Lewis Hamilton described winning a seventh Formula 1 world title as “unimaginable” off the back of victory in a thrilling Turkish Grand Prix.
Hamilton started from sixth place on the grid in wet conditions at Istanbul Park and made little in-roads early on as he and Mercedes struggled for pace.
But Hamilton gained spots as rivals pitted for a second set of Intermediates and prised the lead away from Sergio Perez before going on to record victory by over half a minute.
Hamilton’s win gave him a 110-point cushion over Valtteri Bottas and ensured he comfortably clinched a seventh title with four rounds to spare.
“I know often I say it’s beyond my wildest dreams but I think my whole life I have secretly dreamt as high as this but it felt so far-fetched,” he said.
“I remember watching Michael winning those championship and we are all doing the best job we can. Just to get one, two, or even three, it’s so hard to get. So seven is just unimaginable.
“When you work with such a great group of people and you really trust one another, there is just no end to what we can do together with this team.
“I’m so proud of the work that we’ve done, and them trusting me out there today, that comes with experience. But what a day! A lot to take in.”
Hamilton emphasised that he “still has a lot of work” to do with Mercedes, Formula 1 and on a wider picture.
“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 probably for millions of people and I know things always look great here on the big stage, it’s no different for us athletes,” he said.
“This has been a challenge that I didn’t know how to get through, but with the help of great people around me, the team, with the help of Team LH, I managed to just keep my head above water and stay focused.
“I am really hopeful for a better year next year and I would love to stay. I feel like we’ve got a lot of work to do here, we’ve only just begun to hold ourselves accountable as a sport.
“We cannot ignore the human rights issues that are going on around the countries we go to, and how we can engage with those countries and help them, empower them to do more to really change, not 10 years from now but now.
“I want to help Formula 1 and Mercedes in that journey. Also moving more sustainable as a sport, and I want to see if I can be a part of that, at least the first part of that for a little bit longer.”
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