The seven-time world champion notched the historic landmark in Sochi but was made to work hard for his all-important victory that also restores his advantage in the championship. But it came after a sloppy qualifying session where he crashed TWICE – once in the pitlane – to leave him starting the race in fourth-place.
But Hamilton turned in an excellent performance in tricky conditions to reach the top-step of the podium for the first time since July thanks to a chat with dad, Anthony. He said: “[The night before], just the same as the first race I had or the first championship I fought in when I was eight, my dad was messaging or calling me.
“He has always been that one reassuring me and continuing to support me. There were moments where I didn’t even know that if [winning his 100th race] was going to happen. “So, I feel incredibly grateful for the amazing support I have had. I couldn’t have done it without them.” Hamilton was also quick to thank a number of his inner sanctum, namely Angela Cullen his physio and performance coach, and his assistant, Ellen Kolby, who worked with Hamilton at McLaren and has been with him for every one of his 100 F1 victories. He added: “Obviously you’ve got Angela, you’ve got Ellen, you’ve got Omar my driver in the UK, you’ve got Lloyd who’s here with me, my security.
“Honestly there are too many to name, but ones that have been with me since 18 years. Just forever grateful to them for their continued support and belief in me.” Meanwhile, despite regaining the lead in the championship, Hamilton is bracing himself for a tough end to the campaign in his battle with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. The seven remaining races are stacked in the Dutchman’s favour after he took a new engine in Russia while Hamilton could require a new engine soon, triggering a grid penalty. I think they’ve got a good set of circuits coming up and I anticipate it will just continue to be really close between us. When quizzed about his chance of winning a record eighth world title, Hamilton said: “Undoubtedly it’s going to be tough.
“For two thirds of the season so far Red Bull have had the edge. However, it’s obviously been difficult, with all sorts of things, curveballs sent to both of us and our teams. “There’s still everything to play for in these next races. “I think they’ve got a good set of circuits coming up and I anticipate it will just continue to be really close between us. Just got to be hopeful of some good races.”