ON THE WAY: Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is not too fazed when he matches his hero's record titles and says he will get there eventually.Image: AFP / Philippe Lopez
Singapore - Lewis Hamilton said he is 'carrying the baton' for Ayrton Senna as he hopes to match his idol's tally of 41 wins in 161 races at the 2015 Singapore GP.
Hamilton said he felt like he was now winning on behalf of the late Brazilian, whose career was cruelly cut short at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix at the age of 34.
Comparisons are now striking as Hamilton (30) can also match Senna's record of eight consecutive pole positions, and this year stands to equal his haul of three world titles.
Taking on Senna's record
Hamilton told reporters in Singapore: "It doesn't matter if it's this weekend or next weekend or the weekend after, I will have eventually the same amount of wins as Ayrton.
"I feel like Ayrton, if he was fortunate enough to be able to continue, he would have won many more races and many more championships so I think I'm going to be carrying the baton for both of us and striving to win more for the both of us.
"I think if he was around we would be friends."
Senna's shadow continues to loom large over F1 and equalling his milestones would be a career highlight for Hamilton, who was nine at the time of the Brazilian's death.
'I drive the nuts off it'
Hamilton was also a long-time driver for McLaren, Senna's former team, until switching to Mercedes in 2013 and winning his second F1 championship in 2014.
Hamilton said despite his 53-point lead, which means he could lift the title without winning another race this year, he would still be pushing hard this week.
Hamilton said: "Just because we're ahead, doesn't mean that we're taking it easy. When I go out in the car I push it, I drive the nuts off it, every single time.
"There's never been any difference from the time I've had a crap car (until now)."
Hamilton's nearest challenger, team mate Nico Rosberg, said he hadn't yet given up his slim hopes of winning the title, despite the yawning deficit.
Rosberg said: "I have a chance so I have a choice to keep believing or not, and I chose to keep believing. Historically in sport anything can happen.
"There's still seven races to go, lots of points, so I'll keep pushing. With the car we have, it's possible to win every race weekend."
Stay with Wheels24 for the 2015 Singapore GP