Lewis Hamilton equals Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 Formula One wins after supreme drive sees him win Eifel Grand Prix… and he also homes in on German’s seven world championships tally after going 69 points clear
- Lewis Hamilton cruised to victory after snatching the lead early on in the race from Valtteri Bottas
- The Finn was forced to retire soon after with engine problems, severely damaging his title chances
- Hamilton then went on to dominate, with Max Verstappen taking second place for Red Bull Racing
- Daniel Ricciardo took his and Renault’s first podium of the season at the Nurburgring
- Hamilton has now matched Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of 91 grand prix victories
Fourteen years and 10 days after Michael Schumacher won the last of his 91 races – a target as distant as the moon – Lewis Hamilton equalled the giant tally with victory at the Eifel Grand Prix.
On a cold, grey day in the mountains of western Germany, Hamilton secured his spot in history.
Watching on was Michael’s 21-year-old son Mick, an aspiring F1 driver who currently leads the F2 standings. Sadly, as the world knows, Michael is confined to a private life of glacial convalescence after the skiing accident that robbed him of his vitality nearly seven years ago.
When Schumacher was an automaton of success, he almost destroyed the sport by his brilliance. Certainly, many thought his 91 victories would never be broken. But here was Hamilton, a boy from Stevenage, who in 14 seasons has matched the seemingly matchless in 261 grands prix.
He will also, surely, go level with Schumacher on seven world titles before the campaign ends in Abu Dhabi on December 13. He leads Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas by 70 points with 11 of the 17 rounds completed.
Lewis first burst across our horizons in 2007 with a bravura opening corner in Melbourne on a debut that betokened all the mould-breaking that was to follow.
And here at the Nurburgring the victory was mostly simple, despite starting second behind Bottas.
Hamilton pressed the Finn hard, out-braking him into the first corner, but Bottas for once jagged his elbows out, and re-established his advantage on the inside of the second bend.
Hamilton’s chance came on lap 13. Bottas locked up at Turn One and ran wide. The Briton pounced, taking ownership of the race that he was never to relinquish.
His task on this spine-tingling, breath-shortening afternoon of opportunity – with the temperature just 8C – was made easier when Bottas announced over the radio a loss of engine power, a precursor to his retirement a few moments later.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, a talent who might, just possibly one outlandish day, challenge the new peaks Hamilton will set for the sport, finished second. The Dutchman is driving brilliantly, outperforming his car. He is just 23. Hamilton made his debut at 22, yet Verstappen is already into his sixth season.
Daniel Ricciardo, a friend of Hamilton, finished third for Renault.
Some 13,500 fans shivered their timbers and applauded Hamilton in the German car for drawing level with Schumacher, the absent hero who was born and developed his art as a karter at Kerpen 53 miles north of where this action was unfolding.
People will say that Hamilton is uniquely blessed by the dominance of the equipment he is driving. This is true. A jockey is better on Arkle than a Blackpool donkey. But he remains a super talent – his focus on winning undimmed by time. He has his other interests, such as fashion and music, but he has used those to keep him sharp for the day job.
The one moment of possible vulnerability in this latest race was presented by the safety car called out after Lando Norris’s McLaren conked out towards the close.
Would Verstappen be able to pile on the pressure? No, Hamilton made light of cold rubber on the re-start to remain clearly out in front. His serenity was in contrast to Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who spun as he seems always to do these days. The four-time champion, inspired by Schumacher as a kid, had once imagined all the records for himself as he dominated the sport in the first four years of the last decade.
Over in the Alfa Romeo garage, stood Schumacher Jnr impassively watching on as his father’s feats were met.
It was a day to hail Hamilton, a talent as rare as Halley’s Comet.
And of course he matches Schumacher’s record of 91 grand prix wins!
Your top 10:
1. Hamilton, 2. Verstappen, 3. Ricciardo, 4. Perez, 5. Sainz, 6. Gasly, 7. Leclerc, 8. Hulkenberg, 9. Grosjean, 10. Giovinazzi.
LAP 59/60: Hamilton is still going for a fastest lap as he prepares for his final tour.
LAP 58/60: New fastest lap from Hamilton, just in case you thought he was starting to ease off…
LAP 57/60: Hamilton meanwhile has this race won, as he looks ahead to matching Schumacher’s 91 race wins record.
LAP 56/60: The man on a charge? I’ve not said this for a long time but Vettel is making his move up from the back. He is in 11th but he is fast catching Antionio Giovinazzi and Grosjean.
