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.
|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
Most consecutive points finishes
|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
|Juan Manuel Fangio||15|
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.
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.
|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