Hamilton equals Schumacher’s race victories at the Nürburgring

Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton has equalled the great Michael Schumacher with the all-time Formula 1 win record by taking victory in the Eifel Grand Prix ahead of Max Verstappen, while Valtteri Bottas retired with a mechanical issue.

Daniel Ricciardo completed the podium for Renault ahead of Racing Point’s Sergio Perez after a late safety car spoiled what looked like being a close run battle between the pair over the final laps.

At the start, Hamilton made the better getaway and pulled alongside his teammate approaching the first corner.

The Black Arrows both went deep into the right-hander, going wide into the runoff on the exit as Bottas hung on around the outside, which gave him the inside line into the Turn 2 left and he was able to muscle back into the lead.

Bottas shot clear of Hamilton around the rest of the opening tour, making sure he was immediately out of DRS range, extending his lead gradually over the next few laps.

But Bottas’s lead never exceeded two seconds as he, Hamilton and Verstappen quickly moved clear of Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari, which was holding up Ricciardo and Alex Albon in the other Red Bull.

The three leaders were the only drivers able to lap in the one minute, 32 seconds during the early laps on the softs, with Leclerc nearly 20 seconds off the lead by the time Ricciardo passed him around the outside of Turn 2 on lap nine of 60.

By this stage Hamilton had begun to erode Bottas’s advantage, and just after the Briton had gained 0.3 seconds on lap 12, the leader locked up heavily at the start of the next tour and went deep at Turn 1.

Hamilton immediately stole to the outside of Turn 1 and took first place, with Verstappen quickly over the rear of Bottas, who pitted at the end of lap 13 to replace his ruined softs with mediums.

This proved to be even more costly for Bottas a few laps later, when the virtual safety car was called as George Russell pulled off to retire his damaged car, sustained when Kimi Raikkonen tipped to Williams onto its left-hand wheels when he lost the rear of his Alfa Romeo following Sebastian Vettel closely in Turn 1, on the run to the hairpin.

The VSC meant Hamilton, who had pulled further clear of Verstappen with a strong of rapid laps in the one minute, 31 seconds after taking the lead, and Verstappen were able to pit and gain significantly compared to Bottas.

Things then got worse for Bottas when he dropped behind Lando Norris and Sergio Perez, who were yet to stop having been running behind Ricciardo before the Renault driver pitted under the virtual safety car, reporting a loss of power.

The issue got worse over the next lap despite Mercedes issuing a string of reset instructions and he was forced come in at the end of lap and retire with a suspected MGU-H problem.

Verstappen had gained two seconds over Hamilton as Red Bull gained with a faster pitstop, and he briefly got under two seconds behind the Mercedes as they both lapped in the early 1m30s, but the world champion was quickly able to re-establish a clear lead.

As Hamilton gradually extended his advantage over the middle phase of the race, taking it over ten seconds for the first time at the end of lap 42, the attention turned to the fight for third.

Ricciardo’s pit stop under the virtual safety car meant he would have to go long to the finish on a one-stopper, with his rival for the final rostrum spot becoming Perez when Norris became hobbled with a power problem that McLaren seemingly could not rectify with a stream of settings change instructions.

Perez, who ran long in the first stint to lap 30 on his softs, then caught Leclerc, who had pitted after being passed by Ricciardo early-on, and it was the Perez’s turn to lose time behind the Ferrari.

When he did get into the chicane on lap 35 he was 17.5 seconds behind the Renault, and quickly set about eating into its advantage.

Perez closed four seconds over the next five laps, but the race was then interrupted again approaching the race’s final quarter when Norris pulled off the track at Turn 6, with his right-rear bodywork smoking, and the safety car was called out.

Mercedes, Red Bull and Renault pulled the top three in as soon as they could, with Racing Point initially leaving Perez out on his mediums before he too came in and switched to the softs, which the leaders had also taken.

The safety car stayed out until lap 50, with Hamilton and Verstappen complaining about its speed as they fought to keep heat in their tyres on another cold day in the Eifel mountains.

When it did come in, Hamilton had dropped Verstappen at the final chicane, with the Dutchman actually attacked by Ricciardo into Turn 1, which he was able to rebuff.

The two leaders alone were able to shoot into the one minute, 28 seconds – with Hamilton setting a strong of fastest laps to again build up his lead – as Ricciardo, after briefly coming under pressure from Perez following his failed look to take second, gradually eased clear of Perez.

