Thu. Oct 21st, 2021

Ross Brawn is fully expecting Lewis Hamilton to go on and stretch his record haul of grand prix wins to at least 120 before he finally retires from F1.

Hamilton hit the magical 100 mark with his Russian Grand Prix triumph, although had been left lingering on 99 for over two months after reaching that figure at Silverstone.

With the 36-year-old to continue with Mercedes through to the end of 2023 at least, F1 managing director motorsports Brawn sees no reason why Hamilton cannot push his victory haul beyond the reach of any other driver.

“It’s a milestone no one thought anyone would ever reach,” said Brawn, via his regular post-race column.

“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.”

Brawn further applauded Mercedes and Hamilton for overcoming a rare off day in qualifying as the team erred tactically before the seven-time champion made two mistakes of his own, including hitting the pit wall.

Brawn, though, feels the challenge Mercedes is facing this year from Verstappen and Red Bull is having an impact.

“It’s a measure of a world champion in a world championship team, that little glitches, such as Lewis hitting the wall in qualifying, look glaring because you make them so infrequently,” added Brawn.

“Mercedes and Lewis weren’t on it in qualifying, at a track where they were expected to dominate given recent history.

“Friday practice showed they were much quicker on the long runs. It was all there for them to take advantage of. 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 [Rosberg] 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 the 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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