LAP 55/60: Very dark and threatening clouds are heading towards the circuit. I think they will come too late to affect this race though.
LAP 54/60: Ricciardo may have covered off Perez as he starts to pull away from the Racing Point driver in the battle to join Hamilton and Verstappen on the podium.
LAP 53/60: Grosjean started the race complaining about a possible broken finger, running ninth he may now be about to take his first world championship point of the season
LAP 52/60: New fastest lap from Hamilton, who is already over two seconds in front of Verstappen. The battle for the final podium spot is on still though, Perez keeping Ricciardo’s gearbox well within sight.
LAP 51/60: How are those cold tyres working for Hamilton and Verstappen? They have both just put in the fastest sectors as they soon pull away from Ricciardo again.
LAP 50/60: Hamilton leads away comfortably at the start as Verstappen comes under pressure from Ricciardo into turn one. The Dutchman maintains second as Ricciardo now has to fend of Perez for the final podium spot – something he too successfully defends.
LAP 49/60: Finally, the safety car is coming in at the end of this lap…
LAP 48/60: The safety car is coming in on the end of this la…wait, what?! It’s staying out! Seems madness to me. The danger cleared long ago!
LAP 47/60: Of course Hamilton’s gap to Verstappen has been wiped out, but I sense the Brit has the car advantage to not fear an attack on the restart. Both drivers are complaining about cold tyres running under the safety car. Norris’s car has been cleared so we should be back underway shortly.
The trouble is, lapped cars have been allowed to overtake… which is nearly the entire field outside the top three.
LAP 46/60; Shouldn’t be a long safety car this one, as Perez pits allowing Ricciardo to move back into third. Should be a cracking fight between them two for what looks like being the final podium spot.
LAP 45/60: Norris’s car does need a bit more care in removing from the circuit and that leads to the safety car coming out.
Hamilton and Verstappen pit, as does Ricciardo, allowing Perez to move up into third.
LAP 44/60: Least surprising sight of the afternoon? Norris’s power issues have plagued him all afternoon and he has parked his car off track. but not in the safest of positions…
LAP 43/60: Points are looking good for substitute driver Hulkenberg then, but his team-mate Perez is homing in on a podium. He is 11 seconds behind Ricciardo but is catching him very quickly.
Vettel finally pits and emerges second from last in 15th. Woe is the four-time world champion right now.
LAP 42/60: Time to pit I think for Vettel, He has no defence as now Hulkenberg slips past easily into turn one for ninth.
LAP 41/60: Vettel of course stuck a pair of hard tyres early on in the race and they may be starting to lose some tread as the German loses eighth place to Pierre Gasly and now coming under pressure from Nulkenberg.
LAP 40/60: And me makes the same move on his team-mate Sebastian Vettel a lap later to take seventh. Norris meanwhile is somehow still in the top six despite his severe power issues. Top drive from the Brit.
LAP 39/60: With a fresh set of rubber Leclerc is making his way back up the field again, diving down the inside of turn one past Raikkonen to take fifth.
LAP 38/60: Very much twiddling our thumbs right now. Nothing is going to be happening out in front anytime soon.
LAP 37/60: Verstappen appears to be struggling on his current set of tyres, he now drops to over eight seconds behind Hamilton. Ricciardo is still running third for Renault.
LAP 36/60: As Leclerc falls into the clutches of sixth placed Sainz, he now pits for a new set of softs, emerging in tenth behind Raikkonen and his team-mate Vettel.
LAP 35/60: Perez makes the same pass on the following lap, but this time he makes the move stick.
LAP 34/60: Perez passes Leclerc for fourth coming into the final corner, but Leclerc picks up the DRS on the main straight and regains his spot on the inside of turn one. Top racing from both.
LAP 33/60: Hamilton’s gap to third place is even bigger – in fact he is now over a minute in front of the Renault. He will lap him at this rate.
LAP 32/60: Only mechanical gremlins or an error now can stop Hamilton, who has extended his lead over Verstappen to over five seconds.
Nico Rosberg’s pre-race comments regarding his steering issues and them being negligible are looking spot on.
LAP 31/60: Norris had emerged in front of Perez, but the Mexican soon takes advantage of Norris’s power woes, passing him to move up to fifth.
Daniel Ricciardo is now running third in front of Leclerc. Anyone up for an autumnal ‘shoey’?
