Ex-Formula 1 driver Nigel Mansell says he is “surprised it took so long” for someone to beat his British record of 31 grand prix wins after Lewis Hamilton finally passed the mark on Sunday.

Mansell feels the 29-year-old can now target the records of Alain Prost (51 wins) and Michael Schumacher (91).

“It’s great because Lewis is a true racer,” Mansell told BBC Radio Jersey.

“His target now will be Alain Prost’s record. I think he will attack Michael Schumacher’s record as well.”

Top British drivers by GP wins

Lewis Hamilton 32
Nigel Mansell 31
Jackie Stewart 27
Jim Clark 25
Damon Hill 22

Former world champion Mansell, 61, had held the British record for race wins since 1992, when he passed Sir Jackie Stewart’s tally of 27 at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

But he says he is pleased to yield the record to Hamilton, who leads the current driver’s championship by 24 points from Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg with two races remaining.

“I am pleased and proud to momentarily hold it for some 20-odd years,” said Mansell, who ended his F1 career in 1995. “I’m now delighted for Lewis. He will be elated.

“With the reliability and the way the circuits are he has done a superb job of increasing it to 32. Before the end of the year I wouldn’t be surprised if he pops it up to 34.

“The fantastic thing that drivers have these days is a higher reliability factor with the cars. Many drivers in years gone by would be in the lead and doing great things and would break down.

“I think Lewis will just get better and better.”

Mansell is confident Hamilton will beat Rosberg to win this year’s world title but says that the double points on offer in the final race in Abu Dhabi mean nothing can be taken for granted.

“I think Nico needed to win in America to keep his challenge alive,” added Mansell. “The only thing is the double points at the end of the year.

“I don’t know how that is going to work out if there are reliability problems for one of the drivers.”