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F1 Eifel Grand Prix: Hamilton ties Schumacher’s win record

Nürburg, Germany, Oct 11/20 (GRW): Lewis Hamilton continued his domination of Formula One with yet another win here at the Nürburgring. This was his 91st F1 win, equaling the great Michael Schumacher’s total. But, given that there has not been a world championship race here since 2013, this was only his second win at this famous location.

With this win, Hamilton has now equaled or bested Schumacher on almost every key criterion – most wins, most poles, most podiums. There is every reason to expect that Hamilton will continue his winning ways through the remaining six races of the rest of this season and no one would venture that Hamilton will not win more races and the championship this year – equaling or bettering Schumacher in both of those categories. Schumacher may stand as a god in the eyes of many F1 fans but the reality is that come the end of this season, Hamilton will have the better record on almost every criterion of success in F1 racing – all he needs is to win one more championship after this year and who is betting against that?

Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas had won the pole by a quarter of a second over him. On the start, Hamilton pulled ahead into the first turn before Bottas regained the lead. After that, Bottas continued to lead for the first 12 laps until a defective power unit forced him to retire. Hamilton now had it all his own way, leading every lap until the checker.

Bottas’ withdrawal moved Max Verstappen up into second place, four seconds behind Hamilton. While the Dutchman was able to keep Hamilton in sight for most of the remaining laps, finishing some 4 seconds behind him, he was never able to mount a credible challenge and Hamilton was able to take a dominant win here.

After the race, Hamilton reflected on the significance of his tying Schumacher’s win record. “It’s tough to put what this means into words. I remember watching Michael winning all those races when I was a kid and playing racing games with my brother and choosing to play as Michael. I dreamed of being there myself, but I don’t think anyone and especially me, imagined another driver getting anywhere near Michael’s records. It was beyond my wildest dreams to be equaling his number of race wins and it just shows that dreams can come true. It’s an incredible honour and something that will take some time to sink in.”

Commenting on how he came to win this race, Hamilton said, “In terms of the race itself, it was tough out there. I had a really good start and Valtteri did an amazing job to defend into Turn 2, I wouldn’t expect it to be any other way. Then it was about trying to figure out how I could beat Valtteri, so I really had to look after the tires and make sure I stuck with him. I saw he was struggling a bit and knew the opportunity would come, but then he had the lock-up. I managed to build a good gap after that, but then the Safety Car came out. Max was right behind me and I knew I had to have a strong restart to keep him behind. I managed to catch him out which is always nice and that gave me the jump I needed. But you can see the pace Red Bull had at the end, so we’ve got a serious fight on our hands.”

Others might not agree that Hamilton ever had a fight on his hands once Bottas had dropped out of the race.

There was a whole other race going on behind this fight among the front three. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) started in sixth place but he was up into fourth behind Verstappen by lap 9 and that became third place when Bottas faltered. Lando Norris (McLaren) took over fourth when Ricciardo pitted for tires on lap 16 of the race’s 90 laps but Ricciardo regained third when Norris pitted on lap 29. Sergio Perez (Racing Point) took over fourth behind Ricciardo and, despite making a strong run to get ahead, in the end he had to settle for fourth, 1.5 seconds behind him.

Lance Stroll, the other Racing Point driver had come up sick this weekend (not COVID-19) and was unable to drive. Nico Hulkenberg, who had subbed for Perez in the pair of races at Silverstone, was called in at the last minute and he only arrived in time to make a qualifying run – able to start the race, but in the last position. In the race, despite his late start, he had a good run, finishing in eighth place and earning valuable points for the team.

The race had one VSC (virtual safety car) period when George Russell was slammed off the track by Kimi Räikkönen and suffered terminal damage. When Norris fell out with power failure on lap 43, he was parked in a bad position and it brought out the safety car. Even though this closed up the field at the front, when the track went green again Hamilton was able to pull away from the rest and maintain his lead.

Alexander Albon, Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate, started in fifth but he soon fell back in to the mid-field and he retired on lap 23. The struggling Ferrari team had another miserable result. At first Leclerc was able to run near the front in fourth place but he pitted early, on lap 10, and after that he was only able to manage a seventh place finish – behind four ‘third-tier’ team cars. As for Sebastian Vettel, he qualified back in 11th place and he had to settle for an 11th place result. Surely, Ferrari has to be now counted as being one of those third-tier teams.

It looks like, for the rest of this year, the Mercedes team will be dominant in a class by itself with only Red Bull having a credible chance of taking a win should the mighty Mercedes juggernaut falter in any of the remaining races. As for all the rest, they look to be continuing to hope for whatever crumbs fall their way.

• Click HERE for the results + points for this race

• Click HERE for the race's lap chart

• Click HERE for the Tire use history

• The next Grand Prix will be the Grand Prix of Portugal at the Algarve Autodrome in two weeks time, on October 23.

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