Lewis Hamilton had a lot to celebrate on Sunday, in the American city of Austin, Texas. A big fan of Ayrton Senna, the British driver from team Mercedes won his long-coveted third F1 world title, three races before the end of the season. This means Hamilton has equaled the feat achieved by his idol in the 1991 season, after being champion in 1988 and 1990.
Since he started racing go-karts, the Britton had Ayrton Senna as a role model. For years, he honored the Brazilian by wearing a yellow helmet, besides waving his country’s flag after a win – one of his childhood hero’s trademarks. And now, he also has three world titles: 2008, 2014 and 2015.
“The last two times obviously was really climatic in the last race. One was 17 seconds before the end of the race, I think it was something like that (in a duel with Felipe Massa), and obviously last year it was amazing but it took a lot out of us, that race, because obviously it was double points, anything could have happened. This one still feels just as special, if not more special. I think this has to have topped last year for me, being as it’s equaling Ayrton”, said a visibly moved Hamilton in the official FIA post-race press-conference.
The Mercedes driver walked away with the 2015 championship by winning ten races out of 16. This year, he had also matched some of his idol’s milestones. He won his 41st race at the Japanese Grand Prix, the race in which Senna secured his three world titles. Besides, he also equaled Ayrton’s 80 podiums and 19 quickest laps.
At the time, he said: “He wasn’t from the same country as me but he was the guy that inspired me as a youngster. My goal was always to win three titles, like Ayrton. Now I’m like…I don’t know where it’s going next. There is no-one else I look to, that I want to equal or emulate now”.
Since his first title in 2008 – achieved after a historic race at Interlagos, in the rain –Hamilton formed a strong bond with Brazil and also with McLaren, the team with which he made his F1 debut and helped him learn even more about Ayrton Senna’s legacy. The Britton had also won the Drivers’ Championship, last year.
The next F1 Grand Prix takes place this Sunday, November 1st, in Mexico City. After that, the main category in the world of motor sports moves on to São Paulo, for the Brazilian GP, on November 15th. The year’s last race takes place in Abu Dhabi, on November 29th.