LAP 30/60: ‘It’s getting worse, I’ve got a big loss of power.’ So it’s no surprise to see Norris dive into the pits. He isn’t retiring though, he is making his scheduled pit-stop before he heads back out.
LAP 29/60: Perez pits for Racing Point, who is looking to grab Norris’s final podium position. Sainz also pits for McLaren.
LAP 28/60: To put Norris’s problems into perspective. He is running third but his over 40 seconds behind Verstappen.
LAP 27/60: Out in front, Hamilton is managing the pace easy eough, leading Verstappen by just over four seconds.
LAP 26/60: What’s in the air at the Nurburgring apart from small spots of rain and a bit of a chill? Now Norris is having mechanical gremlins, complaining he has lost a lot of power – a fault acknowledged by his team.
LAP 25/60: So your top 10 with quite a few drivers yet to stop:
1. Hamilton, 2. Verstappen, 3. Norris, 4. Perez, 5. Sainz, 6. Ricciardo, 7. Gasly, 8. Leclerc, 9. Hulkenberg, 10. Grosjean.
LAP 24/60: Albon comes into the pits… and retires. Bit of a surprise that as his miserable afternoon comes to an end.
LAP 23/60: Albon is not having a good weekend. He has flat spotted his tyres again and has now been given a five-second time penalty.
LAP 22/60: One driver who won’t be getting a podium is Esteban Ocon. The Renault driver dives down into the pits to retire his failing car.
LAP 21/60: Hamilton is just a couple of seconds ahead of Verstappen but Bottas’s retirement means there is a rare podium spot up for grabs for the rest of the grid. In the pound seas right now is McLaren’s Lando Norris.
LAP 20/60: Speaking of investigations, Raikkonen is given a 10-second time penalty following his punt on Russell. No surprises there.
LAP 19/60: Albon is under investigation having clumsily collided with Daniil Kvyat and broken the Russian’s front wing in the process.
LAP 18/60: Bottas has been called into the pits by Mercedes and he will retire from the race a a result of his power issues. It is his first retirement of the season.
LAP 17/60: Bottas’s afternoon gets even worse he is now running very slowly due to what looks like engine problems.
LAP 16/60: Virtual safety car has been deployed to clear the car of Russell and that allows Hamilton and Verstappen to take ‘cheap’ pit stops. Bottas the big loser here.
LAP 15/60: Bottas is now running fourth … make that third as he passed Ricciardo on the inside of the final chicane.
LAP 14/60: Looks like Bottas has gone on to a two-stop strategy following that stop. Raikkonen has rather clumsily punted George Russell off the track into turn one, and that has ruined the Williams driver’s race – in fact it has put him out of it with damaged suspension and a puncture..
LAP 13/60: One mistake is all it takes. Bottas locks up hard heading into turn one and Hamilton needs no second invitation to pass him and punish him for his mistake. Bottas has flat spotted his tyres too so whas pitted too.
LAP 12/60: Having watched Vettel’s spin again, he just braked hard trying to pass a Ferrari and in taking a evasive action ended up off the circuit. Having flat-spotted the tyres, he has pitted for hard tyres – a compound that has not been run by any other driver this weekend.
LAP 11/60: To the relief of many drivers inside the top 10, Leclerc pits. Meanwhile Vettel runs well wide at turn one. Rain now on the track or a sad typical error from the German we have come to see more often over the last couple of years. I hope the former.
LAP 10/60: Rain is being reported in the pit-lane. Light spots for now though so nothing worth diving into the pits for intermediate tyres… yet.
LAP 9/60: Cracking move from Ricciardo, who finally gets past Leclerc around the outside of turn one to move up into fourth.
LAP 8/70: Verstappen is keeping tabs on the Mercedes duo by the way. He has set the fastest lap… which has since been beaten by Bottas… and then straight away by Hamilton.
LAP 7/60: ‘A very small, light shower in five minutes’ Carlos Sainz is told over the radio by McLaren. Alex Albon pits from fifth for a very early stop. He has stuck on some medium tyres.
LAP 6/60: Bizarre incident for Romain Grosjean. He is complaining his finger has been struck by a piece of gravel flicked up by Kimi Raikkonen, fearing he may have broken it. He is running last.
LAP 5/60: Hamilton remains just over a second behind Bottas who sets a new fastest lap.
LAP 4/60: Key feature of this race appears to be getting past Leclerc. He is already 10 seconds down on the Mercedes pair and is the cork in the bottle to many drivers behind him.
