Lewis Hamilton can equal Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 Grand Prix wins in Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix to cement his status as one of Formula One’s all-time greats.
The six-time champion, who has hoovered up six of the nine races in his matchless Mercedes this year, starts from pole position after posting the fastest time in a troubled and incident-hit qualifying session on Saturday.
Aside from his genius as a driver one of Hamilton’s hallmarks is his ability to remain centred and calm in the face of chaos and drama.
He showed that brilliantly when rising above the mayhem at the crash-littered Tuscan Grand Prix a fortnight ago, and again in qualifying on Saturday.
Hamilton being this close to Schumachers win record isn't actually that impressive if you really look at it. Schumacher raced when there were 16 races in a season. There were 21 races last season.
— Sebastian Vettel Fake™ (@SebVettelFake) September 28, 2020
Just when a red-flagged crash and a void lap time looked set to keep him out of the top 10 shoot-out he kept his focus to emerge with a stunning pole.
But he starts the race on ‘soft’ tyres and faces the longest run to the first corner of any track on the calendar – a challenge that he said makes it very difficult for him to stay on top on the opening lap.
Hamilton has Red Bull’s young tyro Dutchman Max Verstappen alongside him on the front row of the grid and his ‘black arrows’ team-mate Valtteri Bottas behind him in third place.
The two of them will be expected to attack and slipstream Hamilton on the rush to the first corner, a tactic that brought Bottas his maiden win for Mercedes in 2017.