Lewis Hamilton breaks all-time F1 win record at Portuguese Grand Prix

25 October 2020, 19:21 | Updated: 25 October 2020, 23:17

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Lewis Hamilton has broken Michael Schumacher's all-time Formula One win record following his 92nd career victory in Sunday's Portuguese Grand Prix.

The Brit cemented his place in F1 and sporting folklore after being crowned the most victorious driver in the sport's history when he took the chequered flag at Portimao, 25.5 seconds ahead of his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

It comes just a fortnight after he drew level with legendary racer Michael Schumacher in the German's home country.

Hamilton could become F1's most successful driver of all time as early as November with a seventh world championship looking more than likely.

If so, he will go level with Schumacher in winning the most world championship titles.

The 35-year-old moved 77 points clear of Bottas on Sunday with just 130 points left to play for this season, while Red Bull's Max Verstappen finished third ahead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.

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Lewis Hamilton has now won more grand prixs than any other F1 driver
Lewis Hamilton has now won more grand prixs than any other F1 driver. Picture: PA

Speaking after his victory, the Englishman said: "It is going to take some time to fully sink in. I cannot find the words at the moment.

"My dad is here, which is amazing, and my step-mum Linda too and my dog Roscoe so it is a blessed day.

"I could have only ever dreamed of being where I am today. didn't have a magic ball when I came to Mercedes but here I am and as a team we are trying to make the most of it."

He added: "I had cramp in my right calf so I was lifting down the straight because it felt like it was about to pull but I had to get through it."

The last time an F1 grand prix was staged in Portugal (1996), Hamilton was just an 11-year-old boy making his mark in Britain's karting scene.

Lewis Hamilton took first place during the Portuguese Grand Prix on Sunday
Lewis Hamilton took first place during the Portuguese Grand Prix on Sunday. Picture: PA

For the opening six laps, the Brit's quest for history seemed in peril following a bizarre start to the 12th of 17 rounds 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 the Englishman was off the mark in getting his medium-compound rubber up to speed, and teammate 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.

Lewis Hamilton - in his Mercedes - is leading the world championship
Lewis Hamilton - in his Mercedes - is leading the world championship. Picture: PA

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.

The Englishman pulled in for his solitary change of tyres with 26 laps remaining before lapping the entire field up to Leclerc in fourth.

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