Lewis Hamilton says his Mercedes team acknowledges the part it is playing in allowing him to make history after becoming the most successful driver in terms of race victories by winning the Portuguese Grand Prix.
Michael Schumacher previously held the record of 91 wins until Hamilton matched it at the Nurburgring two weeks ago, and a dominant victory in Portugal saw Hamilton set a new benchmark. 70 of his 92 wins have come with Mercedes, and the six-time world champion says he never envisaged hitting such heights when he joined the team.
“Ultimately, I’m just very proud of the job that I felt like I was able to do and the things that I was able to overcome, but the job that we have done collectively as a team,” Hamilton said. “I just reminisce of the beginning when I joined the team, the decision that I took to join the team and then what we’ve done since.
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“I knew that we would win championships. Did I think that we’d win as many as we have? No. Did I think that we’d win this many races? Of course not. But this is a phenomenal time for us and the great thing is it’s not just me that’s living the history, it’s the whole team, and I think everyone acknowledges and realizes how much they are a part of it.
“I feel incredibly grateful to my teammates, to Valtteri (Bottas) for the contender he is and the teammate he is, pushing the team forwards. We’re generally rowing in the same direction whilst we are competing, and it’s been a privilege to work with him. What a time to be alive.”
Hamilton says he keeps finding new forms of motivation that will allow him to carry on being successful, as he closes in on his seventh world championship after extending his lead to 77 points with a maximum score in Portimao.
“I don’t believe in the saying that ‘the sky’s the limit’, it’s just a saying. It depends how much we want it and how much we want to continue raising the bar. Going by our history together, just the way we work, we don’t sit back on our results. We keep working, we keep elevating. Every race feels like it’s the first one. I don’t know how that’s possible after all these races but for me it does.
“It’s just as challenging as the first and I think there’s a lot more for us to do, especially as we’re in this crazy time of the pandemic, we’re in this crazy time of having to utilize our position as a business, as a leader in the business, for inclusivity, for diversity, there’s a lot of work to do. So that keeps me inspired, my teammates that are continuously growing, my fans that are continuously learning through this process with us all, and our sport that is slowly changing — it’s a real special time.
“I definitely sometimes wonder, ‘Jeez, I’m 35 years old.’ I still feel physically strong but of course you wonder when is it going to tip over and when are you going to start losing performance. But shown by today, it’s not yet.”