BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton reached another remarkable Formula One milestone on Saturday, all the while protesting that he was not one for numbers, with more in his sights on the road ahead.
The numbers certainly add up for the six times world champion, whose record-extending 90th career pole at the Hungarian Grand Prix seemed to come as something of a surprise to the Mercedes driver.
“When I was driving into the pitlane and I saw 90 up there I didn’t... I completely forgot that I had 89 before,” the Briton told reporters.
“I’ve been living my dream since I’ve been in Formula One and... it just doesn’t seem real. What I have to remind myself is that every single weekend I still have to deliver. I cannot just show up.”
Hamilton’s qualifying record, like his dominant Mercedes car, is in a league of its own.
The 35-year-old has achieved a pole in every one of his seasons in the sport, starting in 2007, and nobody else comes close to his prowess.
In his own words, 90 poles is a surreal number.
There are, of course, many more races now than in the old days and it is hard and unfair to compare eras but the next man after him in the all-time lists is Ferrari great Michael Schumacher on a ‘mere’ 68.
Brazilian triple world champion Ayrton Senna, Hamilton’s boyhood idol who died in 1994, took 65.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, a four times world champion, has the next most by a still active driver, with 57.
Schumacher won seven titles and 91 races, two big records in Hamilton’s sights with the Mercedes ace now aiming for his 86th victory.
He and Schumacher already hold the record for most poles in Hungary, seven, and Hamilton can equal the German’s record of most wins in the same grand prix if he chalks up an eighth in Hungary on Sunday.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Ken Ferris