Hamilton: I am not obsessed with records
Briton proud to surpass Schumacher's mark of 68 poles, but says he's more concerned with doing his best
A three-time Formula One champion who counts in milliseconds and makes instantaneous decisions while racing at breakneck speed, Lewis Hamilton was momentarily stumped by a question by The New Paper yesterday.
He had already surpassed Michael Schumacher's record of 68 poles, so we asked him if he is gunning to be the greatest of all time.
The 32-year-old Briton, who had cut a sweaty and restless figure in Singapore's humidity, paused before breaking into a cheeky smile.
After the relative eternity of four seconds, he replied: "Erm... Perhaps?"
Of course, behind the designer sunglasses and gold chains, Hamilton was just being coy.
The same man who calls himself "the most stylish driver on the grid" at the private meet-and-greet session for Hugo Boss and Mercedes-Benz at The Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore yesterday must surely fancy becoming the greatest driver ever.
He said: "Records are not something I've focused on. It's always been about going out there and just doing my best.
"But, obviously, to have beaten something Michael Schumacher did is surreal and something I'm very proud of."
For someone who revealed he "loves racing but doesn't really like driving", Hamilton has stormed up the list of F1's legends since his debut in 2007.
The Mercedes Maybach S600 in his garage represents how far he has come since he had his first "used-and-abused" at six.
His 59 wins before the Singapore Grand Prix this weekend is second only to Schumacher's 91.
He has three championship titles, level with his boyhood idol Ayrton Senna, and behind only Schumacher (seven), Juan Manuel Fangio (five) and Alain Prost and Sebastian Vettel (four).
Hamilton provided a glimpse of his single-mindedness in his quest for greatness during the short Q&A yesterday.
His fallout with childhood friend, last season's teammate and F1 champion Nico Rosberg, has been well documented.
Of current teammate and Mercedes No. 2 Valtteri Bottas, he said: "We are both competitors with great respect for each other.
"He wants to kill me on the track and I want to kill him on the track, but we are both professionals on and off it."
Asked if he is confident of a podium finish on Sunday, Hamilton, who won here in 2009 and 2014, said: "I'm not really one for confidence.
"I just prepare myself the best way I can and I know how to drive, so it's not really a confidence thing. It's kind of just arrive and do, and I want to do the best the whole time."
Hamilton has struck form as the championship enters its final straight.
His win at Monza last fortnight, when he also achieved his 69th career pole, propelled him to 238 points, three ahead of Ferrari's Vettel.
"It's exciting and it's pretty cool we are now in the lead, and we will try to stay there," said Hamilton.
"Provided we put together what we have been working on, understanding the set-up, if I drive the way I've been driving, we should be in a good place."