World Champion Lewis Hamilton says he will never be dismissive of future generations of drivers and believes it would be “amazing” if his win record is eventually broken.
Hamilton matched Michael Schumacher’s tally of 91 Formula 1 victories at the Eifel Grand Prix and is likely to move clear of that benchmark in the coming races.
Hamilton has sometimes faced criticism from previous generation of drivers who have questioned his ability, citing the supremacy of his Mercedes team, and length of the current calendar.
He has vowed not to follow in their footsteps and reckons it is up to established drivers to “shine a light” on the up-and-coming racers.
“I have so much respect for the past legends, even though they do continue to talk negatively about me all the time,” said Hamilton.
“But I still hold them in high regard as I know it was so difficult at a different time in history, it was incredibly tough for them, they remain the legends.
“In 20 years’ time, whenever it is, when I’m looking back, I can promise you this: I will not be talking down any young driver that is coming through and succeeding.
“The responsibility as an older driver is to shine the light as bright as possible and encourage those.
“There’ll be someone else, whether it is Max [Verstappen] or whoever it may be, who is going to be chasing the record that I eventually set, I can’t be wishing him… it would be the wrong kind of characteristic and approach to be hoping he doesn’t break it.
“You should be encouraging it and hoping that they live to their full potential and if that means getting to that record, that’s amazing.”