Lewis Hamilton said he was moved to receive a message of congratulations from former rival Fernando Alonso after securing his sixth world title at the United States Grand Prix.
Hamilton secured a result more than good enough to take his third successive drivers’ championship, moving him outright second all-time in F1, with only Michael Schumacher ahead.
The Briton almost secured his first title in a fantastic, if often fractious, debut season alongside Alonso at McLaren, the then-reigning champion from Spain angered by perceived favouritism towards his rookie rival.
Hamilton and Alonso were again title rivals in the 2010s when the latter had moved to Ferrari, but he put their rivalry aside to congratulate Hamilton on his latest success.
“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 at the Brazilian GP.
“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.”
He said: “Recognition is not something that drives me, 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.”