Lewis Hamilton: How did he equal F1 record and where does he go from here?
The Mercedes driver won his seventh World Championship yesterday
The title of ‘greatest of all time’ is often overused in modern day sport – but when it comes to Lewis Hamilton, we’re getting dangerously close to the term being accurate.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 13 years since the fresh-faced Hamilton burst onto the scene in 2007, breaking records left, right and centre before becoming the youngest F1 world champion in history a year later.
His foot has barely left the throttle since, speeding past every opponent in his way in a quest to etch his name in sporting history.
And if he hadn’t done so already, he made sure of it yesterday as he clinched the Turkish Grand Prix to draw level with Michael Schumacher’s seven world titles.
He may not be done yet, with title number eight and the chance to truly cement his position as the sport’s best ever firmly in his sights.
Incredible in Istanbul
The conditions couldn’t have been worse as Hamilton strapped himself in at Istanbul Park, knowing that a 94th career victory would see him become the most successful F1 driver of all time, having already surpassed Schumacher’s number of race wins last month.
The 35-year-old didn’t make it easy for himself, finding himself back in sixth after five laps, 20 seconds off the lead.
But Hamilton bided his time, electing to continue on worn tyres in order to overtake those ahead of him who chose to pit.
And he made it look easy in the end, with championship rival and team-mate Valtteri Bottas finishing back in 14th.
While Hamilton has every intention of continuing next year in an effort to eclipse Schumacher, it’s unclear at present who he’ll be driving for.
His contract with Mercedes expires in six weeks and talks are currently at a standstill, despite the driver’s insistence that he’d like to stay with the team.
Although he’s previously suggested he could quit the sport at the end of the year, it seems inevitable that Hamilton will extend his £40 million-a-year deal by at least 12 months, particularly now he’s fuelled with fresh motivation.
But until he signs on the dotted line, uncertainty over his future will remain.
Can Hamilton make it eight?
There are still three races left of the current F1 season, but Hamilton will already have one eye on next year, dreaming of clinching his eighth title.
He’s odds-on to do so with Coral, with our traders pricing the Brit at 2/5 to win next season’s World Championship.
Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Bottas is the next likeliest contender at 5/1.
And the F1 world title may not be the end of Hamilton’s 2020 recognition. He’s the clear favourite at Evens to be crowned the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Meanwhile, he’s also Evens to be knighted by the Queen in her New Year’s Honours list.
View the latest Formula One odds.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication.