Lewis Hamilton says the achievement of winning a sixth Formula 1 world championship is “overwhelming” and has left him feeling “far above” cloud nine.
Hamilton’s second place in Sunday’s US Grand Prix was enough for him seal the 2019 title having only needed four points to take the crown, despite team-mate Valtteri Bottas’ victory.
With this success, Hamilton is now second on the all-time list for most F1 championships, surpassing Juan Manuel Fangio’s tally of five titles and moving to within one of Michael Schumacher’s record of seven.
“It’s just overwhelming if I’m really honest,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1.
“It was such a tough race today. Yesterday was a really difficult day for us and Valtteri did a fantastic job so a huge congratulations to him.
“Today I really just wanted to recover and deliver the one-two for the team and I didn’t think the one stop would be possible but I worked as hard as I could.
“My dad told me when I was six or seven years old never to give up and that’s kind of the family motto.
“I was pushing as hard as I could and I was hopeful I might be able to get the win today but I didn’t have it in the tyres unfortunately.
“I feel so much emotion, it’s an honour to be up there with those greats.”
Asked to share his emotions to comprehend what he’d achieved, Hamilton replied: “Right now it’s hard to understand what I’m feeling right now.
“Naturally it’s just pure happiness. I feel more humble than ever. I saw my parents as I came in and just looking at my dad’s smile just says it all.
“Cloud nine doesn’t even get close to where I am. I’m somewhere far above that and I’m just really grateful to everyone back at the factory, everyone who has supported me this year within the team, who have worked so hard to enable us to do what we do.
“It’s such a privilege and an honour to work for this team and to have the platform to put performances in like that today.”
Hamilton took a moment of pay tribute to the late Niki Lauda who passed away earlier this year and was pivotal in persuading him to join Mercedes.
“I miss Niki so much and I know today that he would be taking his cap off,” said Hamilton.
“Yesterday he would have bee saying he’s paying me too much but today he would have taken his cap off and I wouldn’t have been able to do this without Niki. He’s here with us in spirit.”