Lewis Hamilton entered the sport of Formula 1 in 2007 with the McLaren-Mercedes team. From his first start in Australia, it was clear Hamilton looked like he was destined to become a generational talent.
However, nobody ever fathomed just how good the Brit would become.
With Hamilton equalling Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 career wins Oct. 11 in Germany, let’s take a look back on Hamilton’s 90 previous victories to see just how he got here.
His first win came in the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal, with Hamilton scoring his first-ever pole the same weekend. Dominating the race, Hamilton beat out Nick Heidfeld and Alexander Wurz in a grand prix that saw only 12 drivers running at the finish. Hamilton later completed the sweep of North America, winning the final USA Grand Prix held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His final wins of that season came in Hungary and Japan, cementing a second-place points finish in the process. Hamilton recorded one of the most successful rookie seasons ever, a record that nobody has come close to matching as of yet.
2008 saw Hamilton’s first of six world championships. Opening the season up with a win in Australia, he followed that up with his first triumph in the historic Monaco Grand Prix. A few races later, he claimed his first checkered flag at his home race at Silverstone. Hamilton closed out his championship year with wins in Germany and China. Sitting first in the standings, he beat out Felipe Massa by a single point in dramatic finale in Sao Paulo.
Hamilton won only twice in 2009, his first season attempting to defend his world title. That season stands tied with 2011 as Hamilton’s worst points season to date. Finishing fifth in the standings, 2009 only saw him claim wins at Hungary and Singapore.
In 2010, Hamilton logged thee more victories, winning the Turkish, Canadian and Belgian grands prix. As the season went on, Hamilton started to grow frustrated with McLaren. The falling pace of McLaren caused Hamilton to struggle, as he closed out the year fourth in the standings.
2011 didn’t turn out much better for Hamilton. Once again winning only twice, Hamilton finished fifth in the standings. His wins that year came in Germany and Abu Dhabi.
In 2012, Hamilton set his personal record for most DNFs in a season at five. Despite winning in Canada, Hungary, Italy and the United States, he failed to finish in Germany, Belgium, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Brazil, hampering a potential championship year. This also ended up being Hamilton’s last season driving for McLaren.
Hamilton jumped ship to the Mercedes works team in 2013. Replacing the retired Schumacher, he was paired up with Nico Rosberg driving alongside him. He suffered some growing pains at Mercedes, scoring a career-low one victory. Hamilton’s lone win came in Hungary, his fourth win in seven attempts.
Soon after, however, improved Mercedes power put Hamilton back on top of the F1 world in 2014. In a surprise, Hamilton scored 11 wins from Malaysia to Britain to Abu Dhabi. Hamilton beat out Rosberg by 67 points for his second world championship. 2015 was another dominant season, with Hamilton scoring another 10 wins and his third world championship. With Mercedes starting to edge ahead of the competition, both McLaren and Red Bull fell down the order.
In 2016, Hamilton was defeated in the championship standings by teammate Rosberg but still managed to win 10 times. Losing the world championship by a heartbreaking five points, Hamilton’s 10 wins marks the most victories scored by a driver who failed to win the championship.
2017 saw Hamilton get a new teammate in former Williams driver Valtteri Bottas. Without his competitive teammate/rival Rosberg, Hamilton delivered nine wins and another championship.
In terms of wins, 2018 is tied among Hamilton’s winningest season to date. With 11 race victories and a third consecutive championship title, Hamilton started to cement himself among the F1 greats. Despite not scoring his first win until F1 tackled a new city circuit in Baku, once Hamilton did taste victory he became virtually unstoppable, including a triumph in the revived French Grand Prix.
Last season, Hamilton once again scored 11 race victories en route to his fourth straight title. In fact, Hamilton set a record for the most points scored by a driver in any one season, with a grand total of 413 points by season’s end. Among his victories, Hamilton claimed his third Monaco Grand Prix and sixth home British Grand Prix.
Currently in 2020, Hamilton has won seven times, bringing his win total to where it stands now at 91. Tied atop the all-time wins list with the legendary Schumacher, it isn’t an if, but a when Hamilton will claim the record for himself.
With a brand new contract in place, it is very possible Hamilton will break the unachieved mark of 100 grand prix victories. Sitting only eight away from triple-digit wins, Hamilton still has six more races left in 2020 to take the record for himself.
As of Oct. 11, Hamilton’s seven wins see him dominating another season of F1, poised to collect his seventh world title at the end of the season, another mark that would put him on par with Schumacher.
In total, Hamilton has won at 27 different circuits in 23 different countries as of this writing (he won at two different circuits in Italy, the United States, Japan and Germany). Hamilton has won at every single active F1 track, with a possibility of bringing that record to 31 by the end of 2021 (Imola, Portugal, Netherlands and Vietnam). He holds 37 F1 records and is the all-time wins leader in over 10 different grands prix.
While the critics love to hate, one thing can be certain. Lewis Hamilton is the best driver to ever race an F1 car.
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