Hamilton out to emulate Senna in Singapore

Wed Sep 16, 2015 3:15am EDT
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By John O'Brien

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton has always regarded Ayrton Senna as his Formula One idol and the reigning world champion has a golden opportunity to match the late Brazilian's 41 race wins at this week's Singapore Grand Prix.

Should the Briton drive his dominant Mercedes to victory in his 161st start on Sunday, not only will he achieve the feat in exactly the same number of races, he will strengthen his bid for a Senna-equalling third world title.

"I watched Senna as a child and it would be an honor to match him. Now I'm just one win away but I hope to do even better," the 30-year-old said in a recent interview.

"But we must not forget that if he were alive, he would have won a lot more," he added of the driver who tragically lost his life following a crash at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

Hamilton holds a 53-point lead over nearest challenger Nico Rosberg going into the 13th round of the season and it was at this race a year ago where the Briton ripped the momentum away from his German team mate.

Last season, the title race ended up going all the way to the final round in Abu Dhabi as Hamilton's reliability issues allowed Rosberg to remain within striking distance despite winning seven fewer grands prix.

This year, however, Hamilton has secured 11 pole positions in 12 rounds, finished every single race and claimed his seventh victory of the season in Monza last time out as a late engine failure left Rosberg pointless.

Hamilton knows what it takes to win in Singapore, having twice taken the chequered flag under the floodlights after 61 concentration-sapping laps around the Marina Bay Street Circuit, and the Briton is geared up for another tough race.   Continued...

Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain gestures as he celebrates his victory in the Italian F1 Grand Prix in Monza, northern Italy September 6, 2015. REUTERS/Max Rossi