Wednesday 31 October 2018

Hamilton: "From the day that I joined this team, I truly believed that something great was possible."

The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team celebrate with Lewis Hamilton.
PHOTO CREDIT: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport 
For the second year in a row, Lewis Hamilton wrapped up the Formula 1 World Championship at the Mexican Grand Prix. 

It was a Grand Prix that proved to be a real challenge for the Mercedes team, seeing both drivers struggling with a lot of tyre degradation. Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas was put onto a three-stop strategy after his tyre struggles continued in the closing stages of the Grand Prix. 

Lewis on the other hand required a second pitstop after he reported blisters opening up on his second set of tyres. The Brit brought his #44 Mercedes W09 EQ Power+ across the finish line in fourth place, which was enough to seal his fifth F1 World Drivers' Championship. 

The fifth world title for Hamilton puts him in among an elite group of racing drivers who have won the Formula 1 World Championship five times or more. In Mexico, he moved up to level pegging with the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio.

LEWIS HAMILTON answers three questions:

Lewis, you did it - you are World Champion for the fifth time, and for the fourth time with this team. 
Lewis Hamilton: I think it is going to take some time to really digest everything that has happened. I am just really proud. After the race, I was with the engineers, and we all had a drink together. It was so great to see them all. Everyone is so united, everyone has worked so hard this year, and everyone has raised their game. I just want to be the best me I can for them. I truly believe I am only a chink in the chain, because there are so many of us. Without every single individual, it just doesn't happen. The chain wouldn't move. I am just proud that I was able to deliver in my space. It has been a long journey with them. I have been in this team for six years now. From day one, the day that I decided to join this team, I truly believed that something great was possible. Look what we have achieved together. Now we need to complete the job this year by winning the constructors' championship. 

How difficult was it to hold your own against the strong competition this year? 
Lewis Hamilton: People watching only ever see the tip of the iceberg. When you see someone successful on TV, it's obviously without a full description what they have done to get to where they are. You just see the success that they are having now. To perform this way this year - trust me - it has been the hardest season for me. To keep raising the bar and racing against a four-time World Champion in a really incredible team who were so fast this year - most of the time faster than us - and to have pulled together as a team and turned it around has been a real collective effort from everyone. So I am really proud of everyone. Honestly, I never stopped believing - that's just how I am wired. I truly believed from the beginning of the year, even when we had difficult races such as Shanghai or Montreal. I never for a moment doubted or lost belief in this team, in my guys or in myself. 

How have you spent the time since your title win on Sunday? 
Lewis Hamilton: I got back to Los Angeles, where my dogs were. I worked nonstop and had meetings all day on Monday. But I had dinner with a bunch of friends to celebrate. In general, I just feel content. I don't need anything. I just want to enjoy and harness the feeling and try to realise what it is that I have done. Because to me, it was just another day of racing which I am really grateful for. When you think of Fangio, who is for me the godfather of racing drivers, he had five World Championships, and now I have five as well. But it doesn't connect at the moment. It doesn't feel real, but I am humbled and grateful to all the people around me, because there have been a lot of them along the journey. 

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