Lewis Hamilton clinched a historic sixth World Drivers’ Championship (WDC) at the 2019 United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas. Michael Schumacher with seven world championships is the only Formula 1 driver with more titles and wins than Hamilton.
The legendary Schumacher’s seven championships and 91 Grand Prix wins seemed untouchable. But Hamilton now is just one title and eight wins away from tying Schumacher’s records.
Hamilton made a sensational debut in 2007 when he fell just one point short of winning the drivers’ title. The first title for the Briton came with McLaren in 2008. The Briton’s six-year McLaren career ended with that sole world championship and 21 wins. There were some near misses in winning the drivers’ championship in that time.
Hamilton made the much-criticized move to the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team in 2013 from McLaren. Mercedes had a sole win at that point after their return to Formula 1 in 2010.
But then Team Principal Ross Brawn and Non-Executive Chairman Niki Lauda lured Hamilton to the team with a promise of a very successful new V6 Hybrid engine era that would start from 2014. That promise has come true many times over.
Hamilton’s Mercedes career has yielded five world championships and 62 wins and in that time the Mercedes team has won six consecutive double championships with the constructors’ and drivers’ championship (2014 – 2019).
The Silver Arrows continue to be one of the leading teams in the sport even though Ferrari and Red Bull Racing have reduced the huge performance advantage the Mercedes team has had in the hybrid era.
No other team in the history of Formula 1 has achieved this record of six consecutive double championships that the Brackley-based Mercedes team has achieved. The closest to this was the Ferrari dynasty led by Schumacher that won six constructors’ championships (1999-2004) and five drivers’ championships (2000-2004).
The seventh title and the eight wins to equal Schumacher’s record will take a lot of hard work for Hamilton with a more competitive field now. But history is being made in front of our eyes by the man from Stevenage, England – Lewis Hamilton.
It was fitting that Hamilton paid tribute to the late Niki Lauda who has inspired and guided Hamilton through his Mercedes career. Formula 1 fans, regardless of the fact that they are Hamilton fans or not, fully appreciate that history is being made.
An elated Hamilton said: “It’s hard to explain what I’m feeling right now, to be honest. Cloud nine doesn’t even get close, it’s somewhere far above that. It’s been the hardest year I can remember; it’s been so challenging, going through the ups and downs, so right now I’m just so full of emotion, it’s overwhelming.
“I feel truly humbled, and really, really grateful to everyone back at the factories, the entire Daimler family and everyone at PETRONAS – everyone who has worked so hard to enable us to do what we do and achieve this. It’s such a privilege and honour to work for this team, to be able to go out there and have the platform to put in performances like today.
“And Niki, I miss him so much. Today, he’d have taken his cap off. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without Niki, he’s here with us in spirit. I saw my parents right after the race and seeing my dad’s smile, it says it all. My family have supported me since day one, they worked so hard for me to be here today.
“I’m so glad they could all come out here, together. Yesterday was a difficult day and today I just wanted to recover and deliver a one-two for the team. Valtteri did a fantastic job, so huge congratulations to him.”
Congratulations to the six-time world champion and the Mercedes team from the Checkered Flag Motorsport team !!