Lewis Hamilton has reflected on his emotional win at the Turkish Grand Prix which secured his seventh drivers’ championship title, equalling Michael Schumacher’s record.
From what was predicted to be a quiet race for Mercedes, it ended up being one that would settle Hamilton’s seventh title in style.
Having initially made a good start to the race reaching fourth place, Hamilton soon dropped a couple of places after struggling to get to grips with the wet conditions.
For the first half of the race the Briton was playing catch-up to the front runners, and was stuck behind Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari for some time.
However, by playing the long game and deciding to stay out on the intermediate tyres he received on lap eight, he managed to cruise to victory with a lead of over 30 seconds.
As a result, he scored 25 points, placing him on an unreachable 307 points at the top of the drivers’ standings whilst his teammate, Valtteri Bottas finished a miserable 14th, scoring no points.
Hamilton is not known for showing a great deal of emotion, but as he drove his car back to the pits on the in-lap, he could all but contain his feelings when thanking his team over the radio.
Upon parking his W011 in front of the champion’s bollard, he took a few moments to himself in the cockpit, perhaps to let what he had just achieved fully sink in.
Speaking to Sky F1 after the historic race, Hamilton paid tribute to his team and his fans, and was particularly emotional when he mentioned his family.
“I’m a bit lost for words. I have to start with saying such a huge thank you to all the guys that are here and all the guys back at the factory. I wouldn’t be able to do this if I didn’t join this team and the journey we’ve been on has been monumental and I’m so proud of them.
“I want to also say a big thank you to Team LH for sticking with me all these years and to my family. We dreamed of this when I was young, when we were watching the Grand Prix. This is way beyond our dreams.
“I know often I say it’s beyond my wildest dreams but I think my whole life I secretly have dreamt as high as this. It felt so far-fetched. I remember watching Michael winning those championships; all us drivers are always doing the best job we can just to get one or two or even three is so hard to get so seven is just unimaginable.”
The now seven-time world champion also strongly suggested that there is much more to come from him and Mercedes and revealed he has struggled particularly this year. “I feel like I’m only just getting started.
“I feel physically in great shape and mentally, this year has been a challenge that I didn’t know how to get through but with the help of great people around me, with the help of my team, through the help of Team LH I managed to keep my head above water and stay focused.”
Hamilton has been vocal throughout his career on increasing diversity within Formula One, and echoed these feelings once more today, encouraging youngsters who may be watching to never give up.
“I remember being a kid and watching TV and watching all these Grand Prix and loving cars and not having someone who looked like me in the sport, but I still dreamt that I could one day get there.
“I think there’s going to be a lot of kids out there who still look at all these different industries and perhaps don’t see someone who looks like them but you can be a trailblazer, you can create your own path for others to follow.
“I think it’s so important for kids out there to hopefully see this and know, don’t listen to anybody that tells you you can’t achieve something, dream the impossible and speak it into existence.
“You’ve got to work for it, you’ve got to chase it and you’ve got to never give up, never doubt yourself.”
Of today’s race in Turkey, Hamilton acknowledged the mighty performance he put in, saying, “I just came here to do the job I’ve done today. Out of a lot of races that I’ve done I feel really proud of this one today.
“Those last few laps I was really having to channel the energy just to stay focused, not drop the ball, and I could see myself getting closer and closer to it, so it was becoming a realisation as I was getting closer, particularly on the last lap.”
Despite both the constructors’ and drivers’ championships being settled, there is no doubt that Hamilton, with his hunger for victory and passion for racing, will continue pushing himself and his team to end this unusual but exciting season on a high.