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Ricciardo envious as Hamilton prepares to equal Schumacher's F1® wins record

26/09/20

The Australian described it as a "massive achievement".

Daniel Ricciardo admits to feeling envious of Lewis Hamilton as the Mercedes driver closes in on another Formula 1® milestone.

Should he triumph at the Russian Grand Prix this weekend, Hamilton will move level with the legendary Michael Schumacher on 91 wins in F1®.

The 35-year-old Briton has topped the podium in six of the nine races in 2020 and has a strong record in Sochi, where he has been victorious four times in his career.

Asked about the impending landmark for Hamilton ahead of the Russian Grand Prix, Renault DP World F1 Team driver Ricciardo told Stats Perform News: "Yeah, it's huge.

"My generation, growing up as a kid, it's Schumacher. Everyone knew that surname… whether you knew Formula 1® or you didn't. It was always Schumacher.

"And for Lewis to now be on the verge of eclipsing that, it's huge. It's a lot of wins… what can I say, it's a massive achievement. I envy it, but also I take my hat off to him."

Hamilton also looks set to match another Schumacher record by winning a seventh F1® title this season.

He holds a 55-point advantage over Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who Ricciardo thinks is best placed to stop Hamilton but is still unlikely to do so.

"Nothing is obviously guaranteed, there's still a lot that can happen in the sport, but the truth is, he's racing against one other guy this year," said Ricciardo.

"And that's not being critical, but the Mercedes is so dominant. But it's really Valtteri, he’s the only guy that can stop him. And it's not the first year that Lewis has shown he's able to come out on top with Valtteri.

"I think Valtteri has shown speed, he does have raw speed, but there's winning a world title. Being a world champion is something else and for me, [Bottas is] still yet to really show that and to show the same level that Lewis shows.

"Unless we see a rapid change with Valtteri, I think Lewis has this one under control."

Hamilton has also been looking to make an impact away from the track in 2020, speaking out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and establishing a task force aimed at increasing diversity in motorsport.

"I think he's obviously been very outspoken, so it's obviously good to see. It's him and it's other athletes around the world, the opportunity we have, if we stand for something, we've got such a platform to deliver it and be heard," said Ricciardo.

"He's obviously gone above and beyond with Black Lives Matter and I know he's supporting quite a lot else. For us, it's good to see that, it's important for us to be included in it, and not only himself but if any driver has an idea or a thought that they want to go ahead with, it's nice to all show support together if we feel the same as the other individual.

"At the end of the day, I think everyone wants – when I say everyone, obviously not everyone, but most people in the world with let's say, a heart, wants progress and wants the world to be a better place. I like when people want to do good with their platform and Lewis is trying that."

He added: "I've certainly been inspired this year by certain individuals and it's encouraged me to speak up.

"Even if it's not on social media, if it's with my friends, trying to educate them, especially because we travel, my friends say, that live in Perth, they don't see everything I see, so trying to share some of my international wisdom, it feels nice."