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In the moments following his historic achievement, a clearly emotional Lewis Hamilton remained in his car, deep in thought, savouring the moment whilst preparing himself for the inevitable media furore that would follow.

There was added poignancy when his great rival, Sebastian Vettel was the first to congratulate the Briton, the four-time world champion kneeling down beside Hamilton as he remained in his car.

While Hamilton handled it all with grace and dignity, it was the media that was becoming increasingly hysterical, ramming microphones and recorders into the face of all and sundry, demanding to know what the Briton’s achievement meant to them.

Drivers and team bosses still savouring the previous one hundred and two minutes or those keen to forget all about them, seemingly nobody was safe.

And when Vettel was heard to use the phrase “the greatest”, the German’s fate was sealed.

Sure enough following claims that Vettel had told Hamilton that he was “the greatest F1 driver ever”, the German was asked to expand on his comment and reveal exactly what he’d said to the world champion during those moments.

“I told him that it’s very special for us because we can witness history being made today,” he told reporters.

“I think he is the greatest of our era for sure,” he continued. “I think it’s always difficult to compare, how can you possibly compare Fangio, Stirling Moss to our generation? You can’t.

“Maybe we would be useless because we’d all be s****** ourselves in those cars, maybe they would be useless in our cars because they’re way too fast, who knows?

“It doesn’t matter,” he insisted. “I think every era has its driver, or its drivers, and Lewis is certainly the biggest, greatest of our era.

“To me, certainly emotionally, Michael will always be the greatest driver,” he continued. “But there’s no doubt Lewis is the greatest in terms of what he has achieved. He’s equalled the championships, he has more races won, he has a lot more pole positions so I think he’s done everything you can ask for.

“Today’s the best proof,” he added. “It’s a difficult race, a very difficult race to stay on track and two hours long, and probably if we’re honest, it wasn’t his race to win, and he still won it, so I think once again he managed to pull something special out of that bag, and therefore I think he deserves everything he has achieved.”

Asked about his obvious emotion over the team radio, and his subsequent period of reflection in the car, Hamilton said: “Very rarely do I lose control of my emotions… but when I came across the line, I think it really hit me and I just burst into tears. I think, that whole in-lap, and then I really couldn’t get out of the car, because I just couldn’t believe it.

“I didn’t want the visor to come up and for people to see tears flowing and all that stuff, because I kind of had always said I’d never let you see me cry, because I remember watching other drivers in the past crying and I was like, ‘I’m not going to do that’. But it was too much.”

Check out our Sunday gallery from Istanbul, here.





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