Lewis Hamilton Wins 7th World Championship, Tying Michael Schumacher For Most All-Time
Updated: Jan 25, 2021
The odds were stacked against Lewis Hamilton as he started the Turkish Grand Prix in sixth position on Sunday, but the British driver put his head down and won the race, also earning his seventh world championship. This title furthers Hamilton's position as one of Formula 1's elite racers, tying Ferrari legend Michael Schumacher for most world championships of all-time.
"That’s for all the kids out there who dream the impossible," Hamilton said to his Mercedes team on the radio as he crossed the finish line, tears evident in his voice.
Hamilton's F1 experience was key in the gloomy day in Istanbul where he and his team went back-and-forth about his use of Intermediate tires. He ultimately made the decision to finish on only one pit stop, practically balding the tires. After the race, he explained how competitions like China in 2007 when he botched a pit stop that cost him the race and then Monaco in 2008 when he crashed on a rainy day and still managed to win were key moments in his career that equipped him for this win.
Hamilton took the lead on lap 37 shortly after pole position Lance Stroll pitted, passing up Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who finished third. Stroll's Racing Point teammate Sergio Pérez took second place, the first such finish for the team.
Now that Hamilton has reached the mountaintop in the grueling sport, questions circulate about his future. He's on the last year of his contract with Mercedes and has yet to resign with the team that's helped him to six of his seven titles.
"I feel like I’m only getting started it’s really weird," he shared with retired driver Mark Webber after the podium celebration, explaining how he feels great physically and would like to continue using his platform to enact change for social justice issues and advocate for sustainability in the sport. As the only Black driver on the grid, he's been especially vocal about the need for diversity, especially with the deaths of Black people in racially charged incidents in the United States and police brutality in Nigeria. Besides rising racial tensions, Hamilton also told of the difficulties 2020 has presented due to the coronavirus pandemic and all of the personal sacrifices he has made to focus on capturing his seventh title.
Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff shared the sentiment that 2020 has been a hard year for everyone and he hoped "we were able to entertain the world" with Hamilton's success, expressing his continued support for the champion.
"We have a really, really great relationship that has grown over all these years," he said. "The team is one hundred percent behind him and he's one hundred percent behind the team."
Hamilton said that with two weeks off until the Bahrain Grand Prix, he has no specific plans to celebrate, except to eat a bowl of minestrone soup with a bottle of wine as he FaceTimes his family to let some of the emotions out.