Lewis Hamilton overtook Michael Schumacher‘s record of ninety-one race wins with his ninety-second win of his career, making him the most successful Formula 1 driver, in terms of victories, of all time.
Hamilton was victorious at the Portuguese Grand Prix but it was touch an go whether he would cross the line victorious in the first half.
Starting on pole, a dramatic opening lap saw him being overtaken by team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz Jr. Bottas was then overtaken by Sainz and it become apparent that the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team duo had issues warming up their medium tyres. Hamilton soon started to get in the groove and was able to overtake Sainz Jr. and Bottas to regain the lead on lap twenty.
From then onwards, it was Hamiltons race to lose and he eventually crossed the line victorious, over twenty-five seconds earlier than team-mate Bottas in second.
“First, I owe these 92 wins to the team here and back and the factory for their tremendous work,” said Hamilton. “They are continuously innovating and pushing the barrier, even higher every year.
“It’s been such a privilege working with them and I am so grateful for all the moments. The reliability has been incredible thanks to the Mercedes team, PETRONAS and all our partners who are continuously pushing. No one is sitting back on the success, everyone is pushing and pushing and pushing. That’s the most incredible thing to be surrounded by: it inspires you, that collaboration, and there’s nothing quite like it.”
Hamilton admitted tyre temperatures were the big worry during the race, and he felt the set-up he had on his car aided him throughout the first Portuguese Grand Prix since 1996. He also had to deal with a bout of cramp towards the end of the race, which he admitted was ‘painful’.
“Today was tough,” he said. “It was all about tyre temperatures today and that’s something I was able to, with the set-up, I pre-empted it. They said it was going to rain only after the race would be finished, but we got some drops at the start and going into Turn 7 there was a huge oversteer moment and then you didn’t know what was next.
“I really backed up massively and I should have probably defended from Valtteri, but I said to myself that I’d come by later and fortunately that’s what I was able to do.
“It’s an incredibly physical sport but I had a cramp in my right calf and I had to lift quite often down the straight because it was about to pull. Pretty painful, but I had to get through it because it is what it is and you can’t lift the whole lap!
“I could only ever have dreamed of being where I am today. I didn’t have a crystal ball when I chose to come to this team and partner with these great people. What I can tell you is that I am trying to make the most of it every single day. Everything that we do together, we are all rowing in the same direction and that’s why you’re seeing the success that we’re having.
“My dad is here which is amazing, my step-mum Linda is here, Roscoe too. I feel very blessed. It’s going to take some time for it to sink in. I was still pushing flat out coming across the line and I am still in race mode mentally. I can’t find the words at the moment.”
“I tried to defend when Lewis came closer, but there was nothing I could do” – Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas had a tricky race after finishing the race twenty-five seconds off of his team-mate in second.
When both of the drivers were having tyre issues in the early stages of the race, it looked like Bottas was going to be the strong of the duo but that wasn’t meant to be when Bottas got overtaken on lap twenty by Hamilton. He admitted he was baffled by his lack of pace, and will be looking into why he just was not able to match his team-mate when it mattered.
Bottas said: “The opening lap on the race was really good, there was a bit of drizzle which made it tricky and some cars with the soft tyre had the upper hand, but I was pretty pleased to get the lead. To be honest, after that I just didn’t have the pace today, and I don’t understand why – no pace whatsoever.
“Of course, I tried to defend when Lewis came closer, but there was nothing I could do, like I said I don’t know where the pace was today. I was pushing hard but I couldn’t go faster. Later on in the race I was hoping to extend my first stint a bit and go for the Soft tyre at the end but I don’t think it would have made a difference to the result today.
“It was a tough one for me, and I will be working hard with the team to understand why, then come back stronger next weekend in Imola.“