Formula One: Talk of matching legendary Senna irrelevant, Hamilton insists

Defending champion Lewis Hamilton has played down comparisons with F1 great and childhood idol Ayrton Senna.
Defending champion Lewis Hamilton has played down comparisons with F1 great and childhood idol Ayrton Senna. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Talk around the Marina Bay paddock is of how a superlative Formula One campaign from Lewis Hamilton can reach new heights if the Brit triumphs at the Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix this weekend.

A win will move the 30-year-old level on career victories with childhood idol Ayrton Senna (41) in exactly the same amount of race starts (161). He can also match the Brazilian great's record of eight successive poles by topping Saturday's qualifying session.

But, speaking to The Straits Times in an interview organised by team sponsor Hugo Boss, F1's reigning king sought to play down comparisons to one of the sport's all-time greats. He noted how pressure is "as high as it can be, as it is", and his focus is solely on crossing the chequered flag first.

The two-time Singapore GP winner added: "What is there to add to pressure? I don't have to get a hat-trick (of Singapore race wins).

"All the other noise about Senna, about getting his pole record - all that stuff is irrelevant because it all adds up to what I'm trying to do anyway. I just want to win."

Powered by Mercedes' F1 W06 Hybrid car, Hamilton picked up wins at seven out of 12 races this year, claiming pole position on all but one occasion.

Along with team-mate Nico Rosberg, the Silver Arrows are expected to once again reign supreme on Marina Bay's slow-speed circuit, but the appearance of the safety car - a fixture at all seven previous editions - could lead to a surprise or two on the podium.

nsanjay@sph.com.sg