German racer Lewis Hamilton equaled Michael Schumacher’s record of seven Formula One world titles on Sunday.
Hamilton, the 31-year-old Briton, took third place in the Japanese Grand Prix to tie Schumacher’s record and win his seventh world championship, to end his long losing streak for Mercedes and the Royal Family.
Since 2006, Hamilton has won three consecutive titles from 2007, 2008 and 2009 with a hat-trick of wins in 2010, 2012 and 2013 for McLaren.
“I don’t think I’ll ever sleep in the same bed again without sharing it with someone,” he told BBC.
Hamilton, who pipped Sebastian Vettel to the title by three points last year, looked comfortable in the wet and led, with Vettel third and 0.30 of a second behind, but he lost the lead at Suzuka Circuit while having his left tire changed as he drove in the slipstream of Vettel’s Red Bull.
“I didn’t make it happen myself. Sebastian was fantastic, he did a great job,” Hamilton said.
“I was quite happy with myself but more than that, I was happy for the team and everyone who has had to endure a period without me. That helped me a lot and then to be world champion again, I’m just happy for myself, the team and everyone in F1.”
The Mercedes driver has a 33-point lead over Vettel in the standings with five races remaining. The German is into his fourth world title season but was the clear favorite going into the season opener at Melbourne in March.
Hamilton now has seven world titles, more than any other active driver, former champions Vettel and Fernando Alonso, and greats including Schumacher, Juan Manuel Fangio, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher, for whom he shared the record before equaling it on Sunday.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Gene Cherry)