If all goes to plan for Lewis Hamilton in Hungary this weekend, the Mercedes driver will equal one of Michael Schumacher’s all-time records and head into Formula One’s summer break as sole leader of the championship.
Hamilton remains a long way off Schumacher’s record 91 race wins but Saturday’s qualifying at the Hungaroring could see him equal the great German’s hitherto unmatched 68 pole positions.
A 58th career win for the Briton, and sixth at the circuit outside Budapest, on Sunday would send the triple world champion off on vacation with at least a six-point advantage over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Four-times champion Vettel has led since winning the Australian season-opener in March, jointly with Hamilton after China, but the German arrives in Hungary only a point clear after 10 of 20 races.
Hamilton has not led the championship on his own since last September but has the momentum after a crushing home victory at Silverstone.
“There’s lots more things that can come up in the future but I think the team’s really energised,” he said after winning from a career 67th pole position, adding that Mercedes had “absorbed all the energy” from the fans at Silverstone.
“So I hope we can take that into the next races.”
Mercedes are 55 points clear of Ferrari in the constructors’ standings but team boss Toto Wolff was wary of suggesting the champions were the favourites again rather than being the ‘underdogs’ he had talked of after Monaco.
With 250 points still to be won in the drivers’ championship, Wolff said it was too early to pick a favourite.
The key, he said, was to extract every inch of performance and minimise mistakes, mindful that Russia and Monaco had not worked out for Hamilton despite every expectation of success.
“With these new regulations it’s not set in stone that it works like it has done in the past,” said Wolff.
“Going into the summer break with a lead is nice. But there was a very famous Austrian skier who was always sector world champion but never won the championship.
“So I’d like to have the gap (lead) before the holiday, but it doesn’t mean anything for the world championship.”
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