Motor racing: Hamilton wins Turkish GP and record-equalling 7th F1 drivers' title

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton crossing the finish line at the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul on Nov 15, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS
Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas spinning off the track during the Turkish Grand Prix on Nov 15, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

ISTANBUL (REUTERS, AFP) - Britain's Lewis Hamilton took a record-equalling seventh world championship and became Formula One's most successful driver of all time after winning a wet and slippery Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday (Nov 15).

The 35-year-old Mercedes driver matched Ferrari great Michael Schumacher's seven titles with three races of the season remaining, lapping sole rival and teammate Valtteri Bottas on a nightmare afternoon for the spinning Finn.

Hamilton, who sealed his first title in 2008, was adding to his unprecedented roster of records - he already had more race wins (94), pole positions (97), podium finishes (163) and most consecutive points finishes (47) than any other driver in the history of the sport.

"Thank you so much guys... that's for all the kids out there who dream the impossible. You can do it too man, I believe in you guys," he whooped over the radio after taking the chequered flag.

He was congratulated after parking up by Racing Point's Sergio Perez who finished second half a minute later.

Both chose to make only one pit-stop and spend most of the race on a single set of intermediate tyres as their rivals pitted several times to cope with the slippery conditions.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel completed the podium in a race full of spins and changes of lead.

The victory was the 94th of Hamilton's career, three more than Schumacher managed, and came after he started in sixth place and then delivered a masterclass of skill and tyre management.

Former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand, who won six English Premier League titles, called Hamilton the greatest British athlete.

"The greatest sportsman this country has ever produced - no doubts," tweeted the 42-year-old Briton after the race.

Bottas, who came home 14th after saying four laps from the end that he wished the race was over already, also offered his congratulations as Hamilton celebrated with his ecstatic teammates.

Mercedes had already won the constructors' championship for a seventh year in a row.

There are two races in Bahrain and the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to come.

Hamilton hinted at more success.

"I feel like I'm only just getting started," he said on Sunday.

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