F1: Lewis Hamilton expects wins mark to fall to Max Verstappen
MONTREAL – Lewis Hamilton holds the record for Grand Prix wins but the seven-times Formula One world champion recognized on Thursday that Max Verstappen could smash that mark.
Even though Hamilton is on the verge of signing a contract extension with Mercedes and will have an opportunity to add to his 103 victories — including seven at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve which will host this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix — he said the 25-year-old Dutchman had time on his side.
“He’s got a very long career ahead of him so absolutely,” Hamilton said referring to Verstappen’s chances of eclipsing his record. “Ultimately records are there to be broken.
“We’ve got to work harder to continue to extend it and, at least within the last period of time of my career, I hope we get to have some more close racing.”
Verstappen can deliver Red Bull’s 100th Formula One victory this weekend and step up alongside the late Brazilian great Ayrton Senna with a career haul of 41 wins.
If not in Montreal it is almost certain, barring injury or something else unforeseen, that Verstappen will significantly add to his total this season.
The Dutch double world champion has won five of this season’s seven races, stretching his lead in the drivers standings to 53 points over Mexican teammate Sergio Perez, who has won the other two.
With 22 races on this year’s calendar, if Red Bull and Verstappen can continue their imperious ways, the Dutchman could by the end of the season already be more than halfway to the 38-year-old Hamilton’s record.
While it may appear inevitable that Verstappen will challenge the Hamilton’s mark, the Briton signaled he would not give it away, although history indicates he is not a threat.
Hamilton’s last win was in Saudi Arabia in 2021 and no driver has ever won a race after reaching 300 races.
He will start his 318th grand prix on Sunday on the circuit where he claimed his first win in 2007. While no one is predicting a victory, there are signs that Mercedes, who before Red Bull was Formula One’s supreme outfit, could be returning to familiar form.
During an 18-month funk, Mercedes has managed a single win that from George Russell at the Brazil Grand Prix last November.
But not all victories show up in the win column, said Hamilton, pointing to the Spanish Grand Prix in early June where both Mercedes cars finished on the podium.
“We’ve come through a tough patch and on our way back up,” Hamilton told reporters. “Some of the races it feels like we’ve had wins it’s just about perspective.
“Of course, we’ve not been in first but there have been many wins in the steps we have taken.
“We have that North Star, we know where we need to go.”