Hamilton achieves record-breaking achievement with 92 race victories


Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton achieved his 92nd Formula 1 victory, becoming the most successful driver in the history of the sport.

As light rain fell on the first lap, Hamilton slipped off the track and fell behind his teammate Valtteri Bottas, but was able to recover to take his eighth win of 2020 and with it the outright record for Formula wins on 92, with Max Verstappen completing the Portuguese Grand Prix podium after clashing with Sergio Perez on the dramatic opening lap.

At the start, Hamilton held the lead off the line as Bottas made a slow getaway from the right-hand side of the grid, away from the racing line, which meant he dropped behind Verstappen into Turn 1.

But the Red Bull ran slightly wide on the exit, which allowed Bottas to move to the inside and pushed his way back into second at the tight, right-hand Turn 3.

Verstappen had to run so wide on the exit he lost momentum and Perez came alongside, with the pair making contact through the kink of Turn 4, which spun the Racing Point around and down to last – in a clash that the race stewards decided not worthy of investigation.

A few metres up ahead, Hamilton locked up into Turn 5 and slide wide, which allowed Bottas to nip by into the lead as they ran back up the hill into the second sector, where both Mercedes, struggling to fire up the temperature in their medium tyres as spots of rain began to fall, were passed by Carlos Sainz.

The McLaren driver had shot off the grid from seventh on the grid, using the grip advantage from his soft tyres and capitalising on the Verstappen/Perez collision before surging into the lead, with his teammate Lando Norris following him up the order from eighth to run fourth at the end of lap one.

Sainz’s lead was one-second at the end of lap one of 66 and he continued to pull away from the Mercedes drivers, bit-by-bit, over the next three laps.

But by lap five the Mercedes drivers had got their tyres up to temperature and back to quickly haul him back in, with Bottas sweeping back into the lead at the start of lap six around the outside line into T1.

Hamilton came by at the same place at the start of the next lap, with Sainz by this stage struggling for grip on his softs.

Verstappen had recovered from his first lap dramas to pass Norris and then follow the Mercedes cars back by Sainz by the start of lap eight, having set an early fastest lap as he began his fightback.

But by this stage Verstappen, also on the softs, was 4.4 seconds off the lead and he was not able to show better pace, quickly falling further way.

Bottas appeared to be able to hold Hamilton at bay, with the world champion complaining about the feeling of his left-front medium, the tyre under most pressure around Portimao, as they lapped clear of the rest in the low one minute, 22 seconds and medium-to-high one minute, 21 seconds.

But a series of fastest laps from Hamilton between lap 15 and 17 got him close to his teammate, and two laps later he was all over his title rival’s W11, getting back into the lead with a DRS run at the start of lap 20.

Bottas stole to the inside, running close to the pitwall, but it did not disrupt Hamilton’s run and he easily took first as he swept in Turn 1.

Hamilton rapidly pulled away from Bottas, getting his lead up to three seconds by the start of lap 23, with Verstappen nowhere near a position to threaten the Mercedes supremacy.

Verstappen then pitted to take the medium tyres, dropping back to sixth as he switched to the harder rubber, having had Charles Leclerc start to close in on his third position for he pitted.

Throughout the middle third of the race, Hamilton was able to lap consistently in the one minute, 20 seconds, with Bottas not able to get into that bracket until lap 34 – by which time Hamilton was eight seconds clear – with the Finn also reporting a dash warning to cool his car.

Mercedes had instructed Hamilton to stretch his opening stint on the mediums, which he did up to lap 40 with his lead was approaching 10 seconds, when he came into take hard tyres – despite insisting his existing tyres could go further.

Hamilton was told he had “cleared the field” and he duly pitted, retaking first when Bottas came in a lap later – with the second Mercedes also being given hards despite Bottas considering taking softs to run an alternative strategy to his teammate.

