Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Nurburgring, 2020

Hamilton stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Schumacher after 91st win

2020 Eifel Grand Prix review

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Deep in the Eifel mountains lies a hallowed stretch of asphalt that has become world renowned as the ultimate test of driving prowess.

While the deathly 20km northern loop that plummets through the forest has long been unfit for grand prix racing, the Nurburgring still holds an unmistakable mystique that often conjures the very best out of the very best racing drivers in the world.

How fitting then, that the Eifel Grand Prix would be the scene where one of motorsport’s most exceptional talents would finally reach a winning record almost too mythical to contemplate.

On a weekend where the world’s exclusive club of 20 Formula 1 drivers were forced to rely on their raw talents to succeed, we were witness to some truly exquisite displays of skill on a stingingly cold Sunday.

Despite all Friday running being written off as a result of the conditions, Saturday afternoon had produced another Mercedes and Verstappen lock-out of the top three places on the grid.

Start, Nurburgring, 2020
Despite a tardy start, Bottas held Hamilton back
Valtteri Bottas had delivered arguably his best lap of the year to take pole ahead of team mate Lewis Hamilton, leaving the championship leader scratching his head as to how he had been outdone.

Yet again, those first 11 seconds between the starting lights extinguishing and the first car reaching the apex of the tight first corner appeared as if they would prove the most critical.
Despite the left hand side of the grid typically proving more favourable as it straddles the racing line, from second on the grid Hamilton roared up alongside his team mate as the field charged down the hill towards the first turn.

Hamilton squeezed Bottas fairly robustly on the exit and could be forgiven for thinking he’d done the job as he momentarily lost the sister Mercedes in his blind spot.

However, Bottas refused to accept yet another first corner defeat and bravely kept his nose on the inside of Hamilton as the pair swept through turn two, forcing Hamilton to yield the lead back to him.

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It was an uncharacteristically brazen move from the Finn and one that certainly caught his team mate by surprise.

Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Nurburgring, 2020
First-lap flat-spot compromised Albon
“He did an amazing job,” conceded Hamilton after the race. “I remember coming out of the corner thinking ‘good on you, man, I’m impressed’.”

Behind, Max Verstappen was still third while Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari slotted into what would prove a short-lived fourth place. Alexander Albon almost had early end to his afternoon when he snatched a brake at turn three and nearly careened into Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault. Fortunately for both, the Red Bull driver avoided contact, but a flat-spotted tyre soon forced the team to pit Albon far earlier than planned.

To say that Bottas, Hamilton and Verstappen disappeared into the horizon in the early laps would not do justice to how rapidly the trio checked out at the front. By the end of lap seven, the front three had built a lead over Leclerc’s Ferrari that stretched the length of the pit straight.

Unsurprisingly, Leclerc was now coming under pressure from Ricciardo for his fourth position. Earlier in the season the high-downforce demands of the Nurburgring circuit would not have suited the Renault’s previous preference for lower downforce tracks. But the team has made strides with its car and Ricciardo, who will leave them for McLaren in six races’ time, has plenty of confidence in it.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Nurburgring, 2020
Ricciardo prised fourth out of Leclerc’s hands
After crossing swords with Leclerc a couple of times Ricciardo used DRS to pull level with the Ferrari approaching turn one, then out-dragged his rival, sweeping around the outside of him into turn two in an expertly-judged move.

If the single digit temperatures were not already challenging drivers enough, the radio waves began to be filled with reports of light rain imminent around the circuit.

Labouring away in 10th after failing to reach Q3 again, Sebastian Vettel was looking for a way past Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo in a car that was only able to close up significantly at the very end of the straight. As Vettel tried to put Giovinazzi under pressure at the start of lap 11, he suddenly lost control while under braking and skidded across the asphalt runoff.

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That trashed his tyres and, with it, his strategy, Vettel having been one of few drivers to start on the medium compound. A subsequent unscheduled early pit stop compromised the rest of his afternoon. He later put the spin down to his car being disturbed by the aero wake of the Alfa Romeo as he tried to dodge around his rival.

Out front, Bottas was looking comfortable, with Hamilton having been unable or unwilling to attempt a challenge on the lead. Instead, Hamilton appeared content to sit within two seconds of his team mate and focus on managing his soft tyres while hoping for a mistake ahead.

“I could see he was graining his front tyres,” Hamilton later explained. “So I knew those next few laps was the time for me to push.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Nurburgring, 2020
Hamilton pounced on his team mate’s mistake to take the lead
But on lap 13 Bottas threw his hard-won lead away. He locked up his right-front wheel heavily under braking for turn one and ran wide. Hamilton immediately pounced, using his greater momentum to sweep by around the outside of turn two and into the lead. Bottas would later claim that “drizzle” had contributed to the error.

With his tyres flat-spotted from the lockup, Bottas immediately pitted for fresh mediums, dropping him to fourth behind Ricciardo. Would this be another example of a strong weekend for Bottas undone by a single mistake? We never got to find out.

Following his spin and pit stop, Vettel was now under attack from George Russell’s Williams. The pair fought over 18th place at the chicane, allowing Kimi Raikkonen to close up behind the two.

As the three rounded turn one, Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo had a snap of oversteer at the apex, with the resulting contact sending Russell’s Williams briefly into the air and breaking his rear suspension after returning to earth. Raikkonen was later handed a 10-second penalty for his misdemeanour.

Russell tried to recover, but it quickly became clear his race was run. As he pulled off the circuit into retirement, the Virtual Safety Car was deployed.

If Bottas’s unforced error had cost him the lead, the intervention of the Virtual Safety Car looked like it was about to cost him any chance of victory.

Hamilton and Verstappen took immediate advantage of the opportunity to pit for new tyres while minimising their time loss due to the lower speeds. Once the track went green again, Bottas was almost 15 seconds behind his team mate and Verstappen out front.

