Lewis Hamilton says “it’s a very humbling experience” to draw level with childhood hero Ayrton Senna after securing a third Formula One world title at Austin this weekend.
The Briton came out on top of a thrilling USGP that saw him go through all the emotions. Thus, Hamilton joins the elite triple world champions’ club, which also includes Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, and Nelson Piquet.
A very emotional Hamilton, who described his win as “the greatest moment of my life” over team radio after crossing the line, also heaps praise on his family for going to great lengths at the start of his career.
“It’s a very humbling experience, especially to equal Ayrton Senna who meant so much to me and still does,” said Hamilton. “I feel very very blessed today.”
“I’m just overwhelmed at the moment. It’s difficult really to find the words. I’m sitting here thinking about my first British championship. My Dad and I drove home singing “We’re the Champions”.
“It’s just crazy to think that I’m a three-time Formula One world champion. I owe it to my Dad, to my family who’ve supported my all these years, sacrificing so much for me to be here.”
Lining up second behind pole sitter Nico Rosberg, Hamilton forced his way past his Mercedes team-mate at the start to lead the opening stages of the race. But it was not all plain sailing from there.
On a drying track, the 30-year-old first dropped back as low as fourth before switching to slicks. Hamilton then managed to stay out of the surrounding chaotic events and recover to P2 behind Rosberg amidst Virtual Safety Cars periods and other race neutralisations.
The championship leader eventually inherited the lead on Lap 48 when the German ran wide ahead of him, and hung on until the chequered flag. Despite this rollercoaster of a ride, Hamilton says he never wavered.
“So many times I thought I had lost the race, falling back, Nico [Rosberg] getting in during the Safety Car and being very quick at one stage. But I never thought for one second that I could not do it.”
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