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Hamilton on brink of Schumacher record after three-in-one win

September 14, 2020 10:26 IST
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Hamilton on brink of Schumacher record after three-in-one win

Lewis Hamilton

IMAGE: Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning the race. Photograph: Jennifer Lorenzini/Reuters

Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton took his tally of Formula One wins to 90 and the brink of Michael Schumacher's record on Sunday, but he said it felt like he had just done three in a day.

The Briton's latest victory, in a Tuscan Grand Prix that was twice red-flagged and re-started, left him one shy of the Ferrari great -- a record once held up as a milestone to withstand the test of time.

 

"Hectic," said the 35-year-old Mercedes driver, when asked to sum up his afternoon at Ferrari-owned Mugello in central Italy.

"Such a roller-coaster ride, emotionally and physically."

"It was all a bit of a daze. It was like three races in one day."

Hamilton has won six races out of nine this season and, with a seventh title looking inevitable, the year has become a countdown to two of the greatest records in the sport -- both owned by Schumacher.

There are eight races remaining and it is inconceivable that Hamilton will not win at least one more. He has been averaging 10 a season for the past six years now.

Schumacher, who has been out of the public eye since suffering severe head injuries in a December 2013 ski accident, took his seventh title with Ferrari in 2004 and last win in 2006.

Hamilton can pull alongside at the next race in Sochi, Russia, in two weeks' time.

"It just doesn't seem real," he said.

"It is ultimately a privilege to be in the position and have such a great team and a car to be able to deliver weekend in and weekend out. I am forever grateful to the people who continue to work hard. I'm just a link in the chain.

"Getting these wins is not easy when you have a great driver in Valtteri pushing you to the limit. I never thought that I would be here, that's for sure."

Ferrari mark 1,000th race with pride, pain and a Schumacher

Ferrari

IMAGE: General view of a Ferrari flag being displayed in the sky before the race. Photograph: Miguel Medina/Reuters

Ferrari celebrated their 1,000th Formula One world championship race on Sunday with passion, pride and pain - and a Schumacher as Michael's son Mick drove his father's 2004 car around the team's Mugello circuit.

The only team to have competed in every season since the first in 1950 have won more races and championships than any other.

Schumacher senior brought them five titles in a row from 2000-04, with most of his record 91 wins secured in red overalls.

The team that crowned Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Mike Hawthorn, Phil Hill, John Surtees, Niki Lauda and Jody Scheckter over the decades are suffering their worst campaign in 40 years.

Ferrari last won a drivers' title with Kimi Raikkonen in 2007 are currently sixth overall and in danger of slipping further.

"Ferrari and Formula One are sort of joined at the hip," chief executive Louis Camilleri told Sky television ahead of the Tuscan Grand Prix at the team's scenic circuit north of Florence.

"It's hard to imagine Formula One without Ferrari or the other way around. We've been there forever. History creates pressure too and we're looking forward to the next 1,000," he added.

"We're in a hole now and we know we're in a hole. It's a confluence of factors but anything I say will come across as excuses and we're not into excuses.

"What matters is to focus on the issues we have and work with determination to get back to what we consider to be our rightful place."

Mick Schumacher, leading the Formula Two championship and looking increasingly destined for F1 in 2021, could be a part of that future.

"To be able to drive it now as the second generation to drive it is something very special," he said after his demonstration laps in the F2004, Ferrari's most successful racing car.

Ferrari had also celebrated their milestone with a socially distanced show in Florence's Piazza della Signoria on Saturday night attended by drivers and bosses past and present with a display of cars through the eras.

"As we celebrate our first 1,000 races, we are already looking ahead, already thinking about the next 1,000," said Ferrari president John Elkann.

"I am absolutely certain of one thing, that in the next 1,000 Grands Prix we will win more races than we have to date."

Charles Leclerc finished eighth for Ferrari in the race, with Sebastian Vettel 10th.

Team boss Mattia Binotto said the drivers had done their best.

"Today we didn’t have the pace to allow our drivers to fight with their nearest rivals," he said.

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