Daniil Kvyat, AlphaTauri, Nurburgring, 2020
Kvyat’s race was ruined by Albon
While Verstappen was pursuing Hamilton out front, the sister Red Bull of Albon was running in 11th after his earlier pit stop, chasing Daniil Kvyat’s AlphaTauri. Albon had a good run in the slipstream along the back straight on lap 17 and pulled alongside as the pair approached the chicane.

Kvyat misjudged the braking for the chicane and ran straight over the grass, giving Albon a clear chance to breeze past. He did just that, but carelessly swept across the front of Kvyat’s car as he tried to take the racing line for the final corner and removed his rival’s front wing.

That forced Kvyat to drive a whole lap without a front wing. It took pieces of his floor with it, effectively ending his chances of a decent result, while Albon received a five second time penalty for his error. Not too long after, however, Albon was called into retirement by Red Bull who spotted rising power unit temperatures which were later traced back to a holed radiator.

Suddenly, Bottas was dropping through the field like a stone. His Mercedes power unit had begun to malfunction during the VSC period, a suspected MGU-H problem leaving him with vastly reduced power. Mercedes tried to provide their driver with some kind of remedy out on track, but it proved futile.

Bottas was called into retirement at the end of lap 18. It was another gut punch for the Mercedes driver in a season of frustration and missed opportunities where so much promise on Saturday had again delivered little to celebrate on Sunday.

With Ricciardo having pitted under the VSC, third place was now occupied by Lando Norris in the McLaren. The team had chosen to roll back upgrades on his McLaren to a Tuscan Grand Prix specification, and Norris was feeling much more comfortable in the car than he had in Sochi.

Lando Norris, McLaren, Nurburgring, 2020
More Renault engine woe ended Norris’s day
But then Norris became the latest driver to report that all was not well onboard his car. “I’m losing power!”, he exclaimed over radio. “Something’s happening. I’ve lost power.”

“Driver default 03. Default 03,” responded his team. “It’s getting worse,” came the reply. “A big loss of power now.”

After pitting Norris and no apparent solution in sight, McLaren advised their driver that he would have the affliction for the remainder of the race. “This is not great, but we need default 03 on every straight,” he was instructed. “So default 03 whenever you can. Default 03 on every straight, after every corner.”

While Norris was busy troubleshooting his power unit problem at 300kph, he was passed by Perez and team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr. But a points finish remained a possibility, if he was able to survive the remaining laps.

Leader Hamilton’s margin over Verstappen was gradually building by just under a second a lap as the pair navigated lapped traffic. One of these lapped cars, now sitting inside the top ten for the first time that afternoon, was an unexpected name – Nico Hulkenberg.

The Formula 1 veteran had woken up on Saturday morning expecting to enjoy a weekend of punditry for German channel RTL. Then Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer summoned him to the Nurburgring to replace an unwell Lance Stroll.

Start, Nurburgring, 2020
Having followed the field into turn one. Hulkenberg came home eighth
Without a single lap of practice running to his name, Hulkenberg was thrown into qualifying at a circuit he had not raced since 2013 in a car which he last drove in early August and had since been extensively upgraded, partly in line with his recommendations. Unsurprisingly, he had only qualified at the very rear of the field.

But despite being the least prepared driver to have taken a race start in quite some time, Hulkenberg had steadily moved up the order and was running in ninth having switched onto mediums at the halfway point of the race.

Meanwhile, Norris’s problem had evolved from chronic to terminal. The McLaren fell into anti-stall in turn five on lap 44 and Norris had no choice but to pull off into retirement.

Whereas race control deemed a Virtual Safety Car was adequate enough to recover Russell’s stricken Williams earlier, it was decided that a full Safety Car would be required to remove Norris’s McLaren. This prompted speculation F1 had indulged in a NASCAR-style ‘competition caution’, claims which were batted away by race director Michael Masi.

With the race neutralised, almost everyone dived into the pits for soft tyres. Hamilton retained the lead over Verstappen, but his 11-second advantage had now vanished. Of the top ten, only Leclerc, Giovinazzi and Romain Grosjean had opted for track position over fresh rubber.

Ricciardo remained third, with Perez fourth. The Racing Point had been slowly catching the Renault thanks to his fresher tyres, but that advantage had now been wiped out by the pair switching to softs under Safety Car.

Safety Car, Nurburgring, 2020
The leaders grumbled over a long wait behind the Safety Car
After what must have felt like an age for Verstappen and Hamilton under caution waiting for the plethora of lapped cars to loop back around, the race was restarted in time for an 11 lap sprint to the chequered flag.

Hamilton used both Mercedes’ unique DAS system and his privilege as the pace setter to his advantage, pulling well clear of Verstappen at the restart. Instead, it was Ricciardo who made a speculative attempt at his former team mate around the outside into turn one, but Verstappen easily resisted him.

As most of the field were now on fresh softs, there were only a handful of significant speed differentials between cars on track. Of the top ten, only Pierre Gasly in the AlphaTauri was able to make a move, overtaking Leclerc’s Ferrari to take sixth place, a useful gain for the Monza winner in their fight for sixth place in the constructors’ championship.

Hamilton was too quick for Verstappen to realistically overcome him and methodically ticked through the remaining laps as he headed towards the chequered flag and a record-equalling 91st career grand prix victory. The Mercedes driver crossed the line to not just extend his championship lead to an almost unassailable 69 points, but to officially join level with Michael Schumacher’s all-time record for wins in the sport.

Verstappen may not have been able to take the fight to Hamilton and Mercedes, but a superb last-lap effort denied Hamilton the bonus point for fastest lap by six-thousandths of a second, giving the Red Bull driver some satisfaction.

Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, Nurburgring, 2020
Ricciardo ended Renault’s wait for its 101st podium
Ricciardo was easily the happiest driver to cross the line after keeping Perez at bay through the final 11 laps to take third place and secure Renault’s first podium appearance since their return as a factory team in 2016.

