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Hamilton becomes new Formula 1 record-holder with Portuguese GP victory

Hamilton becomes new Formula 1 record-holder with Portuguese GP victory

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Hamilton becomes new Formula 1 record-holder with Portuguese GP victory

Hamilton becomes new Formula 1 record-holder with Portuguese GP victory

Lewis Hamilton made history in Portugal by claiming the 92nd victory of his career to set a new Formula 1 record for number of grand prix wins.

Following his triumph at the Nürburgring a fortnight ago when Hamilton equalled the landmark set by Michael Schumacher, the Briton made the fabled record his own at the first time of asking by taking the chequered flag on F1's return to Portugal after a 24-year absence.

Following a patchy start from the six-time champion, who had dropped from pole to third by the end of the first lap, Hamilton beat Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas by a staggering 25.592secs seconds to open up a 77-point cushion in the drivers' standings, with the 35-year-old claiming the additional point for fastest lap.

As has become customary this season, Red Bull's Max Verstappen joined the pair on the podium, with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc a stunning fourth in his Ferrari, followed by Alpha Tauri's Pierre Gasly, Carlos Sainz in his McLaren and Racing Point's Sergio Perez after what was an adventurous race for the Mexican.

The start and the opening couple of laps were captivating for three reasons, primarily due to a very light dusting of rain through the first few corners, in tandem with the drivers sporting a range of different compounds, and with the recently resurfaced, undulating track also playing its part.

While Hamilton initially held the lead from pole, behind him Bottas and Verstappen went wheel to wheel, and while the Finn held sway, the Dutch driver tagged Perez emerging from a wide angle out of turn four, sending the Mexican into a spin.

Despite a stewards' investigation, Verstappen was cleared, but the unfortunate Perez rejoined at the back of the pack after starting fifth, only to produce a superb job on his climb back through the field.

Within moments, and on such a greasy surface, Hamilton appeared to lose a degree of confidence with his car and, in particular, the medium tyres as Bottas and McLaren's Carlos Sainz surged past to drop the Briton to third.

One of the more remarkable statistics from the opening lap was the fact Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen took full advantage of the scruffiness of others in front of him to rise from 16th at the start to sixth.

By the end of lap one, the running order was fascinating as Bottas led Sainz, Hamilton and the second McLaren of Lando Norris, followed by Verstappen and Raikkonen, while Leclerc had dropped three places to seventh and Daniel Ricciardo had risen two to eighth.

On the swifter reacting soft Pirellis, and with the mediums still warming up, Sainz swept by Bottas to take the lead on lap two, and for a few laps there was the sight of an orange McLaren taking the fight to Mercedes.

But it only required a few laps for the medium tyres on the cars of Bottas and Hamilton to finally prove their worth as by the start of lap eight the Spaniard was back behind both again.

Twelve laps later, and after taking his time to reel in Bottas, Hamilton regained the lead, bizarrely after his team-mate had taken to the dirty side of the near-kilometre long start-finish straight to defend, kicking up clouds of dust.

Hamilton then surged clear, opening up a near four-second cushion within six laps, and by half-distance at 33 laps the gap had stretched to eight seconds, with a yet-to-pit medium-shod Leclerc third, followed by Verstappen who had earlier taken on a set of mediums.

The duo soon swapped places, however, after 34 laps, with Leclerc taking on the hard compound, from where he settled into his fine fourth to the flag.

Six laps later, from the lead, Hamilton took on a set of hard tyres, and although Bottas asked for a set of softs as a counter-measure, he was ignored and was also placed on the white-striped rubber, and the race was run.

There was a late moment of consternation for Hamilton when he announced over the team radio with seven laps remaining he was suffering from cramp, but it seemingly failed to hamper his progress as he ultimately lapped everyone up to fourth-placed Leclerc such was the might of his performance.

Behind the leading septet were Renault duo Esteban Ocon and Ricciardo, with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel 10th for only his second point in the last six races.

Raikkonen claimed 11th, with Red Bull's Alex Albon a lowly 12th, and not the result he needed to help secure his seat for next season, with Norris 13th and Williams' George Russell 14th.

Racing Point's Lance Stroll was the only retiree, that after 54 laps, the culmination of a wretched race as he was handed two five-second penalties - one for causing a collision with Norris, and the second for constantly exceeding track limits.

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