The phone rings. Nigel Mansell has something to add. Five minutes after we've ended our conversation, the 1992 Formula 1 world champion is back on the line with another thought about Lewis Hamilton. It's a bold prophecy: "I predict Lewis will challenge Michael Schumacher's records in both wins and championships," says Mansell. "I won my world championship at 39 and he's only 32. Lewis is on 62 wins, while Michael has 91. With a hit rate of eight or nine wins a season, he only needs four more successful years to break all the records."
Last year, Hamilton eclipsed both Ayrton Senna and Schumacher to top the all-time pole position list, and has only Juan Manuel Fangio (five) and Schumacher (seven) ahead of him on world titles. Mansell's right; it's not insurmountable for Hamilton to become, statistically, the greatest F1 driver of all time.
"He has the most incredible opportunity and I hope he embraces it," adds Mansell. "Lewis had the most outstanding season in 2017, running with the finest team and the finest car of the past few years. I think he got better last year and can get even better in '18. Nothing beats winning and having support behind you. I hope he keeps his focus, as he has so much more to offer."