“It’s been a while,” said Ricciardo, who had not tasted champagne in Formula 1 since his win at Monaco back in 2018. “To be honest it feels like the first podium all over again.”

Perez was happy with fourth, but lamented the late Safety Car for denying him a chance to chase down Ricciardo. An exasperated Sainz took fifth after “60 laps of struggle” in the McLaren, while Gasly finished a strong sixth in the AlphaTauri after his successful dispatching of Leclerc’s Ferrari.

But perhaps the most remarkable performance of the day had come from the driver in eighth, Hulkenberg. Having drawn on all 178 starts’ worth of experience to somehow be competitive despite no track time, Hulkenberg had not made a single significant mistake over the entire race distance and had gained a remarkable 12 positions by the finish.

“I feel quite happy and relieved that I managed this kind of performance,” said Hulkenberg.

“It was difficult to expect very much from this race, you know, with so little preparation. Obviously the other guys – they’re in the season, they’re in their cars and then here I am being thrown into the ice bath and trying to swim and survive somehow.”

Crucially, for Racing Point, Hulkenberg’s performance moved them up to third position in the constructors’ championship ahead of McLaren and Renault. As in Silverstone, Hulkenberg’s stand in performance had served to only strengthen his claim to one of the 20 seats on the F1 grid.

Grosjean scored his first points of 2020
The final points positions were claimed by Grosjean and Giovinazzi. Beyond the sheer importance of even minor points finishes for Haas and Alfa Romeo, it was a welcome positive result for two drivers who have had to contend with plenty of frustrating race weekends over the last few years.

But despite the wealth of feel-good results through the field and the volume of driving excellence having been displayed around the Nurburgring that afternoon, it all paled in comparison to Hamilton’s historic achievement.

Many of those who watched in awe of Michael Schumacher’s unrelenting dominance over Formula 1 would have doubted the seven-time champion’s record of 91 victories would never be approached, let alone matched – at least not within a single generation.

The gravity of his achievement only dawned on Hamilton as he entered the pit lane after the race had concluded.

“I hadn’t even computed it when I crossed the line,” he said.

Lewis Hamilton, Mick Schumacher, Nurburgring, 2020
Schumacher’s son Mick congratulated Hamilton
“You grow up watching someone and you generally idolise them in terms of the quality of the driver they are, what they are continuously able to do year on year, race on race, week on week with their team.

“Just seeing his dominance for so long, I don’t think anyone – especially me – imagined that I would be anywhere near Michael in terms of records, so it’s an incredible honour.”

Fittingly, a further honour was bestowed on the Mercedes driver on behalf of the Schumacher family by current Formula 2 leader and son of Michael, Mick Schumacher. Presenting Hamilton with one of his father’s race helmets, the second-generation Schumacher congratulated him on reaching the unfathomable heights only the elder Schumacher had scaled before him.

At a circuit so steeped in the rich history of motorsport, we saw Formula 1’s past, present and future come together to celebrate that which lies at the very core of racing – the glory of victory.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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91 comments on “Hamilton stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Schumacher after 91st win”

  1. I’m a massive Lewis fan, and my second favourite driver is Max then George, so if anyone is to break LH’s records, I’d like for that person to be Max (or George). I hope Max gets to drive for a Mercedes-like team sometime in the near future.

    One thing I’ve never understood with majority of Max’s fans is the ‘put him in that Mercedes and he will win as many championships too’. If Max is such a great driver (which I believe he will be) why does he need a dominant team to win championships? For Lewis, ‘its the car’ but won’t it be the same narrative if it were Max in the same position Lewis is now? My understanding is people wanna see Lewis win championships in an inferior car, why can’t Max do the same in the Red Bull with his god like driving (according to majority of his diehard fans)?

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      12th October 2020, 11:24

      It’s football-like sectarianism, taken to a higher level due to years of social media dopamine dependency. You’ll see the same from every top driver fans movement, of course.

    2. The Mercs have a 0.5 to 1 second advantage. They’ve had 9/11 front row lockouts. It’s one of the most dominant cars ever. Verstappen is powerless against the Mercs.

      1. Then moan at Red Bull for failing to mount a serious challenge to Mercedes and Hamilton for seven years.

      2. The Mercs have a 0.5 to 1 second advantage

        It was 0.198s at the Nurburgring.

        1. I know RBR and Ferrari are two and three, but I put that down to the raw speed of Verstappen and Leclerc.

          Just my opinion.

          1. F1oSaurus (@)
            13th October 2020, 11:12

            Actually Verstappen had the faster car, but he just messed up in Q3.

    3. @lums Thanks, expressed my sentiments almost exactly! After next year, my ideal scenario would be to see Ricciardo and Norris at the front with a resurgent McLaren, Verstappen at another front-running team, Renault say (unlikely I know), with Leclerc at Ferrari, and Russell at Mercedes, completely changing the scenario. Verstappen at Mercedes just seems a bit obvious and would mean (presuming he went there because they were still the best car) years and years more of the same team winning, just swapping the lead driver. If he is going to dominate the sport in the future, let it be somewhere else at least.

  2. I think the problem is neatly summed up by jackie Stewart, the Mercedes is an awesome machine with a pretty big advantage. What we have to say is that Lewis in an RB could overhaul Max in a Merc and that’s a big claim. Look at Lewis in a MacLaren when Vettel had a all winning RB, there is a limit at how much closer an inferior car with the best driver on the grid can be. Look at what Senna said about the Benetton before he was killed, he believed that Benetton had given aids to the driver he simply didn’t have and he believed that couldn’t be over-haulled. If Lewis had stayed at MacLaren how many titles would he have won, cos the best driver in the world isn’t getting a 2015 MacLaren to the world title. We know that RB at the moment can split the Merc’s but if you were to put Alonso, Vettel, Verstappen, Ricciardo in that Merc i think even with Lewis in an RB he would struggle to take the title.

