Portimao (Portugal), October 25
Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton became the most successful Formula One driver of all time in terms of race wins with his 92nd career victory at the Portuguese Grand Prix today.
The Mercedes driver, who took the chequered flag a huge 25.592 seconds ahead of second-placed teammate Valtteri Bottas, had equalled Ferrari great Michael Schumacher’s record 91 wins at the previous race, the German Grand Prix.
Victory, along with a bonus point for the fastest lap, stretched the Briton’s championship lead over Bottas to 77 points with five races remaining.
“You are re-writing the history books,” Mercedes told Hamilton over the team radio, with team boss Toto Wolff adding: “Lewis, 92. 92.”
“I owe it all to these guys here and back at the factory,” said Hamilton, who was joined on the podium by race engineer Peter ‘Bono’ Bonnington. “It’s just been such a privilege working with them. Today was tough but it was all about temperatures.”
Dutch youngster Max Verstappen finished third for Red Bull at the Algarve circuit near Portimao that was hosting the country’s first Grand Prix in 24 years.
Hamilton lapped all but the three drivers behind him but it had not looked so simple at the start when he dropped to third from pole position on a lively opening lap.
Bottas, who had gone ahead, was then passed on the second lap by McLaren’s Spaniard Carlos Sainz, who had started seventh on the soft tyres, with the Mercedes pair struggling to get heat into their medium tyres.
Meanwhile, Verstappen had dropped to fifth after tangling with Racing Point’s Mexican Sergio Perez, who pitted and dropped to last.
Bottas retook the lead on the sixth lap as the tyres fired up, with Hamilton moving up to second, and stayed ahead until his teammate overtook him on the 20th lap to lead for the first time since the opening lap.
Hamilton, whose father was at the circuit to see his triumph, reported a cramp with seven laps to go but then proceeded to set a series of fastest laps. — Reuters