Lewis Hamilton can become only the third driver to win 50 grands prix when Formula One returns from its month-long August break and gets back to business at Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix.
The triple world champion ended the first half of the season in blistering form, opening up a 19-point lead in the standings over Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg with six wins – four in a row – from the last seven races.
His win in Germany last month was number 49, and only Michael Schumacher (91) and Alain Prost (51) have reached the half century.
Hamilton, who trailed Rosberg by 43 points after May’s Spanish Grand Prix, is determined not to ease off.
The Brit says: “The first half of the season was a bit of a rollercoaster, so it’s great to be in the position I’m in with more than half of the races behind us.
“I’m feeling refreshed, re-energised and ready to go after a fun few weeks off, so hopefully everyone else has had a good rest too and we’ll come out fighting.”
Rosberg won the opening four races of the season but has scored only three podiums since Hamilton hit his stride.
Meanwhile, for 18-year-old Dutch driver Max Verstappen, the track is the closest he has to a home venue.
Verstappen, whose victory on his Red Bull debut in Spain in May helped the team move up to second in the standings ahead of Ferrari, was born in Belgium to a Belgian mother and can count on strong local support.