Lewis Hamilton equalises with record-equalling seventh F1 world title

Lewis Hamilton has equalled Michael Schumacher’s record of seven Formula One world championships after his narrow victory in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Hamilton scored a seventh successive victory in Sao Paulo to join Austrian Schumacher and the Brazilian Ayrton Senna as the only drivers to clinch seven championships.

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Afterwards Hamilton, who was in command from the first corner to the end, said he was feeling the pressure even before he celebrated. “The moment of winning the championship and being part of the history – I had a few butterflies coming into this race, to be honest,” he said. “It was a great team performance and it just makes it all the more special.”

Hamilton had already been warned his celebrations would not be announced until after he crossed the line. “At the end of the race I was just sitting back on the sofa, waiting for it to be on the national broadcasters, so I wouldn’t feel like I was wasting my breath by showing it because the pressure has been on all year.”

After he had been told to use the toilet, he added: “I knew I had to start looking but luckily it didn’t happen. I was still blocking out all the details and everything. If you look at the first corner, [Sebastian] Vettel had two clear opportunities to pit and I was ready and waiting for the first one to go out.

“Lewis has made it look very easy but that is pure dominance. That was a very special car. It has been a long four years for me but coming out here and knocking it out the park has been a dream.”

What Hamilton has done is as easy as it gets – and with characteristic blunter than was necessary. Afterwards Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said: “To go from the DRS zone to the final corner in second is an incredible achievement. It shows Lewis’s strength and also shows the team’s strength. He has been at it continuously all year long and we are very proud of Lewis. It is one of the greatest feats in sport.”

Earlier Kimi Raikkonen’s win was confirmed after he was told it was not his first win of the season and therefore counted towards the championship.

All the attention at Interlagos focused on the title fight between Hamilton and Vettel, but Raikkonen’s success was also critically important for Ferrari. Vettel, who was the pole-sitter for the race, was leading coming into the braking zone but a lack of pace from the car’s brakes cost him dearly and brought the weekend to a premature end.

Raikkonen, who secured his 19th career victory after hauling himself back up to third, said of his podium: “I am obviously pretty happy and happy for the team. They did a really great job all season.”

Ferrari’s sporting director, Mattia Binotto, said of the team’s tally of wins: “It is a fantastic season for us and we will remember this for a long time to come. It is our 10th win of the season and the first win for Sebastian [Vettel] and Kimi.”

Meanwhile Mercedes won the constructors’ title for the fifth time in six years, narrowly ahead of Ferrari. Mercedes will be celebrating they won nine of the 16 races, a tally significantly down on the 12 in 2011 when they were at the height of their powers.

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