Lewis Hamilton became the Formula 1 record winner of all time on Sunday as he claimed his 92nd victory in the Portuguese Grand Prix to overtake Michael Schumacher at the top of the list.
After the victory, he broke the 14-year-old Schumacher record – 91 triumphs after an exciting inaugural F1 race on the Algarve International Track.
After a long hug with his father, Anthony, who along with his stepmother Linda witnessed his historic achievement, Hamilton garnered praise for his Mercedes before climbing his racing engineer Peter Bono, Bonnington, and Bottas on the podium.
“I am indebted to both and all of these guys here and to the team at the factory,” Hamilton said.
“For their great work, they are always pushing the barrier higher and higher. Working with them is a privilege … Working with them is inspiring ”.
Hamilton recovered from an early fright when he drove, but fell to third place after a rain shower to demonstrate impeccable tire management and impeccable decision as he won his eighth victory in the 12th race this year.
Six-time world champion 25.5 seconds left his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Botto with Red Bull spokesman Max Verstappen, who was a familiar third.
Hamilton’s triumph added another unprecedented feat to his record list. He now has the most wins, a record 97 pole positions, a record 161 finishes and 45 consecutive points.
The 35-year-old Briton increased the champions ’lead against Bott to 77 points.
The seventh title of world champion, which would equate to another Schumacher record, now seems inevitable, with only five races left this year.
Hamilton, 35, said the race was “heavy” and he suffered cramps.
“Yeah, it’s a very physical sport I had in my right calf. I got down straight and it hurt. “
Sainz says he leads
Charles Leclerc was fourth on the Ferrari team ahead of Pierre Gasly after a great drive on his Alfa Tauri.
Carlos Sainz returned to the sixth McLaren team after beating Sergio Perez, who recovered after a first-round collision with Verstappen, with Racing Point finishing seventh against two Esteban Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo Renaults.
Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel finished 10th in Ferrari last season.
On a cool and windy day, in anticipation of light rain, around the new 90,000 capacity track, which has hosted Portugal’s first Grand Prix since 1996, 27,000 people were scattered in gratitude when drivers finished the pre-race ceremony, including a racist welcome, led by Hamilton, with a Black Lives Matter shirt, taking the road.
Initially, Hamilton descended from his record-breaking 97th pole, and from third, Verstappen overtook Botto until the Finns returned to pass him and his teammate to take the initiative.
In the light rain, Hamilton slid, and on the soft Sainz found traction to lead, avoiding the Verstappen-Perez collision that spun the Racing Point car. In short, it was wild things.
Under the Ice Rink, Mercedes men took an average of time to warm up their tires before locking and overtaking Sainz in the sixth and seventh laps, respectively.
By eight laps, Bott led Hamilton by 1.8 seconds and Verstappen by four.
Despite the gloomy conditions, the normal service seems to have been resumed.
Raikkonen, in his record-breaking 324 race, was the first to fall from soft to medium, resulting in reduced traction, creating a series of stops.
“The left front is dead, together,” Verstappen said as Hamilton repeated that mood in two laps.
Almost immediately, he overcame the fastest lap and closed up to 20 laps on Bottas, passing him straight with the DRS chest. Verstappen dug a pit and rejoined the sixth when Hamilton erupted forward.
All of this resulted in Hamilton leading the teammate by 7.3 seconds in 30 laps and Leclerc in third with 27 seconds left.
Hamilton broke the pits after 40 laps, taking the difficulty and settling behind the re-married Botto. The Finns offered to switch to soft, but when Mercedes arrived, it gave him the difficulty of white walls.
For the English, recovering from the early dramas, it was almost a Sunday walk in the park.
He led by 12 seconds and drove 21 laps, and the next record day his progress was threatened with little more than a little rain.
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