History was made at the Nürburgring on Sunday as Lewis Hamilton equaled Michael Schumacher’s F1 record of 91 wins with an emphatic victory in the Eifel Grand Prix.
Hamilton took the lead from his Mercedes teammate and polesitter Valtteri Bottas early in the 60-lap race at the famous German circuit and dominated proceedings without serious challenge from second-placed Max Verstappen in the Red Bull.
Bottas retired through loss of engine power, leaving the way clear for Australian Daniel Ricciardo to claim the final podium spot for Renault with Sergio Perez of Mexico fourth in the Racing Point.
The seventh victory of a truncated season for Britain’s Hamilton has taken him 69 points clear of Bottas in the championship race and well on course to win his seventh world title to bring him level with another of Schumacher’s all-time records.
In a poignant moment, Hamilton was presented with one of the German legend’s helmets by his son Mick, who had been set to make his own F1 debut before Friday’s practice session was canceled due to fog.
“Thank you so much,” he told him.
“It’s such an honor. I don’t know what to say. When you grow up watching someone and idolizing them. What he was able to continuously do.
“I hadn’t even computed it when I crossed the line. I couldn’t have done this without this incredible team pushing behind me. So a big thank you and huge respect to Michael,” he added.
Verstappen, tipped to be a future world champion, had the consolation of setting the fastest lap to close to within 14 points of Bottas in the title race.
His best chance came after a late safety car gave him the chance to close up again, but Hamilton was quick to race clear when it pulled off.
“The Mercedes was just a little bit too fast for us but I managed to get that fastest lap for the extra point so I’m happy with that. We finished second, which was where we belonged,” said Verstappen.
Aside from Hamilton, the biggest celebrations were reserved for third-placed Ricciardo, who was taking his first podium since 2018 with Red Bull.
Ricciardo has struggled to match that achievement with his new team Renault but drove a superb race to hold off Perez in the faster Racing Point.
The late safety car after McLaren’s Lando Norris was forced to halt beside the track helped Ricciardo as he changed to fresher tires to help keep Perez at bay.
‘It’s been a while. Honestly it feels like the first podium all over again.
“We’ve all waited a long time for this, so I think everyone is going to soak it up,” he said.
It was Renault’s first podium finish since Malaysia in 2011, a race won by Sebastian Vettel, who finished out of the points on home soil on Sunday in the struggling Ferrari.
With his teammate Charles Leclerc in seventh, it was a far cry from the dominant days enjoyed by Ferrari when Schumacher was in his pomp, winning 72 races for the Prancing Horse team.
Just behind Leclerc finished ‘super-sub’ Nico Hulkenberg, who only took the seat of the Racing Point after Lance Stroll took ill just before final qualifying. The German was due to be in the commentary box but drove solidly to be in the points.
Hamilton will be looking to surpass Schumacher’s all-time record in a fortnight in the next round in Portugal on a new circuit at Portimao.