LAP 3/60: First blood Bottas but he is has far from won the war with Hamilton. The Brit is sitting off the race leader at around 1.5 seconds and I don’t expect that gap to increase too much, neither do I expect him to home in. It’s the long game for the Brit.
Lap 2/60: Charles Leclerc has also maintained his position in fourth and while he is losing touch with the top three, he is coming under pressure from Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault and Alex Albon’s Red Bull.
LAP 1/60: Great scrap between Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton through the first couple of corners, both even run wide at turn one! However they maintain their places in first and second with Max Verstappen in third for Red Bull.
All the top 10 start on the soft tyre, here is more on pit-stop information as well as the tyres.
Hamilton’s complaints appear to centre around his wheel not being responsive enough. The stewards though have ruled this is a comfort matter though rather than a safety matter and thus they can not take it apart to have a look.
Teams are not allowed to work on their cars between qualifying and the race. The 2016 world champion though believes it is an issue that will not greatly affect Hamilton.
Kimi Raikkonen will start his 323rd grand prix, beating Rubens Barrichello’s record to become the most experienced driver of all time.
What a 20 years it has been for the Finn who took the world championship from under the noses of Hamilton and Fernando Alonso in 2007.
The race winner’s trophy isn’t exactly the most imaginative we have seen in recent times is it?
The drivers are on their way to the grid and Hamilton doesn’t sound happy with his steering wheel.
Hamilton: ‘Were you not able to fix my steering wheel last night?’
Mercedes: “Negative Lewis. We were not given permission.’
I’d suggest it is a minor issue, if it was majoy the FIA would allow it to be fixed on safety grounds. Just something to keep an eye out for though.
It shouldn’t harm him as much as the two penalties he got after his pre-race breaches in Russia last time out.
Mick Schumacher is at the Nurburgring this afternoon
It could be the afternoon Mick sees his father’s 91 wins record matched by Hamilton, but the 21-year-old isn’t at the track to witness the feat.
He was due to drive in free practice for Alfa Romeo… until the tricky conditions on Friday denied him his chance to feature in an F1 session for the first time.
Germany has led the way in opening up sporting venues to supporters. These are some of the lucky ones at the track hoping for a Lewis victory. Still, let’s hope they have brought their winterwear in these temperatures, and they may even need umbrellas given how rain can appear from nowhere at this circuit.
‘He couldn’t get off the TOILET’: Racing Point chief Otmar Szafnauer reveals Lance Stroll had to be replaced at Eifel Grand Prix by Nico Hulkenberg due to an ‘upset stomach’
Wondering why Nico Hulkenberg is in the Racing Point this weekend? Well, Lance Stroll is a little under the weather and for those having lunch, I’ll stop there. For those that want more information, then here it is…
Usually at this time of year, the F1 circus has long left the European scene and there is a good reason for that – the cold temperatures of autumn are not exactly welcome!
But given the troubles of 2020 following the pandemic, we are still sticking around the heart of the F1 world championship.
Even with autumn in mind though it’s still only eight degrees Celsius at the track and many of the drivers have winter wear on as if it is pre-season testing again.
Well, Lewis Hamilton is on course to level another Michael Schumacher record at the end of the year by winning a seventh world championship.
He has come a long way since 2006 when at the Nurburgring he took his first victory in GP2.
But… Hamilton will have to start from second on the grid
It’s yet another front row lockout from the Mercedes boys but if Hamilton wants his record equalling win he will have to pass his team-mate to do so.
Valtteri Bottas is on pole position at the Nurburgrig, benefitting from the momentum he picked up in winning at Sochi last time out. Here is a recap of qualifying.
He may have missed out on getting his record equalling 91st win last time out in Russia, but starting from second on the grid today, Lewis Hamilton will have another shot of matching Schumacher’s incredible total… right on German territory.
Good morning all and welcome to our live coverage of the Eifel Grand Prix which takes place at the Nurburgring.
Lewis Hamilton is looking to record his 91st victory in Formula One as looks to get back to winning ways at the Nurburgring for the Eifel Grand Prix following disappointment in Russia last time out.
After being hit with penalties following pre-race errors that cost him victory at Sochi the world champion is now hoping to match the great Michael Schumacher’s tallyof wins in the sport as he takes step closer to also matching the German’s seven world championships.
Follow all the Eifel Grand Prix action with Sportsmail as we bring you all the drama as it happens with the race getting underway from 1.10pm BST.
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