Lewis Hamilton equals Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles
Posted On July 3, 2021
To win the Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship at Istanbul Park, the Mercedes driver had to finish ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas and did so with ease in often dangerous conditions, securing a fourth consecutive title by winning the race after starting sixth.
Hamilton, 35, last month surpassed Schumacher’s all-time record of 91 Grand Prix wins to become the sport’s most successful rider and had long broken the German’s career pole position record.
If he stayed in the sport, Hamilton would be widely expected to add to his world title tally. But, whatever he does in the years to come, his place in the F1 pantheon is assured.
“For all the kids who dream of the impossible, you can do it too – I believe in you guys,” Hamilton said on his radio after crossing the finish line for his 94th Grand Prix victory.
It was a brilliant race from one of the greatest of all time. After poor practice and qualifying sessions this weekend, question marks have been raised as to whether Hamilton could win in Turkey. In wet conditions, it was Hamilton’s decisive tire appeal that ultimately proved decisive, with the Mercedes driver taking the lead halfway through the race.
After the victory, Hamilton embraced his team and, with tears in his eyes, told Sky Sports he was “at a loss for words”.
“I have to start off by saying a huge thank you to all the guys who are here, and to all the guys who are back at the factory… I wouldn’t be able to do this if I didn’t join this team and the trip that we have done has been monumental, ”he said.
“I want to say a big thank you to the LH team for staying with me all these years, and to my family. We dreamed of this when I was young and it is way beyond our dreams.”
Hamilton, who tied a record many thought untouchable when Schumacher won his seventh title in 2004, has received congratulatory messages from fellow pilots, sports stars around the world and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“Massively deserved,” tweeted the former world champion Nico Rosberg,
a former Mercedes team-mate of Hamilton and one of the few drivers to finish ahead of Hamilton in the championship during the Briton’s 14-year career.
Former Manchester United and England footballer Rio Ferdinand
tweeted that his compatriot was the “greatest sportsman this country has ever produced – without a doubt”.
“An impressive victory – well done @LewisHamilton! You’ve made us all so proud.”
Racing Point’s Sergio Perez was second over 31 seconds behind Hamilton, while Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was third. Finishing 14th, Bottas – the only man who could have denied Hamilton the title – was passed by his teammate and finished scoreless.
Driving in the same Mercedes machines, Bottas’ performance illustrated just how much of a superior talent Hamilton is. No one has come close to challenging the world champion during this truncated season and he has won the title with three races remaining, having won four races in a row and 10 of 14 races so far this year.
No driver has been as successful on the track as Hamilton, and no F1 world champion has used his stature like Hamilton, the sport’s first and only black world champion in 70 years of history.
The 35-year-old has long been the face of his sport – his dominance and open-hearted personality have made him arguably the most recognizable British sportsman on the planet – but, in 2020 especially, he has emerged as one of the leaders of British sport. voices supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and hence the voice of his sport as well.
Ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix, Hamilton said campaigning for equal rights had made him “much prouder” than the prospect of a seventh world title.
But as the checkered flag waved, it became clear how much this title signifies this one-of-a-kind talent.
“All my life I’ve probably, secretly, dreamed this high, but it seemed so far-fetched to me. Seven is just unimaginable,” Hamilton said from the podium.
“I feel like I’m just getting started, it’s really weird. I feel great physically and mentally, this year has been the hardest one, probably for millions of people.
“I know things always look great from here on the big stage, (but) it’s no different for us athletes. It was a challenge, I didn’t know how to get out of it. J managed to keep my head above water and stay focused … “