x

Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

Lewis Hamilton fancies breaking Michael Schumacher's pole record in F1

Hamilton will earn first shot at matching German hero's haul of 68 poles in qualifying on Saturday for Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton takes part in a practice session at the Hungaroring racing circuit in Budapest on Friday. Peter Kohalmi / AFP
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton takes part in a practice session at the Hungaroring racing circuit in Budapest on Friday. Peter Kohalmi / AFP

Lewis Hamilton says he has the pace to match Michael Schumacher's pole record and engrave his name into Formula One folklore.

Hamilton, a single point adrift of his title rival Sebastian Vettel in this season's topsy-turvy title race, will earn his first shot at matching Schumacher's incredible haul of 68 poles in qualifying on Saturday for Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Hungaroring is a circuit where Hamilton has flourished and his winning record is unrivalled. He has triumphed on five occasions, and been on pole here five times, too.

A sixth on Saturday would see Hamilton jointly crowned, statistically at least, as the fastest man the sport has ever seen over one lap. But standing in Hamilton's way could be the surprise figure of Daniel Ricciardo after the Red Bull driver topped both practice sessions on Friday.

Also read:

Graham Caygill: Rollercoaster week for Hamilton ends in delight at British GP

Hamilton casts doubt on Formula One future amid Ferrari speculation

Indeed Hamilton was only fifth in the day's second running, but the Mercedes driver did not set a lap on the supersoft tyre, the fastest rubber available here.

"It wasn't the easiest start to the weekend, with the conditions very gusty," Hamilton said. "We ended the day in fifth but there's clearly good pace in the car.

"It's super tight between Ferrari, Red Bull and ourselves at the top of the leaderboard, so it's looking like it will be an exciting weekend.

"There's some more work to do to fine-tune the balance to get the car just where we want it, and I believe the pace is in there. We just need to unlock it ahead of qualifying because every tenth is going to be crucial with three teams in the mix."

Following the conclusion of Sunday's race, the sport will head for its now traditional four-week summer break, and Hamilton will be in charge of the championship should he follow up his masterclass at the British Grand Prix with another victory.

Hamilton took 19 points out of Vettel's lead at Silverstone after the Ferrari driver suffered a penultimate-lap puncture.

"I'm just really grateful that it's close," Hamilton said as he reflected on his bid to win a fourth crown. "I've been 43 points down before, and I do not give up, but 20 points still felt like quite a decent gap.

"It's not the most important thing to go away form here leading. It would be great, but there's a long, long way to go and what happened at Silverstone just shows that it can shift.

"So, for me I'm just really focused on ultimately doing the best job I can and score the most points I can to make sure I remain in that fight and when push comes to shove, hope I've got the upper hand."