Lewis Hamilton could not hide his delight following his thrilling victory in the Monaco Grand Prix, insisting that the race was 'one of the hardest' he has had in his entire career as he struggled to keep his medium tyres under control in front.
With Max Verstappen breathing down his neck on the hard compound tyres, Hamilton was animated on team radio as he battled against the Dutchman and, in the end, score a fantastic win under the circumstances.
Hamilton confirmed after the race that even considering the various disciplines that he has competed in, his Monaco triumph may very well be his best.
In the post-race press conference, he said: "It was definitely… I think it was the hardest race I’ve had. Obviously I’ve had a lot of races in my entire career, even beyond Formula One. Yeah, I think just globally, just in the car, with the tyres, with the strategy, with the circumstances with Max behind, yeah it was the biggest challenge I think I’ve had.
"But I’m really, really grateful that I was able to pull it off. But of course there were multiple things coming into my thought process. I’ve got 38 laps to go and I’ve got no tyres left and I’m thinking that ‘there is no way that with the feeling that I have and with the pace that I have to do at the moment that I’m going to make it’.
"With sheer will I just kept pushing. I really, really tried my best to stay focused and not crack under pressure, because Max was doing a great job behind on a much better tyre."
Hamilton also confirmed that given the untimely death of Niki Lauda earlier in the week, there had been a real strain on the team.
He added: "This week has been such a hard week, emotionally, for us as a team and me personally, I just really, really wanted to do the job. I really wanted to deliver on the word of Niki, and imagining him taking the hat off in support.
"When I was driving I was like, ‘what would Niki do?’ so I just kept going. Ultimately I’m really grateful for the opportunity the team gave us this weekend to have the car we had and the team continues to evolve and improve and we’re growing constantly as a team, even through our faults.
"We win and lose as a team, and I also wanted to pull it through for the team, because so many guys aback at the factory deserve it. So a proud one for us today."
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