    1. I don’t think anyone would argue with your point, these are all true. But it seems that everyone is denying the fact that the best driver always get the best car. If Hamilton wasn’t quick enough, wasn’t easy to work with, as much a team player he is he wouldn’t be driving the Merc. They wouldn’t have worked hard to get him to that seat, they wouldn’t have sent Niki Lauda to convince him.

      Max Verstappen is proved himself to be a fast driver, and after his efforts in the past two years he is becoming a complete driver so he will be getting the best seat on the paddock soon.

      1. Well said Aberto.

        Its an argument done to death with no answer. Mainly its the argument of an uber fan of a single driver or of someone new to the sport or who wants to stick it to f1. Messi probably wins nothing at Burnley but they’d definitely be a better team. The rest is supposition.

      2. But it seems that everyone is denying the fact that the best driver always get the best car.

        So are you because you will of course never say that about Vettel when he was in the winning Red Bull and not Hamilton.

    2. What we have to say is that Lewis in an RB could overhaul Max in a Merc and that’s a big claim

      Whoever said that…. keep dreaming… OR better – stop talking nonsense! I have big doubts HAM+RBR might win against BOT+Mercedes… even with all the luck he has. Even yesterday, the stewards deployed the VSC just when HAM was about 500m from the pit lane entrance, so he can be the 1st driver to benefit from a free pit-stop. All this luck that keeps repeating is starting to look a little bit weird, how come they never deploy the VSC/SC when he’s just 100m from the pit lane entrance, to make him the 1st guy to lose such opportunity?!

      1. The 2002 Ferrari – one of the most dominant cars ever had 6/19 front row lockouts.

        The 2011 RBR – one of the most dominant cars ever had 6/19 front row lockouts.

        The 2020 Mercedes has had 9/11 front row lockouts.

        Hamilton despite having the most dominant cars in the history of the sport and lengthened seasons can’t crack Schumacher’s single season win record.

        1. Picking the best driver is almost impossible and always ends up in some sort of fight. I think most of us can agree that Hamilton is there with Senna, Schumacher, Prost and Fangio. But I think it is clear now that we are witnessing the best team in the history of the sport. Mercedes has done something that Mclaren, Ferrari or any one else has managed to do. I have already lost count how many doubles they have won. I think Schumacher/Todt/Ferrari is the closest we have seen.

        2. that Ferrari also had a heavy fuel load normally, it would have been stronger equalised.

          1. No, that came in from 2003.

            That’s why I purposely didn’t include 2004 numbers because they are skewed by that.

          2. Now I know your game.

            I mention fuel loads and refuelling to your crazed front row commentary and your back in another thread pretending to account for it.

            You really are here just to get some weird issues off your chest are you not?

        3. I used to be a schuey fan, but I can also appreciate that Schumacher’s teammates weren’t allowed to challenge him, so his numbers have been affected by that too. Swings and roundabouts.

          1. @3dom I would posit that Barrichello’s “allowedness” to challenge is equal to Valterri Bottles inability

          2. Massa was more of an underling for Alonso, Bottas is more of an underling for Hamilton, than Barrichello ever was for Schumacher.

            Alonso had a teammate crash on purpose in 2008, Trulli was sacked in 2004 when he was starting to beat Alonso.

            Bottas would comically have his race destroyed in order hold up the Ferraris to benefit Hamilton. Hamilton stole a win that still hasn’t been repaid.

          3. Don’t feed the troll

          4. @slowmo Unless of course the troll can be humanely fed to sharks or something.

        4. Hmm, maybe that’s because Hamilton’s team mates are allowed to actually race against him and win races, whereas Schumacher’s team mates always had to move aside.

        5. That just shows how good Hamilton is at qualifying. Much better than Schumacher.

        6. On the Marbles
          12th October 2020, 16:27

          “Hamilton despite having the most dominant cars in the history of the sport and lengthened seasons can’t crack Schumacher’s single season win record2

          Yeah, I bet he cries himself to sleep at night worrying about that statistic.

          The nurse will be along soon to confiscate your crayons in case you eat them!!! :D

        7. @David Bondo –

          Your irrational revisionist stance is always a joy to challenge.

          Schumacher was never a great qualifier, and neither were any of his teammates. Yet the F2004 won 13 out of 18 races, scored 12 pole positions, set many lap records. Michael Schumacher won a single-season record of 13 races at the time.

          The car was so dominant and reliable that it didn’t suffer a single engine related DNF during the whole season.

          But as someone already pointed out, claiming it is the car for Lewis, whilst saying Verstappen would do much better in the same car is an argument born of dunning-kruger.

          1. Schumacher was an incredible qualifier. He was even better in races where he could drive at the limit consistently.

            He never got the best car until 2001 so was always at a disadvantage relative to his competitors until then.

        8. Dave (@davewillisporter)
          12th October 2020, 19:12

          “Hamilton stole a win” One. You said it yourself. One. (Didn’t steal it BTW it was a team decision in a fight against Ferrari. Whenever Merc are fighting each other for the title there has been no swaps for the win.)
          So. I’ll change the language slightly as I disagree with your framing. How many wins was Michael given? Was it more than one? If so, should we revisit the 91 “wins” tally? I don’t believe we should but if that’s your argument then……

        9. Dave (@davewillisporter)
          12th October 2020, 19:30

          @David Bongo or whatever, read Ross Brawn’s book Total Competition instead of inventing history. Here’s a few quotes from Ross, who even you can agree knows more than you on the subject:
          “We had this complete commitment to Michael winning the championship. We considered him to be our best opportunity and that proved to be the case. We wouldn’t compromise at any stage.”
          “We’d have races where Michael would tear off and Eddie would be told to control the pace of the others so we could build a lead”
          “But ’95 was the year Michael announced he was leaving. That was a pretty bitter blow to me. I had been very close to Michael”
          “He was in dispute with Flavio over money, because Michael had a parity deal with whoever the other driver was. So his contract was that he never got less than the other driver. Michael discovered that Riccardo Patrese was getting paid extra.”
          “When I asked Michael for his reasons, Riccardo’s extra payments was the reason he gave, that he felt he had been screwed.”

