Lewis Hamilton admitted “it doesn’t feel real” after he became the most successful British Formula One driver in history by sealing his fourth world title following an incident-packed Mexican Grand Prix that saw his chief rival, Sebastian Vettel, finish fourth and the Mercedes driver come in ninth to take an unassailable lead in the standings.
Hamilton, who had started behind Vettel’s Ferrari on the grid, kept his composure despite an incident involving the eventual race winner, Max Verstappen, on the first lap that meant he had to fight his way back up the field after being forced into the pits with a flat tyre.
“It was a horrible way to do it but what can I do? I said I wasn’t going to take it easy at turn one,” admitted the 32-year-old, who is now level with Vettel and Alain Prost in the all-time list of world champions behind seven-time winner Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio on five.
“It doesn’t feel real. I had a good start and I don’t really know what happened in turn three. I gave him plenty of room, and I tried as hard as I could to come back. Being 40 seconds behind is like being in no man’s land. The feelings are so mixed right now.”
The stewards looked at the start but took just seven minutes to make up their mind by pursuing no further action. “It was a bizarre accident,” Hamilton’s Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff said. “It wasn’t looked at which is even more bizarre.”
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Sir Jackie Stewart, whose three titles Hamilton has now surpassed, was one of the first to pay tribute to the driver who has now claimed three victories in the last four seasons. “He’s beaten my record but I held it for 44 years and records are meant to be broken,” said Stewart. Asked how many more titles he can achieve, Hamilton added: “I just feel like, take one at a time. I am really happy with this fourth title. I have to take time to think.”
(Source: The Guardian)