Sports

Hamilton wants to match hero Senna with 41st win

World champion Hamilton guns for that magical win No. 41

Lewis Hamilton has idolised the late Ayrton Senna since he was a kid.

The Brazilian, recognised by many as the greatest Formula 1 driver, piloted his machine with stunning virtuosity and supreme confidence, always pushing his car to the limit, to win.

Hamilton tries his best to do the same, always striving to win, always hungry to overtake if he is trailing.

The Briton has developed quite a following because of his style and the defending world champion arrived here yesterday for the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix with excitement mounting that he could match one of his hero's marks at the race on Sunday night.

Senna chalked up 41 wins in a career that was tragically cut short when he died aged 34 in a horrific crash at Imola, Italy, in 1994.

Hamilton, 30, will move to 41 Grand Prix wins if he comes in first in the only full night race on the calendar and, crucially, draw closer to securing his third world title.

Hamilton is high on confidence after extending his championship lead over Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg to 53 points after a dominant victory two weeks ago at the Italian Grand Prix, but knows concentration is key around the street track at Marina Bay.

CLOSE FIGHT

He was assisted by Rosberg's late retirement at Monza, but knows his teammate will be looking to bounce back and expects another close fight between them.

"Monza was an awesome weekend for me - one of the best I've had in Formula 1," said Hamilton.

"The car this team have built is just incredible and I can't thank them enough for all their hard work.

"Of course, it was a shame for Nico and the crew to have the retirement - but I know he'll bounce back and I'm looking forward to another battle in Singapore."

Hamilton regards the Singapore GP as one of the highlights of the Formula 1 season, especially because he loves driving on street circuits.

"This race is always a highlight of the season - a great city which looks really spectacular under the lights with the tricky street circuit below - my favourite kind of track to drive," said Hamilton, who is looking for a third win here after triumphs in 2009 and 2014.

"You've got to stay 100 per cent focused for a full two hours, which is tougher than it sounds with the crazy humidity. Any small slip and you're in the barrier, so maintaining that total concentration is crucial."

While his teammate is brimming with confidence, Rosberg is not about to wave the white flag.

The German driver insisted he will not give up on fighting his teammate.

He said: "I approach the final seven races with the attitude that there's nothing to lose. It's maximum attack and I won't be giving up the fight, no way.

"Singapore is one of my favourite races... It's so tough on everyone - physically and mentally - and I love that challenge. I was only a few thousandths off pole last year and feeling good for the race until a problem with the steering wheel ended my weekend.

"I know I've got the pace to win, so I'm hoping for a clean weekend and a chance to unleash my silver beast under the lights."

With Senna on his mind, though, Hamilton's fans and many experts will back him to take the chequered flag on Sunday, and continue his march to a third world title - the same number as Senna.

"I've won (in Singapore) twice now - both times from pole, which shows you how important qualifying is," said Hamilton.

"It won't be easy to make it three, far from it. But I'm riding high right now and I'll be pushing for that hat-trick." - Wire Services.

The show goes on

Race organisers Singapore GP said yesterday that this weekend's Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix will go on as planned, after worries over the fate of the race and the supporting entertainment acts were raised because of the ongoing haze.

In a statement issued yesterday, Singapore GP said: "Based on the current Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) levels, there are no plans to amend the published racing and entertainment programme.

"The haze situation is highly changeable not only from day to day, but from hour to hour. 

"Therefore, it is currently not possible to reliably predict what the PSI level might be over the race weekend. 

"We will continue to work closely with all the relevant government authorities to receive the best possible forecasts when they are available."

The Singapore GP is the only full night race on the annual Formula 1 calendar and this year's edition is the 13th out of 19 scheduled.

With more than 80,000 in attendance track side for every night race and a global TV audience of around 100 million watching it "live" the grand prix around downtown Singapore is a huge hit with fans.

BON JOVI CONCERT

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton will be anxious the race goes off without a hitch as he looks to extend a comfortable 53-point lead over Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in the drivers' standings on Sunday. 

But as three-hour PSI reading crossed over the 200-mark on Tuesday night, motor racing supporters here grew concerned over the status of the race, and the accompanying entertainment acts that famously accompany the grand prix.

This year, Maroon 5, Pharell Williams and super rock group Bon Jovi are on the bill.

Organisers are expecting around 70,000 to descend on the Padang for Bon Jovi's concert, which will blast off after the race on Sunday at 10.30pm and fans of the rock group will be hoping the haze does not affect the show.

In order for patrons to make informed decisions on the haze situation, the PSI reading and relevant health advisory will be displayed on the Singapore GP website, official Singapore GP mobile app, on the giant screens at various points track side and it will also be broadcast on the in-circuit radio system. 

The government health advisory will also be posted at all Circuit Park entrances.

N95 masks will also be available for patrons throughout the Circuit Park at cost price, while all 24 medical and first-aid posts have been placed on standby to handle any possible haze-related condition.

Formula 1Ayrton Sennalewis hamilton