      2. Thought that happened at Mugello? Just after he went past the entrance to the pit? Or are you suggesting they hamper Hamilton deliberately? Maybe find an excuse to give him a time penalty or penalty points?

      3. Even yesterday, the stewards deployed the VSC just when HAM was about 500m from the pit lane entrance, so he can be the 1st driver to benefit from a free pit-stop. All this luck that keeps repeating is starting to look a little bit weird, how come they never deploy the VSC/SC when he’s just 100m from the pit lane entrance, to make him the 1st guy to lose such opportunity?!

        By your logic, they should have closed the pitlane in Monza just after he’d passed by the entrance. Or better still, just after his pitstop.

  3. Jonathan Parkin
    12th October 2020, 11:38

    I think double waved yellows would have been sufficient to clear Norris’s car. As others have previously stated Lando’s car was clear of the track quite quickly and he was in a safe position

  4. I vividly remember watching Schumacher win that 2006 Chinese Grand Prix in a very cold Argentinean morning while chatting on MSN Messenger with a Danish guy who was my team mate in a F1 Challenge 99-02 league and was watching the race as well.

    Now I watched Hamilton reach that win tally while having lunch with my girlfriend’s family in Spain.

    Let alone the fact that it was hard to guess that was going to be Alonso last championship fight win, and that Schumi would eventually return to the sport unsuccessfully, and that right around the corner a guy was joining the field that was going to break all records, it really puts a perspective of my life, how time has passed and how much has changed.

    Wonder where I will be when someone breaks Hamilton’s record.

    1. dead, you’ll be dead, or very very old!

      1. When Schumacher won his 91st Grand Prix in 2006, Lewis has not been in F1 yet.
        Yet, it only took 14 years to break that record.

        Records are there to be broken :)

      2. Someone will break the win records in the next ~20 years as we’ll probably be up to 25 races a season and a driver will do 400+ races.

        Max could do, Leclerc possibly or even Norris/Russell.

    2. Now I watched Hamilton reach that win tally while having lunch with my girlfriend’s family in Spain.

      Funnily enough I ended up watching the Spanish TV broadcast of the race too. I’m not if whatever bar Hamilton eventually sets will be broken. Formula 1 is going to have to change radically in the next ten years due to the advent of electric powered cars, and either it will vanish or shift to a new formula that will entail, I’d guess, a much closer field with chances for 3 or 4 drivers to always be in contention. So, say, 8 championships and 100+ wins will be very difficult to reach. But who knows. Maybe Max or someone still at toddler age can find a way.

      1. *I’m not sure if

  5. This was 6th consecutive winner of Nurburgring who started in P2/P4 and the pole sitter didnt win.

    1. and the last guy that won from pole did so with a collision and a drive through penalty!

  6. I wonder if the lack of ‘mania’ around these islands for our most successful driver is due to f1 being on Sky or that Lewis just doesn’t have the x factor that Michael had for Germans, that Alonso had on Spanish fans and my namesake had for British fans a generation ago. Its a strange one. Slightly sad in a way but a fact nonetheless. The sport has never had more coverage than now and yet it feels much further away from mainstream life.

    1. I think the sky factor has a huge part to play. Their viewership is only a couple of million at best per race, sometimes a lot less, whereas back in the day the viewing figures were much larger for free-to-air races, especially in the UK. I also think his character also has a lot to do with it. When he first came into the sport I was a huge fan of Lewis, those first few years at Mclaren when he was fresh into the sport without a care in the world, his enthusiasm for driving F1 cars was infectious. But over time it became apparent that he lacked personality to a degree, the finding religion, the sponsor talk in all the cut-and-paste interviews, the pursuit to be an ‘American’ socialite, it all felt a bit hollow. I am certainly not holding this against him, as I can assume there are parts of his childhood that he missed out on as he was always karting in a competitive nature, or under the Mclaren corporate umbrella, that are integral to making you into the person/character you are in later life.

      I realize I will probably be lambasted by the fanboys for these comments, but as a fellow Brit I am merely trying to explain why I think there isn’t that connection with Lewis and the British public as maybe their should be considering his success, or in comparison to previous British F1 stars.

      Michaels popularity in Germany was a lot down to the fact that he was the first ‘superstar’ for that country in the sport, and the same goes for Fernando. Lewis is one of many in the long line of British F1 superstars, so that may have something to do with it. I certainly don’t think its a race thing as a lot of the fanboys would tell you.

      Also the Brits love a ‘plucky’ underdog……… and Lewis has never been seen as one of those, he has been under the Mercedes corporate umbrella since a young age, and was almost tailored for the sport (unlike Hill, Mansell, Hunt, Stewart, Clarke & Moss)

    2. @ Tony Mansell

      I hate to say this: but if he had the same skin colour, the ‘mania’ would be present.

      Imagine if it were Jenson Button in Lewis’ shoes. The entire country would be in celebration.

      1. I don’t like to think that but its something you have to take into consideration for sure. I remember Silverstone in 2010 after Jenson had won the WDC in 2009, very different crowd to 2009 when Lewis was WDC. I just put it down to back to back Brits winning but that crowd didn’t come back much. Not that I miss people in football shirts asking me what dirty air means.

      2. Imagine if it were Jenson Button in Lewis’ shoes. The entire country would be in celebration

        @Lums – this is the pink elephant in the room no one wants to acknowledge and is shouted down anytime it is brought up.

        Racists certainly don’t like being confronted with their racism.