The top positions therefore remained stable over the final few laps as Hamilton ran clear to take his record-equalling victory by 4.4 seconds, as Verstappen set the fastest lap on the final tour.

Ricciardo came home to take his first podium since winning the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix with a 1.4 seconds advantage over Perez.

Carlos Sainz finished fifth for McLaren ahead of Pierre Gasly, who passed Leclerc after the safety car as the Ferrari driver had run behind the top five due to not stopping during the final race suspension.

Nico Hulkenberg rose from last to finish eighth in place of the unwell Lance Stroll – his cause aided by the safety car, which also helped Romain Grosjean take his first points of 2020 as he finished ninth on a one-stopper, holding off Antonio Giovinazzi, who had stopped just before the safety car.

Sebastian Vettel 11th after spinning while trying to pass Giovinazzi in the early stages, and then having a clash with Kevin Magnussen in the final laps (with the Haas driver finishing P13 behind Raikkonen, who was given a ten seconds penalty for causing the Russell crash, but nevertheless claimed the record for most Formula 1 starts from Rubens Barrichello by taking the start).

Albon and Esteban Ocon were the other non-finishers as they stopped with suspected power unit and hydraulics problems respectively in the pits, with the Red Bull driver having picked up a five-second penalty for taking Daniil Kvyat’s front wing off as he swept across going into the final corner during the early running.

Kvyat finished P15 behind Nicholas Latifi.

So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton in scoring the most wins in the sport and equalling Michael Schumacher’s achievement with 91 race victories. As for Daniel Ricciardo, well deserved to score a podium for Renault. It’s been a while since the honey badger finished in the top 3. While super sub Nico Hulkenberg did a solid job to finish in the points for Racing Point.

Eifel Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:35:49.641
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 4.470
3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 14.613
4 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 16.070
5 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 21.905
6 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 22.766
7 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 30.814
8 Nico Hulkenberg Racing Point-Mercedes 32.596
9 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 39.081
10 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 40.035
11 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 40.810
12 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 41.476
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 49.585
14 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 54.449
15 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 55.588
– Lando Norris McLaren-Renault DNF
– Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda DNF
– Esteban Ocon Renault DNF
– Valtteri Bottas Mercedes DNF
– George Russell Williams-Mercedes DNF

5 thoughts to “Hamilton equals Schumacher’s race victories at the Nürburgring”

  1. Eifel Grand Prix race review as reported by Formula1.com.

    Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton has matched the career win record of Michael Schumacher with his 91st F1 victory at the Eifel GP, triumphing over the Red Bull of Max Verstappen at the Nurburgring, as Daniel Ricciardo secured his first podium for the Renault squad.

    Hamilton had been outmuscled by his polesitting team mate Valtteri Bottas at the start of the race, but passed the Finn on Lap 13 of 60 after Bottas locked up at Turn 1 – before a loss of power forced Bottas into retirement six laps later, Mercedes’s first DNF of 2020.

    From there, Hamilton then had a relatively comfortable run to his record-equalling win #91, overcoming a Safety Car restart – coming after McLaren’s Lando Norris had retired on Lap 44 – to win from Verstappen by 4s, Hamilton’s victory poignantly coming in front of Schumacher’s son Mick, who was due to drive in Friday practice for Alfa Romeo this weekend, and on Schumacher’s home turf to boot.

    If there was joy for Hamilton, though, that was matched in the Renault camp, with Ricciardo taking the team’s first podium since returning to the sport in 2016, and his first since his win for Red Bull at Monaco in 2018 – with Renault Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul now set to get his first ever tattoo, as per his pre-season wager with Ricciardo…

    Ricciardo headed off the Racing Point of Sergio Perez, who came home P4, ahead of the sole remaining McLaren of Carlos Sainz – while a stealthily brilliant race from AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly saw him take P6 after a late pass on Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. The Monegasque just managed to hold off the second Racing Point of super sub Nico Hulkenberg, who did a fine cameo job in place of Lance Stroll to jump from P20 to P8.

    The top 10 was rounded out by the Haas of Romain Grosjean in P9, taking his first points of the season, while Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi claimed the final points paying position, just holding off the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.

