(Reuters) - Tennis great Serena Williams expects Lewis Hamilton to overtake Michael Schumacher as Formula One's most successful driver of all time as both she and the Briton chase their own sporting records.
Williams has her sights on a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title at the French Open while six-times world champion Hamilton has his first chance to match Schumacher's record 91 wins at this weekend's Russian Grand Prix.
"He is for me the greatest driver that our generation has seen. I'm confident that he will break the record of Michael Schumacher, who was also a fabulous driver," Williams told reporters on Saturday.
The pair are long-standing friends and mutual supporters, and both Serena and her sister Venus have attended grands prix in the past.
As far back as 2016 Hamilton spoke of how he was "mesmerised" by Serena's achievements as an athlete and inspired by her as a human being.
Both grew up with little money and no family background in their sports but with determined fathers pushing them on.
"Lewis and I are super close. I've known him for years. I love that guy. He's a really good friend of mine. The guy is such a champion, has such a champion's mindset," said Williams on the eve of the Roland Garros tournament.
"I look at what he does training, physically, his job, it's really no words for it, to be honest.
"Lewis is so intense. If you know anything, even if you're a fan, you know he lives his life on his sleeve. He's very emotional. He says what he says," continued the American. "That's just who he is. He doesn't care who you are.
"That's one thing I've grown to really appreciate about him, as well."
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Clare Fallon)