Lewis Hamilton has made history by becoming a five-time F1 world champion after he secured the title at the Mexican Grand Prix. The British driver considered he had performed at his very best to do so in the face of stiff opposition from Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel, while the German admitted they had just not been good enough.
After his fourth place ensured the title Hamilton said he was still struggling to take it in. “It is hard to realise it at the moment,” he conceded. “I dreamed of it but I never thought I would be standing here as a five-time world champion.”
The 33-year-old, who equalled Juan Manuel Fangio in claiming his fifth world championship, is now in his 12th season in the sport and believed he was stronger than ever but through no little effort.
“It’s definitely the best year I feel,” he said. “It was the goal when I won the championship last year. I asked how can I improve? How can I be fitter, more focused, manage my time better? How can I be a better all-round driver, not just in the car but with my team in the garage, with the engineers and in the factory.
“I feel this year I have been able to lift them all up. I don’t know if that comes with age but I am sure experience helps and I feel like I have performed my best this year.”
Vettel and Ferrari made errors this season that cost them a tilt at the title and he acknowledged that they had not made the best of what at times was the best car in the field.
“I have now had three times in my life that disappointment in one day where you realise you can’t win the championship any more,” he said. “Those are not happy days so you reflect not on one moment but the whole year. Yes, we had our chances and we used some of them but some we did not and in the end we weren’t good enough.”
The four-times world champion Alain Prost also praised Hamilton. “He is the best, or one of the best of this generation; he is exceptional,” he said. “It was impossible to beat him this year.”