Hamilton Dominates Portuguese Grand Prix
Full race recap as Lewis Hamilton becomes the most successful driver of all time with 92 wins
Lewis Hamilton breaks the record for all time wins with a dominant victory in Portugal. The record previously held by Michael Schumacher was once thought uncatchable, but Hamilton’s unstoppable performance in the Mercedes has seen him break record after record on his way to becoming the most successful driver of all time
A frenetic start saw Hamilton slip down to 3rd, with teammate Bottas overcoming a challenge from Max Verstappen before making a move for the lead. The battle left Verstappen vulnerable to the Racing Point of Sergio Perez, who’s overtake attempt around the outside of Verstappen resulted in contact, with the Mexican spinning into last place. Carlos Sainz in the McLaren was able to capitalise on the incidents around him, putting in overtakes on both Mercedes to move himself in to 1st place on lap 1.
The start proved fruitful for both McLarens, with Sainz and Norris running in the top 4, but it was the veteran Kimi Raikkonen in the Alfa Romeo who made the most impressive start, moving up 10 places to run 6th, before the true pace of his car shone through and he was sadly an easy target as he slipped back down the grid.
After blistering pace in the opening laps, the race was looking strong for McLaren as they looked to leapfrog their rivals in the battle for 3rd in the Constructors, but both cars struggled to maintain their positions, with Sainz overtaken 3 times in 3 laps, and teammate Lando Norris losing 2 places before a wild move by Lance Stroll in the Racing Point round the outside of turn 1 saw the 2 cars come together, damaging both front wings. The collision effectively ended Norris’ race as he limped back to the pits, and was unable to make much progress back through the field, finishing a lowly 13th. Stroll was given a 5 second penalty for causing a collision, however this wasn’t the only penalty dished out by the stewards – the Canadian also receiving another 5 second penalty for exceeding track limits on multiple occasions. Stroll eventually retired on lap 54, with the team citing excessive damage as the reason for retirement.
With 2 of their main rivals out of the points, there was a big opportunity for Renault to continue their march towards 3rd position, however neither car had shown impressive pace over the course of the weekend. Starting 10th and 11th, the Renaults ran alternative tyre strategies, Ricciardo pitting early, whilst Ocon managed to hold out all the way until lap 54 before changing his tyres. The longer strategy brought Ocon out ahead of his teammate and the Frenchman finished ahead of Ricciardo for just the 3rd time this season, finishing 8th and 9th respectively. The combined 6 points should be considered a disappointing return for Renault as they failed to make any ground on the 2 teams ahead of them. Sergio Perez was able to put in another sublime drive for Racing Point after the early spin, recovering to finish 7th to bring home 6 points for the team as they maintain 3rd. Meanwhile Carlos Sainz 8 points for 6th mean McLaren are now just 2 points behind Racing Point with 5 races to go.
With Perez currently without a drive for next year, he has been linked to replace George Russell at Williams. Despite the obvious pace the young Williams driver shows on a Saturday, he does not have the same financial backing that a driver like Perez can offer, and for a team struggling for cash a driver that can bring in more sponsorship money may prove to be a more attractive proposition. If such a move were to materialise, it would undeniably be a shame for Russell, but it would be just as disappointing to see someone of Perez’ talent driving at the back of the grid. Red Bull may consider making a move for the Mexican as they look to strengthen their line up for 2021, with Albon producing another disappointing weekend to finish outside the points in 12th and lapped by his teammate. Whilst the team maintain that the seat is ‘Alex’s to lose’, the tone has shifted and a decision will be made following the next race on whether the Thai driver will maintain his position in the team. This weekend is the latest in a string of disappointing results for Albon, who is consistently beaten by the junior team of AlphaTauri instead of helping his teammate at the front of the grid.
In contrast Pierre Gasly, who was replaced at Red Bull by Albon, has been putting in race after race of strong performances and was able to bring his AlphaTauri home in 5th place to move himself just 1 point behind Albon in the championship standings. The Frenchman has shown incredible mental strength to overcome being dropped by Red Bull, and has to be considered one of the stand out drivers of this condensed season.
But today belongs to Hamilton. The Brit has proved to be utterly dominant in his Mercedes, and today was no different as he produced an emphatic victory, finishing over 25 seconds ahead of 2nd place Bottas – the biggest winning margin of the season so far. Hamilton’s 92nd victory cements his place in the history books as he moves 1 ahead of the great Michael Schumacher to become the driver with the most wins ever in Formula 1, as he continues his relentless march towards a record equalling 7th World Championship title. Such is Hamilton’s dominance, even if you were only to count his points this year Mercedes would still be leading the constructors championship, and with the regulations set to stay largely the same for 2021, we may yet see Hamilton break even more records before he hangs up his racing gloves.
Winner: Lewis Hamilton
Driver of the Day: Sergio Perez
Fastest Lap: Lewis Hamilton (1.18.750)
POS DRIVER CAR TIME PTS
1 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:29:56.828 26
2 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES +25.592s 18
3 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING+34.508s 15
4 Charles Leclerc FERRARI +65.312s 12
5 Pierre Gasly ALPHATAURI HONDA +1 lap 10
6 Carlos Sainz MCLAREN RENAULT +1 lap 8
7 Sergio Perez RACING POINT BWT +1 lap 6
8 Esteban Ocon RENAULT +1 lap 4
9 Daniel Ricciardo RENAULT +1 lap 2
10 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI +1 lap 1
11 Kimi Räikkönen ALFA ROMEO FERRARI +1 lap 0
12 Alexander Albon RED BULL RACING +1 lap 0
13 Lando Norris MCLAREN RENAULT +1 lap 0
14 George Russell WILLIAMS MERCEDES +1 lap 0
15 Antonio Giovinazzi ALFA ROMEO FERRARI +1 lap 0
16 Kevin Magnussen HAAS FERRARI 65 +1 lap 0
17 Romain Grosjean HAAS FERRARI 65 +1 lap 0
18 Nicholas Latifi WILLIAMS MERCEDES +2 laps 0
19 Daniil Kvyat ALPHATAURI HONDA +2 laps 0
DNF Lance Stroll RACING POINT BWT DNF 0