Hamilton: “I’m not a hero”
Lewis Hamilton speaks in the press conference about his seventh world title, his fantastic race and the message he wants to send with it.
Lewis Hamilton (35): My dad used to tell me to let the acts do the talking, so I don’t know what to say. It is important to me to show the young kids out there what is possible. I’ve been dreaming about it since I was five years old. It’s been a long way and I’m grateful to many for believing in me. It starts with Ron Dennis, who chose me back then. And at Mercedes, with whom I’ve worked since I was 13.
You are now the most successful Formula 1 driver of all time. What message would you like to send to the world with this?
It’s no secret that I’m the first colored in Formula 1. When I was younger there wasn’t anyone who looked like me in this sport. Nobody who could serve as a role model for me. It was easy to think that it is not possible for me to get this far. Hopefully my success will also be a message to the kids out there, who know that anything is possible. No matter where you come from. Go your own way. I also did that. And my way was hard. Hart is not an expression at all. But you mustn’t listen to those who say you can’t do it. Believe in your dream, dream as big as you can and don’t give up.
Hamilton is world champion for the 7th time
You did not do that today either. Was this race your best Grand Prix?
It’s always difficult to compare, I’ve been driving for a long time. Every race feels like it’s the first. I wouldn’t compare any race with the other. You are always in a different situation in life. You are all unique. The conditions today were extremely difficult. Even the best drivers in the field have lost control of their cars. I like rain racing, but today was a real test because it was like being on ice. I can’t remember having an ice race before (laughs).
These last few laps were very emotional. I felt everything getting closer and closer. I thought about my whole career – I remembered driving karting when I was five, winning my first championships. When I crossed the finish line, I was blown away. I could not believe it. I also thought of my family, my mother, my brother, my father. He always built me up when I had doubts about whether I would be fast enough. I always said to myself you won’t see me cry, I won’t. But then it came over me.
I got off to a good start, but then lost positions. I struggled behind the other cars. Not only me. Max is a great rain driver, but he spun too. I hung behind Sebastian Vettel for a long time. I know that he had a very difficult year and that he has now driven a great race. But he got in my way and I had to see how Albon got away. It wasn’t until I passed Vettel that I thought that victory was possible. But there was still a long way to go, a lot could happen. So I had to stay calm and focused. My experience helped me with this.
As I got older, I learned to rely on my gut instinct. The first thought is usually the right one. So I don’t doubt myself. In 2007, I didn’t have the experience to lead the team and tell them what I need. At that time I still had a lot to learn and despite the successes I had self-doubts. I had been looking at the tires since lap 18 and spared them in the fast corners so as not to kill them. The longer the race went, the more confident I became. In the end, I knew that even if it started to rain again, I could make it to the finish with the intermediates.
You showed today that you are not only world champion because of the fastest car. How important are races like this to you?
I want more of those weekends that are so complicated and difficult, when I can show what I’m capable of. Where I can earn my respect. But I still wouldn’t have made it without the people behind me. But there is also another driver who has the same car and who has not achieved what I have achieved. I’ve read some of the comments from previous Formula 1 drivers. I hope that in 20 years I can respectfully encourage the young drivers. I know how hard it is to be here and do this job. Of course you need a good car. But what you can do with it is important. I hope people saw that today.
I haven’t spoken to anyone yet. There are a lot of messages on my smartphone. I know that I get a lot of support from my family even when we don’t talk to each other. I am so grateful that my family brought me here, I never took it for granted. My parents sacrificed so much for me. Now I’m world champion again and at the height of my life. But there is more to be done. A greater victory that we must work together for: it is the fight for equality and equality to create a better future.
I don’t think I’m still here in my 40s. But I feel young and fresh. On the other hand, we talk about it every year and I get this question. But I can’t say anything else. When I think of that honor, I think of people like my grandfather who fought in the war. Or the doctors, nurses and carers who are saving lives in these tough times of the pandemic. I think of these unsung heroes. I’m not like that. I never saved anyone. I am proud of my achievements, but don’t consider myself a hero. But what I can say: to hear the national anthem on the podium makes me proud. I am a proud british But there is still more to be done. There has been a kind of awakening this year, but let’s not be stubborn, let’s open our minds and fight for a more equal world. I won’t stop working for it – and I’ll keep racing in my free time (laughs).