Lewis Hamilton’s father and Sir Jackie Stewart pay tribute as British superstar breaks Michael Schumacher’s Formula One win record
Lewis Hamilton became the winningest Formula One driver in history on Sunday and his father knew he was capable of greatness from an early age.
The British driver won the Portuguese Grand Prix to make it 92 total victories in his career, bettering Michael Schumacher’s record.
The 35-year-old is in the conversation for the best ever in the sport’s history and is on course for a record-equalling seventh World Championship.
His father, Anthony Hamilton, told Jim White on talkSPORT that it was his determination from a young age that set him on this path.
He said: “(It was an) absolutely unbelievable day. It took me back to when Lewis started karting at eight years of age. The culmination of all of our dreams.
“I said to him there were no words. We were both just dumbfounded. Don’t forget we started off in a council house when Lewis was five or six years of age. We had no idea we’d end up here.
“We should be used to it by now but to be honest it feels like the first day of motor racing for us.
“He has this determination to succeed. He had it from the first time he said ‘I want to be a racing driver’ when he was five years of age. I said if it’s really what he wanted to do he needed to focus.
“I knew he was capable of greatness because when someone commits themselves and says ‘I’m going to do everything you say and this is what I want to be’. I think there’s no limits as long as you are dedicated and seek out your dreams.
“We’ve never looked at trophies, or titles or numbers. We really only ever focused on doing the best he can every time he goes out on the track.
“Our motto since he was five years of age was ‘do your talking on the track’. The focus is on doing your absolute best when you get to the circuit and anything else is a bonus.”
There are often accusations that Hamilton doesn’t receive the credit he deserves for his accolades in the sport.
He was a surprise omission from the honours list to receive a knighthood with his achievements unrivalled.
Anthony Hamilton thinks the UK have missed a trick as he believes their story promotes the opportunity there is.
He added: “I’m speaking as a parent of a young kid. Back in ’92/93, we had nothing. We lived in a council house that we were able to buy because Margaret Thatcher changed the laws.
“I was working on the railway. We were just an ordinary family struggling to survive. The British way of life meant opportunities were open to everybody to succeed in life.
“I wanted to make sure my son had a better life than I had and he grew up a decent man. We ventured out on the belief that Britain provides you with these opportunities to improve your life and that’s exactly what we did.
“We improved our lives by working hard. That’s what we are encouraged to do. We want to make sure our kids succeed and become better human beings than we do.
“As far as I’m concerned, I’m extremely proud that my son turned out to be a better man than I ever could have been. He’s decent, successful, very charitable and very driven.
“To a degree, I think the UK has missed a trick if they don’t want to recognise Lewis. At the end of the day, the encouragement is if you want to better your life then be decent people. We’ve done that and I don’t think we could do any more.”
Former racing driver Sir Jackie Stewart joined talkSPORT Breakfast on Monday and argued that you cannot compare generations achievements.
Stewart himself can lay claim to be one of the best in the sport having won three World Championships between 1969 and 1973.
He told talkSPORT: “It was a very good win for Lewis and he did it with convincing style. Well ahead of his teammate on this particular occasion, so he was a very happy chappy at the end.
“Having now beaten Schumacher’s record it’s very good for him. He’s had a wonderful career.
“You can only be the best of your time because of the number of races that are held in these different eras. Lewis right now is totally dominating. How do you judge the greatest of all time?
“Was Pele better than the best football player today? Was Rod Lever better than the top tennis player today? You can’t do that. You can only be the best of your time. Lewis is the best of his time and he should be very proud of that.”