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Lewis Hamilton: Surreal that Tom Brady even knows my name

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Hamilton: The fact Brady even knows my name is cool! (1:30)

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton says hearing praise for him from NFL legend Tom Brady is 'surreal'. (1:30)

AUSTIN -- Lewis Hamilton says he still finds it strange to see his achievements recognised by athletes such as NFL star Tom Brady, despite being on the verge of a sixth Formula One world championship.

Hamilton can win the title at Sunday's U.S. Grand Prix by finishing eighth or higher. Ahead of the race, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady -- himself a six-time champion -- praised the Mercedes driver's "exceptional" talent.

When Brady's comments were put to him by ESPN's Ryan McGee in an interview for Sports Centre, Hamilton said: "First of all, it's surreal if I'm being honest, because [I grew up] watching these incredible athletes be the ones that are right at the top.

"I've seen him playing at his best, again, at a Super Bowl against Atlanta and just performing miracles, and it's interesting, because as I've gone through my career I've been fortunate enough to meet the top athletes, with [Novak] Djokovic and [Rafael] Nadal and Tom.

"To get to a place where you start to see a common ground between yourselves and you start to realize that you actually have a lot in common in terms of how you prepare and the struggles that you go through mentally, and you can learn a lot from these people.

"When you get positive words from a great like Tom it's really warming to the heart and I'm very grateful for the fact that he even knows my name, it's so cool, man."

Hamilton starts the U.S. Grand Prix from fifth position. The race is being broadcast live in the U.S. on ABC at 14:10 ET.