By Matt Morlidge
Hamilton handed Schumacher helmet after record-equalling 91st win; Bottas retires with engine issue; Verstappen second; Ricciardo seals first podium for Renault after race which included five DNFs
Lewis Hamilton has equalled Michael Schumacher’s Formula 1 winning record after securing a typically commanding victory in an unreliability-packed Eifel GP ahead of Max Verstappen.
Hamilton now has 91 wins – and has also taken a giant step towards Schumacher’s record total of seven world championships thanks to closest 2020 rival and Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas’ race retirement.
“When you grow up watching someone, you idolise them for what they’re able to do, year on year and race on race,” said an emotional Hamilton, who was handed one of Schumacher’s helmets by son Mick after the race.
Most race wins in Formula 1
1. Michael Schumacher 91
=1 Lewis Hamilton 91
3. Sebastian Vettel 53
4. Alain Prost 51
5. Ayrton Senna 41
“Seeing his dominance for so long, I don’t think anyone – and especially me – thought I’d be anywhere near Michael’s record. It’s an incredible honour.”
Bottas started on pole but was overtaken by Hamilton on Lap 13, and shortly after stopped with an engine issue. Hamilton, now 70 points clear in the title standings, then dominated what was a two-horse race between himself and the ever-competitive Verstappen at Red Bull, despite a late safety car which reignited the Nurburgring’s chilly F1 return.
Daniel Ricciardo sealed a brilliant podium for Renault in third – his first in F1 since Monaco in 2018 and the team’s first since Malaysia in 2011 – by holding off a valiant Sergio Perez charge at Racing Point.
Perez wasn’t the only Racing Point driver to shine on Sunday, with late stand-in Nico Hulkenberg rising from 20th on the grid to eighth in the race, behind Carlos Sainz, Pierre Gasly and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
Romain Grosjean sealed his first points in over a year for Haas, ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi, who denied a struggling Sebastian Vettel a top-10 finish.
Bottas was one of five drivers not to finish the race, along with George Russell, Esteban Ocon, Alex Albon and Lando Norris, whose unfortunate stoppage led to the Safety Car.
Eifel GP Race Results, top 10
1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2. Max Verstappen, Red Bull
3. Daniel Ricciardo, Renault
4. Sergio Perez, Racing Point
5. Carlos Sainz, McLaren
6. Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
7. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
8. Nico Hulkenberg, Racing Point
9. Romain Grosjean, Haas
10. Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo
How Hamilton mastered Nurburgring to equal F1 record
Hamilton will quite rightly take the plaudits after what was a calm yet fast, and ultimately record-equalling, drive – but it certainly didn’t look that comfortable in the early stages of the race after a feisty start and battle.
Pole-sitter Bottas was shoved wide by Hamilton into Turn One, but then superbly rebounded to take first place back and stretch his lead, with Verstappen then challenging his team-mate from third.
It was all looking good for Bottas – before, that is, he flat-spotted his soft tyres on Lap 13, allowing Hamilton to sweep up the inside of that first corner.
Bottas, under pressure from Verstappen, immediately pitted, but another frustrating race for the Finn ended just four laps later as he desperately reported “no power” from the cockpit of the dominant W11.
With Verstappen not as happy on the medium tyres as Hamilton after their first stop, the Englishman streaked clear, leading by 10s after Norris’ tricky afternoon ended in a McLaren failure and an enforced Safety Car.
That Safety Car on Lap 44 eradicated Hamilton’s lead over Verstappen – and the front two’s advantage of over a minute into the chasing pack – while it also led to second stops for soft tyres, which were cold by the time of the restart.
But Hamilton would not be denied. He held off Verstappen into Turn One and built another race lead, finishing 4.4s ahead of Red Bull despite the Dutchman’s fastest lap on the 60th loop around the Nurburgring.
Ricciardo seals long-awaited podium in race of attrition
Fourth in three races this season and dominating highly-rated team-mate Esteban Ocon, Ricciardo’s podium is long overdue. It was another superb performance from the rapid Australian in the Eifel GP.
Key to his race was overtaking Albon from sixth on the grid, the first blow to what was another awful day for the Red Bull driver, who would pick up a 5s penalty for making contact with Daniil Kvyat and then retire.
Ricciardo then got after Leclerc and gave him the switcheroo through Turns One and Two to take fourth. That came a net third after Bottas’ stop, which looked in danger as Perez surged on fresh tyres.
But a Safety Car ultimately aided Ricciardo, who finished 1.4s ahead of Racing Point on the chequered flag. A tattoo bet is now in order with Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul. Sky Sports