Hamilton wins to equals Schumacher's record

Hamilton wins to equals Schumacher's record

12/10/2020

Lewis Hamilton took the 91st victory of his career at Sunday's Eifel Grand Prix, drawing him level with Michael Schumacher's all-time record.

Hamilton and Schumacher now stand equal in the record books -- comfortably clear of Sebastian Vettel in third place on 53 wins -- but with Hamilton likely to pull clear at some point in the remaining six races of 2020.

The Mercedes driver took the win by 4.4. seconds ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen after teammate Valtteri Bottas retired from the race on lap 16 with a power unit problem.

Daniel Ricciardo secured Renault's first podium since the French manufacturer returned in 2016 and his first since he left Red Bull in 2018. He held off Sergio P?İrez in the closing stages of the race and was helped by a late Safety Car that allowed all cars to pit for fresh tyres.

It was not a vintage Hamilton performance by any stretch, but held extra significance as he matched Schumacher's record at the Nurburgring, where the German scored five of his 91 wins in front of his home crowd.

Bottas, who started from pole position, led for the opening 12 laps of the race after holding Hamilton off at the first two corners. However, Bottas' race started to unravel on Lap 13 when he locked a tyre at Turn 1, allowing Hamilton to take the lead, which he retained for the rest of the race, around the outside of Turn 2.

The damage to Bottas' front left tyre nearly saw him passed by Verstappen and ultimately forced him to pit at the end of the lap. He rejoined the track behind Ricciardo, but despite passing the Renault to move back up to a net third place, his car lasted just three more laps before the engine lost power and he was forced to retire.

Mercedes' initial understanding of the problem suggested it was linked to the MGU-H, which recovers energy from the turbocharger and is essential to the running of both the engine and the hybrid system.

With Bottas out of the picture, Hamilton then built a comfortable margin over Verstappen and appeared to be cruising to victory until a Safety Car was deployed on Lap 45 of 60 to help marshals clear Lando Norris' McLaren, which retired at the side of the track with a power unit issue. The hiatus in the action allowed the field to pit for fresh tyres and saw an 11-lap sprint race to the flag when racing resumed.

Hamilton managed the restart to perfection, retaining the lead over Verstappen at the start of Lap 50. The Red Bull came under pressure from Ricciardo, but ultimately held off the Renault, which in turn had to defend from Perez in the Racing Point to hold on to the last podium position.

Verstappen kept Hamilton within a few seconds for a handful of laps, but didn't have the pace to challenge despite taking the fastest lap on the final tour.

Perez took fourth place behind Ricciardo ahead of McLaren's Carlos Sainz in fifth and Alpha Tauri's Pierre Gasly in sixth.

Charles Leclerc took seventh for Ferrari after starting fourth on the grid, holding off Racing Point substitute Nico Hulkenberg, who was standing in for the unwell Lance Stroll.

Romain Grosjean and Antonio Giovinazzi took the final points on offer for Haas and Alfa Romeo, with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel finishing in 11th.

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