PORTUGUESE GP – Lewis Hamilton surpasses Michael Schumacher with ninety-second win, as he closes in on a seventh title

Testing & Race Reports

Lewis Hamilton has broken Michael Schumacher’s record with his ninety-second career win after a dominant victory by twenty-five and a half seconds at the Portuguese Grand Prix.

The Englishman started from pole and built his lead at the front after getting past teammate Valtteri Bottas on lap nineteen, he closed the gap over the previous lap, to get past the Finn into the first corner. Hamilton now leads the championship with five races to go by seventy-seven points, with a hundred and thirty remaining.

Hamilton didn’t have it easy as he needs to chase down Bottas during the opening stint after losing out to Bottas and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz at the start. Hamilton now also attends his record of most wins at different circuits and Grands Prix.

Bottas had begged Mercedes to switch him to the alternative strategy to try and chase Hamilton, but it proved to be not enough to stop his teammate.

Sainz at one stage led the race, after making an incredible start from seventh on the grid to lead by the end of lap two. But soon the pace of the Mercedes and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen meant normal running was resumed by lap twenty.

It looks as if the front runners struggled in the early laps to get the tyres into the right window, they soon came back and took the lead. Bottas, followed by Hamilton while Verstappen again appeared not to have the pace to challenge the two Mercedes and finished thirty-four seconds behind Hamilton.

In a race were Mercedes and Hamilton proved unstoppable with Charles Leclerc fourth, the only other driver to finish on the lead lap.

Hamilton said, “I could never have dreamed of being where I am today. I didn’t have a magic ball when I chose to come to this team and partner with great people, but here I am and what I can tell you is I’m trying to make the most of it every single day. It’s going to take some time to sink in.”

Bottas added, “The opening lap was pretty good, some cars behind with the soft tyre had the upper-hand but I was really pleased I could get the lead but after that, I just had no pace today. I don’t understand why.”

Mercedes can now secure the constructor’s championship at Imola next weekend, the first time it can be clinch in Europe in over a decade, with Hamilton mathematically able to in Istanbul in mid-November.

Ferrari’s Leclerc gave the team’s best result in recent races finishing fourth, but the team were still twenty seconds behind Red Bull. The Monacan was the last car on the lead lap, but this has been a better weekend for the Italian team who have led the midfield.

Leclerc appeared to have better pace than in recent races, however, the Monacan was never in the position to fight for Ferrari’s first podium of the season. Unable to compete on hard tyres, which by the end of the race saw him half a minute behind.

Pierre Gasly was fifth gaining two places in the final two laps, the Frenchman took sixth from Sergio Perez when he swept around the outside. The Alpha Tauri driver has delivered strong results since his maiden win at Monza at the start of September.

Perez drove a strong race, recovering from a first-lap collision with Verstappen and spin, which required him to stop for fresh tyres and drop to last. The Mexican completed a long second stint on the mediums after stopping at the end of the first lap following his clash with the Red Bull, but the red-walled softs he took for a third stint to the flag gave up and he was passed by Gasly.

Perez had defended late to the inside of Turn 1 in a move that is under investigation by the stewards. Esteban Ocon made a long stint work running until lap fifty-three on mediums, and fighting Gasly and teammate Daniel Ricciardo, to finish eighth half a second ahead of the Australian.

Sebastian Vettel was tenth, fighting with former teammate Kimi Raikkonen, in a clean and fair battle. However, the four-times champions second points finish in sixth races, largely overshadowed by Leclerc’s fourth place.

Another driver who has been overshadowed by his teammate this year Alex Albon was twelfth fastest, he was even lapped by Verstappen and finishing a point-less twelfth. This came when team principal Christian Horner had warned he had effectively Portimao and Imola to secure his future.

McLaren’s Lando Norris was thirteenth ahead of George Russell, as well as Antonio Giovinazzi. Norris had dropped down the order following a collision with Stroll, who was awarded 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.

The two Haas’s of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen. Russell’s teammate Nicolas Latifi was eighteenth, ahead of the final finisher Daniil Kvyat, they were both two laps behind when the chequered flag dropped.

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