Hamilton: Verstappen can "absolutely" break my F1 records

Seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton reckons that Red Bull rival Max Verstappen can “absolutely” break his record of 103 grand prix victories.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

A dominant win by 9.57 seconds for Verstappen in last weekend’s Canadian GP drew the two-time reigning champion level on 41 victories with Ayrton Senna, Hamilton’s racing hero.

Coincidentally, the Montreal venue is also where Hamilton matched Senna’s qualifying tally of 65 pole positions in 2017. The Brit now holds 103 poles, equal to his score of GP wins.

But Hamilton, 38, believes these scores could tumble in due course given the “amazing job” that 25-year-old Verstappen is so far pulling off during his “incredible career”. He, therefore, urged his Mercedes team to “slow” Red Bull down to preserve his records.

Hamilton said: “Max has been doing an amazing job. He's had such an incredible career so far and he's for sure going to surpass [Senna's figures].

“[We’re] working on getting the car to where it needs to be so we can slow him down.”

He added: “He's got a very long career ahead of him so absolutely [Verstappen can eclipse my record]. Ultimately, records are there to be broken. And he's got an amazing team.

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

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, 3rd position, spray Champagne on the podium

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, 3rd position, spray Champagne on the podium

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said that the current form from Verstappen reflects the “emergence of another mega talent” and that he can already be held in the same regard as F1’s “greats”.

“What we're witnessing with Max is the emergence of another mega talent and you can start to talk about him in the same sentence as the greats now," said Horner.

“Having matched Ayrton Senna… I thought the [Canadian GP] podium actually was very apt of if you like the last couple of decades of Formula 1 with Max, Fernando [Alonso, second] and Lewis [third] up there.

“He just keeps delivering at such a high level.”

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Verstappen kept mostly coy about matching Senna’s win record. He said of his achievement: “Of course, to tie with Ayrton is something incredible. I'm proud of that. But I hope it's not stopping here. I hope that we can keep on winning more races.”

Asked why his driver remained reserved, Horner said Verstappen remained understated in public but that the accomplishment would register behind closed doors.

“Part of him inside will be quite proud of that,” added Horner. “I don't think he's one to show huge emotion. He's a very modest guy. He's very understated, in many ways.

“But I think behind the scenes, it will actually mean quite a lot to him… He's not the kind of guy who's going to go and jump up and down on the podium, and all that kind of stuff.”

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