      3. Jack (@jackisthestig)
        12th October 2020, 16:52

        I’m sure there is truth to that but the lack of interest in comparison to, let’s say Mansellmania, is understandable. Nigel was an ex window cleaner with a strong midlands accent and a moustache, aggressively battling away with the likes of Senna, Prost and Piquet. He had a huge working class following as Schumacher had in Germany.

        Lewis isn’t so relatable, he had a big following in the beginning but as his accent got more and more American, he started following the Kardashians around and his dress sense got more and more unusual the public lost interest. Now he’s doing so much winning in a dominant car and ‘using his platform’ to lecture people I don’t think many people other than dedicated F1 fans have much appetite for him.

        1. @jackisthestig

          Probably the worst take I’ve ever come across as to why Lewis isn’t liked. The further I read into your comment the more ridiculous it became.
          ‘Kardashians’, ‘dress sense’, ‘American accent’… don’t you feel some type of shame typing all these nonsense as to why the most successful F1 driver ever is not liked? or maybe cos he is black?

          I’m sure there is truth to that
          That’s majority of the truth.

          1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
            12th October 2020, 22:28

            @lums after many convs with my compatriots who say they hate Lewis, the majority come down to a very British attitude of don’t complain and don’t mention the war. It’s an internal arrogance of this country, that we can’t be wrong or show we are dissatisfied. Lewis is a very emotional character. Brazilians love him (now, not in 2008!) Anybody in the UK that gets up on a soap box gets shot from all sides. That’s why I will defend Lewis to the hilt. Yes, he has moments which make me cringe but he also has moments that make me proud and emotional. This country lacks emotion and instead substitutes with cynicism. I can’t tell you the percentage of his detractors that are just racist, and there is a percentage for sure, but for the most part, unsuccessful people in this country don’t like seeing success, so they focus on an irrelevancy and bang their drum. Sad but true.

  7. Many of the best drivers in history have had to make the decision that Lewis made in 2013 for similar reasons and which have resulted in periods of dominance.

    Senna made the leap from Lotus to McLaren in 88.
    Prost was most prolific in this regard when moving from Renault to McLaren to Ferrari to Williams.
    Schumacher’s move to Ferrari as well, even though Benetton were still competitive.
    Even Fangio in the 50’s did so with Merc, Ferrari and Maserati.

    Lewis is certainly the best of his time.

    The best of all time will always be subjective.

    1. Hamilton didn’t jump from a team he was the reigning double world champion to a team that needed to be rebuilt from the ground up.

      In 2012 it was widely viewed that Merecedes would have the best engine in the hybrid era. It was as much a sideways move as anything.

      Schumacher left titles on the table at Benetton to resurrect Ferrari. It was mission impossible going to Ferrari to make them a success.

      1. Well quite clearly it wasn’t “mission impossible” helped by the biggest budget in F1 and a few little cheats along the way.

        1. Please don’t feed this guy. He’s Here for reactions. Nothing more.

      2. In 2012 it was widely viewed that Merecedes would have the best engine in the hybrid era. It was as much a sideways move as anything.

        This revisionism is quite amusing. Yes, some people within F1 thought Mercedes might have the best PU.But very few thought that alone would transform the team into the very best team on the grid. Afterall, Red Bull were on a run of 4 WCC championships despite not having the best engine on the grid. Please go back and read everything that was published about that move – including comments on this site – so see what was actually widely thought about Lewis’s move.

        1. He was becoming unhappy at McLaren because they wouldn’t give him his “freedom”. Button become Whitmarsh’s golden haired boy after beating Hamilton in 2011.

          The conventional wisdom was that the Mercedes would have the best hybrid unit. No-one thought they would become the most dominant car of all time. But it was thought it would be competitive not dominant. It was a sideways move more or less.

          1. Talk about a warped reality.

            He was becoming unhappy at McLaren because they wouldn’t give him his “freedom”

            Singapore 2012 was the turning point. Not that you are very good at comprehension, but read Lauda’s comments about how he head hunted Lewis after that grand prix. I see you’re working overtime trying to undermine Lewis’ achievements with your selective and in some instances revisionist review of history- just remember, whatever your opinion, however many asterisks you may want to put on Lewis’ achievements – your efforts are a total irrelevance.

            Whether you like it or not, Hamilton has earned his seat at the table with the very best the sport has ever seen and will soon sit on top of the mountain. You on the other hand can continue to chew on the lemons until your final days :).

          2. If people stop feeding Bondo he will go away. He just wants your reaction. He chucks in a grenade and sits back and waits.

      3. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        12th October 2020, 19:48

        @blazzz It was Ross Brawn who instigated it as I recall. Lewis makes comments about Nikki being luke warm until they had a chat. Ross had already stated “we need Lewis.” He was headhunted as you correctly point out, but he was growing frustrated at McLaren with Ron’s controlling influence over his private life. One of the stipulations of his Merc contract was freedom away from the track. It was a win win for Lewis and Merc and has caused haters many years of pain, which is no bad thing. Hate is an unhealthy emotion!

      4. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        12th October 2020, 19:59

        No, He left Benneton because he discovered Riccardo had a side sponsorship deal and he had a contract for equal pay. He told Ross Brawn he was leaving because he felt Briatore had shafted him by paying Riccardo more. That doesn’t in any way take away from what he did for Ferrari but it’s important to have the real facts.

  8. Easy win. The Kaiser hasn’t a chance to return and defend its ranking list.

  9. Schumacher still won it 14 races earlier, but Lewis will go ahead to win bunch more. When MS came back with Mercedes, I doubted he would win another title, but those 100 GP wins definitely seemed reachable…but it’s up to Hamilton now.

  10. Congrats to Lewis Hamilton. What a career. We’ll never know who the all time best is but you can’t deny the numbers…
    Furthermore – what we do know – is that Hamilton in comparison to Schumacher Senna and Prost never used any dirty tactics. He played hard but always fair. For me that is the absolute standout of his legacy and should inspire the coming generation not only of drivers but basically of any sportsmen.

