Hamilton pays homage to Schumacher after matching record

Hamilton pays homage to Schumacher after matching record

Hamilton pays homage to Schumacher after matching record

His seventh pole of the season, with a lap that was absolutely breathtaking, two-tenths ahead of Vettel, means he has achieved the remarkable feat of matching Michael Schumacher's record of 68 career poles.

F1 sporting chief Ross Brawn gave Hamilton a congratulatory message from the Schumacher family on the Spa grid at the end of qualifying, adding "they said that Michael always said records are there to be beaten".

Hamilton, who appeared to be visibly moved with emotion, said: "First, a big shout to the fans here - I can't believe it".

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"I have had the privilege of racing with him from karting days in Kerpen to on the track [in F1] and always admired him and still do today". Only Schumacher is above him on the all-time list, but the Briton will need over 30 more if he is to match the great German's record of 91. Even though I had momentum on him, I was still a long way back.

Ricciardo, on fresh ultra-soft tyres, passed Hamilton's team mate Valtteri Bottas to surge into the top three, with the Finn also losing out to the Ferrari of compatriot Kimi Raikkonen as he ran wide.

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"It's pretty much for all the Dutch here, so thanks for hanging around", said Ricciardo, whose teenage team mate Max Verstappen retired shaking his head in sheer frustration after eight laps.

Stoffel Vandoorne, who will continue to race for McLaren next season, was 10th in the order, while his team-mate Fernando Alonso, whose future is rather less certain, finished 13th. "But I don't believe any of the bosses at Mercedes or any of the individuals here at the team is unhappy with what is now in place, so I find it hard to believe they will change that".

Hamilton passed Raikkonen and with the 2007 champion being given a ten second stop-and-go penalty, he ceased to be a factor in the race.

"I$3 never really had a chance, so maybe half a chance, quarter of a chance. We made good steps with the set-up right from the start, which is a really encouraging way to kick off the weekend".

"And I have now equalled him [Schumacher] on poles and it is very surreal. We get on very well together, so hopefully it all stays the same as it is now".

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