Lewis Hamilton set a new record for the number of victories in Formula 1 as he took his 92nd win in the Portuguese Grand Prix, and his rivals on the grid have been quick to praise the achievement.
After matching Michael Schumacher’s former benchmark of 91 wins last time out in Germany, Hamilton moved one clear with victory in Portimao. Hamilton is now the all-time most successful driver in F1 history by that metric, and his teammate Valtteri Bottas says the record deserves the greatest respect.
“I want to say massive congrats to Lewis for this amazing achievement and being part of motorsport history, mate,” Bottas said. “Actually, some of the interviewers were asking what do I think about it because many people thought it’s never possible to break the record, but that itself is a mistake and I’m sure Lewis always believed it is possible and he’ll just keep going. So, really, hat’s off. Big respect.”
Although Hamilton has the most wins, the record for the youngest race winner is held by Max Verstappen, who jokes he is being pushed into an ever-longer career if he wants to try and chase the Briton’s final tally.
“Lewis says he keeps pushing because he wants to set it very high, because… yeah, I have to work hard to try to get there!” Verstappen said. “It’s amazing. What can you say? It’s just incredible. An incredible achievement. Ninety-two victories and I don’t think it stops there. It will go well over 100. He’s pushing me to go until I’m 40 years old, or something. It’s a good motivation as well.
“Anyway, it’s incredible. It looks like of course he’s also going for his seven world titles, which is very impressive. Everybody knows he’s very quick but what has also been a very strong point is that he’s also very consistent and very rarely makes a mistake — that’s why I think also he got to this number so quick. Yeah. It’s just very impressive.”
An achievement for the ages 9️⃣2️⃣
A driver they'll talk about for generations to come 🙇
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 25, 2020
Hamilton received plenty of praise from his peers when he matched Schumacher’s previous record two weeks ago, but Sebastian Vettel — third on the all-time list — is already thinking about what the Mercedes driver might go on to achieve.
“I think he deserves every single victory he had, I think the number speaks for itself and I’m sure he’ll hit 100,” Vettel said. “I texted him before the race to get 92 and he did, so I’m sure he’ll continue to get even more, so I don’t think you can praise him enough.”
Vettel’s Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc added: “I think it’s incredible what he has achieved in the sport — he has achieved a lot and he has been extremely consistent throughout the years and huge congratulations to him.”
Team bosses were also lauding Hamilton’s record, with McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown taking to Twitter to offer his tribute.
“Congratulations Lewis Hamilton for a record breaking 92 wins,” Brown wrote. “An immense achievement and not many records left to be broken but no doubt you’re not stopping here.”
Brown was joined by fellow Californian Jeff Gordon in posting a message on social media, with the four-time NASCAR Cup champion admitting it was an achievement he never expected to see.
“Congratulations Lewis Hamilton on 92 F1 wins — an amazing accomplishment!” Gordon said. “I remember watching Michael Schumacher win #91 thinking that number would never be broken.”
After winning his 92nd race and picking up the extra point for registering the fastest lap, Hamilton now has a 77-point advantage over teammate Valtteri Bottas, meaning he could win the championship as early as the Turkish Grand Prix in two races’ time.