Even after a lifetime of impressive achievements, Lewis Hamilton’s victory at the Portuguese Grand Prix on Sunday was something special.
Hamilton’s win in Portimao at the Algarve International Circuit was the 35-year-old’s 92nd victory. That’s a new record, the British driver moving ahead of legendary German ace Michael Schumacher to hold the most wins in the history of Formula One.
The six-time world champion has raced in Formula One since 2007, winning six world drivers’ championships across the last 14 years – five of them with Mercedes, his current team (he started with Williams).
Yet Hamilton’s latest feat is another outstanding milestone in the career of a man who has established himself as one of the greatest motorsport drivers of all time.
“I could never have dreamed of being where I am today,” Hamilton told Sky Sports after the race. “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.”
Things hadn’t all gone Hamilton’s way in Sunday’s race; though the Englishman had started in pole position, he was overtaken early by teammate Valtteri Bottas, with Carlos Sainz briefly going ahead of Hamilton too. But the Mercedes driver would return to the lead by the 20th lap, going on to finish some 35 seconds ahead of Bottas.
Hamilton’s latest win came in his 262nd race – with his first victory dating back to his debut season in Formula One in 2007, when he won the Canadian Grand Prix.
Thirteen years at elite level in this sport is an accomplishment in its own right – but you have to believe Hamilton is hungry for more. The next obvious target is presumably to match Schumacher’s record of seven world championships.
Hamilton currently leads this season’s standings on 256 points, 77 points clear of nearest rival Bottas. In all likelihood that means a seventh title will follow in the next month or so.
Could Hamilton go on to hit 100 Grand Prix wins? Given he has recently won 10 races a year in five of the last six seasons, it seems all but inevitable; certainly four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel admits as much. “He deserves every victory he had,” Vettel said on Sunday. “I am sure he will get 100. I don’t think you can praise him enough.”
Mercedes Engineer Peter Bonnington was similarly effusive as Hamilton cruised to victory in Portugal, telling the driver: “You are rewriting the history books”. He’s not done yet, either.
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