Lewis Hamilton has secured a record-equalling seventh Formula 1 World Championship with a dramatic victory in the Turkish Grand Prix.
The British racer’s latest title – his fourth in a row – ties Michael Schumacher’s outright record. Hamilton passed the German’s record of 91 race wins earlier this year, and his success at Istanbul Park was the 94th of his career.
While Hamilton has been dominant this year, wrapping up the title with three races to go, he had to work for his victory in Turkey. The Mercedes-AMG racer started down the order after struggling in a wet qualifying session, and spent much of the race stuck behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and struggling for pace.
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Surprise Pole-sitter Lance Stroll lead his Racing Point team-mate in wet conditions for much of the early part of the race, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen battling up to third and starting to chase them down.
But as the track began to dry and drivers switched from wet to intermediate tyres the order began to shuffle. Hamilton began to rise up the order, and took the lead by staying out when his key rivals stopped for new intermediate tyres.
That gave Hamilton a substantial lead, which he held to the end. His Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, the only driver who could have beaten Hamilton to the title, had a nightmare race, spinning at the first turn and struggling for grip throughout. He finished out of the points in 14th.
Perez also benefitted from staying out on older tyres to finish second, ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton claimed his first title with McLaren in 2008, his second season in the sport, but had to wait until 2014, after he’d switched to Mercedes-AMG, to add his second. Hamilton and Mercedes have dominated since then, with the Brit only missing out on the crown in 2016 when he was narrowly edged by team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Speaking after the race, an emotional Hamilton said: “Naturally, I have to start by saying a huge thank you to the guys here and the guys at the factory. The journey we’ve been on is monumental.”
He added: “It’s important for kids out there to see this. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you you can’t achieve something. Dream the impossible. Speak it into existence. You’ve got to work for it, chase it, and never give up.”
Hamilton’s record-equalling seventh world championship is just the lastest record the 35-year-old from Stevenage has now set. He now holds F1 records for the most race wins (94), pole positions (97) and podiums (163). Hamilton’s tally of 94 wins from 264 starts means he has won 35.61 per cent of the races he has started, the third highest winning ratio in history.