Lewis Hamilton says first Grand Prix is the ‘real highlight’ of his career as he prepares for 300th F1 race

By: Express News Service |

Updated: July 22, 2022 10:50:48 am

Lewis Hamilton of Britain answers to reporters during a news conference. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

At the French Grand Prix on Sunday, Lewis Hamilton will join an elite group of drivers to have completed 300 races in Formula 1. The all-time leader is Kimi Raikkonen with 349, followed by Fernando Alonso (345, the only other active driver), Rubens Barichello (322), Michael Schumacher (306), and Jenson Button (306).

Despite reaching the milestone, however, the seven-time world champion has said that no motorsport achievement can compare to the time he was handed his Formula One debut.

“The whole realisation of reaching your dream is a very, very surreal experience, it is always going to be your first, there’s only one first,” he was quoted as saying by The Guardian.

“Just getting to that first Grand Prix in 2007, the amount of sleepless nights as a family all of us had had not knowing if we would reach our dream but never giving up nonetheless and being there, that will probably be the real highlight.”

The Brit is now looking to break yet another motorsport record by becoming the only driver to reach the landmark and then win an F1 race. This year, Hamilton’s long-dominant Mercedes F1 team has been far off the pace of Ferrari and Red Bull. And despite making their car more competitive in recent weeks, things are more complicated for the 37-year-old to win a race than they have been for the past several years.

LH44 in the house 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/CDZ5H026EB

— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) July 21, 2022

“It doesn’t faze me because I am working towards getting that win,” he said. “I do believe we will at some stage be able to compete with these guys. Whether it is this weekend or in five races’ time.”

Hamilton labels Alonso his toughest F1 rival

Hamilton made his F1 debut in 2007 at McLaren, and was tasked with partnering Alonso, the reigning world champion and, in the words of the Brit, one of the toughest competitors in the sport.

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“I remember the task of being alongside Fernando when I was 22, I was so young mentally,” the Brit said. “It is a lot of pressure to go up against a great like him, on pure pace and ability I would say it is Fernando. We had some good battles.”

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Hamilton ended the 2007 season level on points with the Spaniard, narrowly missing out on the world championship by two points to Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.

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