Three-time champion Niki Lauda welcomed Lewis Hamilton to the exclusive club for triple Formula 1 title-winners after the United States Grand Prix and predicted that the 30-year-old Briton will “get better and better.”
Lauda, a member of the Mercedes’ team senior management, said the race was “the best ever to watch” and a fitting way for him to take his third crown.
“That was good, very good,” said Lauda. “You just cannot complain. It was the best race ever, to watch. Now he’s only as good as I am! But, I’m joking. He will get better and win more, I tell you.”
He added that he was worried in the closing laps when Sebastian Vettel closed up in his Ferrari on Nico Rosberg, running second in the second Mercedes, “I was worried Vettel could pass him and the whole thing would be delayed.”
Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff added: “Lewis deserves the world championship. He was brilliant in his driving and Nico was a little less lucky.”
“We need to build him up again in the next few days, but it’s an amazing feeling, double constructors’ and drivers’ champions,” added Wolff.
He said he felt Mercedes had not managed the race impeccably, “I’m not sure we got it completely right, the last Safety Car saved Lewis’s race, but he deserved the luck.”
Hamilton’s 10th win of the season enabled him to move one victory clear of four-time champion Vettel as the driver with the third most wins in Formula One history.
Seven time champion Michael Schumacher won 91 Grands Prix, Alain Prost won 51 and Hamilton has now won 43 races, one more than Vettel’s total of 42. Ayrton Senna, Hamilton’s childhood hero and inspiration, won 41.