Hamilton lets tears flow as he clinches record 7th F1 title

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Third placed Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany, left, pours champagne of race winner Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain, as Racing Point driver Sergio Perez, right, of Mexico who finished second looks on the podium of the Formula One Turkish Grand Prix at the Istanbul Park circuit racetrack in Istanbul, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Kenan Asyali, Pool)

ISTANBUL – After winning a difficult race to equal Michael Schumacher's record of seven Formula One championships on Sunday, the hardest thing for Lewis Hamilton was containing his emotions.

His voice could be heard breaking as he thanked his team over the radio moments after crossing the line at the Turkish Grand Prix, while underneath the helmet the tears were starting to build up.

“All these emotions were running through me and I was trying to stop it,” Hamilton said in his post-race news conference. “I was thinking about my whole career, from when I was five when I drove in a go-kart, from when we won the British championship, driving home with my dad and singing ‘We Are The Champions' and dreaming of being here.”

Moments after victory No. 94 and title No. 7, he sat in his car with his head in his hands.

“It really hit me and I just burst into tears. I couldn't get out of the car because I just couldn't believe it," Hamilton said. ”I didn't want the visor to come up and people to see tears flowing, because I had always said I would never let you see me cry. I remember watching drivers in the past crying and I was like ‘I’m not going to do that.' But it was too much."

Speaking a short time after his win, Hamilton was wiping away those tears as he prepared to mount the podium.

“I’m definitely a bit lost for words,” he said, thanking his family. “I dreamed of this as a kid. This is way, way beyond our dreams.”

Hamilton only had one title, with McLaren in 2008, when he replaced Schumacher at Mercedes in 2013.