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      Hamilton talks 2018 championship: ‘This is definitely the proudest moment’

      © Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG
      © Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

      Lewis Hamilton: 
      “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. I want to say a big thank you to all the fans here for making the Mexican Grand Prix as special as it is. 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 PETRONAS, 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. The race itself today was pretty horrible. I got a great start and was really working my way up, but then we were really struggling with the tyres, both Valtteri and I. I was just trying to hold on and bring the car home. 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. This is a very humbling experience!”

      More from Lewis Hamilton via Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport

      “Right now, it just doesn’t feel real. I feel like I’m going to wake up in a matter of moments. It’s been such a difficult year and such a great battle but a lot of work. I really worked hard to make sure I’ve had the right energy, the right balance in my life and this year, working on all these different aspects to enable myself to perform better. I think I had a great year last year and I was thinking to myself, ‘how can I raise the bar, how can I squeeze some more out of myself?’ Honestly, you never know what the formula is, and there is no secret formula, but somehow I managed to find that balance and that flow and I’ve had some of my best races of my career, and I think that’s ultimately why I’m sitting here.

      “Even on weekends where we didn’t have the package and we were on the back foot, we’d come away with wins, even though we weren’t the quickest. It took some special laps, it took some special moments in the car, and I honestly could just relive those moments all the time. Some of those experiences I had in the car were really magical. I truly believed that we could win this Championship, but it has been the toughest battle that we’ve had collectively as a team. So much work has gone on in the background. These guys in the garage have just been flawless every single weekend, with our pit stops, with our decision-making, strategy and set-up. That’s been the key. I feel I can take the car to places that nobody else can. But to do that, you have to get the car in the right place and so that means, ultimately, you’ve got to work with the team, to help unleash what’s great within them so that you can unleash the greatness in yourself.”

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      Unbelievable, 5 World Championships! This is a moment I will never forget, a moment we reach together. To my parents, I am forever grateful for you supporting their small boy with a big dream. From teaching me to take my first step to racing in my first kart, you've enabled me to unlock my full potential. Look where we are now! If there's one thing they've taught me is to always believe in possibilities, no matter what life deals you. There is a path out there to your dreams. To my Team, thank you for inspiring me everyday with your collective vision and for dreaming the biggest dreams in the sport! I love all of you guys. TeamLH, each voice of yours connects with me in ways you will never know. You are beacons of light and we continue this journey together! #LHFive 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆 #StillWeRise #TeamLH #GodIsTheGreatest @MercedesAMGF1 📷 @motorsport.images

      A post shared by Lewis Hamilton (@lewishamilton) on

      “Winning the first world title in Brazil, and the last corner, I mean, that was something so special in its own way. They’ve all required different bits of input. They’ve all required different manoeuvrability, different agility, different approaches, so they’ve all been unique, and I’ve been faced with different things. I would say this year, for me, from memory, this feels the proudest. This is definitely the proudest moment, because there’s been a year when we’ve not had the fastest car at the majority of the races. And yet we’ve come away with more wins that I could have hoped for, more pole positions, and… ah jeez, I love driving and I’ve really enjoyed driving this year even more. I think each year, being that I’m getting older and I’m getting to really enjoy my work more, the things I do. I worry about things less. I’m able to let things go quicker and move forwards and grow faster. I think that just comes with being old.”

      © Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

      Hamilton on teammate Valtteri Bottas: 
      “He just came up to me now, and we have such a huge respect for each other. I see how hard he works, he sees how hard I work, we don’t play games in between to try to throw off the other guy. In fact, we work together. There are times where I’ve figured something out in my set-up and I’ll tell him, and there are times that I can talk to him and be open. It’s the greatest partnership in terms of respect and teamwork from drivers that I’m sure has ever existed in F1. This year, there have definitely been times when he has been fundamental to us winning races. He started out really strong, and then he had some really difficult races. I think Baku, for example, was a huge hit for him. He deserved that win and then he got that tyre blow up. I’m very, very grateful to him as a team-mate and for the help that he has given me in achieving this incredible dream, so a big, big thank you to him.”

      Hamilton on his place among Formula One’s greatest drivers:
      Firstly, I could never ever personally classify myself as the best. Obviously, within myself, I know of my abilities and where I stand but ultimately… My Dad always told me, ‘do your talking on the track.’ So, I just try to let my results do the talking. Now I can strike out one of the things that I put on my list of the year. It’s always at the top: win the world title, do everything for that.

      “Michael [Schumacher] is still quite far ahead in race wins, so you have to say he is still the GOAT. Fangio, I think, is the godfather and always will be, from a driver’s perspective. To do what he did at that time when everything was so dangerous… my respect is so high for him. I feel very honoured to have my name alongside his, that’s for sure and naturally just very proud to have the Hamilton name up there.”