Nirberg, Germany (AP) – Even Lewis Hamilton once saw Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 wins as unbeatable. Now he’s matching it.
Schumacher’s son, Mick, presented Hamilton one of his father’s old helmets after the British driver scored a record 91 victory in the Eiffel Grand Prix.
“Given his dominance, I don’t think anyone, especially myself, would have imagined that I would be anywhere near Michael in terms of records so it’s an incredible honor and it will take some time to get used to it,” Hamilton said, adding that he used to pick Schumacher as his character. When playing a video game.
Schumacher has needed constant care since he was seriously injured in the head in an accident while skiing in 2013.
Hamilton took a big step closer to matching Schumacher’s record with seven titles as well, after teammate Valtteri Bottas failed to finish the race due to an engine problem. Hamilton now leads the Formula 1 championship by 69 points with six races remaining.
Hamilton was nearly five seconds behind Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, while Daniel Ricciardo finished third on Renault’s first podium since 2011.
Hamilton started faster than Bottas and had an inner line in the hair turn at the first turn. Bottas is widely forced over the run-off area, but Finn has held out to take the lead from Hamilton in the second corner from the inside.
Hamilton regained the lead on lap 13 when Bottas took off late and ran away. Finn’s race soon ended when he complained of “lack of power” and stalled in the pit due to what the team said was a problem with the hybrid power unit.
Lando Norris was third and chasing McLaren onto the podium before his car started losing power. At the end, he stopped the car with a fire inside the car’s right side bumper, and pulled out the safety car. Verstappen reacted slowly at the start of the second half and instead of threatening Hamilton, he nearly lost second place to Ricardo.
Sergio Perez finished fourth at Racing Point, ahead of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz in fifth place and Pierre Gasly instead of Alpha Tore.
It was another long race for Ferrari in a tumultuous season for the Italian team. Charles Leclerc started fourth but lacked the speed to hold the position and finished seventh while Sebastian Vettel came in 11th after a round.
One day after receiving the call to drive to Racing Point as a late substitute for a sick Lance Stroll vehicle, Nico Hulkenberg stormed the field from the last on the net to take eighth place. Roman Grosjian finished ninth with Haas, and Antonio Giovinazzi finished tenth in Alfa Romeo.
Another record dropped when Kimi Raikkonen started his 323rd race, beating the mark set by Robbins Barrichello from 1993 until 2011. Raikkonen finished 12th after scoring a penalty kick for the time of his collision with George Russell and pushing the Williams driver into a spin. Russell retired with a hole soon after.
Raikkonen’s car collided with gravel soon after starting, sending stones flying towards Grosjean’s car behind him. Grogan said he was hit in the hand and wondered if his finger was broken.
It was the first Formula 1 race since 2013 in Nürburgring in Germany and won the Eiffel Grand Prix for the name of a nearby mountain range. The next race is October 25th in Portugal.