    Meanwhile, it was a race of attrition at the Nurburgring, with Bottas joined in retirement by the Red Bull of Alex Albon, the Renault of Esteban Ocon, the McLaren of Norris and the Williams of George Russell, who was taken out after colliding with Kimi Raikkonen at Turn 1, on Raikkonen’s own record-breaking 323rd start.

    But in terms of records, it was all eyes on Hamilton, who becomes the joint-most successful F1 driver of all time – and seemingly took another important step towards his own record-equalling seventh title.

    Unsurprisingly with 96 career poles to his name, Lewis Hamilton does not like getting beaten in qualifying – and he clearly wasn’t in a mood to make his polesitting team mate Valtteri Bottas’ life easy at the start of the Eifel Grand Prix. While when the lights went out, Hamilton got alongside Bottas and ran parallel with the Finn into Turn 1.

    As the two Mercedes barrelled into the corner, Hamilton held his line all the way to the edge of the track, helping his team mate off the circuit before turning the wheel to make the corner – and appearing to have wrested the lead away from Bottas. But the Finn wasn’t going to let himself be bullied, pulling his W11 back alongside Hamilton and muscling himself into the lead once more. Even Hamilton admitted after the race that he’d been impressed.

    Behind, the pack were safely through the first turns, barring Alex Albon, who locked up heavily into Turn 3 and tagged the rear left of Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault, which had jumped up from sixth past Albon to fifth – Albon causing a flat spot that necessitated an early stop for mediums on Lap 7.

    The triumvirate of Bottas, Hamilton and Max Verstappen quickly gapped fourth placed man Charles Leclerc, Bottas keeping Hamilton at bay, while Hamilton was worried about the pesky Verstappen, whose pace in the uprated Red Bull looked ominous in the early stages. Leclerc, meanwhile, had Ricciardo in close company, the Australian eventually getting past the Ferrari on Lap 9 around the outside of Turns 2-3 for P4.

    Lap 11 saw an unforced error from Sebastian Vettel, the German appeared to get spooked as he looked to overtake the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi – who’d jumped from P14 to P11 on Lap 1 – Vettel spinning off at Turn 1, and flat-spotting the medium tyres on his Ferrari, forcing a change to hards.

    That dropped him down the order, but a bigger position change was coming. Heading into Lap 13, Bottas locked up horribly into Turn 1 – with Hamilton requiring no second invitation. The Briton was past and into the lead, and quickly built up a 2s gap in free air, with Bottas forced to pit for new tyres. More luck was about to come Hamilton’s way too…

    On his record-breaking 323rd start, Kimi Raikkonen got a swapper on into Turn 1 and clunked the Williams of George Russell, throwing the car into the air and causing a puncture. With Russell forced to park up – and Raikkonen handed a 10s penalty – a Virtual Safety Car to clear the FW43 away allowed Hamilton, Verstappen and Ricciardo a chance to quickly pit on Lap 16 – while two laps later, Bottas was seen to slow, reporting that he had “no power”.

    The Finn was forced into retirement a lap later, uttering grizzled expletives as he pulled into the Mercedes box and cursed his cruel luck. Mercedes’ first retirement of the year left just a duel at the front between Hamilton and Verstappen for the victory – while opening up an enticing opportunity for a rogue podium.

    Albon’s scrappy race continued, meanwhile, the Red Bull driver passing Daniil Kvyat’s AlphaTauri on Lap 17 after Kvyat cut the final chicane, but then pulling back in front of the Russian before he’d cleared him, wiping the front nose off the AlphaTauri. Five laps later and Albon locked up heavily into Turn 1 and nearly piled into the sister AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly. “The [AlphaTauris] race me so hard,” he lamented to his race engineer.

    Albon was handed a five-second penalty, but that became immaterial when he boxed into retirement on Lap 24 with a power unit problem – one lap after Renault’s Esteban Ocon, who’d had a hydraulic issue that had dropped him out of P6.

    By the halfway point of the race on Lap 30, Hamilton was 5.4s clear of Verstappen, the Dutchman then a massive 53s clear of Ricciardo in third, who himself was 12s clear of Leclerc with Lando Norris rounding out the top five.

    All was not well in the #4 McLaren, though, with Norris reporting a loss of power on his newly-fitted power unit. McLaren told their man to manage the situation with button switches, citing a sensor issue, but Norris was clearly struggling, as Sergio Perez breezed past him for P5 on Lap 30.

