regular-article-logo Wednesday, 29 November 2023

Formula One: Lewis Hamilton expects wins mark to fall to Max Verstappen

Briton feels Dutchman has age on his side

Reuters, AP/PTI Montreal Published 17.06.23, 05:35 AM
Max Verstappen.

Max Verstappen. File photo

Lewis Hamilton holds the record for Grand Prix wins but the seven-time Formula One world champion recognises that Max Verstappen could smash that mark.

Even though Hamilton will have an opportunity to add to his 103 victories — including seven at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve which will host this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix — he said the 25-year-old Dutchman had time on his side.


“He (Verstappen)’s got a very long career ahead of him, so absolutely,” Hamilton said, referring to the Red Bull racer’s chances of eclipsing his record. “Ultimately records are there to be broken.

“We’ve got to work harder to continue to extend it and, at least within the last period of time of my career, I hope we get to have some more close racing.”

Verstappen can deliver Red Bull’s 100th Formula One victory this weekend and step up alongside the late Brazilian great Ayrton Senna with a career haul of 41 wins.

The Dutch double world champion has won five of this season’s seven races, stretching his lead in the drivers’ standings to 53 points over Mexican teammate Sergio Perez, who has won the other two.

With 22 races on this year’s calendar, if Red Bull and Verstappen can continue their imperious ways, the Dutchman could by the end of the season already be more than halfway to the 38-year-old Hamilton’s record.

While it may appear inevitable that Verstappen will challenge Hamilton’s mark, the Briton signalled he would not give it away, although history indicates he is not a threat.

Hamilton’s last win was in Saudi Arabia in 2021 and no driver has ever won a race after reaching 300 races.

He will start his 318th grand prix on Sunday on the circuit where he claimed his first win in 2007. While no one is predicting a victory, there are signs that Mercedes, who before Red Bull were Formula One’s supreme outfit, could be returning to familiar form.

Mercedes contract

Mercedes had hoped to have an update on a contract extension for Hamilton by the time the series arrived at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Despite ongoing talks, Hamilton said on Thursday in Montreal he had no update on his future. He had been scheduled to meet with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who had hinted a resolution was imminent.

“I’ve seen Toto, we’ve talked several times,” said Hamilton. “Yeah. Nothing else real to really add to it.”

Hamilton started his career with McLaren, which was Mercedes-powered, in 2007. He made the move to the Mercedes team in 2013 and has scored 82 of his record 103 F1 victories driving the Silver Arrows.

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