Lewis Hamilton made clear on Thursday that his personal focus at this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix did not include Mercedes’ bid to equal McLaren’s record run of 11 successive victories.
McLaren set their long-standing record in 1988 when the team was led by Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna and together they won 15 of that year’s 16 races.
Their only defeat came at the Italian Grand Prix where Ferrari triumphed with an emotional one-two after Senna was “tripped up” by a late collision with lapped French tail-ender Jean-Louis Schlesser of Williams.
“Maybe the engineers have a list of the records and that’s something they take pride in,” Hamilton said. “It’s awesome when you can break a record, but it’s nowhere near the top of the list of priorities on a weekend.
“But it is remarkable to be in the 125th year of Mercedes-Benz history and be a part of helping them break barriers and records. I’m very proud to be part of that cycle.”
Mercedes have reeled off eight consecutive season-opening victories this year to stretch their unbeaten run to ten races since last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
Hamilton said he was enjoying his role in writing a memorable chapter in Mercedes history and driving cars to contribute to the Mercedes-Benz museum.
“I remember going there in 1996, or 1997, and seeing David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen there, seeing all the cars they have there and wishing I had a car there,” he said.
“Now, I have multiple. I’m enjoying continuing to put more in there.”
Mercedes’ current run of 10 wins has equalled their previous best streaks in 2015 and 2016.
The defending five-time champion and current series leader was more concerned at suggestions that the 2018 tyre compounds, which caused consternation to many teams, could be re-introduced to upset this year’s current domination by his team.
A meeting, to discuss tyres, is scheduled to take place in Spielberg on Friday, involving the teams, organisers and tyre suppliers Pirelli.
Red Bull and Haas have asked to bring back the 2018 tyres “in the interests of entertainment” according to Red Bull team chief Christian Horner.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff accused them of “opportunistic action”.
Hamilton said it would spoil the racing and declared that the drivers should be represented at the meeting.
“Last year you had to manage the tyres to a temperature, which means you have to do more lift-and-coasting, you had more blistering, it was a lot worse,” he said.
“You couldn’t do, for example, what I was able to do in the last race, or even in Montreal, where I was able to push behind Seb. You couldn’t do that on last year’s tyres, particularly the thicker-gauge tyres.”
He added that it was an example of “different teams pushing for different things for their own personal goals rather than for the sport’s.”