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Lewis to 'carry Senna baton'

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 18-09-2015 skysports.com

Getty © Provided by BSkyB Getty Getty © Provided by BSkyB Getty

Lewis Hamilton feels like he will be "carrying the baton for both of us" in future once he equals his hero Ayrton Senna's tally of F1 victories. 

The reigning world champion will match his boyhood idol's record of 41 wins from 161 starts if he continues his strong recent form and claims victory in Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix.

Despite the attention surrounding his impending landmark, Hamilton says the relevance of win number 41 isn't on his mind as he prepares for this weekend's night race.

In any case, he believes Senna would have won many more races had the Brazilian three-time world champion not been killed aged 34 at the 1994 San Marino GP - further feats he hopes he can now achieve himself in tribute to his hero.

"I'm not approaching this weekend at all thinking 'yeah, if I win this race I'm going to be equal with Ayrton'. It doesn't matter if it's this weekend, or the weekend after, or the weekend after that, I will have eventually the same amount of wins as Ayrton," Hamilton said.

"If Ayrton had been able to continue he would have won many more races and many more championships, so I think I'm going to be carrying the baton for both of us. Striving to win more for the both of us."

Senna's career has largely come to be defined by his rivalry with four-time world champion Alain Prost. Asked by Sky Sports News HQ if his own career lacked a defining nemesis, Hamilton replied: "How'd you work that out?"

"I've fought with Fernando [Alonso], I've fought with [Felipe] Massa, so are you saying they aren't big rivals?"

A 41st win this weekend would also draw Hamilton level with Sebastian Vettel in the all-time standings. The pair have claimed six of the last seven world titles between them and could be set for future duels at the head of the field if Ferrari's recent improvement carries into next season.

"At the moment they are not as good as us. Ferrari have been making big steps, but they are not as fast as us." Hamilton replied when asked if he saw Vettel emerging as his biggest rival.

"Vettel is a former world champion so he is for sure a rival, Nico [Rosberg] is… all I can say is go and have a look at my career and it is no surprise why I'm driving the way I am today."

Hamilton, however, is fully aware of the growing Ferrari threat, particularly after the Scuderia qualified closer to Mercedes in dry conditions at Monza than at any stage of this season.

"I think people have missed that Ferrari took the biggest step of everyone in the last race. They didn't carry it into the race, but that is what they are working towards."

Hamilton, meanwhile, has put his impressive run of 2015 results down to more consistency throughout the entire race weekend.

"When you approach each season the word 'dominant' doesn't enter your mind. You just want to go out and do your best all weekend and try to remain consistent. That's what I've started doing this year," he said.

"Last year I obviously tried to do that, but I struggled in qualifying which made the weekends harder for me. They were quite successful weekends as well as I came from second and could do some overtaking, which I enjoy.

"But I set myself new goals and new targets this year and that's been a challenge in itself. Of course, I know what I'm capable of and every driver would hope that at their best there's a gap [to the drivers behind]."

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