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Hamilton will catch Schumacher, predicts Mansell

 

By Philip Dan

Lewis Hamilton will match Michael Schumacher's record of seven world championships before his Mercedes deal expires, Nigel Mansell has claimed with his fellow Briton standing on the brink of an historic title.

Hamilton, 33, requires just eight points more than Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in the US Grand Prix tomorrow to wrap up the championship and join Juan Manuel Fangio on five title triumphs.

There are a number of permutations as to how the Mercedes star can get his championship over the line, but the simplest is this; if he wins here in Austin, Texas and Vettel is third, the glory is his.

A fifth championship for the Silver Arrows star would leave him two shy of a record that many thought would never be beaten.

But Mansell, the 1992 world champion who, until Hamilton surpassed him, had won more races than any British driver, believes Schumacher is now firmly in his countryman's sights.

Hamilton will remain with Mercedes until at least the end of 2020 after signing a deal to become the sport's first £40million-a-season driver earlier this year.

"Lewis is on a crest of a wave and I predict that within the next couple of years he will get his seventh world championship," Mansell said.

Indeed, Hamilton is set to sew up his fourth championship in five seasons either in America tomorrow or Mexico next weekend, with a Mercedes team that Mansell believes must now be considered the best Formula One has seen. Could the same also be said for Hamilton?

"Will Lewis go down as one of the greatest drivers of all time? Of course he will, and he should, but times are very different now," Mansell added.

"I broke my back three times, I broke my neck, and my feet were in bits.

"I believe the great drivers are those that competed with no seatbelts, no crash helmets, and if you were involved in an accident there was a 50-50 chance you would die."

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