Mar 30, 2014, 6:15 AM EDT
Lewis Hamilton has dedicated his Malaysian Grand Prix victory to the passengers and their relatives of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disaster, which disappeared on March 8th with 239 people on board travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Hamilton claimed his first win at the Sepang International Circuit on Sunday with a faultless performance that saw him finish 17 seconds ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg. The one-two for Mercedes was the team’s first since the 1955 Italian Grand Prix, whilst Hamilton – with pole position, fastest lap, the race win and having led every lap – claimed his first grand slam.
“Incredible, incredible,” said Hamilton on the podium after the race. “After such a difficult weekend, such a long winter, we’ve got a great crowd here today and for Petronas who work so hard with Mercedes to give us this win.
“I just feel so grateful, and particularly after such a tragedy three weeks ago.
“I’d really like to dedicate this to those people and their families.”
The Formula 1 community also honored those lost on flight MH370 before the race with one minute of silence before the Malaysian national anthem was sung. During such a dark period in Malaysia’s history, the sport has looked to bring some light to the nation this weekend.
Hamilton explained after the race how the hot and humid conditions made the win difficult, but he thanked the team for their hard work across the course of the weekend.
“Today you’re sweating already before you get into the car, so it’s really trying to keep your body as cool as possible and keep your focus,” he said. “The team were just spot on with all the pit stops and cooling and timing, and also the info I was getting, it was just spot on.”
“What a great car, what a great job from everyone.”