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Sunday images from the 2017 Mexican Grand Prix
NEWS

Lewis Hamilton: Four F1 Titles and Chasing Greatness

Nov 012017

But arguably not in the style that he wanted to this season. On the afternoon of the 29th of October 2017, Lewis crossed the finish line of the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City in ninth position. Although the two ensuing points may have seemed almost paltry in comparison to his previous 12 podiums of the year, preceding the Mexican chequered flag, they were enough to afford Lewis an unassailable lead in the Drivers’ Championship with two Grand Prix still to go.

Sometimes it really is the little things that count the most; with Hamilton ultimately departing Mexico a four time Formula One World Champion – completing a dream 2017 double for the Silver Arrows Team, who also celebrate winning the Constructors Championship for the fourth consecutive year. Not just that, but in addition to the multitude of shattered records left in his wake, Lewis now becomes the most successful British F1 driver of all time – eclipsing Sir Jackie Stewart’s record of three championship titles; notably held for 44 years.

“Growing up in Stevenage, dreaming of one day being in Formula One. And where I am now is way beyond my imagination,” says Lewis sitting in the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Team hospitality.

 

“I think dream big is definitely something we should all do – but to be four-time world champion. When I was growing up, there were a couple of teachers that said ‘you are never going to amount to anything,’ so I wonder what they’re thinking now when they watch me today?

 

“When you win a championship in front of so many people, it just solidifies your belief in yourself and your family’s belief in you. So, I’m proud of all my family and it’s crazy to think that I’m continuing to stamp the Hamilton name in the history books. Beyond my time there will be kids that will know the name and that’s probably what I’m most proud of. I can’t even tell you what and how much my Dad did to help me get where I am today.”

 

 

"F1 is strange sport because people complain and say that I've won it because you've got a great car,” continues Lewis. “But every single world champion has a great car. It is not like tennis where it is down to just the athlete. Here it is down to the team. Every driver who has won the championship is because of the complete package they have. It is about the driver being able to exploit that. But to take a step ahead of the other great drivers in F1, that’s something else again."

Results on track have echoed the positive sentiment, with Lewis winning nine out of the 17 races so far this season. Markedly Lewis has also surpassed Michael Schumacher's pole position record of 68 front row starts – Lewis currently has 72 poles to his name. Off-track, there is an altogether different side to the 32-year-old’s personality. His presence on social media has flourished and Lewis has found his voice and is engaging with his followers and fans more than any other driver in the paddock.

 

"When you grow up, you become more confident," he says "and as a result, I have been more vocal. You can speak for those that don't have a voice. I am in my 30s now and it is become more of a responsibility for me in my position.

 

"I am not just a racing driver. There is a lot more to me. This is just a small part of who I am. I have had the same heart as when I was born. I've had the same cares, I've always been close to kids, but maturity you learn to say things better or navigate yourself in a better way. I am an old man now! I am 32-years-old, but I do have a place in this sport. When I was younger, I did not fully realise the support I had or whether what I said, people would really think about. Whereas now I realise that I can make a difference. with

 

"Now I have more capacity to think about motor racing, but I also have spare capacity to think about other things too. I can think about all the things I am juggling and what's going on in this world. We all have opinions on what they see on the news and what people are doing.

 

"Social media and the internet has changed our lives and you can connect to more people and you have a lot more power at your fingertips and that is a revelation. I don't use it to make a point, maybe and issue. I post things, like the other day, I posted an image of a dog who got bullied and a lot of people had not previously seen it. If I post something, then a lot of people get to see it. If there is an issue that has an effect on the world or people, then I am able to post something to share it."

"I think about retirement every now and again. I think about it as when I want to stop. I don't see it as quitting because I have achieved a lot. It is just a case of when I want to stop. When you are losing a battle and it is an uphill struggle, then that is quitting. I am at the top of my game and I can stop if I want but I have a lot of other business things that I am working on.

 

“There are all these other things that I like to do, which I am good at. I work every day and I love it. I love being busy and I arrive at the track feeling amazing because I feel stimulated. If I sat and watched TV all day and never worked, I would feel like I've never done anything. So I never slow down, I just try to go faster every day. I just keep myself busy and my other job, which is racing, just slots in perfectly."

Lewis says: "I am feeling the best I have ever felt. I have more energy and I am stronger. It is just difficult because it is choosing the food. It is not as exciting as eating chicken and burgers but so long as you can understand that mentally, it is fine. Physically I feel the greatest. I can now run without getting stomach aches. I can pump more in the gym. People have it twisted. Look at silverback gorillas, look at how much muscle they have and they only eat grass and leaves! I miss salmon! But I am grateful I stopped eating meat two years ago. It was not worth eating it. And as for chicken, when you see what we are doing to it. And bacon, I feel sick thinking about it!"

 

Even with the championship fight now decided, fans have been treated to a titanic battle between Lewis and Sebastian this season. The pair have traded places in the Drivers' Championship with the German enjoying the better half of the season. However after a relaxing summer break, Lewis returned in sensational form while Vettel’s challenge was hampered by reliability problems and a first-lap smash in Singapore.

“Sebastian is a four-time World Champion, it’s quite easy not to hit each other – but in the midst of things it can also be quite easy to touch. So, I don’t really care and I don't feel like analysing it. I’ve enjoyed racing against Sebastian and to race against a four-time world champion. There’s that famous saying, in the art of war, keep your friends close and your enemies closer. I watch Sebastian; I know what he’s achieved in the past years; I know how consistent he’s been; I know where his strengths and weaknesses are.

 

“I know where the strengths and weaknesses of his car are. I do think it’s still very very important I think there are times probably that he hates me more than I have any of that feeling… but I try not to contain any negativity in my life, no matter what is written, no matter what people say, I’ve managed to build this kind of barrier to bounce off negativity because I think love conquers all and positivity conquers all. So whilst you do want that feud after Baku and all of that, and even here in Mexico, at the beginning of the race, it doesn’t matter. I think what matters is… as I said; it’s how you get up.

 

So what does the future hold?

 

“Each year I don’t set a goal to make records. I have a goal of somehow improving certain areas where you feel I could have been better. I love racing. I’m grateful for the qualities and the abilities I have in the car. It is very very crazy to think that I’ve matched certain records from people; weekend in, weekend out, someone tells me of a new record that I’ve crept up on, but there potentially many more years to go. I could do the easy thing like obviously Nico did which is just stop and retreat with these four titles, but I think there’s more in me, I think there’s more to come, more of a challenge, as there’s harder times ahead and I like that, I love that, that’s challenging.

 

“Four is a great number; I want number five now.”

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