Lewis Hamilton insists he is not letting thoughts about potentially matching Michael Schumacher’s all-time Formula 1 wins record distract him from the task at hand at the Russian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver heads into this weekend’s race at Sochi with his first opportunity to claim his 91st career victory and draw level with Schumacher’s benchmark which has stood unrivalled since the German’s last win in 2006.

But Hamilton - who holds a 55-point lead in the championship and remains on course to also match Schumacher’s seven drivers titles this year – said he is not approaching Russia any differently to any other races.

“Obviously for all of us drivers, there’s a lot of emotion involved in what we do with the love and the pressure and everything,” Hamilton replied when he was reminded of Schumacher being left in tears after equalling Ayrton Senna’s then record tally of 41 victories at the 2000 Italian Grand Prix.

“I don’t know why I am the way I am and why numbers are not necessarily something I focus on.

“I come into this weekend as it being no different to any other weekend. I’ve got to work my backside off to beat Valtteri and everyone else out there and I know how hard that is, as do the other drivers. I just don’t think of anything else really.

“I think championship numbers are perhaps a little bit different. When you win a championship, it’s something that is so far in the distance it’s almost impossible or seems out of reach.

“You try to get there but you are never really sure if you are going to get there, and when you do get there, you are already focused on what’s next. Perhaps it’s not until long after that I will realise.”

Hamilton, who has four previous victories at the Sochi Autodrom, stressed that he will have his “work cut out” to beat his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas this weekend.

“I’ve got my work cut out, this is a track where Valtteri got his first win, he’s very quick at this circuit and the Red Bulls will be quick here as they were last year,” he explained.

“So it’s a real tall order to come into a weekend and win. If it happens… It’s going to happen at some stage as I’m not quitting any time soon, I can’t tell you how I am going to feel, or what it’s going to mean, or if it’s going to mean anything.

“There’s other and bigger issues happening in the world. Of course it’s an honour, but that doesn’t really mean anything either.”

 

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