Hamilton: ‘Very surreal’ to match Schumacher’s all-time F1 pole record

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Lewis Hamilton has called matching Michael Schumacher’s all-time Formula 1 pole position record “very surreal” and “a humbling experience” after topping qualifying for the 68th time in his grand prix career on Saturday at Spa.

Hamilton charged to pole for the Belgian Grand Prix with a new track record in Q3, beating drivers’ championship rival Sebastian Vettel by two-tenths of a second.

The result saw Hamilton tie with Schumacher on 68 poles, reaching the tally in 40 fewer races than the seven-time world champion who retired from racing at the end of 2012.

“It’s a special day definitely,” Hamilton said. “To be honest I knew that it was on the horizon, and at some stage I would be getting that 68th pole, but I really hadn’t thought about it much.

“I didn’t apply pressure, I was like ‘it could come soon, it could take a long time’. Now being there, it’s an unusual place to be.

“I remember coming here in 1996, my first grand prix, and watching Michael come by after Turn 1 and the engine just shook my rib cage. It was incredible. That was when my love for the sport took another step.

“To think now god knows how long later, I’m equal with him on poles… it’s very surreal and very much a humbling experience, knowing Michael is such a legend.

“It’s an incredible feat that he achieved.”

The Belgian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 7am ET on Sunday.