Reminded of the fact at Marina Bay on Thursday, Hamilton inevitably played things down, insisting that clinching a third world title was his primary concern. He was forced to concede, however, that matching Senna would be special.
"I always wanted to emulate Ayrton and I’m very close to the number of races in which he competed - just one away - and I’m one victory away from the number of races he won,” said the Briton, admitting that he had not previously considered how closely his tally is to his boyhood hero’s 161 starts.
"After the last race I was only notified how many races I had done, and to see that almost correlate with the career that Ayrton had, I couldn't believe it. It feels pretty amazing.
"As a kid, I set my goal on something and achieved it. I think now I’m set on that goal, and very close. It doesn’t matter if it is this weekend, next weekend or the weekend after, I will eventually have the same number of wins as Ayrton.
"But if Ayrton had been able to continue, he would have won many more races and many more championships, so I think I am carrying the baton for both of us and striving to win more for the both of us. I think if he was around, we would be friends.
"But I’m here fighting for the world championship, that’s my focus, so I won’t be focusing on what Senna achieved and what I achieved. I’m here simply to win the race, so there’s no more pressure than usual this weekend. But if I was to equal Ayrton’s number of wins, even this weekend, it would be very emotional."
Victory for Hamilton on Sunday would put him, Senna and Sebastian Vettel level on 41 career wins. Only Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost have more Grand Prix victories, with 91 and 51 respectively.