Lewis Hamilton says he is humbled by the notion of equalling the legendary Michael Schumacher for pole positions around Spa-Francorchamps, the very venue that became synonymous with the seven-time world champion during his glittering F1 career.

Mercedes driver Hamilton was in astounding form around the iconic circuit to claim pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix, his lap record time of 1m 42.553secs proving a comfortable two tenths faster than title rival Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari.

The result brings Hamilton’s career tally of pole position up to 68, putting him on a par with Schumacher at the venue his German counterpart made his F1 debut and secured the first of his 91 wins. Schumacher would go on to win at Spa-Francorchamps on six occasions.

Recounting the time he attended his first F1 race in 1996 at the Belgian Grand Prix, he says it is ‘surreal’ to be on a par with Schumacher 21 years later.

“It’s a special day, defintely. To be honest I knew that it was on the horizon, and at some stage I would be getting that 68th pole, but I really hadn’t thought about it much. I didn’t apply pressure, I was like it could come soon, it could take a long time.

“Now being there, it’s very yeah I mean it’s an unusual place to be. I remember coming here in 1996, my first grand prix, and watching Michael come by after Turn 1 and the engine just shook my rib cage - it was incredible!

“That was when my love for the sport took another step. To think now god knows how long later, I’m equal with him on poles. It’s very surreal and very much a humbling experience, knowing Michael is such a legend. It’s an incredible feat that he achieved.”

Congratulated by Ross Brawn - considered the architect of Schumacher's world titles at Benetton and Ferrari -, Hamilton says the 48 year-old remains in his thoughts following the skiing accident that left him seriously injured in 2013. As of today, relatively little is known about Schumacher's condition as he continues rehabilitation.

"To hear the message that Ross just gave, I just have to say a big thank you and pray for Michael and his family all the time. I have had the privilege of racing with him, from karting days to on track… I have always admired me and continue to do so today. I am just honoured to be up there with him but he will still be one of the greatest of all time."

Hamilton now has a chance to go clear at the top of the pole position tally next week when F1 heads to Monza for the Italian Grand Prix, a circuit he also has an excellent record.

The Briton comes into the Belgian Grand Prix 14 points adrift of Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ standings.


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