F1 managing director Ross Brawn believes Lewis Hamilton’s ensured presence in F1 in the next couple of years could allow the sport’s “staggering” centennial winner to reach 120 Grand Prix triumphs.
In Portugal last year, Hamilton had surpassed Michael Schumacher’s record tally of 91 wins in the F1 world championship. Before Sochi, the Briton had last won at Silverstone back in July.
In Russia, a Mercedes stronghold since the race’s addition to the F1 calendar in 2014, the scene was therefore set once again for the seven-time world champion to rise to the three-digit landmark.
But the race looked promised to McLaren’s Lando Norris until the event was turned on its side by a late bout of rain and Hamilton, who had made the right strategy call, prevailed.
“It’s a milestone no one thought anyone would ever reach,” said Brawn in his post-race column for F1.com.
“Michael’s tally of 91 was so far ahead of what anyone else had ever done at that point that it never seemed conceivable that anyone would get near it.
“But then Lewis beat it – and now Lewis has 100 wins. There is nothing stopping him.
“Who knows where it’s going to end up? He’s with us for another couple of years at least – and he will win races every year.
“I don’t think we could predict 200 wins, but I think we could certainly predict 20 more as he’s still massively competitive and motivated.
“It’s just staggering and congratulations to him, as it’s a centenary that no one ever thought would be achieved.”
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Looking ahead to Formula 1’s exciting end-of-season showdown between Hamilton and his archrival Max Verstappen, Brawn reckons the Mercedes and its star driver will need to pull out all the stops to vanquish worthy opponents Red Bull and Max Verstappen.
“Mercedes and Lewis weren’t on it in qualifying, at a track where they were expected to dominate given recent history,” said Brawn.
“Friday practice showed they were much quicker on the long runs. It was all there for them to take advantage. So the fact it didn’t go to plan shows that this is not a slam dunk for them.
“They’re going to have to fight hard all the way to the end if they are going to win the championship. Fighting hard internally is different than fighting hard externally.
“When you’re fighting hard internally, what’s the worse that can happen? If one driver doesn’t win, the other would do.
“They had years where it was Nico or Lewis as there was no one to pick up the pieces if they didn’t deliver. Mercedes had that cushion if they messed up.
“Now there is no cushion. Max is putting up a massive challenge for championship, he was fantastic on Sunday, delivering a masterclass in damage limitation to recover to second from last and while he lost the championship lead, he’s only two points behind Lewis now.”
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The post Brawn: 'Staggering' Hamilton could reach 120 wins in F1 appeared first on F1i.com.