    The next 10 laps allowed Hamilton to extend his advantage over Verstappen, the gap over 9s with 20 laps to go. Ricciardo, meanwhile, was looking good in third, but was on 12-lap older tyres than the chasing Racing Point of Sergio Perez, who’d stopped on Lap 28.

    Vettel opted for a second stop on Lap 42, choosing softs after getting passed by team mate Leclerc, Gasly and the second Racing Point of Nico Hulkenberg in quick succession, Hulkenberg doing well on his cameo appearance in place of Lance Stroll.

    Norris’s struggles in the McLaren came to a head on Lap 44, his MCL35 cutting out as he cruised into the run-off area at Turn 6, Norris then resurrecting a McLaren tradition by pulling up a deck chair and watching the rest of the action, Fernando Alonso-style. A full Safety Car was called for, however, eradicating Hamilton’s lead, as all five of the frontrunners – Hamilton, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Perez and Sainz – were able to pit.

    That set up a fascinating final 10 laps of the Eifel Grand Prix, starting with the Safety Car restart itself on Lap 50. It looked primed for Verstappen to attack Hamilton into Turn 1, but the reigning World Champion aced the restart, gapping the Dutchman so much that he even had time to weave some heat into his tyres down the main straight, in the 10 degrees C conditions.

    Verstappen, in fact, had to avoid getting attacked by Ricciardo into Turn 1, who then had to defend himself from Perez behind. Leclerc was passed by Gasly on Lap 51, Gasly moving up to P6, while Leclerc was then forced to resist pressure from the hard-charging Hulkenberg.

    At the front, though, there was nothing Verstappen could do to make in-roads into Hamilton’s lead, the gap opening up to around 4s between the pair as the laps ticked away.

    With Mick Schumacher watching on in the Alfa Romeo garage, Hamilton duly swept across the line at the end of Lap 60 to match Mick’s father Michael’s 91 Grand Prix victories – an achievement that until relatively recently had seemed nigh on impossible, with Hamilton poignantly receiving one of Michael’s helmets from Mick during his post-race interview.

    It was a joyous moment for Hamilton, whose joy was only increased by the knowledge that he’d increased his championship lead to 69 points over Bottas. That would have been 70, were it not for Verstappen stealing the bonus point for fastest lap on the final tour, as he come home second – with Hamilton acknowledging how fast the Dutchman and Red Bull have been this weekend, telling the media after the race, “We’ve got a serious fight on our hands.”

    Ricciardo’s podium appeared to have been coming after a run of four top-six finishes coming into the Eifel GP – and he finally got the job done at the Nurburgring, sparking raptures at Renault, with Ricciardo saying that it felt like his first podium all over again. “Persistence pays off,” he told his team as he slowed down. “Merci!”

    Perez took his second fourth-place appearance in as many races, but may have been slightly disappointed not to have pulled off a customary podium poaching, while after struggling across Saturday, Sainz would have been relieved to hold onto P5, ahead of Gasly after yet another impressive race for the Frenchman, who’d started P12.

    Leclerc did manage to hold off Hulkenberg to take P7, but that should take nothing away from the performance of the German, who 27 hours before the race start had been casually enjoying a coffee with a friend in Cologne, before receiving a call to come and stand in for Lance Stroll. The fact that he’d started the race in P20 made it all the more impressive.

    Antonio Giovinazzi held off the Ferrari of Vettel to come home in 10th for his first points since the season opener in Austria, but he had to finish behind the Haas of Romain Grosjean, who drove most of the race with a finger he suspected had been broken by gravel kicked up by Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo to score his first points of the season, after intelligently working a one-stop strategy after a mid-race switch to hards.

    Up at the front, though, with Michael Schumacher’s record now equalled, it had been another landmark moment achieved in the career of Lewis Hamilton. And with the other Schumacher record of seven world championships looming on the horizon, don’t be surprised if you see that one broken come the end of 2020 as well.

  2. By finishing on the podium, Daniel Ricciardo wins a bet with his Renault team boss and reveals tattoo details. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Daniel Ricciardo says his Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul will get a German-themed tattoo, after winning his Formula 1 podium bet at the Eifel Grand Prix.

