Lewis Hamilton: Michael Schumacher's seven F1 titles so close yet so far

Lewis Hamilton feels honoured to have won a sixth world title, one behind the great Michael Schumacher's record.

Lewis Hamilton celebrates his sixth drivers' championship.   -  Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton was left feeling overwhelmed after winning the Formula One drivers' championship for the sixth time.

The 34-year-old finished second behind Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas at Sunday's United States Grand Prix in Austin.

Hamilton, who needed only a top-eight finish to guarantee a third title in a row, qualified fifth on the grid but was leading the race on lap 52 of 56 until Bottas made the most of fresher tyres to overtake him.

Although he admits he would have liked to take the chequered flag, Hamilton described it as an "honour" to win the title and move to within one of Michael Schumacher's record haul of seven.

 

"It's just overwhelming if I'm really honest. It was such a tough race today," he said to Sky Sports.

"Yesterday was a really difficult day for us. Valtteri did a fantastic job so huge congratulations to him. Today, I just really wanted to recover and deliver the one-two for the team.

"I didn't think the one-stop [strategy] was going to be possible, but I worked as hard as I could. I'm full of so much emotion. It's an honour to be up here with those greats.

"My dad told me when I was like six or seven years old never to give up – that's the family motto.

"I was pushing as hard as I could. I was hopeful I might be able to win today but we didn't have it in the tyres, unfortunately."

With five drivers' championships from the last six years, the Brit certainly seems to feel physically capable of continuing his career.

When asked how many titles he could win, Hamilton replied: "I don't know about championships but, as an athlete, I feel as fresh as can be right now.

"I'm ready for the next race. These next races we won't let up – we'll keep pushing."

-- 'Schumacher's seven F1 titles so close and yet so far' --

Lewis Hamilton struggled to comprehend his proximity to greatness after moving to within one of Michael Schumacher's tally of Formula One world championship titles.

It marks Hamilton's third championship in succession and, at the age of 34, he is closing in on the legendary Schumacher, having moved one clear of Juan Manuel Fangio in the all-time list. 

However, an emotional Hamilton could not begin to contemplate joining or even surpassing the German at the summit.

 

"It was so far away. Now yet it seems so close, yet it is so far away that I still can't really comprehend," he said. 

"So the challenges that we'll face in these next coming months – next season, you look at the other teams that really have been putting some astonishing performances in in the second half of the season.

"It's going to take another load of incredible performances and work from myself and the other people around me and I really don't want to have to think about it right now."

There are still two races to go in 2019 and Hamilton would need to win both in order to beat his best return of 11 victories in one season.