Hamilton equals Schumacher’s record of seven championships

(Istanbul) Lewis Hamilton clinched his seventh Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship on Sunday after winning the Turkish Grand Prix.

At the same time he signed his 94e career victory in F1. The Briton is now tied with legendary German driver Michael Schumacher, having replaced him at Mercedes in 2013.

“I went through the whole gamut of emotions, and I was trying to hold them back,” Hamilton said at a post-race press conference. I thought about my whole career, my conquest of the British Karting Championship when I was five, the road trip home with my dad, as we sang together We Are The Champions, dreaming of one day reaching F1. “

He also took a long time to extricate himself from the cockpit of his car after confirming his exploits.

“It hit me hard, and I burst into tears. I couldn’t get out of the car because I couldn’t believe it, Hamilton said. I didn’t want to lift my visor because people would have seen my tears, and I always said no one would see me cry publicly. I remember seeing pilots cry and thinking to myself: “I will never do that”. But it was stronger than me. “

Hamilton only needed to finish ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas to clinch his sixth Mercedes title, and Bottas settled for 14e place after a bad start.

Hamilton’s other championship was acquired from McLaren in 2008.

He burst into tears while chatting with his team over the radio after crossing the finish line in Istanbul.

“It’s for all the kids who dream of doing the impossible,” said Hamilton. You can do it. “

Then, in an interview a few minutes later, he couldn’t hold back tears again.

“I’m speechless,” Hamilton said, thanking his family. I dreamed about this when I was young. It’s way beyond my wildest dreams. “

The Briton started from sixth place, but he took advantage of driving errors and poor pit-stopping strategies to post a fourth straight win – and a 10e this season.

“I know I often say that it exceeds my wildest dreams, but secretly I always dreamed of accomplishing this feat, entrusted the principal person concerned. I’ve been waiting for this for so long. I remember looking at Michael [Schumacher] win these world championships. Winning one, two or three is so difficult.

“Seven is amazing. There is no limit to what we can accomplish, my team and I, ”he added.

The next step for Hamilton is to ratify a new contract, and he has hinted that talks will begin very soon.

“We obviously have to get started very soon,” he admitted. I wanted to sort this out and complete the job. It will probably be in a few weeks … But we will come to an agreement, I’m sure. “

A tough pill for Stroll to swallow

Hamilton crossed the finish line 30 seconds ahead of Racing Point driver Sergio Perez and Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, who passed teammate Charles Leclerc at the end of the race to secure his first podium of the season.

“I’m surprised to find myself on the podium, but I’m obviously happy,” said Vettel. It was intense, but a lot of fun. “

It was also the first podium in 2020 for Perez, while his Racing Point teammate Lance Stroll, who started from the top position, finished ninth – although he led for most of the 58-lap race. .

Vettel, four-time world champion, was the first to congratulate Hamilton, his eternal rival. He crouched down next to the Briton’s Mercedes and shook his hand, before exchanging a few words with him.

Stroll started from the top position – a career first for the 22-year-old Quebecer – alongside Max Verstappen’s Red Bull, on a circuit which was visited by F1 for the first time since 2011. This track, which has been resurfaced, has been described as an “ice rink” by Hamilton.

Verstappen missed his start, which allowed Hamilton to temporarily move up to third. The Briton however experienced some grip problems and was surprised by Red Bull drivers Alexander Albon and Verstappen. Vettel then made a spectacular comeback from 11th to third position, then Bottas spun around and found himself at the back of the pack.

Vettel and Hamilton made their first pit stop on lap nine, followed by Stroll, Perez and Verstappen three laps later.

Towards the halfway point, Stroll and Perez were at the front of the field, but were losing ground to Hamilton. Stroll made a pit stop at 37e lap and Hamilton used his drag reduction system to surprise Perez a lap later and climb into the lead.

Stroll’s strategy cost him dearly, and he was eventually overtaken by the two Ferraris, as Bottas spun four times behind the field.

“It’s very difficult to understand what happened today, and we will have to learn from our mistakes. I had a good start from pole, and I was able to build myself a 10-second cushion before the first stop, which set the stage for an encouraging second pass, said Stroll first. Except that my intermediate tires started to fall apart quickly, preventing me from taking my place [à l’avant du peloton].

“It was my pole yesterday, but the points are acquired on Sunday,” he added. It was good to lead so many laps, but it wasn’t enough! The pill is hard to swallow, but I’m happy for Checo [Perez]. “

Stroll still got two classification points, his first since those acquired with his third place at the Italian Grand Prix on September 6.

A bitter season for Perez

Perez will be replaced by Vettel at the end of the campaign, when Racing Point will be renamed Aston Martin. It means Perez doesn’t have a steering wheel for 2021, even though he is in stellar form at 30 and has just scored his ninth career podium.

“You have to deliver the goods every weekend, and only the result of the last race counts,” explained the Mexican. So it’s important to end the season on a good note, because I don’t have control over the future. “

For his part, Torontonian Nicholas Latifi could not reach the finish behind the wheel of his Williams.

“I was the victim of a collision with Romain [Grosjean], and so we decided to give up, ”said Latifi, disappointed.

For his part, Torontonian Nicholas Latifi could not reach the finish behind the wheel of his Williams.


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