    The Australian had a wager with Abiteboul earlier this year that if he succeeded in finishing on the podium for Renault this season then they will get matching tattoos.

    As part of the deal, Abiteboul is able to choose the size of the tattoo and where it goes, while Ricciardo gets sole say in the design.

    After finishing in third place at the Nurburgring on Sunday, Ricciardo said he would now do something linked to where they achieved the first podium together.

    “It’s real. It’s going to happen,” said Ricciardo. “We’ll have to do some thinking now, but probably it will be something to do with me, but I think with a German flavour.

    “This is obviously the place we did it. A little tip of the hat to something traditional in Germany as well.”

    Ricciardo’s podium finish is Renault’s first since it returned to F1 as a works team in 2016.

    It also ends a long podium drought for Ricciardo which stretches back to his victory at the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix.

    As he shared the celebrations with his team in parc ferme afterwards, Ricciardo said the top three finish felt like an all-new experience.

    “Yes, it’s been a while,” he said. “And actually, to be honest, it feels like the first podium all over again. I think it’s been two and a half years or something, and yeah the feeling, it’s really nice, it’s fresh.

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

    Ricciardo’s podium finish has closed up the fight for third place in the constructors’ championship, which is hotly contested between the French car manufacturer, McLaren and Racing Point.

    Following a tough afternoon for McLaren, Racing Point is now third on 120 points, with McLaren on 116 and Renault just two points further adrift.

  3. By winning the Eifel Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton has equalled Michael Schumacher’s 91 race victories and was presented with the seven-time world champion’s helmet after win. Motorsport.com has the full details.

    Lewis Hamilton was presented with one of Michael Schumacher’s Formula 1 race helmets after equalling his record of 91 grand prix victories at the Nurburgring on Sunday.

    Hamilton recovered from qualifying second and trailing Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas to win the Eifel Grand Prix after taking the lead shortly before the first round of pitstops.

    A late safety car gave Red Bull’s Max Verstappen a chance to try and catch Hamilton, but the Mercedes driver never looked at risk of losing the race, going on to record his seventh win of the season.

    The result saw Hamilton draw level with Schumacher’s record of 91 race wins that has stood since his final victory at the 2006 Chinese Grand Prix.

    To mark the achievement, Schumacher’s son, Formula 2 driver Mick Schumacher, presented Hamilton with one of his 2012 Mercedes F1 race helmets.

    “I’m honoured, I don’t even know what to say,” Hamilton said. “When you grow up watching someone and you generally idolise them, really just in terms of the quality of the driver they are, but what they’re able to continuously do year on year, race on race and week on week with their team.

    “Just seeing his dominance for so long, I don’t think anyone, and especially me, didn’t imagine that I’d be anywhere near Michael in terms of records.

    “So it’s an incredible honour, and it’s going to take some time to get used to it.”

    Hamilton had regularly batted away questions about the significance of the record in the build-up to the weekend, and conceded he only realised he had matched Schumacher when he entered the pitlane and saw the light hoarding.

    “Honestly, as I came into the pit lane, that’s when I realised that I’d equalled.” Hamilton said.

    “I hadn’t even computed it once I crossed the line, so I couldn’t have done it without this incredible team.

    “Everyone, continuing to push behind me, and given it their everything. So a very big thank you and huge, huge respect.”

    Hamilton made a good start and went wheel-to-wheel with Bottas at the first corner, with both Mercedes drivers running wide before Bottas got the cut back at Turn 2.

    “We had a good start, going up alongside Valtteri, and we both understeered at the first corner so I tried obviously to give him as much room as possible,” Hamilton explained.

    “Then he was in my blind spot, so I didn’t know where he was after that. I moved as wide to the outside he came back, he did an amazing job.

    “I remember coming out of that corner thinking, ‘good on you man. I’m impressed, that was good.'”

    Hamilton then took the lead on lap 13 when Bottas locked up at Turn 1 and ran wide, and would remain at the head of the field until the end of the race.

    “I just had to make sure that I tried to hang on to him for as long as possible,” Hamilton said.

    “I managed to look after my tyres really well, where I could see he was graining his front tyre, so I knew the next couple of laps was the time for me to push, and then he had the lock up.

    “But it was not an easy race at all. The Red Bulls are so fast. Max drove extremely well. I think the one place and chance he had was at the restart, but I managed to pull away, pull a nice gap.

