Lewis Hamilton said his third world championship was the most important of his career after sealing it with victory at the US Grand Prix.
Hamilton triumphed in Austin, Texas, after a late-race error by Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.
“The last two times were really climactic in the last race. This one still feels just as special if not more special,” said Hamilton, 30.
His emotions were caused by matching childhood hero Ayrton Senna, he said.
“It has kind of topped last year for me – it’s equalling Ayrton,” he added.
Hamilton said that his career aim had always been to match the achievements of the great Brazilian, who was killed in a crash in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.
Hamilton, who now has 43 career victories compared to Senna’s 41, said: “It is a very humbling experience to equal Ayrton Senna who inspired me and still does today.
“For me the target was always to get the three Ayrton had. I don’t know what’s coming next. There is no-one else I want to equal or emulate.
“I feel like I have the baton now for myself and Ayrton and I will carry it as far as I can and see where I can build it.
“As a driver you want to win everything you compete in, to perform at your best and hopefully better than everyone else. When you win a title that signifies I guess your greatness and the people around you.”
Hamilton also dedicated his third world title to his family.