilton. “Today the drivers are perhaps healthier than ever in the past.”
Hamilton leads F1 in wins and pole positions (101), but is tied with Schumacher in seven titles.
Additionally, Schumacher retains the F1 record for most wins in Belgium. It was imposed here six times. (AP)