At the pit exit, which feeds directly into the high-speed Turn 1, Bottas had to slow to allow the fast-approaching Kimi Raikkonen and George Russell, which cost him time and he lost further ground coming out of the Turn 5 hairpin as he appeared to struggle for grip and tyre temperature.

Bottas’s issues meant Hamilton’s lead rose immediately to over 11 seconds, and a series of rapid times in the low one minute, 20 seconds took the world champion’s advantage towards 15 seconds.

He continued to pull away, with Bottas finally able to match Hamilton has they swapped what were then fastest laps of the race.

But Hamilton was then able to extended his gap further, despite reporting feeling some cramp in his right calf during the late stages, taking the fastest lap in the one minute, 18 seconds towards the end, as he surged clear to win by 25.5 seconds.

Verstappen briefly looked under threat from Leclerc when Ferrari stopped on lap 35, but the Monegasque driver could not compete on his hard tyres and a nine second gap between the pair became 30.8 seconds at the flag.

Pierre Gasly, who had been able to keep his softs alive early as the McLarens faded from their high opening positions, took fourth – triumphing in a firm fight with the recovering Perez in the final laps.

Perez had completed a long second stint on the mediums after stopping at the end of the first lap following his clash with Verstappen, but the red-walled softs he took for a third stint to the flag gave up and he was passed by the AlphaTauri when the leaders were on lap 64, a lap after Perez had defended late to the inside of Turn 1 in a move that is under investigation by the stewards.

Sainz was able to demote Perez to seventh a lap after Gasly had swept by in fifth around the outside of Turn 1, with the Renault pair Esteban Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo taking eighth and ninth.

Ocon had run until lap 53 on his starting mediums, with Ricciardo fighting Gasly in the middle phase of the race before dropping back and ending behind his teammate when he finally stopped.

Sebastian Vettel rose from P15 on the grid to take the final point in tenth.

Norris came home P13, having fallen down the order in a clash with Stroll, when the Racing Point driver had tried a wild move on the far outside into Turn 1 in the early stages.

The pair collided as Stroll turned in on the McLaren, for which he was given a five-second penalty for causing the collision, later getting the same time penalty for repeated track limits before he retired late-on due to damage he had picked up in the crash and subsequent high-speed spin.

So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton in setting a new record in the sport with wins. He has a comfortable lead in the drivers’ championship and title number seven is within sights after achieving the most victories in Formula 1.


Portuguese Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:29:56.828
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 25.592
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 34.508
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:05.312
5 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1 lap
6 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1 lap
7 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1 lap
8 Esteban Ocon Renault 1 lap
9 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1 lap
10 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1 lap
11 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1 lap
12 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 1 lap
13 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1 lap
14 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1 lap
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1 lap
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1 lap
17 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1 lap
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 2 laps
19 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 2 laps
– Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes DNF

3 thoughts to “Hamilton achieves record-breaking achievement with 92 race victories”

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

    Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has become the most successful driver in terms of victories in Formula 1 history, after a dominant display at the Portuguese Grand Prix saw him claim his 92nd victory from team mate Valtteri Bottas and the Red Bull of Max Verstappen.

    Having started from pole position, Hamilton’s victory looked in serious doubt after a dramatic opening lap that saw him get passed by both Bottas and the McLaren of Carlos Sainz – Sainz then taking the lead from Bottas a lap later, as the Mercedes pair struggled to get their medium tyres fired up.

    Once up to temperature, though, the Mercedes quickly re-passed Sainz, while Hamilton was then able to out-drag Bottas on Lap 20 of 66 to take a lead that he would only briefly relinquish in the pits, as he closed out a victory that moves him ahead of Michael Schumacher in the all-time wins list.

    Verstappen had had his own dramatic first lap, connecting with Sergio Perez and sending the Mexican spinning, forcing Racing Point into an early pit stop. Both drivers had a strong recovery though, Verstappen eventually climbing back into a comfortable third, while Perez made it up to P7 – the Mexican passed in the latter stages by Pierre Gasly and Carlos Sainz.

    Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc backed up his stunning P4 in qualifying with the same position in the race, Ferrari appearing to have cracked their recent race pace issues with a strong performance from the Monegasque. He finished ahead of the AlphaTauri of Gasly – the Frenchman driving an excellent race to take fifth – and one-time race leader Sainz in sixth.

    The top 10 was rounded out by the Renault pair of Esteban Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo, while a solid recovery from Sebastian Vettel gave him the final points-paying position in the second Ferrari. It was a less-happy day for Racing Point’s Lance Stroll, however, the Canadian colliding with McLaren’s Lando Norris at Turn 1, before receiving a pair of five-second penalties for both the contact and track limits infringements, before Racing Point retired his car.

    Despite all that, the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix will be remembered most of all for the moment where Lewis Hamilton became Formula 1’s most successful driver of all time in terms of victories – a mighty record that came after yet another mighty drive from the six-time World Champion.

    The 20 drivers lined up on the Portimao grid beneath threatening clouds, and with an uncertain first lap in prospect, with many complaints of low grip coming over the airwaves during the drivers’ reconnaissance laps. That lack of grip would play out in extraordinary fashion on Lap 1.

    With the clouds starting to spit drizzle, the medium-shod Bottas struggled off the line on the dirty side of the track, with Verstappen instantly outdragging him and tucking in behind Hamilton, as behind there were strong starts for Sergio Perez, Carlos Sainz and Kimi Raikkonen – the Finn jumping up 10 places to P6 at one point on Lap 1.

    Bottas has been robust on opening laps recently, though, and he muscled Verstappen off the track at Turn 3 to retake P2. The Dutchman got himself back on the circuit but moved onto Perez’s line, turning the Racing Point around – his second contact with one of the team’s cars this weekend – forcing the Mexican to pit, with the stewards ruling the collision as standard first lap fare.

    The drama was far from over, though. Leader Hamilton couldn’t seem to get any heat into his medium tyres on Lap 1, and had big oversteer moment going through Turn 7. The cameras duly picked up Bottas driving past his team mate for the lead so easily it looked briefly as though Hamilton had an issue.

    Hamilton’s woes were then compounded by Sainz, who’d benefitted from Verstappen and Perez’s crash to take third, and was then able to nip past Hamilton as well, having more easily fired up his soft tyres.

    All that meant that at the end of the first lap, the order was: Bottas, Sainz, Hamilton, Lando Norris (who’d also had a good opening tour), the recovering Verstappen, Leclerc (who’d dropped two places from fourth, as he also appeared to struggle with warm-up on his mediums) and Raikkonen in seventh, after his stunning opening.

    There were still more incredible scenes to come, though. With Bottas struggling out of Turn 5 on Lap 2, he was passed for the lead by the charging Sainz, whose incredible start-line reactions, helped by his soft tyres, had reaped dividends once again. Sainz looked to be on borrowed time at the front, though, with Bottas getting back past on Lap 6, Hamilton a lap later and Verstappen a lap after that, the Dutchman having passed Norris beforehand.

    Norris appeared to be struggling for pace generally, in fact. Once the race had begun to settle down after the opening fireworks, on Lap 18, the McLaren driver was being sized up by Lance Stroll down the main straight. Stroll was going so quickly, in fact, that he appeared to be surprised by how fast the McLaren came towards him, the Canadian jinking his steering wheel to the left before trying to sweep around the outside into Turn 1.

    For the second time this weekend, though, Stroll appeared to misjudge the available space in Turn 1, and once again he found himself spinning into the run-off after hitting an irate Norris – Stroll receiving a five-second time penalty for his actions.

    A lap later and Hamilton, having now got his mediums working, was all over the back of Bottas, and duly swept into the lead, easily resisting the Finn’s defence on the main straight to finally get back to the head of the pack – with the reigning champ then quickly gapping Bottas, who was struggling for grip.

