Lewis Hamilton says he is grateful for a “pretty amazing” congratulatory message from Fernando Alonso after clinching his sixth Formula 1 world championship.

Hamilton became the second-most successful F1 driver of all time by clinching his sixth world title at the United States Grand Prix, moving him just one championship shy of Michael Schumacher’s all-time record.

Ahead of this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix, the Briton revealed that  double world champion Alonso had sent him a text message. The pair endured a fractious relationship as teammates at McLaren during Hamilton’s rookie campaign in 2007 but have since reconciled.

“I got a text from Fernando as well which was pretty amazing, I was really grateful for that, because obviously we’ve gone through a whirlwind of experiences together over the years,” Hamilton said.

“In all honesty, I always have respect for what he achieved and his ability, and also seeing his growth through his period of time at McLaren.”

Hamilton revealed he received over 400 messages of congratulations, with his former McLaren boss Ron Dennis - who signed Hamilton at the age of 10 - among them.

“I’ve still not got back to probably half the people that texted me,” Hamilton said.

“I’m grateful for all of the people that cared to send me a text and congratulate me, but it’s a lot to reply to. There’s 400 messages or something, so it was a lot.

“But seeing Ron’s [Dennis] text was really, really touched me inside, because I met him when I was 10 years old, and he saw something in me that no-one else did except for my dad, and gave me an opportunity to showcase my abilities and learn and to grow, and without him, I most likely wouldn’t have made it to Formula 1.

“I would have fallen away due to a lack of finances, been leapfrogged by a bunch of individuals that had more money to back them.

“I’m forever grateful to Ron, and always have love for Ron, and I hope he feels some sort of pride. He said how proud he was. I hope that he can share and feel he is as much a part of this as anyone.”

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel was another who offered his immediate congratulations to Hamilton in the drivers’ post-race cool-down room at COTA.

“Recognition is not something that drives me,” Hamilton added.

“But it definitely is an honour when you have other drivers, particularly Seb, that you respect so much for their ability, and over the years you’ve commented on their ability and you’ve got belief in their ability, and you’ve then built a rapport that is constantly growing, and for them to take a moment to come and show that bit of respect is amazing.

“Each of us know how hard it is to do what we do. Us 20 drivers particularly know how hard it is to do what we do, and only a few of us truly know how hard it is to win on a consistent basis year on year, and Seb is one of those. So it’s really awesome.”

Additional reporting by Julianne Cerasoli. 

 

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