World champion Lewis Hamilton interview

In perhaps the most dramatic Formula One World Championship finale of all time, Lewis Hamilton became the sport's youngest ever title-winner after snatching fifth place from Timo Glock on the last corner of the last lap

World champion Lewis Hamilton interview

Afterwards the clearly emotional new world champion was mobbed by the world's press and had to be escorted through the crowd to get back to his pit. After celebrating with his McLaren team and family he was mobbed again! But even 20 minutes after the race, he was fighting to find the words and the composure to express his feelings on becoming the first British world champion since Damon Hill in 1996.

Autosport.com was there to hear what Lewis had to say as he relived the unbelieveable drama of the final two laps of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Q. Lewis can you give us your thoughts on becoming world champion?

Lewis Hamilton: It's pretty much impossible to put into words, I am still speechless. My whole family is here, my dad's here. It has been such a long journey and with a lot of support from people back home. My team did a fantastic job all year and all the sacrifices we made, I'm so thrilled to be able to do this for everyone.

Q. What was the tension of those last few laps and last of couple of corners like from inside your car?

LH: Before it started to rain I was quite comfortable. My tyres were a little bit shot so I was struggling to keep the pace up, but I was able to stay ahead of [Sebastian] Vettel and then it started to drizzle and I didn't want to take any risks. Then he got past me and I was told that I had to get in front of him, and I couldn't believe it. Then at the last corner I managed to get past Timo Glock and I'm telling you it was just amazing. I can only thank God.

Q. Had the team told you about Glock slowing down?

LH: Just before I got to him they said you have to get past Glock, so I was trying my hardest to get to Vettel but he was just as quick as me, if not a little bit quicker. It was one of the toughest races of my life, if not the toughest.

Q. What was the feeling when you crossed the line and you knew you were world champion?

LH: Well I didn't. I was shouting: "Do I have it, do I have it?" and then they came on when I was at Turn One and they told me and I was ecstatic.

Q. And now you've repaid the faith McLaren has shown in you.

LH: It's been a dream.

Q. You made history, so are you really aware yet of what you have done?

LH: I don't think it has hit home yet. I just had the most intense race of my life, my heart is still racing. I'm just so thankful for the opportunity the team gave me. Huge respect to McLaren and Mercedes Benz for giving me a wonderful opportunity, and my family who came here and supported me, and the all the people back home as well. Without them I wouldn't be doing this.

Q. We almost couldn't stand to watch the last laps, how was it being in the car?

LH: My heart was about to explode. I don't know how I kept my cool, I was very fortunate, especially the last lap. It has been my dream.

Q. How will you celebrate your first world championship?

LH: I am going to celebrate with my family. We will party together as a team, that's for sure.

Q. What are your thoughts on being world champion?

LH: I am struggling to say anything. I am just thankful and I am proud of the team around me that's given me the opportunity and I am just so thankful that I can return the favour. It was such a tough race, the toughest race of my life.

I had a problem with my tyres, they were beginning to grain. There was nothing I could do, I was just trying to keep the car on the track. My heart was in my mouth when I was trying to get back in front of Vettel, but fortunately there was an opportunity to get past Glock. I did what I needed to do. So we came, we saw, we did what we needed and we go away [laughs]

Q. What was your heartbeat level like in the car?

LH: I thought my heart was going to explode. I think everyone else was the same. I don't know what would have happened if I had lost out on the last lap.

My tyres were shot, I was on such a heavy fuel load at the time. Felipe Massa did a fantastic job today, congratulations to him for his win and for challenging me all year. But it is great to be on top.

Q. When it was wet at the end and Vettel got past you, what were you thinking? 'That's it, it's all over'?

LH: I don't know what happened, my tyres began to grain and I just slid wide. There was nothing I could do, I didn't outbrake myself or anything.

Q. It was amazing really, because you should have been quite quick at that point in the wet.

LH: I don't know whether I took too much out of my tyres in the beginning, but my car was getting weaker and weaker throughout the race so I was just trying to bring it home.

Q. Did you see Glock in front of you, did you know you were passing Glock?

LH: I was told he was just ahead. I didn't know how far, but I knew he was on slicks. I was just praying that I would be able to get close to him, and I couldn't believe it when I could see him on the exit of Turn 10. He was just there and I wasn't close enough, but I managed to get up the inside of him.

Q. Can you describe your emotions right now, put them into words?

LH:
No I don't think I can. I'm very emotional. I've cried. My heart's feeling so much strain right now, and I think that was the same for everyone. I am just proud of the team and my family as well.

Q. Lewis is it special to win the championship here in Brazil?

LH: Oh for sure. On Senna's home ground, it would always be special.

shares
comments
Raikkonen happy with teams' title
Previous article

Raikkonen happy with teams' title

Next article

Glock said car was very hard to drive

Glock said car was very hard to drive
Load comments
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021 Plus

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as STUART CODLING finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton Plus

The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls a remarkable champion

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Plus

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Autosport heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022
How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications Plus

How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications

OPINION: The Formula 1 season just gone was the second to be completed under the dreaded shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in many ways it was much more ‘normal’ than 2020. Here’s the story of how the championship’s various organisers delivered a second challenging campaign, which offers a glimpse at what may be different next time around

Formula 1
Jan 5, 2022
The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future Plus

The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future

As attitudes towards the motor car and what powers it change, Formula 1 must adapt its offering. MARK GALLAGHER ponders the end of fossil fuels

Formula 1
Jan 3, 2022