Hamilton wonders if it is all some crazy dream

Mon Aug 24, 2015 6:51pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - As Lewis Hamilton gets closer to matching the Formula One achievements of his great hero Ayrton Senna, so the sense of unreality -- that he might be caught up in some crazy daydream -- grows in his mind.

On Sunday, the 30-year-old Briton won the Belgian Grand Prix and in the process matched the late Brazilian's tally of 80 podium appearances.

If the Mercedes driver keeps on going at his current pace -- with 10 pole positions in 11 races and six wins so far this year -- he will join Senna as a triple world champion before the end of the season.

"It just feels very surreal," Hamilton, who now leads German team mate Nico Rosberg by 28 points with eight races remaining, told British reporters after an unusually sunny Spa weekend.

"I remember watching the races when I was five, I remember the first time driving a go-kart and watching Ayrton and wanting to one day be like him. I always said as a karter I want to do something similar to what he’s done.

"And to think I’m fighting for my third world championship, which he had, and have now got the same amount of podiums as him... it’s almost like a crazy dream that I’m going to eventually wake up and find out I’m working at McDonalds or as a dustbin driver."

Hamilton was quick to emphasize that there was nothing wrong with those occupations, with his own father holding down several jobs to fund his son's start in karting including putting up real estate boards.

But his world of private jets, of mixing with celebrities and waking up in Monaco or Colorado, is now so far from his youth in a rough neighborhood of Stevenage that he has to pinch himself.   Continued...

Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (L) celebrates his victory in the Belgian F1 Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps August 23, 2015.  REUTERS/Yves Herman