Lewis Hamilton says Max Verstappen can break his win tally as “records are there to be broken”

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Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team

We have to cast our minds back to the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix since Lewis Hamilton’s last victory in Formula 1. With a winless season in 2022, Hamilton is keen to get back to close battles and fighting for wins. In stark contrast to that Verstappen scored his 40th win in the Spanish Grand Prix two weeks ago.

While 25-year-old Verstappen is contracted to remain at Red Bull until at least 2028, he ultimately has the opportunity to add many more wins to his tally. Asked whether Verstappen could become the next driver to hold the record for most wins, Hamilton was gracious in his comments.

“He’s got a very long career ahead of him so absolutely. Ultimately records are there to be broken and he’s got an amazing team,” said the seven-time world champion.

While it was winless for Hamilton in 2022, Mercedes did triumph at Interlagos last November with George Russell scoring his maiden win. Hamilton said Mercedes have “got to work harder to try and continue to extend” his wins record.

“I hope we get to have some, at least within the last period of time in my career, I hope we get to have some more close racing.”

If Verstappen wins Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix he will equal Ayrton Senna’s tally of 41 wins, which is the fifth-highest total of any driver.

Hamilton recalled yesterday his ‘surreal’ experience at equalling Senna’s records including his record of 65 pole positions, and he was asked to give his opinion on Verstappen potentially equalling the Brazilian’s total number of wins on Sunday afternoon.

“It was very surreal,” Hamilton recalled.

“Being five years old, watching with my dad, the dream was to be like Ayrton. And then the dream was to get to Formula 1 and do something like him. To then find that you’re matching or equalling in terms of results – ultimately it’s unfair because there’s a lot more races in our time back than there were then. But still it’s a real honour.

“They gave me a replica helmet or something like that, so that was very cool. Max has been doing an amazing job, he’s had such an incredible career so far and he is for sure going to surpass that. I’m working on getting the car to where it needs to be so we can slow him down.”

Verstappen was in modest form when asked to compare his achievements with the 3-time champion Senna. He acknowledges that different eras create different opportunities.

“People always have different kinds of careers,” he said.

“Maybe some drivers, they get into a race winning car sooner than others. Nowadays, of course, we have more races than back in the day. So I never really look at the number.

“But when I was a little kid I would have never imagined to be in that list. So for me it’s definitely an amazing achievement, for sure. But you can’t compare it, that’s one thing.”

Verstappen was keen to stress also that Hamilton’s record, which he is not yet halfway towards reaching, will be “very hard to beat”.

“Obviously you need to be in the right car for a long time and we don’t know if we have that. But it’s also not something I ever looked at. I’m just going with the flow and enjoying the moment,” said the two-time F1 champion and current championship leader.