    1. Number, stats… they say Vettel is vastly better than Leclerc. Just what we watch every racing weekend

    2. +1
      Hamilton’s sportsmanship and sense of fair play, is rather unique in my view and places him alone compared to other multiple Wdcs since the 80’s.
      Senna, Prost, Schumacher all were prone to crashing into rivals on purpose for their own gain. Alonso had dirty tricks to prevent teammates completing qualifying and who can forget him benefiting from team orders for piquet to crash? (crash gate.)
      Bravo Lewis.

      1. Hamilton ran Bottas off the track yesterday. He didn’t give the steering wheel full lock until he got close to the outside of the track limits lol.

        1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
          12th October 2020, 17:54

          I reckon Rosberg knows a bit more than you about Hamilton’s standard of driving. Quote “he was very good at operating in the grey areas, right up to the limit but not beyond. I couldn’t do the same and went beyond”
          What you are referring to is race craft, not deliberately punting a driver with the intention of knocking him out of the race.

          1. Bottas is weak and Hamilton knew he wouldn’t stand his ground so comically ran him off the track.

            Max would have just held his ground — but Hamilton wouldn’t dare try that kind of move on Max.

          2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
            12th October 2020, 20:45

            Hello Bongo! Firstly given your premise that Bottas is weak, how did he appear ahead of Hamilton out of turn 2? (Hint, Lewis gave him room. For reference see both driver’s post race interviews.) Secondly, both drivers and, oh, the rest of the grid understeered wide on the first corner. Thirdly Max and Lewis according to you would then most likely collide. Well, Merc have experienced that with Rosberg and RB have experienced that with Max and Daniel. Is that a good outcome? Do you think maybe a team assesses that potential risk when managing their team? Try, just try and be objective. I know it’s hard but put your big boy pants on.

        2. Yes, I thought like you, Bottas should have been penalised for exceeding track limits. He had plenty of time to ease the fast pedal but decided to keep his foot in.
          Still Hamilton didn’t hog the inside line like most would to prevent Bottas coming back on the track. That was nice of him; don’t you think?

          1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
            12th October 2020, 19:50

            Yeah he has a respect for Bottas because of how he conducts himself inside the team. He couldn’t see him so left room in case he was there.

  11. My love of Formula 1 faded with all Schumacher’s wins, I stopped watching and stopped following entirely (admittedly busy with life happening too) and sadly missed Alonso’s championships. It came back watching replays of a young British driver sweeping audaciously into the lead at Australia in 2007. I remember thinking, British drivers don’t do that!! Neither that good, nor that audacious! (OK, I got a similar thrill, for a short while, when Button started his career, but not the same level and it vanished quickly.) So I started watching again and that fantastically crazy season drew me back in rapidly. Since Hamilton matched and overtook Vettel’s 4 championships, Schumacher’s records were always next up. I’ve always wanted him to match (and beat) them, but I realize it must generate the same sinking feeling among many other fans of the sport seeing the same and even greater domination. So I’ll be relieved when this and next year are over if and when Mercedes make a crashing mistake with the new regulations and another team – or ideally two or three – take over. Preferably neither Red Bull nor Ferrari. But I’ve no doubt Hamilton deserves this achievement. On balance, he has been in teams where both drivers are treated equally. Like Max, his dominance comes from maintaining an extremely high level relentlessly. Bottas was pushed into a massive lockup yesterday by Hamilton’s pursuit. That’s how he’s beaten fast drivers time and again.

    1. On the Marbles
      12th October 2020, 16:52

      My story almost exactly.

      I couldn’t believe that Schumacher got away with what he did in Adelaide 1994, and while I did watch some of the following season I just lost interest in a sport that feted him. The debacle of 1997 just underlined what I saw in 1994 and his subsequent dominance over the next decade or so after that was shocking, although by that time I only infrequently watched races. I never thought I’d see his win statistics bettered, but very soon they will be, and by someone far more sporting on the track.
      Schumacher seems like a nice guy off track, but on it, like few before him, ruthless to the point of unsportsmanlike, or worse. Hamilton isn’t perfect but he plays far less dirty than most. It was only when Schumacher retired that I started to watch races again regularly.

      I completely realise how boring it is for many to watch Hamilton win again and again, but I’ve rather enjoyed watching his inexorable rise toward Schumacher’s total and seeing him slowly take so many of those Schumacher records, and I expect I will continue to enjoy it. I dare say I will also enjoy watching the next generation try to do the same as him, which is fine so long as they keep it clean and fair.

      1. +1 I think it was the combination of Schumacher’s ruthlessness (beginning when he took out Hill, ‘accidentally’ or otherwise) and the brutal treatment of team mates by Ferrari that left me cold. I’d grown up on Senna and Mansell, both my idols as a child. Like I said, I wish I’d seen Alonso’s rise, I’d have appreciated better what was happening in 2007 too. I don’t mind seeing Hamilton win more either, but I am very tired of Mercedes. I respect totally their professionalism. But it is too dominant. I’m also fine with another driver starting to win many races. It’s a great grid at the moment, highly talented and nobody really with a bad attitude. If one driver rises to the top for a period, so be it. As long as FIA can remain impartial (particularly from Ferrari pressure) and the teams allow real competition between their drivers, it’s all good.

  12. I think Hamilton said something along the lines of he’d seen Bottas’s tyres graining and decided that the time was right to push. And he was right.

    1. Exactly. Perfect execution, waiting behind at just the right distance, trying to preserve the tyres better than Bottas, exerting pressure at the right moment, knowing his rivals strengths and flaws. How many other drivers are operating at that level right now? Maybe Ricciardo has similar cunning.