    With the race then falling into its rhythm, just after the halfway point on Lap 35 of 66, it was Hamilton with an eight-second lead over Bottas – the Mercedes pair having not yet stopped – and 40s clear of Verstappen, who’d swapped his softs for mediums on Lap 23.

    Leclerc, who’d pitted a lap before for hards – the Monegasque driving brilliantly after that slow start on the medium tyres – was in P4 and Sergio Perez in fifth, the Mexican having enjoyed a fantastic scrap with his old team mate Esteban Ocon to claim the position, and having done a fine job to climb back up from being last on the opening tour.

    Hamilton was called in for new tyres on Lap 40, taking on hards, Mercedes so dominant around Portimao in the first two-thirds of the race (after their dodgy start anyway) that Hamilton was able to slot back into P2, 20s clear of Verstappen. Bottas toyed with the idea of extending his stint and taking softs to try to out-strategise his team mate, but ended up taking hards as well on Lap 41.

    Stroll’s afternoon went from bad to worse when he received another 5s penalty for track limits – a punishment also handed out to Romain Grosjean’s Haas. The two other French drivers in the field were having a better time of it, however, Gasly having driven a brilliant first stint on the softs that saw him climb as high as fourth before his pit stop, while having started 11th, Renault’s Esteban Ocon waited until Lap 53 to make his only stop of the race, emerging in front of his team mate Daniel Ricciardo in eighth.

    With five laps to go and the skies threatening, but never delivering, any real rain, Hamilton was 20s clear of Bottas – the only thing blighting Hamilton’s day being a spot of cramp in his right calf muscle – with the order behind them: Verstappen, Leclerc, Perez, Gasly, Sainz, Ocon, Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel – the German having done a steady recovery job from his disappointing P15 in qualifying. But with only around 10s separating Perez in fifth to Raikkonen in P11, there was still racing to be done.

    Perez would ultimately lose two places in the closing stages of the race, the Mexican squeezing the attacking Gasly hard down the main straight on Lap 63 before succumbing a lap later, while Carlos Sainz was able to out-drag him a lap after that, demoting Perez down to seventh.

    Up at the front, though, Hamilton was untroubled, and he duly eased across the line a full 25.592s seconds – the largest winning margin of the year – up the road from Bottas to secure an incredible 92nd victory, a number Hamilton said after the race he simply couldn’t process.

    Bottas admitted he’d had no riposte, and no pace, on race day – while there was a bit of numerological irony for the Finn too, as he slipped to 77 points (his race number’s amount) behind Hamilton in the standings, Hamilton having also secured the fastest lap bonus point.

    Verstappen, as he so often has this year, completed the podium, having lapped team mate Alex Albon with around 15 laps to go, Albon eventually finishing a disappointing 12th after stopping twice. Leclerc put in one of the starring drives of the day, appearing to confirm Ferrari’s upgrade progress by finishing in the P4 position he’d started in, while Gasly’s late overtake on Perez gave him his second-best finish of the year – after that incredible Monza victory back in September, of course.

    Sainz may have led the race early on, but he wouldn’t have been too disappointed with his second top-six finish in as many races, as he came home sixth ahead of Perez, who salvaged some good points for Racing Point after Stroll’s car was eventually boxed into retirement on Lap 51, the team citing damage from the Norris crash as the reason.

    Ocon has struggled to outperform his team mate Ricciardo in 2020, but finished ahead of him today in P8, with Ricciardo and Vettel rounding out the top 10 – while Norris would eventually come home P13, in between his friends Albon and Williams’ George Russell, having been forced into an extra stop for a slow puncture.

    So, Formula 1 history was made at the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix. But with the sort of dominance that Hamilton demonstrated for his 92nd victory around the fantastic Portimao track, the mind boggles at how many he might finish on when he eventually calls time on this very special career.

