Hamilton ties Senna after win
Lewis Hamilton said it felt “unreal” after victory in the Japanese Grand Prix moved him level with his boyhood hero Ayrton Senna on 41 race wins.
“It’s quite an emotional day. I’m full of joy and happiness and light,” said the 30-year-old British driver.
He defended the first-lap overtake of Nico Rosberg, which forced his Mercedes team-mate wide and he dropped to fourth before fighting back to second.
Hamilton is now 48 points clear of the German in the title race.
“The inside line is the inside line, so it was my corner,” said Hamilton.
“I can imagine Nico was running out of road but that’s what happens when you’re on the outside.”
Rosberg said: “It got really close on the exit of Turn Two and I had to back out of it there and that lost me the race.
“I haven’t seen it on TV. For sure it was close. I had to avoid a collision. But it is difficult to comment now.”
Sunday was Hamilton’s 162nd race, one more than Senna started in a career that ended tragically at Imola in 1994.
The Brazilian won twice at Suzuka in 1988 and 1993 and Hamilton’s victory was also his second at the circuit.
“For me to win here at a race where I loved watching Ayrton drive and to match his wins, it doesn’t feel real at the moment,” he said.