Lewis Hamilton admitted he was overwhelmed after clinching his third World Championship with victory at the Circuit of the Americas on Sunday.
The British driver capitalised on a late-race error from Mercedes AMG PETRONAS team-mate Nico Rosberg to climb into the position he needed to clinch the title, with Hamilton admitted thoughts about his family and fans were running through his mind at the chequered flag.
“It’s an overwhelming moment,” revealed Hamilton. “Remembering my first British Championship, when my dad and me drove home singing ‘We Are the Champions’. Thinking about how much my family sacrificed – my Mum, my Dad, my whole family.
“And also thinking about my fans. They give me so much energy and I hope I inspire them to never give up on their hopes and dreams.”
Hamilton admitted it was an extraordinary race at the Circuit of the Americas in tricky conditions, and he was wondering how he was going to get into the position he needed to win the championship as he followed team-mate Rosberg around in second.
“The race today was really amazing and anything could have happened,” said Hamilton. “The last 10 – 15 laps were extraordinary – it was just a crazy, crazy race. I was in the lead, then I was fourth and the conditions were really tricky. Nico was driving really well, too.
“All the way through, I was thinking; “The Championship is there somewhere… how can I get it?” It was so close I could smell it and there was never a moment I didn’t believe I could do it.”
The Briton also admitted his pride to equal the three championship won by his idol Ayrton Senna, with Hamilton feeling matching the legendary Brazilian’s three titles was always his career aim.
“It’s just incredible to equal Ayrton,” admitted Hamilton. “My target was always three titles as he was the one who inspired me. There is no one I want to equal now – I just want to carry on as far and long as I can.
“For any driver, you want to win in anything you compete in – but this is the ultimate goal. Championships mean greatness – yours and your team’s! This Team has been so amazing. I feel incredibly thankful. I thought I would win with this team, so that’s why I moved… and I did!”