"I'm proud to have overtaken a myth like Maradona,” said Hamsik, whose strike came just before half time. “My friends gave me shin-pads with 116 on them. But my first thought was that we were winning the game after going behind twice," added the 30-year-old.
Napoli were trailing twice in the first half with Gaston Ramirez firing in a free-kick after just two minutes to catch Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina off guard.
But Allan equalised after a quarter of an hour at the San Paolo stadium only for Fabio Quagliarella to convert a penalty to restore Sampdoria's lead after 27 minutes. Lorenzo Insigne marked his comeback from injury with a volley on 33 minutes following a Dries Mertens flicked cross.
Napoli have 45 points from their 18 games. Juventus are a point behind following their 1-0 win over Roma. Medhi Benatia scored the only goal against his former club after 18 minutes in Turin.
"Roma and Napoli are candidates for the Scudetto. Inter are still up there and so are Lazio," said Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.
However Inter have to demonstrate more consistency to give credence to Allegri’s claims. Their 1-0 loss at Sassuolo followed last week’s defeat at home to Udinese.
Diego Falcinelli headed in the only goal after 34 minutes at the Mapei Stadium, with goalkeeper Andrea Consigli saving a penalty from leading Serie A scorer Mauro Icardi.
Luciano Spalletti's side are third but just two points ahead of Roma, who have played a game less. "We've lost two games but I've seen good things in these games, perhaps there hasn't been the most consistency and there have been some moments which weren't the smartest," said Spalletti.
"We paid a high price for certain episodes. To become a strong team and to consolidate on what we've done, we need to get through moments like this."