Lewis Hamilton set a new title record on Sunday when he defeated Sebastian Vettel to win the Formula One title for the fifth time.
Lewis Hamilton sits in the confetti after winning the 2018 #F1 World Championship. We’re now a Grand Prix Record five-time F1 World Champion @LewisHamilton pic.twitter.com/oGdQaxyWZs — Formula 1 (@F1) November 18, 2018
Both drivers stepped on to the podium in Melbourne to watch the third lap of the race. Vettel put his arm around Hamilton and delivered the hug everyone wanted to see and Hamilton replied, “No, stop.” Vettel, who has three titles with Ferrari, had much fewer opportunities to celebrate but enjoyed success in the two preceding races at the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
The trophy held by Sebastian Vettel holds up during the post-race presentation. Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images
Despite his thrashing of Vettel, Hamilton admitted to taking a moment to savor his latest victory.
“I can’t believe I’m here. It was honestly quite crazy. It was crazy to come into today knowing you’ve won five world championships, and knowing that all you can do is enjoy it,” he said, before dismissing those who are tired of him (his nickname on Twitter) and his ever-expanding championship haul.
“I feel like people are tired of it,” he said. “That’s fine. I’m already bored of it.”
Lewis Hamilton (L) and Sebastian Vettel hold up the titles after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Photo: ALEX ELLINGHAUSEN/AFP/Getty Images
Even before his fifth title, the former world champion claimed that the way he had managed the burden of expectation, not to mention his brutal practice schedule, could be seen as the key to his success.
“I think the stress level for the past five years has been really high,” he said in September. “I am aware of the goal I set for myself in 2013, and I worked incredibly hard to achieve it.”
Hamilton had broken up with his long-term coach, Teddy Grosjean, in the 2016 offseason. It was also not long after that time that he won his first of three titles with McLaren, which he now owns half of.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff admitted that “Hamilton did not have the pressure that normally is applied in this moment.”
This was a triumph that was far from normal for such a dominant season. Only once before had Mercedes dominated the way they did this year, in 2009. To dominate the Red Bull of Vettel and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, was an achievement by any measure.
In victory, Hamilton said, “This is just the beginning. I am so happy. This is just the beginning of the journey and a huge thank you to the team and everyone who’s watched this team. I’m going to dedicate this one to my team.”
He also commended Lewis Hamilton for staying with him for such a long period of time. “I am so proud that I was able to build something with him on the track, as well as outside the track,” Hamilton said. “I am so proud of what he’s achieved. It is unprecedented for a British driver to win five titles, let alone five world championships.”