It felt like a long time coming and in the pandemic-interrupted 2020 season, Lewis Hamilton has overtaken one of Michael Schumacher’s long-held record to become the most successful driver in Formula One history.

The Mercedes driver became the all-time race-winner on Sunday when he claimed his 92nd victory at the Portuguese Grand Prix, surpassing Schumacher’s 14-year-old record of 91 triumphs.

It was his eighth win in the 12 races held so far in 2020. The Briton has levelled the Ferrari great’s record in his previous race, the Eifel Grand Prix, earlier this month.

To put the numbers of the two racing legends in perspective, the third name in the list, Sebastian Vettel, has 53 race wins, almost half of Hamilton’s tally with five races still to go this season. Other than Vettel, only Alain Prost has crossed the mark of 50 race wins.

Hamilton, who made his debut at the 2007 season-opening Australian GP (third place), won his first race at the Canadian GP that year with McLaren. Since then, in his 262 races, he has won 92 and this was his 71st win behind the wheel of a Mercedes. In comparison, Schumacher reached won his 91st and final race in his 247th start, at 2006 Chinese Grand Prix.

Most F1 race wins

Driver Wins Seasons active First win Latest win
Lewis Hamilton 92 2007–counting  2007 Canadian Grand Prix 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix
Michael Schumacher 91 1991–2006
1992 Belgian Grand Prix 2006 Chinese Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel 53 2007–counting  2008 Italian Grand Prix 2019 Singapore Grand Prix
Alain Prost 51 1980–1991
1981 French Grand Prix 1993 German Grand Prix
Ayrton Senna 41 1984–1994 1985 Portuguese Grand Prix 1993 Australian Grand Prix
Fernando Alonso 32 2001
2003 Hungarian Grand Prix 2013 Spanish Grand Prix
Nigel Mansell 31 1980–1992
1985 European Grand Prix 1994 Australian Grand Prix
Jackie Stewart 27 1965–1973 1965 Italian Grand Prix 1973 German Grand Prix
Jim Clark 25 1960–1968 1962 Belgian Grand Prix 1968 South African Grand Prix
Niki Lauda 25 1971–1979
1974 Spanish Grand Prix 1985 Dutch Grand Prix

This new feat is just the latest in Hamilton’s illustrious roster of records.

The 35-year-old now already has a record 97 pole positions and 161 podium finishes along with pole and wins in the same race – overtaking Schumacher on both counts – as well as a record 45 consecutive points finishes (an ongoing streak.)

But what is even more special in the margin of the lead he has over other active drivers and past greats in most parameters. Hamilton’s dominance of the sport since the move to Mercedes and change in Formula One rules has been unreal. No other driver or car has come close to beating him, except former teammate Nico Rosberg, who retired immediately after winning the 2016 World Championship.

Most poles

Driver Poles Entries First pole Last pole
Lewis Hamilton 97 262 2007 Canadian Grand Prix 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix
Michael Schumacher 68 308 1994 Monaco Grand Prix 2006 French Grand Prix
Ayrton Senna 65 162 1985 Portuguese Grand Prix 1994 San Marino Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel 57 253 2008 Italian Grand Prix 2019 Japanese Grand Prix
Jim Clark 33 73 1962 Monaco Grand Prix 1968 South African Grand Prix
Alain Prost 33 202 1981 German Grand Prix 1993 Japanese Grand Prix
Nigel Mansell 32 191 1984 Dallas Grand Prix 1994 Australian Grand Prix
Nico Rosberg 30 206 2012 Chinese Grand Prix 2016 Japanese Grand Prix
Juan Manuel Fangio 29 53 1950 Monaco Grand Prix 1958 Argentine Grand Prix
Mika Häkkinen 26 165 1997 Luxembourg Grand Prix 2000 Belgian Grand Prix

Total podium finishes

Driver Entries Podiums
 Lewis Hamilton 262 161
 Michael Schumacher 308 155
 Sebastian Vettel 253 120
 Alain Prost 202 106
 Kimi Räikkönen 327 103
 Fernando Alonso 314 97
 Ayrton Senna 162 80
 Rubens Barrichello 326 68
 David Coulthard 247 62
 Nelson Piquet 207 60

Most consecutive points finishes

Driver Points finishes Races
 Lewis Hamilton 45 2018 British Grand Prix – 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix (ongoing)
 Lewis Hamilton 33 2016 Japanese Grand Prix – 2018 French Grand Prix
 Kimi Räikkönen 27 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix – 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix
 Michael Schumacher 24 2001 Hungarian Grand Prix – 2003 Malaysian Grand Prix
 Fernando Alonso 23 2011 European Grand Prix – 2012 Hungarian Grand Prix
 Valtteri Bottas 22 2018 British Grand Prix – 2019 British Grand Prix

Pole and win in same race

Driver Races
 Lewis Hamilton 57
 Michael Schumacher 40
 Sebastian Vettel 31
 Ayrton Senna 29
 Alain Prost 18
 Nigel Mansell 17
 Juan Manuel Fangio 15
 Jim Clark 15
 Nico Rosberg 15
 Fernando Alonso 14

Up next for Hamilton, inevitably, is a record-equalling seventh world title, which would put him on par with Schumacher.

With only five races remaining this year and a lead of 77 points over his nearest rival, teammate Valtteri Bottas, it is all but certain that the curtailed 2020 season will belong to Hamilton. And given the dominance of the 35-year-old and constructors Mercedes in the last few years, it is hard to imagine this status quo changing in 2021.

However, Hamilton has distanced himself from re-signing with the team and, as team boss Toto Wolff is out of contract at the end of the season. Both say they intend to stay, but have not found the time or right opportunity to settle their futures.

Formula One: Lewis Hamilton, Toto Wolff commit to staying with Mercedes next year

While it’s early to predict anything for next year as long as Hamilton will start on the grid, a record-breaking eighth word title is within sight.

Total championships

Driver Titles Seasons
 Michael Schumacher 7 1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
 Lewis Hamilton 6 2008, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019
 Juan Manuel Fangio 5 1951, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957
 Alain Prost 4 1985, 1986, 1989, 1993
 Sebastian Vettel 4 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

With AFP Inputs