CHASING STEWART'S RECORD: Formula 1 great Jackie Stewart says Lewis Hamilton will clinch his third F1 title. Image: AP / Lionel Cironneau
LONDON, England - Jackie Stewart, Britain's only triple Formula 1 champion, knows his record is on borrowed time after Lewis Hamilton's storming victory during the 2015 Bahrain GP.
Forty two years have passed since the Stewart (75), won his third and final title in 1973 though Hamilton is well on the road to joining him after a third triumph in four races.
Stewart was on hand to conduct the post-race podium interviews at the Sakhir circuit, congratulating Hamilton on the "hell of a season he's having".
MOST SUCCESSFUL DRIVER
He has not always been complimentary in the past, questioning Hamilton's mind-management skills, as well as career and lifestyle choices, but Hamilton accepted the praise gratefully.
Stewart said: "It's always positive to have other real champions appreciate what you do. So it feels nice.
"He said something to me in the room afterwards... he always talks about me catching him. He said 'You're going to catch me, but I'm fine with it'."
Hamilton is already Britain's most successful driver in terms of race wins - Bahrain making 36 for his career compared to Stewart's 27 and Nigel Mansell's 31, although it is unfair to compare eras.
In 2015, he has hit a new level of performance.
Hamilton has started every race on pole and is now 27 points clear of closest rival and team mate Nico Rosberg. Sunday was his ninth win in the last 11 grands prix.
He may not be unbeatable, as Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel showed in Malaysia, but he is feeling stronger than ever.
Hamilton said: "I feel very powerful in this car, with the package we have. I feel I am able to get everything from it. I feel more comfortable in this one than I even did in 2014.
"I feel that the power's greater than ever, in terms of strength in the car... I am getting close to my full potential. Who knows where that is but I feel like I'm extracting everything I've got."
Hamilton can now look forward to spending some time with his brother Nicolas, preparing to compete in the British Touring Car series, before Formula 1's European season kicks off in Spain on May 10.
"I've got to improve when I get to Barcelona," said Hamilton , who won four of the first five races in 2014 but was still taken down to the wire by Rosberg.
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