Hamilton revels in 'greatest honour' after being awarded Senna's race helmet

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Lewis Hamilton said he had received his "greatest honour" after being presented with a race-worn Ayrton Senna helmet upon matching the Brazilian great's tally of Formula One pole positions.

A stunning lap of one minute and 11.459 seconds saw Mercedes driver Hamilton clinch top spot in qualifying at the Canadian Grand Prix, where he is aiming for a third consecutive race victory.

It means the Briton now has 65 poles, just three shy of Michael Schumacher's overall record, and the same amount amassed by the legendary Senna, whose family arranged for a special prize to be handed to Hamilton.

Hamilton is a three-time world champion and a winner of 55 F1 races, but says being awarded something that belonged to his racing idol is something he prizes above all his previous accomplishments.

"Wow, I am shaking," Hamilton told a news conference. "Ayrton is the one who inspired me to be where I am.

"To match him and receive this is the greatest honour.

"For the Senna family to send me this, I don't possess any of Ayrton's artefacts, this is the most special thing I have above and beyond all my trophies and everything.

"I am honoured to be honoured by that family and honestly I couldn't be happier."

"As I kid I thought maybe one day I can get to Formula One and emulate Ayrton. To equal him; I just can't believe it."

Hamilton spoke of how emulating Senna's pole tally was a target after matching his 41 race wins, and said it was particularly special to do it in his "most difficult" season as Mercedes battle Ferrari for F1 supremacy.

"I have equalled Ayrton in race wins a while ago so this has been my focus, literally as a kid I thought if I was lucky I could emulate Ayrton and I can't believe it," he said.

"I remember coming home from school and putting on video tape of Ayrton so it is really strange to think that now I'm here and I have that many poles.

"And being that it is the most difficult season of my career racing these great guys [Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas] and Kimi [Raikkonen], and having us so close, it pushes us all to the limit, it relies on us to be perfect.

"Of course we can't always be perfect but today I got as close as I could get."