Lewis Hamilton thanked his dog as he set another record in Formula One.
Yes, you read that right.
As he celebrated his 92nd grand prix victory in Portugal, easing past Michael Schumacher’s long-standing summit for success, he had kind words for almost everyone including his best mate the British bulldog.
“My dad is here which is amazing, my step-mum Linda is here, Roscoe too,” Hamilton said.
For the record, Roscoe is the dog.
Hamilton has done some amazing things in his career, and must now decide how long he wants to race down his record road as he will tie Schumacher’s world title tally of seven soon, but he still finds ways to amaze.
Number 92 was a little tougher than usual, as he dropped to second after an early mistake, but there was never any doubt once he got back in front.
“I feel very blessed. It’s going to take some time for it to sink in. I was still pushing flat-out coming across the line and I am still in race mode mentally. I can’t find the words at the moment,” he said after leading his team mate Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen from Red Bull to another predictable F1 podium.
And you have to feel for Bottas.
He is the biggest bridesmaid in the history of Formula One, managing to trump – or un-trump – the seconds that were scored by Schumacher’s team mates Rubens Barrichello, Felipe Massa, Eddie Irvine and even television talking heads Martin Brundle and Johnny Herbert.
Bottas missed pole position in Portimau but did get the lead, briefly, before Hamilton steamed away to an inevitable win.
“I tried to defend when Lewis came closer, but there was nothing I could do,” he said.
Only two questions are left now for Lewis Hamilton in Formula One – how long and how many?
He has climbed the highest peak in F1 and must now decide how many wins and championships he needs and when he wants to stop.
Hamilton could easily take the summit to 110 or more by going for a couple of seasons, and also extend his – inevitable – tally of world titles to eight or nine.
At the moment, only Verstappen looks like a potential threat but he will need more than the current Red Bull-Honda combination to get onto equal teams with Hamilton.
For the record, Daniel Ricciardo was ninth for Renault in the Portugese Grand Prix, but the day was all about Hamilton.
And Mercedes-Benz, of course, as it’s the silver arrows – or black arrows in 2020 – which have provided the cars for his conquests.
“I could only ever have dreamed of being where I am today. I didn’t have a crystal ball when I chose to come to this team and partner with these great people. What I can tell you is that I am trying to make the most of it every single day,” Hamilton said.
“Everything that we do together, we are all rowing in the same direction and that’s why you’re seeing the success that we’re having. I feel very blessed. It’s going to take some time for it to sink in. I was still pushing flat out coming across the line and I am still in race mode mentally. I can’t find the words at the moment.”
There was a tough of Nigel Mansell, who whined his way through F1, as after the race when he complained about a cramp. But it was a minor thing for Hamilton.
“I had a cramp in my right calf and I had to lift quite often down the straight because it was about to pull. Pretty painful, but I had to get through it because it is what it is and you can’t lift the whole lap,” he said.
But reporting dogs and cramps is taking away from the achievements of Hamilton and Mercedes-Benz.
“First, I owe these 92 wins to the team here and back and the factory for their tremendous work,” Hamilton said.
“They are continuously innovating and pushing the barrier, even higher every year. It’s been such a privilege working with them and I am so grateful for all the moments. The reliability has been incredible thanks to the Mercedes team, Petronas and all our partners who are continuously pushing.
“No one is sitting back on the success, everyone is pushing and pushing and pushing. That’s the most incredible thing to be surrounded by: it inspires you, that collaboration, and there’s nothing quite like it.”
And that’s the sting in the tail, as Hamilton clearly has no plans yet to hang up his hat to talk Roscoe for long walks in the park.