RACE DEBRIEF

    Lewis Hamilton told the media after claiming his seventh drivers’ championship that he usually prides himself on being stoic and keeping his emotions in check. But even Hamilton had to admit that the enormity of matching Michael Schumacher’s record had caused him to “burst into tears” after taking the chequered flag in the Turkish Grand Prix.

    Starting sixth on the grid, Hamilton had patiently waited for his Mercedes W11 to come on song in the Istanbul Park race, working his way up to second before passing the Racing Point of Sergio Perez for the lead on Lap 37 of 58 and checking out for his 10th win of the campaign – and with it that prized seventh title.

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    And speaking in an emotional post-race press conference, Hamilton revealed how his entire career had flashed before his eyes in those final few laps of the race in Istanbul.

    “Very rarely do I lose control of my emotions,” said Hamilton. “Those last few laps… I was just telling myself, ‘Keep it together Lewis, you’ve got this, you’ve got this’ and I could feel it getting closer, and also knowing that if I finish where I’m finishing right now, I’ve got this championship.

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    Hamilton is congratulated by fellow champ Sebastian Vettel

    “So all these emotions were running through me and I was just trying to stop it because I was thinking about my whole career, from when I was five when I drove in a go kart, from when we won my first British championship, driving home with my Dad singing ‘We Are The Champions’ and dreaming of being here – and it’s right there, minutes away, and that was a lot to take in.

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    “When I came across the line, I think it really hit me and I just burst into tears, I think, that whole in-lap, and then I really couldn’t get out of the car, because I just couldn’t believe it. For me, I’ve been very strong, but I couldn’t have done it without the great man behind me, my Dad, who on the days when I didn’t think I was good enough or wasn’t going to do well enough, he stood me up and kept me going. So I was thinking of him, I was thinking of my Mum, my stepmum Linda, my brother, who’ve all stood by me during this through thick and thin.”

    Hamilton then laughed as he admitted that crying after winning a race or a championship wasn't usually his style.

    “I didn’t want the visor to come up and for people to see tears flowing and all that stuff,” said Hamilton, “because I kind of had always said I’d never let you see me cry, because I remember watching other drivers in the past crying and I was like, ‘I’m not going to do that’ – but it was too much.”

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    Meanwhile, Hamilton said that he now expected his much-discussed contract negotiations with Mercedes for 2021 – and possibly beyond – to follow hot on the heels of securing his drivers’ title.

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    “There’s scenarios in life where you’re like ‘let’s sign up real quick’ so you guarantee your future,” said Hamilton. “I wanted to put it aside and wait until the job is done. So, probably over these next weeks – we’ve got three weeks in the Middle East – so, now it’s a bit more chilled but I still have three races ahead of me that I want to win. It’s not done but we will get it done, I’m sure.”