“My dad, he never went out. He never had new clothes. He wasn’t saving up to buy anything new. Everything — remortgaging the house multiple times — went into go-karting, which sounds crazy. It is crazy, but he believed so much in me,” Lewis Hamilton tells PEOPLELewis Hamilton’s racing dream has become a reality — but the success is not his alone.
The 35-year-old British Formula 1 driver made history earlier this month when he clinched the 2020 F1 Championship with his victory at the Turkish Grand Prix, tying racing legend Michael Schumacher for the most championships ever, with seven total.
Lewis has now won 94 races in his career. He previously beat Schumacher’s record of 91 career wins last month at the Portuguese Grand Prix. In that moment of victory in Istanbul, Lewis tells PEOPLE his mind drifted back to his humble beginnings, and the support and unwavering dedication of his father Anthony Hamilton.
“I came across the line, and all the things about me and my dad — when we went away from our first championship singing ‘We Are the Champions,’ the struggles that we had — it just flashed through my mind, and all this emotion came up,” Lewis reflects. “There were times where we didn’t think we were going to be there. We were not going to make it. … They were worrying times, but he never doubted me once. “He adds, “I felt proud that hopefully he’s watching and is like, ‘It was worth it.’ ”
Lewis grew up outside of London, splitting time between his parents — Anthony and mom Carmen Larbalestier — who broke up when he was only two. Most weekends were spent with Anthony, who “didn’t know what to do with this little energized kid running around.”