  2. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says leg cramp made him lift off several times but didn’t affected his race pace. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Lewis Hamilton has revealed that he had to lift off several times on the start-finish straight in the closing stages of the Portuguese Grand Prix after suffering from leg cramp.

    The world champion delivered a dominant performance at the Algarve circuit to grab a record-breaking 92nd Formula 1 career win – beating the record previously held by Michael Schumacher.

    But it was not all plain sailing for the Briton, who said that he faced a battle with his right calf muscle towards the end of the race.

    “You know it’s an incredibly physical sport but I had a cramp in my right calf,” he said after his victory.

    “So I was lifting quite often down the straight because it was about to pull. [It was] pretty painful, but I had to somehow get through it because it is what it is. You can’t lift the whole lap.”

    Hamilton’s victory came despite a tricky first lap where he fell down the order on the opening lap as he struggled to get his medium tyres up to temperature on the slightly damp track.

    “They said it was going to rain straight after the race but we got some spitting just at the start,” he said.

    “I had a good start but then going into turn seven I had a huge oversteer moment. And, you know, I didn’t know what was next.

    “So I really backed off massively and arguably I should have probably tried to defend from Valtteri, but I was like, ‘No, I’ll come back later on’. And fortunately, that’s what I was able to do so.”

    Asked what it meant to take the record-breaking 92nd career win, Hamilton said: “It’s going to take some time for it to fully sink in, but you know I was still pushing flat out coming across the line. I’m still very much in race mode mentally. But yeah, I can’t find the words at the moment.”

    Hamilton’s victory meant he further extended his lead at the head of the world championship over teammate Valtteri Bottas to 77 points, with five races to go.

  3. McLaren driver Carlos Sainz Jr admitted that overtaking the Mercedes drivers was “pretty easy”. Motorsport.com has the full story.

    Carlos Sainz says his moves to overtake the two Mercedes and grab the lead early on in the Portuguese Grand Prix were actually “pretty easy”.

    The Spaniard made the most of his switched-on soft tyres to muscle his way past Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas and lead for several laps at the Algarve circuit.

    And although he had never expected to go from seventh on the grid in to the lead by the second lap, Sainz said that tyre advantage he had over other cars made it quite simple.

    “Especially driving around them, it was pretty easy actually,” Sainz told Sky F1. “It was not actually a really tough battle or anything like that, it was just driving around them like they drive around us most of the time.”

    Sainz believed the key factor that helped him was ensuring he had got enough heat in to his tyres on the formation lap.

    “I put a lot of emphasis on the warm-up lap to try and make sure I got the tyres up to temperature,” he said. “Then you see a few cars here on the medium tyre, others on the soft, but I think those extra few degrees on the soft tyre and those extra degrees that I put on the formation lap gave me this good first lap.”

    However, he admits that it nearly all went wrong on that first lap when he was caught out by Hamilton braking so early.

    “I nearly crashed into him there because he was braking so early, but I can just drive around the outside no problem,” he said.

    “Now I see Valtteri, and I was expecting, because it was not raining any more, I was expecting him to pick up the pace. I don’t know, I was just super comfortable.

    “Then I’m on top of him, and I try to show my nose to try and make him a bit nervous and look in the mirrors, and he misses a bit the apex. I think that showing a bit the nose got him looking in the mirrors and missing the apex, that got me into the lead.”

    Sainz could not hold on to the lead for long though once Mercedes had their tyres up to temperature, and he eventually slipped down the order to finish sixth after suffering from graining. He thinks it’s an issue that McLaren is particular exposed to.

    “Yeah, we’ve been struggling the last couple of races with the cooler temperatures,” he explained. “Our car tends to understeer a bit in mid-corner, and that damages the front left quite a lot.

    “It has been a feature of our car recently, and we need to keep investigating why, because today, without the graining, after leading at the start, I think we could have at least finished P4, P5, with a normal race.”

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