LONDON (REUTERS, AFP) – Lewis Hamilton overtook Michael Schumacher as the most successful Formula One driver of all time in terms of race wins on Sunday (Oct 25) and the Briton’s 92nd victory, in Portugal, added another country to his global map of domination.
The Briton, who levelled the record at the Eifel Grand Prix earlier this month, took the chequered flag a huge 25.592 seconds ahead of second-placed Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.
Dutchman Max Verstappen completed the podium for Red Bull, while Charles Leclerc produced a brilliant drive to finish fourth for Ferrari in Portimao.
Hamilton, the six-time world champion and surely soon to be seven-time, had already won in more countries than anyone in the sport’s history and Portugal, hosting a grand prix for the first time in 24 years, raised that tally to 24.
The Mercedes driver, yet to extend his contract beyond this season but looking sure to stay, can add to the number next year with Vietnam set to make its debut while the Netherlands returns for the first time since 1985.
A race in Saudi Arabia could also feature on the calendar for the first time.
Few races have escaped Hamilton’s dominance, but South Korea and India did.
Hamilton has won at least one race in every season he has competed in since his debut with McLaren in 2007, averaging 10 a year with Mercedes since the start of the V6 turbo hybrid era in 2014.
The first win came in Canada at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 10, 2007. That track has become something of a favourite, the 35-year-old going on to win there seven times in total.
Number 10 was reached in Hungary in 2009, his worst season so far in terms of wins with only two.
The Briton has gone on to win at the Hungaroring a record eight times.
Schumacher is the only other driver to have won the same grand prix eight times, doing so in France between 1994 and 2006.
Hamilton’s 20th win came at Monza in 2012 and the 30th in Japan in 2014, a race overshadowed by Jules Bianchi’s ultimately fatal accident.
Hamilton chalked up 40 wins – one fewer than the total career tally of boyhood hero Ayrton Senna – at Monza again in 2015, and reached his half century with a pole-to-flag success in Austin, Texas, in 2016.
The 60th came in Singapore the following year and 70th in Russia in 2018.
Win number 80 was applauded by his home fans last year at Silverstone, a circuit where he has now won seven times, and the 90th came along at Mugello in Italy in September.
Hamilton then equalled Schumacher’s all-time record with a 91st win at the Nuerburgring, the track closest to the German’s boyhood home in Kerpen.
Ferrari great Schumacher took his 91 wins between 1992 and 2006.
Lewis Hamilton’s 24 countries: Abu Dhabi, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Portugal, Turkey, Singapore, Spain, Russia, United States.
His Portugal victory was his eighth win of the season from just 12 races in 2020, with only five remaining in the coronavirus-truncated campaign.