    “But you can see their pace at the end. We’ve got a serious fight on our hands.”

  4. Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas admits he “would need a miracle” to beat Lewis Hamilton to the 2020 title. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Valtteri Bottas admits he “would need a miracle” if he is to beat Lewis Hamilton to this year’s Formula 1 world championship after losing ground in Sunday’s Eifel Grand Prix.

    Bottas arrived at the Nurburgring off the back of his second win of the year in Russia two weeks ago that had seen him cut Hamilton’s lead to 44 points.

    Bottas beat Hamilton to pole position and led the early part of the race, but slipped behind his teammate after a lock-up at Turn 1 in light rain caused him to run wide.

    A Virtual Safety Car period gave Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen a free pitstop, leaving Bottas third overall, only for a suspected MGU-H issue on his power unit to force him to retire.

    With Hamilton taking victory, Bottas now sits 69 points behind in the championship with six races to go in the 2020 season.

    Bottas conceded he was disappointed to have retired from the race due to an issue that was outside of his control.

    “It’s disappointing, of course, very disappointing, and one of these things that you can’t do anything for,” Bottas said. “Obviously I did have the lock-up before that. I think still I had all the chance for the win because that made me commit to a two-stop quite early, and I think a two-stop at the end was the best strategy.

    “I knew there was all to play for, even after that lock-up in the drizzle. Then the engine thing, I couldn’t believe it.

    “Now I understand the gap to Lewis is pretty big in terms of points. Definitely would need a miracle.

    “But as always, [there is] no point to give up. You need to keep the bar high and keep trying. We’ll see. Disappointed is the best word.”

    Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff spoke to Bottas after the race to apologise for the power unit failure, and agreed with the Finn’s belief a two-stop strategy could have put him in position to win the race.

    “We had a good chat, I said sorry for the failure,” Wolff said. “I believe that a two-stop that he said himself put himself on a trajectory of a two-stop would actually have been something that could have worked out to win the race.

    “But it is what it is. This is still a mechanical sport. Today it was us that let him down.”

  5. Nico Hulkenberg qualifying 20th and last for Racing Point for the Eifel Grand Prix was hardly surprising, given he’d only found out he was driving earlier that day. What was surprising was that the German wound up finishing his home race in P8, after a battling drive at the Nurburgring that earned him the Driver of the Day plaudits from F1 fans.

    Hulkenberg had been a very late substitute for an ill Lance Stroll on Saturday, the German receiving a call four hours before qualifying to step in for the Canadian, for what would be his third Grand Prix appearance with Racing Point in 2020.

    The former Renault and Force India driver then put any disappointment about his lowly P20 starting position behind him in the race, jumping three places on the opening lap, before using a long first stint to allow him to finish P8 – less than 2s behind the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, who’d started the race in fourth.

    “Very happy with everything, to be honest,” said Hulkenberg after the race. “The start wasn’t great, as expected kind of, but then Lap 1, I managed to find two spots I think [actually, it was three].

    “And then I kind of just really focused on myself, just really trying to find the good rhythm for myself in the car, being on the limit, which kind of happened halfway through the first stint. Then I managed to make the tyre last, and I think a long first stint was key then to a successful result. Obviously totally unexpected but totally appreciated and really happy for that.”

    Hulkenberg had played a useful role for Racing Point, too, with his and fourth-placed Sergio Perez’s haul of 16 points lifting the team above McLaren for P3 in the constructors’ – with Hulkenberg, who now sits 15th in the drivers’ standings despite just three Grand Prix weekend appearances, happy to have played his part.

    “They told me on the radio that now Racing Point is P3 in the championship, which is obviously great for them,” said Hulkenberg. “The season’s not over, but obviously for today, that’s great and probably was not too expected given where we started, so I’m happy that I was able to contribute a little bit.”

    Hulkenberg’s impressive performance, meanwhile, also raised further questions about whether or not he’d be able to fight his way back into an F1 seat for next year. But despite having been spotted having a pre-race chat with Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner – who has a potential opening for Hulkenberg in 2021 – the German driver was keeping his counsel, after another unexpectedly whirlwind weekend for him in 2020.

    “No rush,” Hulkenberg smiled when the question of 2021 was put to him. “I’m looking around, you know? Good things take time.”

    Source: Formula1.com

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