Written by Staff Writer
Lewis Hamilton captured his fifth world championship title in Mexico City on Sunday, equaling Michael Schumacher’s record.
The Briton finished ninth — just ahead of the Hungarian GP winner Max Verstappen — to secure the crown after leading for four races.
Hamilton finished seven points ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas to become the first driver to clinch the world title at least five times.
His fourth successive driver of the year title follows his championship in 2008, 2015 and 2016, making him the only driver to have won more than one world title in four successive years.
German legend Schumacher, who last won the title in 2004, has seven world championships.
Thank you to the very special people that surround me. I want to share this amazing moment with you guys.
Proud to be a #Clariard Man 🏁 pic.twitter.com/u9FoOWUgAm Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) November 3, 2018
The 32-year-old admitted the nerves were starting to set in ahead of qualifying at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
“I was very nervous this morning and I don’t think I needed to be… it’s a huge race for me and I knew I had to give it a huge push in qualifying,” Hamilton said.
“I got great teamwork and help from a lot of people. It makes me really proud to be the Clariard Man and a part of the Formula One family, and it makes me really emotional that I will never forget this.”
The Hamilton was in tears as he celebrated with friends and family on the podium, with his girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger among those in attendance.
“I love you all,” the Briton said to Schumacher as he hugged the seven-time champion.
Hamilton’s team CEO Toto Wolff, who watched his driver become the first man to win five world titles, paid tribute to his “great” achievements.
“He is an outstanding talent and a great champion,” he said. “It is a great day for everyone at Mercedes. Lewis has proven over five years that he is the most talented, talented driver in Formula One and as a team we are proud and excited and really happy for him.”
Hamilton’s best-ever finish in Mexico was fourth in 2006, while he started from eighth position after qualifying in 14th.
“I have seen him in the race before, qualifying and I am happy with my job,” he said. “I made a mistake, got caught up, missed some track but I went to the chequered flag.”