Lewis Hamilton wins F1 world title for fifth time
PUBLISHED: 21:03 28 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:13 29 October 2018
© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.
Lewis Hamilton has won the Formula One World Drivers' Championship for a fifth time - equalling the great Juan Manuel Fangio.
The 33-year-old Mercedes F1 driver from Hertfordshire finished today’s 2018 Mexican Grand Prix in fourth place to clinch the drivers’ title.
After the grand prix, Hamilton said: “It’s a very strange feeling right now.
“Honestly, I am just so grateful.
“To my family back home, I love you. Thank you for all the support.
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for all the hard work my dad did and my family.
“It’s a very humbling experience.”
Hamilton started the race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez track needing to finish seventh or higher to secure the championship, regardless of main rival Sebastian Vettel’s result.
In the end the Mercedes driver finished two places behind closest championship challenger Vettel in Mexico.
The German Ferrari star crossed the line second around the Mexico City circuit as Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen took the chequered flag.
Nevertheless, Hamilton’s fourth place behind Verstappen, Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen was enough to become only the third driver in the history of the sport to win five world titles.
His title success in Mexico lifts him level with Argentina’s Juan Manuel Fangio in motor racing’s pantheon.
Only the legendary Michael Schumacher has won more, with seven F1 championships – in 1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004.
Former Stevenage schoolboy Hamilton won his first world title with McLaren in 2008, in only his second season in Formula One.
He had to wait until 2014 to claim his second crown after moving to Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport.
Since then he has won three more.
Hamilton retained the title with the Silver Arrows in 2015, and won it again last season.
He now has five to his name, four with Mercedes.
After the race, five-time world champion Hamilton said: “Honestly, it’s very hard to realise it at the moment.
“It’s something I dreamed of, but I never in a million years thought I’d be standing here today a five-time world champion.
“I never knew that was going to happen and I am just so grateful to everyone who has helped me be here.”
He paid tribute to the Mexican crowd.
“I want to say a big thank you to all the fans here for making the Mexican Grand Prix as special as it is,” said Lewis.
“And I want to say a big thank you to my team. Bono said on the radio – the Championship wasn’t won here, it was won through a lot of hard work and through a lot of races.
“So, I am so grateful for all the hard work back home, for Petronad, for all our partners and ultimately for Mercedes.
“I have been with Mercedes since I was 13, so to achieve the same thing Fangio had done with Mercedes so many years ago, is an incredible feeling and very surreal at the moment.”
Hamilton struggled to challenge the Red Bulls and Ferraris in Mexico, as he admitted.
“The race itself today was pretty horrible,” said Hamilton.
“I got a great start and was really working my way up, but then we were really struggling with the tyres, both Valtteri [Bottas] and I.
“I was just trying to hold on and bring the car home.”
Hamilton has progressed from the streets of Stevenage and the kart track at Rye House to becoming one of the most successful drivers in Formula One.
He has scored more pole positions than any other F1 driver, and he is second on the all-time list of race wins, behind only Michael Schumacher.
Lewis also holds the record for most races with a single engine manufacturer, having started every single one of his 226 Formula One Grands Prix so far with a Mercedes-Benz engine.