      1. How about literally every driver would be, if they were in a Mercedes and not a lower wrung car.

        1. How about they wouldn’t? Have you see Bottas chasing Hamilton into a mistake? Albon doing the same with Verstappen? Vettel on Leclerc? If you can’t tell differences between drivers styles and abilities, seriously, why bother following Formula 1?

          1. My two cents from the dark side 😂:
            I fell to the charme of Ferrari in Canada 1995 when I started watching F1. At first I was angry that the charismatic Jean Alesi was replaced by Michael Schumacher who already had a questionable reputation.
            But the way he performed with what was a dog of a car in 1996 and his unswerving loyalty to Ferrari during that difficult year earned him my massive respect. 1997 was even more impressive until Jerez. But you win together and you loose together so I grit my teeth and kept supporting and defending him. In 2000 he finally achieved the ultimate goal and all was forgiven and forgotten. At the time I really enjoyed the juggernaut years that followed but of course it’s easy to say when your team is winning. But even today I’m quite ok with Hamiltons dominance because we witness greatness. As we did with Schumacher and Ferrari.
            The point is, I totally accept and underdand if people criticize or dislike Schumacher for his antics but I think because they don’t like him they try to find reasons to diminish his achievements.
            It’s a myth that his teammates weren’t allowed to challenge him, they were just unable to. They were given the same equipment and the number of races they had to let Schumacher past were low. Of course Austria 2002 was ridiculous and very prominent in the fans perception but teamorders like this really happened only a handful of times, mainly because (until they introduced race fuel in qualy in 2003) he lost only one qualy per year against Irvine and two against Barichello. Both were highly rated drivers and had a similar role compared to Bottas. They weren’t treated worse than him or Albon/Gasly at Red Bull as well. It’s just that their teammates are so much faster that it was almost inevitable that they end up as number one for their respective teams.

          2. @roadrunner (I think you’re replying more to my comment above?) You are of course right that Schumacher’s team mates would never match his talent. I just see a difference in attitude between his refusal to accept that he might lose sometimes – shown in those infamous incidents, as well as his team mates contracts – and Hamilton’s acceptance that sometimes, yes, it’s beyond him. So be it, expressed in his ‘we rise again.’ I find Hamilton’s attitude far more healthy and, well, human, empathic, a recognition that he still has to learn and nobody wins all the time. That’s quite difficult for a highly competitive sportsperson to accept, but I can see it more in the younger generation of drivers. It’s actually a stronger, humbler but more resilient attitude in the end.

  13. Formula 1 has a great history…but, the last 20 years are not great…not even close. Lack of actual racing/passing/ etc. Races are predictable and boring. Cheating is the norm…the more money you have the better you are able to cheat.

    1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      12th October 2020, 20:37

      You might want to read Bernie’s autobiography. cheating was rife back in the days!

  14. The kicker is he wants to wear his FTP t-shirts on the podium while he has a lucrative endorsement deal with a fashion retailer named Police. The irony is palpable.

  15. I for one can sit back and appreciate the unique talent of Hamilton.
    I too was amazed in 2007 when after years of boredom, watching F1 for 19 years before i saw the crazy talented kid in Aus 07 who could overtake a double WDC teammate in his first race! What a refreshing joy to watch.
    Since then I have watched a remarkable career evolve. A prodigious talent mature.
    An eloquent and polite man, a generous sportsman on and off the race track, win or lose.
    Many dislike him, I don’t see why.
    He made it to F1 against the odds. His family were not millionaires like most of the grid.
    He didn’t have famous parents like half the grid.
    His dad was not a previous wdc or F1 or rally driver, with the massive advantage that confers.
    He is vocal about many good causes that few will argue against like equality, discrimination and environmental issues. A role model to many across the globe.
    I for one can step back and appreciate the skills and enjoyment he had provided.
    I don’t say he is the GOAT as I don’t think there is one.
    I have never met him so have no idea if I would or would not like him.
    Perhaps the haters should just set aside their dislike, reflect and applaud the unique talents he has.
    It doesn’t denigrate others achievements to appreciate what we have seen. There are many greats. I didn’t support Senna or Schumacher but can certainly appreciate their uniqueness.

  16. True..as it always is and will-be, however the racing was much better in those days as well. Now, we have one manufacturer, with people who run the rules of the sport at the head of the sport (Ross Brawn worked for Mercedes) making sure that one manufacturer dominates for many years on end. That isn’t racing..it’s rigging.

  17. Anyone else notice that Nico Rosberg never does the post race interviews?? Do we think that Ham has put his foot down. Same with Sky sports , Ham has never done a 1-1 interview while Nico is there. No problem when button is there.

    1. I think their relationship has ended and not amicably at all…

  18. This is like debate about LeBron and Jordan. Who is the goat?

    LeBron mostly seems like the top 2 greatest ever, and has spectacular stats, like Lewis. And his career is not over yet.

    But Michaels had something more. They didn’t just achieve amazing stats, they also dominated their game for a long period of time.

    LeBron does not win titles every time.

    Hamilton too was bested by Rosberg. It somewhat looks like he has unfair team advantage.

    Meanwhile Michaels were the unfair advantage.

  19. The results?

  20. Having seen both their careers develop in F1, I can confidently state that a prime Schumacher would have driven circles around Hamilton.

    Let’s put it another way, a Bottas or even Rosberg would never have been close to a mid 90s/early 00s Michael. They would have been putting in Johnny Herbert, Jos Verstappen performances.

  21. David Bongo or George as you are here and many other names.

    The clue your giving is the use of a preface – ‘prime’ – Shumi or whoever is your current love in of the moment. Just as long as being used to denigrate LH.

    You are a master troll. Even the site owner has responded to your insane and inaccurate statements as though you are a real commentator.

    That has to be a first.

    I implore all my old friends like KB Davies Robbi etc to no longer feed this troll as he is now even posting replies to himself.

    It is ruining this site

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