After winning a difficult race to equal Michael Schumacher’s record of seven Formula One championships on Sunday, the hardest thing for Lewis Hamilton was containing his emotions.
His voice could be heard breaking as he thanked his team over the radio moments after crossing the line at the Turkish Grand Prix, while underneath the helmet the tears were starting to build up.
“All these emotions were running through me and I was trying to stop it,” Hamilton said in his post-race news conference. “I was thinking about my whole career, from when I was 5 when I drove in a go-kart, from when we won the British championship, driving home with my dad and singing ‘We Are the Champions’ and dreaming of being here.”
Moments after victory No. 94 and title No. 7, he sat in his car with his head in his hands.
“It really hit me and I just burst into tears. I couldn’t get out of the car because I just couldn’t believe it,“ Hamilton said. “I didn’t want the visor to come up and people to see tears flowing, because I had always said I would never let you see me cry. I remember watching drivers in the past crying and I was like, ‘I’m not going to do that.’ But it was too much.“
Speaking a short time after his win, Hamilton was wiping away those tears as he prepared to mount the podium.
“I’m definitely a bit lost for words,” he said, thanking his family. “I dreamed of this as a kid. This is way, way beyond our dreams.”
Hamilton had only one title, with McLaren in 2008, when he replaced Schumacher at Mercedes in 2013.
“Dream the impossible. You have got to chase it and never give up,“ Hamilton said. “That’s for all the kids out there who dream the impossible. You can do it.”
Hamilton only needed to finish ahead of his teammate Valtteri Bottas to seal his sixth title for Mercedes, and Bottas placed a lowly 14th after making a poor start.
The British driver started from sixth place but still won a fourth straight race and the 10th of another hugely dominant season.
“I know I often I say it is beyond wildest dreams but my whole life secretly I have dreamt as high as this,” said Hamilton. “It felt so far-fetched. I remember watching Michael win those world championships. To get one or two or even three is so hard.
“Seven is unimaginable. There is no end to what we can do together, me and this team.”
Hamilton placed about 30 seconds ahead of Racing Point’s Sergio Perez and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who overtook teammate Charles Leclerc for his first podium of a difficult season.
SOURCE: The Associated Press