Lewis Hamilton dedicated his sixth Formula One World Championship to Niki Lauda, the legendary driver and his late Mercedes colleague.
The British driver clinched the title with a second place finish at the United States Grand Prix on Sunday, coming in behind team-mate Valtteri Bottas in Austin.
He is now only one title behind Michael Schumacher’s record haul of seven, and he said after the race he wants to complete his ‘masterpiece’ before stepping away from driving.
The 34-year-old has at least one more year to run on his £40million-a-year Mercedes deal, and he’s already committed to remaining in the sport beyond next season.
Hamilton began racing for Mercedes in 2013, with Lauda initiating contact with the then McLaren driver the prior year to try and tempt him to a team who, at that point, were still struggling to establish themselves as a leading outfit.
The three-time F1 World Drivers’ Champion eventually got his man, and Hamilton and Lauda remained close up until the latter’s death, aged 70, earlier this year.
Hamilton has already spoken this season on how much Lauda’s passing affected him, and he dedicated his sixth title to the legendary Austrian on Monday morning.
“Six World Championships!!,” Hamilton wrote on Twitter. “I can’t begin to describe this feeling, but it’s one I’ll never forget.
“As a kid growing up in Stevenage, it was a wish to win an F1 race and a dream to win a Championship, so to be standing here today representing my country, is such an incredible honour and beyond what I could have ever imagined.
“If just one kid sees me standing here and decides to follow their dream, no matter what it may be, nothing would make me more proud.
“I wouldn’t be here’s (sic) without so many of you, my amazing family – especially my dad who taught me to never give up, my friends, my team at @mercedesamgf1 and my fans.
“You’ve been with me on this journey from the start and it’s because of you that I stay focused and determined. I’m forever grateful from the bottom of my heart for every single one of you for your constant support, encouragement and love.
“This season is for Niki Lauda, my incredible friend and mentor who we lost this year, who proved that courage and determination go hand in hand.
“This one’s for you, Niki. I’ll continue to make you proud.”
Source: TalkSport.com Motorsport