‘It’s a magical moment’ – Lewis Hamilton in dreamland after claiming 100th F1 win
Lewis Hamilton is congratulated by Lando Norris
Lewis Hamilton hailed his 100th victory as a “magical moment” following another extraordinary afternoon of drama at Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix
Lando Norris, 21, looked set to knock Hamilton off his perch as the youngest Briton to win a Formula One race after a composed and mature drive at Sochi’s Olympic Park.
But the McLaren star was cruelly denied his first triumph when the arrival of rain with just seven laps remaining turned the race on its head.
Norris stayed out on slick rubber, but the gamble backfired. Hamilton stopped for wet tyres, and crossed the line 53 seconds clear of rival Max Verstappen to bring up his landmark win, 14 years and 108 days after his first triumph in Montreal, Canada in just his sixth race.
“It has taken a long time to get to 100 and I wasn’t even sure if it would come,” said 36-year-old Hamilton.
“It is a magical moment. I could only have dreamed of still being here, to have this opportunity to win these races, and to drive with such phenomenal talents this late on in my career.
It is a magical moment. I am so proud of everything we have done with Mercedes
“I am so proud of everything we have done with Mercedes, on and off the track, and this is a special moment for everyone that has been part of it.
“My dad called me last night and he has always been that one to reassure me and to continue to support me. I feel incredibly grateful for the amazing support that I have had.”
Hamilton’s magnificent century of wins, now nine more than Michael Schumacher in second place, takes him two points clear of Verstappen in the title race with seven rounds to go.
The Briton’s Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said: “We are witnesses of a career that is just amazing. That 100th race victory is just mind-blowing.
“Today we talk about it – it’s going to be in the news for 24 hours – but only 20 years down the line we are going to realise that we’ve been part of that. It is special.”
Verstappen, thrown to the back of the grid with an engine penalty, drove from last to second to limit the damage to his championship rival.
“I was so determined when I woke up this morning to deliver the best performance I could,” added Hamilton, who started fourth and then dropped to seventh after the first lap.
“Max must have done a great job to come up from last to second so we have got our work cut out. But there is nothing I can do about who is behind me and that is a dream result for him.
“For two thirds of the season Red Bull have had the edge. It has been difficult with all sorts of curveballs sent to both of us, and our teams, and there is still everything to play for. I anticipate that it will just continue to be really close between us for the rest of the year.”
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