F1: Hamilton looking ahead toward Schumacher’s records
By Chris Medland | RACER magazine and RACER.com F1 correspondent
Lewis Hamilton hopes he can at least get close to Michael Schumacher’s records of seven world championships and 91 grand prix victories.
A fifth championship — secured at the last race in Mexico — moved Hamilton level with Juan Manuel Fangio in the all-time list, with only Schumacher on seven titles having won more. Hamilton also has 71 wins to his name, and with two more years to run on his current Mercedes contract, the 33-year-old says he has the motivation to try and match Schumacher’s totals.
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“The way I’ve always approached it, is I’ve just been really thankful for the ones you have,” Hamilton said. “I’m very, very fortunate to be up here now, obviously with more than most people have, and I don’t take that for granted. Whether or not I’m going to have the chance to win more, who knows. I’m going to give it everything to do so, but I think just one step at a time.
“The 91 wins that he has, for example, that’s a lot of wins. I guess 20 away now, aren’t I? There’s still a long way to go but I’m here for a few more years, so I’m hoping that I can at least get close.
“But even so, Michael was just such a genius in how he implemented himself into Ferrari and what he did with that team and yeah, I will always be a fan of him.”
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren MP4-26 Mercedes, battles with Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP W02, at the 2011 Italian GP. (Image by Andrew Ferraro/LAT)
Hamilton highlights his ability to pursue other interests away from Formula 1, such as his role as a global brand ambassador for the Tommy Hilfiger fashion brand, as having a crucial part in his championship-winning performance this year.
“It’s been a special year, I think for everyone, and I guess I can only really talk for myself but I think being able to tap into your creativity is only a positive — there’s no negatives about that.
“Naturally people will have opinions for and against things that you do but one thing for me is that all of you will know — and I don’t do everything perfectly, and I don’t always say the right things, but one thing I do do is I do me. Only I can live my life the way I live it and it can’t be steered by anyone else and I try to do the right things in order to be my best.
“Having these opportunities to do these other things, tapping into a different part of the mind, naturally doing these things outside a race, it has nothing to do with being a racing driver but I think it’s keeping the brain stimulated and knowledge is power. So naturally when you’re learning new things, when you’re experiencing new things, you’re gaining knowledge as you travel the world and I only see that as a positive.
“So I try and be a sponge and absorb from people like Tommy, who has built an incredible brand. Ultimately, on my list, there’s a new dream there, to do something like he’s done within that business. So we will see how it is 10 years from now.”
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ABOUT CHRIS MEDLAND
While studying Sports Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, Chris managed to talk his way into working at the British Grand Prix in 2008 and was retained for three years before joining ESPN F1 as Assistant Editor. After three years at ESPN, a spell as F1 Editor at Crash Media Group was followed by the major task of launching F1i.com’s English-language website and running it as Editor. Present at every race since the start of 2014, he has continued building his freelance portfolio, working with international titles. As well as writing for RACER, he contributes to BBC 5Live and Sky Sports in the UK as well as working with titles in Japan and the Middle East.