Lewis Hamilton says he does not know how to feel after guaranteeing his sixth Formula 1 title in the United States Grand Prix, an achievement he called “beyond surreal”.
A sixth title moves Hamilton into second place outright in the all-time list of F1 champions, one clear of Juan Manuel Fangio and behind only seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, as well as reinforcing his status as one of Britain’s greatest-ever sportspeople.
Asked if that is something he is able to comprehend, Hamilton said: “Honestly no. And I don’t know why. I really don’t know why.
“How am I supposed to feel, you know? I remember watching this sport when I was younger, waking up, come downstairs, my stepmum, Linda, who’s here today, she would make me a bacon sandwich and me and my dad would sit there together and watch the grands prix.
“It’s odd to watch it and see someone in the TV set and now to be the person that’s in the TV set, and be doing something like the great that I saw in Ayrton [Senna] and the great that I saw in Michael.
“It’s beyond surreal to think that this journey, my life journey, has brought me to this point in winning a sixth title. But I don’t really know how I’m supposed to feel right now.”
Hamilton’s parents Anthony and Carmen, and their spouses, were all in attendance in the US for the Briton’s championship victory.
He said it was a special occasion for all four of them to be present at the race.
“I don’t believe in the whole cloud nine thing [but] I’m flying super high right now,” said Hamilton.
“I’ve got my family with me. I don’t remember the last time my stepdad and my stepmum, my dad and my mum…I don’t think I’ve had them at a world championship [winning] grand prix before.
“So, to experience that and share that with them, people who have been at the core of who I am and sacrificed everything they had for me to have the life that I have today, I was really proud to see them all smiling and share it with them.”
Hamilton’s fifth title in six seasons with Mercedes comes with two races still to run in 2019, and he said his focus now would be to the upcoming races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.
He admitted that he did not usually get to reflect on his successes until after the season, when “you can just take a load off and just sit back and have a beer”.
“I will be with my dogs, with my feet up and only then you can have a moment to grasp how great a year it has been,” he said.