Lewis Hamilton has beaten Michael Schumacher’s Formula One win record after claiming his 92nd career triumph in the Portuguese Grand Prix.
Much debate has surrounded the argument over who is the greatest F1 driver of all time, but Hamilton did his case no end of good on Sunday with a dominant victory at the Algarve International Circuit by more than 25 seconds over his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who sits 77 points adrift in the world championship battle.
The victory saw Hamilton eclipse Schumacher’s record tally of 91 Grand Prix wins, a record that has stood since the German retired for the first time in 2006, and puts him nearly 40 wins in front of third-placed man Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton first topped the podium in F1 in only his sixth F1 race back in 2007, a year before clinching his maiden world championship, and 92 races later he sits on the verge of securing a record-equalling seventh world title.
Here, we look back at five of the Hamilton’s finest victories.
Canadian Grand Prix – 10 June, 2007
Hamilton arrived in Montreal following five successive podiums, and after he beat team-mate Fernando Alonso to pole, the Briton controlled the race to win in just his sixth appearance. Hamilton displayed maturity way beyond his tender 22 years to manage a race disrupted by four safety car periods – one following Robert Kubica’s terrifying crash.
“I was trying to control myself on the last lap,” a jubilant Hamilton explained afterwards as he became the first black driver to win a grand prix. “I just wanted to stop the car and jump out. I’ve been ready for this win for quite some time. It was just a matter of where and when.”
British Grand Prix – 6 July, 2008
In only his second season, Hamilton turned in a demonstration of skill and judgement in an outstanding display at Silverstone – arguably his greatest drive. In torrential rain, Hamilton flew past Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari and Red Bull’s Mark Webber before the first corner. He then eased his way past Heikki Kovalainen in the sister McLaren for the lead.
From there, Hamilton never looked back. He was one of only four drivers not to spin, taking the chequered flag almost 70 seconds clear of second-placed Nick Heidfeld. He also lapped the entire field up to third. His title rival Felipe Massa spun five times.
“It is by far my best victory,” said Hamilton. “The conditions were bad and as I was driving I thought, ‘If I win this, it will be the best race I’ve ever done’.”
Bahrain Grand Prix – 6 April, 2014
Now at Mercedes, Hamilton and team-mate Nico Rosberg delivered a race for the ages at the Sakhir Circuit. Hamilton beat pole-sitter Rosberg off the line – the German having been the quickest of the two drivers throughout the weekend.
Rosberg tried everything to get round Hamilton but the British driver held firm to claim what was only his third victory for Mercedes – and one that fired him towards his second world championship.
German Grand Prix – 22 July, 2018
Hamilton started only 14th in Hockenheim following a mechanical failure in qualifying. But after scything his way back through the field, Hamilton then took advantage of a dramatic rain-hit conclusion which involved Sebastian Vettel crashing out from the lead.
Hamilton revelled in the slippery conditions – driving three seconds faster than anyone else. Vettel’s crash saw the safety car deployed, moving Hamilton to the front of the pack to take the flag.
Hamilton leapt from his Mercedes machinery and jumped into his sea of mechanics as he celebrated a win – described by his race engineer Pete Bonnington as a “miracle” – and one which laid the foundations for his fifth, and arguably most impressive, world championship.
Italian Grand Prix – 2 September, 2018
Six weeks later, Hamilton then went behind enemy lines to stun Ferrari at Monza. Ferrari had been quicker than Mercedes all weekend at the Temple of Speed and the fanatical tifosi expected to see Vettel convert a front-row lockout for the Italian team into a crushing win.
Instead, they saw the German fall out of the reckoning following a clumsy opening-lap spin and Hamilton delivered a sensational performance which climaxed in him passing Raikkonen in the other Ferrari at 220mph with just eight laps left to secure the win.
Hamilton, subjected to boos on the podium, said: “Given the sheer pressure that I am under, I definitely consider this win to be right up there.”
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