Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Formula One Team‘s Lewis Hamilton has described the feeling of winning the seventh Drivers’ Championship of his career as “beyond my wildest dreams”, doing so by winning the Turkish Grand Prix at Intercity Istanbul Park.
Hamilton’s victory – the 94th of his Formula 1 career – is his tenth win so far this season, and also the second time he has won in Turkey. He now leads the Championship by 307 points.
“I know often we, or I say, it’s beyond my wildest dreams, but I think my whole life I secretly have dreamt as high as this. But it always felt so farfetched. I remember Michael [Schumacher] winning those Championships, and all of us drivers here are doing the best job we can, and just to get one, two or three is so hard to get.
“So, to get seven, is just unimaginable. But when you work with such a great group of people, and you communicate, and trust one another and listen to one another, there is just no end to what we can do together, this team and I together. And I’m so proud of what we’ve done. And them trusting me out there today like they did, that comes with experience.”
While he is pleased with what he and the team have been able to achieve this year, he notes it is somewhat tinged with sadness, due to not being able to share his successes with his friends and family, as a result of restrictions due to the on-going coronavirus pandemic.
“This year has been so tough… I haven’t gone out, I haven’t gone for dinner, I’ve just stayed in my bubble. Getting room service every day, and not really anything exciting and that’s naturally because I’ve got a championship to fight for. I think this year I’ve sacrificed more than ever before in my whole life. That’s made it quite difficult. Making memories like this, I want to wait until I can be around my family, be around all my friends, because I want to share it with them.”
Despite their achievements, Hamilton is well aware of the high margin for error.
He continued: “I feel so proud of this race today. I was thinking about moments when it went wrong before, like China 2007 when I lost the championship on worn tyres in the pit lane. All these things I’ve learned along the way, I was able to apply today, and that’s why you saw the result and the gap you did today.
“At the same time, I feel like I’m only just getting started, it’s really weird. I feel physically in great shape, and mentally this year has been the hardest year for many people, for millions of people. I know things always look great on here, on the big stage, but it’s no different for us athletes. And it has been a challenge I didn’t know how to get through. But with the help of great people round me, with the help of my team, Team LH, I managed to keep my head above water and focused.”
He is hopeful next year will be more positive, as we begin to move through the challenges of the pandemic, and he recognises there is still work to do in order to address human rights and sustainability concerns.
“I’m hopeful for a better year next year. And I’d love to stay, I feel like we’ve got a lot of work to do here. I am working to push to hold ourselves accountable as a sport, to realise we’ve got to face and not ignore the human rights issues that are around in the countries that we go to, and how can we engage with those countries, and how can we empower them to really change, not 10 or 20 years from now, but now. And I want to help Formula 1, I want to help Mercedes in that journey to become more sustainable. I hope to be a part of that, at least the initial phase, for a little bit longer,” he said.