“I did of course dream of one day being here, but it was beyond my wildest dreams to be reaching Michael’s wins.”
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 11/10/20 6:34pm
Lewis Hamilton paid fulsome tribute to the “phenomenal” Michael Schumacher after matching his long-standing F1 wins record and being presented with an old crash helmet by the German great’s son, Mick.
Hamilton recorded a 91st win at the Eifel GP to draw level with Schumacher’s all-time benchmark, 14 years after the seven-time champion claimed the final race win of his own glittering career.
The Mercedes driver was surprised with a presentation from Mick, Michael’s son who appears set for a seat on the F1 grid next year, after the race; Hamilton was given an old helmet the German wore in his final season of F1 in 2012, when he also drove for Mercedes.
“I don’t even know what to say,” said a visibly-surprised Hamilton.
“When you grow up watching someone you generally idolise them in terms of the quality of the driver they are but also what they are able to continuously do race on race, year on year, week on week.
“So it’s an incredible honour and it’s going to take some time to get used to it.”
Hamilton replaced Schumacher at Mercedes for 2013 and in recent seasons has raced towards a wins milestone that had been previously been considered untouchable.
When Schumacher ended his career, he had one fewer victory than the next two drivers on the all-time list – Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna – combined.
Hamilton was a teenager when Schumacher surpassed Prost’s previous benchmark of 51 wins in 2001 and told Sky F1: “I just remember sitting on the couch with my brother and my dad watching the Grands Prix every Sunday and watching Michael storm ahead.
“We used to watch the start of the race and probably the first half of the race and then, at the end, me and brother would go and race a racing game upstairs and I would be Michael. I think it was Grand Prix 3.
“I was always Michael – he was phenomenal.
“That was when I was 13, 14 and it’s just crazy to think that today… I did of course dream of one day being here, but it was beyond my wildest dreams to be reaching Michael’s wins.
“It’s very hard to describe how I feel right now.”