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Dublin: 1°C Saturday 28 November 2020
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Lewis Hamilton eclipses Schumacher's record with Grand Prix victory in Portugal

Hamilton beat Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas to make F1 history.

Hamilton is on the brink of a seventh F1 world championship.
Hamilton is on the brink of a seventh F1 world championship.
Image: JOSE SENA GOULAO

LEWIS HAMILTON HAS been crowned the most victorious driver in Formula One history following his crushing 92nd career win in Sunday’s Portuguese Grand Prix.

A fortnight after he drew level with Michael Schumacher in Germany, Hamilton now stands alone in the record books after taking the chequered flag at Portimao 25.5 seconds clear of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton is poised to become the sport’s most successful driver of all time as early as next month, with a seventh world championship certain to follow this season.

The Englishman’s victory here moved him 77 points clear of Bottas with just 130 points to play for. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finished third ahead of the Ferrari driver of Charles Leclerc.

For the opening six laps, Hamilton’s quest for history appeared in grave danger following a bizarre start under overcast and blustery Algarve skies.

After taking pole on Saturday, Hamilton retained the lead on the downhill gallop to the opening bend, but halfway round the first lap he had fallen to third, passed by Bottas and then McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, who started seventh.

A smattering of rain drops and cooler conditions meant Hamilton was off the mark in getting his medium-compound rubber up to speed, and team-mate Bottas, on the same rubber was also struggling.

Indeed, by the end of a frantic first lap – which also saw Verstappen collide with Racing Point’s Sergio Perez at the fourth corner – Sainz, starting on the speedier soft tyres, had taken the lead.

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The briefest of showers soon abated and normal order started to resume, with Bottas retaking the lead on lap six and Hamilton moving past Sainz to take second on the ensuing lap.

At that stage, Bottas appeared in control, but it was not long before Hamilton’s brilliance came to the fore. On laps 17, 18 and 19, Hamilton set a hat-trick of fastest laps and Bottas’s two-second lead had evaporated. Then, on the run down to Turn 1 on lap 20, Hamilton cruised round the outside of Bottas to lead the grand prix.

Over the course of nine spellbinding laps, Hamilton opened up a seven-second lead over the Finn and with that, any chance Bottas had of stopping Hamilton from rewriting F1’s record books was over.

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