Lewis Hamilton said he was in a dream country on Sunday after winning the Portuguese Grand Prix and becoming the all-time record winner of Formula One.
His 92nd victory lifted him from seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher’s 16-year-old record – 91 wins – and opened the 77-point lead over second-placed Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bott in the title race.
There are five races left in the coronavirus-affected season, with Hamilton reaching a record-breaking seventh championship and a record-breaking 100th pole position.
“I only once dreamed of being where I am today,” he said after a race and a long hug with his father, Anthony, who had an early career.
“I didn’t have a magic ball when I decided to come here (Mercedes) – and all we’ve ever tried to do is make the most of it every day. We are all rowing in the same direction.
“I have a wonderful father here, and my stepfather Linda and Roscoe (his dog) are a very special day. It will take time to sink, but I still pushed the one coming across the line.
“Even now I’m still mentally in race mode, so I can’t find words to describe my emotions right now … Maybe I’ll succeed later.”
On team radio, he emotionally told Mercedes that “it’s such an honor to work with you,” and his racing engineer Peter ‘Bono’ Bonnington responded, “Here’s the same, honor, sincerely.”
After the race, he added: “I really owe these guys for teamwork, constantly innovating and a higher barrier every year.
“It is such a privilege to work with them. It’s really unbelievable.
“Thank you all for the constant pushing, no one is sitting, everyone is pushing. It’s the most incredible thing when you’re surrounded by these guys, it really inspires you – cooperation – there’s nothing like it. “
Hamilton ignores cramps
He said he had cramps in his right calf in the final stage of the race.
“Lifting my leg straight down was quite painful. I felt like it was pulling, but I had to survive it. Is as.”
His Mercedes team leader Toto Wolff, who helped lead Hamilton to five of his world championship titles and the team in six consecutive unprecedented talks, said: “Who could have thought when we started this project in 2013? That’s an almost surreal number of achievements.
“From Lewis, it’s absolute his passion and energy, everything he puts into sports – and talent and ability. He just stands out. “
Wolff later joked that Mercedes might have to sell some factories to afford a new contract with Hamilton.
“We have to sell a lot of stock – to sell building rentals to get money,” he said after Hamilton’s 71st win at the wheel of a Mercedes.
Hamilton has distanced himself from re-signing with the team and, like team boss Wolff, has no contract at the end of the season.
Both say they intend to stay, but have not found the time or the right opportunity to sort out their future.
Bott, meanwhile, said: “The opening circle was good, I was very happy to get ahead, but after that I just didn’t have the pace and don’t understand why.
“I tried to defend myself, but Lewis was close and I couldn’t really do anything … I just went off pace. The start was my high point today. ”
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