Lewis Hamilton says that he still finds it hard to believe that his F1 record is coming close to comparing to that of his childhood hero Ayrton Senna.

Speaking ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, where the Brazilian signalled his intent with second on debut before stamping his authority with six wins in the following nine years, Hamilton admitted that it was a special feeling to have his achievements spoken of in the same breath as Senna.

"When I started watching Ayrton, he was the one that caught my eye and really brought me to the sport," he recalled, "It's insane to think that, all those years back - and I remember exactly where it was that I started watching my first grands prix, with bacon sandwiches on the cream sofa at my dad's - who would have known, back then, that, as a family, we would be where we are today."

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Although last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix marked only the second time this season that Hamilton has failed to finish on top of the podium, the reigning world champion heads to Monaco with a 20-point lead over Mercedes team-mate in his quest to land a third crown, which would bring him level with Senna.

"It is far too early to talk about [equalling Senna's three titles], but winning the world championship [this year] is obviously the goal," Hamilton noted, "I always said, from when I was very young, that I wanted to emulate Ayrton, so to even be in the position where I am close to achieving the same level of wins or world championships hasn't really sunk in."

Although still 23 pole positions shy of Senna, Hamilton is only five wins adrift of the Brazilian's career total of 41 and, given the Silver Arrows' level of dominance this season, that figure could easily be surpassed by late summer. Senna racked up his tally in 162 grands prix, with Hamilton having taken 36 from 153. Having also taken second on his debut there, the Briton heads to Monaco looking for his second win in the Principality on Sunday.

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grantrd: Senna stood out against drivers like Prost, Mansell and Piquet...during probably the best era the sport will ever endure.... Hamilton may have the numbers and stats next to his name but he will never be in Senna's league.....ever[\blockquote]

There is an argument to be made for the current era to be considered the equal of Senna's in my view. Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel, Raikkonen and Button have all achieved a great deal. Perhaps when we look back on 2015 in a few years it will be amazing to think the aforementioned drivers were on the same grid as drivers like Ricciardo, Bottas and Verstappen.

Grantrd: I reckon your grandmother could win in the 1988 McLaren too...

To watch master strategic racers compete in a grand prix with a randomly drawn grid in mixed conditions, my five would be:

Prost
Fangio
Schumacher
Lauda
Stewart

With Button on the bench in case Schumacher tries to cheat

To take part in a no-holds barred qualifying plus 1 hour sprint race, my five would be:

Senna
Mansell
Hamilton
Villeneuve
Clark

I realise Mansell is controversial as he is arguably not as naturally quick as the others, but you just know he would do something incredible.

Weshie: And then presumably crash at Portier while dominating the race :) I jest of course. Senna was a legend and is rightly revered as a great. It's very difficult to compare Hamilton to Senna, and impossible to do so until Hamilton retires. Even then, I am not sure Hamilton (or any other driver ever) will be deified in quite the same way as Senna has been. But a large part of that reverence is because his life was cut short so tragically.

How bad actually was the '93 McLaren though? The other car was driven by Andretti for most of the year (who managed a podium), and as soon as Hakkinen got into the car he out-qualified Senna for one race and also finished on the podium despite not having driven the car all year. I think Senna was an incredible talent, but it is very difficult to tell the relative competitiveness of a particular car at any one time. The only way you can judge someone is by their performance relative to their teammate. As for Schumacher winning his titles in an inferior car. I can only think of 2003 where that perhaps wasn't the case on pace, but his rivals' cars broke down more often than his did.