Hamilton has Schumacher’s records in sights
LONDON: Formula One starts a new season in Australia next week with Lewis Hamilton chasing records that some once thought would last a lifetime.
The 91 wins and seven titles of retired Ferrari great Michael Schumacher are firmly in the 35-year-old Mercedes driver’s sights now.
How many races will feature in what could be an epic battle of the generations remains uncertain, with the debut of Vietnam and a revived Dutch Grand Prix on the calendar but the coronavirus epidemic forcing the Chinese GP in Shanghai to be called off.
Six-time world champion Hamilton and his team will take centre stage, hoping for another year of dominance after winning both titles for the past six years and ending up fastest in winter testing.
Hamilton, whose contract with Mercedes runs out at the end of the year with plenty of speculation about his next move, is seven wins short of Schumacher’s tally but has averaged 10 a season for the past six years.
While the Briton points to teammate Valtteri Bottas as his biggest rival, he will have to watch out for the 22-year-old talents of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
Verstappen won three races last year and was best of the rest behind the Mercedes duo. He can also replace Sebastian Vettel as the youngest world champion.
“Max is the coming man,” said Red Bull principal Christian Horner. - AFP