Mexican Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton pays tribute to family support after fifth world title
Lewis Hamilton has paid tribute to his late grandfather, who died four days before the Mercedes driver clinched his fifth F1 title in Mexico on Sunday.
Hamilton said it had been a "really difficult weekend" after the loss of Davidson Hamilton, who died on Thursday and was "the godfather of the family".
Hamilton, 33, said it reminded him of the sacrifices his father made to help him to become a Formula 1 driver.
"I'll never forget the things he did for me to be here," Hamilton said.
Hamilton's family originates from Grenada, where his grandfather still lived, and he is the first man of African-Caribbean descent to race in Formula 1.
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"Dad and I have always been close but it naturally brought us a little bit closer," Hamilton said.
"I really do aspire to be like him, as a man, as a strong black man, as a father and as a human being, doing what he did with the difficult times and the little he had.
"That is testament to where we are. All that work he put in, our grandfather would be so proud of him, so proud of us, and grateful the Hamilton name is there, established and will go down now in history, which is kind of crazy to think."
Hamilton remembered the family's early days, when he was growing up on a council estate in Stevenage in Hertfordshire, and the effort his father Anthony put in to help him start his career in karting. He was later picked up and supported by the McLaren team at the age of 11.
He said that support was "at the centre of who I am".
Hamilton added: "My dad was the only father who would go out on track and he would go and stand where the quicker kid was braking, who was a kid called Niki Richardson.
"As an eight-year-old, I looked up to him. He was so quick and I had to be better than him somehow.
"[Dad] would go out where he was braking, move several metres down and say: 'This is where you have to brake.'
"I would try. I'd spin off and crash, and then eventually I could do it. Those core moments are what I fight with today."
Hamilton said winning a fifth title, which puts him level with the great Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio and only two behind all-time record holder Michael Schumacher, "doesn't feel real".
He added: "It's been such a difficult year and such a great battle but a lot of work. And to try and raise the bar this year has been such a huge challenge.
"I think I had a great year last year and I was thinking to myself, 'How can I raise the bar, how can I squeeze some more out of myself?'
"And honestly, you never know what the formula is and there is no secret formula but somehow I managed to find that balance and that flow and I've had some of my best races of my career and I think that's ultimately why I'm sitting here.
"But it doesn't even register at the moment, being number five. Just getting my first was amazing and the third was incredible. People are mentioning Fangio so I think right it's just kind of… it's very very humbling."
And he paid tribute to his Mercedes team, saying: "These guys in the garage have just been flawless every single weekend, with our pit stops, with our decision-making in the background, strategy and set-up. That's been key.
"Ultimately, for me, I feel like I can drive anything and I feel I can take the car to places that nobody else can.
"But to do that, you have to get the car in the right place and so that means ultimately you've got to work with the team, to help unleash what's great within them so that you can unleash the greatness in yourself."