Hamilton ties F1 win record with Eifel GP victory

Andy Hone/Motorsport Images

Hamilton ties F1 win record with Eifel GP victory

Formula 1

Hamilton ties F1 win record with Eifel GP victory

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Lewis Hamilton has equaled Michael Schumacher’s record 91 grand prix wins with a comfortable victory over Max Verstappen at the Eifel Grand Prix.

The Briton started second on the grid and trailed polesitter Valtteri Bottas early in the race, but he slipped past his teammate and into the lead on Lap 13 when the Finn locked up into the first turn.

The error forced Bottas into an early stop that took him out of sync with the leaders, and shortly afterwards he retired with a suspected MGU-H problem.

His retirement, dropping him to 69 points off the championship lead, left Max Verstappen as Hamilton’s only challenger, but the Mercedes was able to inch away from the Red Bull Racing car once both switched to the medium tire in the middle of the race.

All that was left for Hamilton to do was manage the safety car restart on Lap 50, triggered to collect Lando Norris’s stopped McLaren, and a record-equaling 91st grand prix victory was his.

“I don’t even know what to say,” Hamilton said after being presented with one of Schumacher’s helmets by his son, Mick. “Seeing his dominance for so long, I don’t think anyone — and especially me — imagined that I’d be anywhere near Michael in terms of records.

“It’s an incredible honor. I couldn’t have done it without this incredible team.”

Verstappen tried to snatch the lead at the restart with the field on cold tires, but the Dutchman couldn’t make an impression on the leader and was forced to settle for second with a bonus point for fastest lap.

“I think the pace was good,” Verstappen said. “We just tried to do out own race, [Mercedes] were just a bit too fast.”

Daniel Ricciardo took advantage of Bottas’s misfortune to score Renault’s first podium since 2011. The Australian held a comfortable lead over the midfield in third place in the middle stint of the race, having made his first stop during a virtual safety car intermission, but the late safety car plunged him into a defensive battle with Racing Point’s Sergio Perez at the restart.

The Mexican attempted to cut down his inside at Turn 4, but Ricciardo nosed ahead on exit and broke out of DRS range, securing his team’s first top-three finish in almost a decade and his first since winning the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix for Red Bull Racing.

A return to the podium was a long time coming for Ricciardo and Renault. Glenn Dunbar/Motorsport Images

“It’s been a while!” he said. “It actually to be honest feels like the first podium all over again.

“Just so happy, and obviously to see everyone as well — we’ve all waited a long time for this. I think everyone’s going to soak it up.”

Perez was admirable in his pursuit of Ricciardo and was on track before the safety car to take the fight down to the wire on fresher tires. He had the chance not to pit behind the safety car and take track position from the Renault instead, but a long defensive drive on old tires wasn’t deemed a risk worth taking, leaving him to finish fourth for the second race in a row.

Carlos Sainz recovered from a disappointing 10th on the grid to score strong points in a fifth-place finish, keeping a fast-finishing Pierre Gasly at bay by just 0.8s.

Charles Leclerc finished seventh, but there was more on the table for the Monegasque had Ferrari not neglected to pit him behind the safety car.

Leclerc, one of the few drivers to commit early to a two-stop race, was on track to battle with Lando Norris for sixth, but the McLaren driver, who had been complaining of engine drivability problems and deployment issues from around half distance, stopped on track on Lap 44. That should have guaranteed Leclerc at least sixth, but he was jumped at the restart by Gasly on newer rubber, leaving him seventh.

Nico Hulkenberg was superb for Racing Point to finish eighth barely 24 hours after receiving the call-up to replace the ill Lance Stroll ahead of qualifying. He started 20th but ran a long first stint to rise into the top 10, and the safety car solidified his gains.

Romain Grosjean returned Haas its second points finish of the year in ninth. The Frenchman was worried he’d broken a finger when a piece of gravel flicked into his cockpit on the first lap but regardless executed a strong one-stop race, the only one of the top-10 drivers to do so.

Antonio Giovinazzi took home the final point of the race in 10th, his first score since the first race of the season.

Sebastian Vettel finished 11th, his race undone by a spin trying to pass Giovinazzi on Lap 11 that flat-spotted his tires and forced him into an early stop.

Kimi Raikkonen took the flag 12th in his record-breaking 323rd grand prix start.

Kevin Magnussen beat Nicholas Latifi to 13th, while Daniil Kvyat finished 15th, his race ruined by a crash with Alex Albon on Lap 17. The Thai driver was handed a five-second penalty for the crash but retired from the race with a power unit problem.


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