Lewis Hamilton not eyeing Michael Schumacher's world title record
Two-time world champion says emulating Ayrton Senna's three crowns has always been his main ambition; Nigel Mansell has tipped Hamilton to challenge Schumacher's seven world crown haul
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 20/06/15 11:20am
Lewis Hamilton says he doesn’t have his sights set on Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles and is more focused on equalling his hero Ayrton Senna’s tally of three this year.
Former world champion Nigel Mansell told Sky Sports News HQ last week that Hamilton, already a two-time title winner and this year’s world championship leader, could challenge Schumacher’s all-time mark in the forthcoming years at Mercedes.
Schumacher’s seven drivers’ crowns place him two ahead of any other driver – Juan Manuel Fangio is the next best with five – with the German claiming his titles over a record-breaking decade in 1994-2004.
Should Hamilton win his third world title this year then he would have reached the milestone after as many full seasons in F1 (nine) as Schumacher, but at 30 be a year younger than the then Ferrari driver was at the time of his own hat-trick in 2000.
However, despite having recently signed a new contract to stay at dominant Mercedes until at least the end of 2018, Hamilton has played down suggestions he can rack up another five titles.
“Michael is a legend and was successful for a long time,” Hamilton was quoted as saying by The Independent ahead of this weekend’s Austrian GP. “I don’t know how many years I will have at the rate I’m going. That’s in the sense that the sport is always changing and you never know when you will have a difficult year.
“Honestly, since I’ve been in F1 I felt like I could compete to win the championship every year. But some years you have the car, and some you don’t. I’ve never set after that Schumacher goal, I always wanted to emulate Ayrton.”
With a 17-point championship lead over team-mate Nico Rosberg in 2015, Hamilton remains on-course to successfully defend the world title. He has reiterated why a third championship would have particular personal significance for him.
“Winning one was special. Now I’m pushing for a third and that’s the special one as that is what Ayrton had and that’s what mattered to me most when I was a kid,” the Mercedes driver added.
“I want that next one, that’s the only thing I’m excited about – no other record. It doesn’t matter how many wins I get, pole positions or other things. What matters is winning the world championship.”
Hamilton, meanwhile, is on course to surpass his childhood idol’s mark of career victories before this season is out. With four wins already in 2015, the Briton is now just four more away from equalling Senna’s tally of 41.
The world champion, meanwhile, can equal one of F1's most long-standing records this weekend if he takes the lead of the race at any stage in Austria. Hamilton has led at least part of the last 16 races – one short of fellow Briton Jackie Stewart’s benchmark of 17 set 45 years ago.
Don’t miss Sky Sports F1’s exclusively live coverage of the 2015 Austrian GP. The race begins at 1pm on Sunday, with build-up underway from 11.30am. No Sky Sports? No problem! Watch the Austrian GP for £6.99 with NOW TV