Lewis Hamilton has been setting records all his career.
Sunday (Oct. 11), he tied another one by scoring his 91st career victory in the Eifel Grand Prix.
This victory brings Hamilton level with Michael Schumacher’s once-considered-insurmountable wins total. The Mercedes driver is also set to equal Schumacher’s record of seven championships at season’s end, absent a shocking collapse.
Max Verstappen finished second for his eighth podium finish of the season. For the first time since his win at Monaco in 2018, Daniel Ricciardo found himself on an F1 podium. The Australian finished third, giving Renault their first podium since 2011.
Despite an injured finger, Romain Grosjean came across the line ninth to score his first points of the season, his first points finish since Hockenheim last year. Antonio Giovinazzi rounded out the top 10.
Among the race’s DNFs were Red Bull’s Alexander Albon, polesitter Valterri Bottas, Renault’s Esteban Ocon and McLaren’s Lando Norris, all with mechanical issues. Williams’ George Russell was the only drive to retire from crash damage.
On the initial start, Bottas would lock up, giving the lead to his teammate Hamilton. The two traded the lead for a handful of corners before Bottas reclaimed it, holding until lap 12.
After Sebastian Vettel spun all by himself, Hamilton flew past Bottas to take the lead. As Bottas started to lose power, the virtual safety car was deployed, as Russell was nearly flipped over by Kimi Raikkonen on lap 16.
Bottas slid farther and farther down the order on restart, and with typical Bottas bad luck he retired on lap 19. The retirement was the first for Mercedes since Brazil last season.
With Hamilton uncontested at the front, he checked out, gapping Verstappen by almost 10 seconds. Ocon retired on lap 23, with Albon doing the same two laps later.
Not a lot happened until the safety car was deployed on lap 44 after Norris parked in a very dangerous corner after losing power.
After the field pitted, a lengthy delay behind the safety car caused fears of lock ups with the front pair. On the final restart, Hamilton had his typical great start, while Verstappen struggled and was attacked by Ricciardo.
In the end, that restart proved history in the making, as Hamilton easily cruised to the victory.
After a late call to sub for Stroll, despite having zero practice, Hulkenburg shined. The German started dead last and worked his way up to an excellent eighth-place finish. He is considered to be the top driver in the 2021 free agent market currently, and his drive today makes him a clear contender for a spot at either Red Bull, Haas or Alfa-Romeo.
Ricciardo and Renault have had their growing pains since joining forces in 2019. Now, the fan-favorite Honey Badger is back on the F1 podium. Ricciardo is moving to McLaren in 2021 but will look to close out 2020 with a few more podiums. Renault becomes the seventh different team to sit on the podium this season, matching a record set back in 2012 (Haas, Alfa-Romeo and Williams remain without a podium this year).
On Oct. 1, 2006, they said his record could never be equaled. When Schumacher claimed his 91st career win that fateful day in Shanghai, fans were set alight as they witnessed history.
Now it appears a changing of the guard is inevitable atop the leaderboard, with Hamilton‘s master class putting him equal with the astonishing record. People love to hate Hamilton, just like they did Schumacher, but there is no denying Hamilton has earned all of his multi-million-dollar contract, and then some. With 91 race wins and soon-to-be seven world titles, Hamilton is going to go down as the greatest driver who ever raced an F1 car.
Despite Grosjean‘s successes in junior, they’ve never really translated well to F1. Joining Haas in 2016, it appeared big things were on the horizon for Grosjean. But as with Haas, it has gone completely wrong. Now mired at the back, any points finishes for Grosjean, such as his result Sunday at Eifel, are like wins. After suffering a finger injury on lap five, the Frenchman was able to motor his way to a ninth-place finish to score his first points of the 2020 season.
The F1 circuit will be back in action for another new grand prix. On Oct. 25, the Algarve Circuit in Portugal will host the first Portuguese Grand Prix since the late ’90s. It will be a wild card as to who will win, but give the advantage to Hamilton.
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