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Hamilton beats Schumacher laps-led record to add to stellar CV

Hamilton beats Schumacher laps-led record to add to stellar CV

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Hamilton beats Schumacher laps-led record to add to stellar CV

Hamilton beats Schumacher laps-led record to add to stellar CV

If there was one lesson learned in Bahrain, it was never to write off Lewis Hamilton – and even though he no longer has the leading car he still crashed out a couple more stats to add to his already stellar CV.

The record-breaking world champion had not won a season-opener since 2015 but claimed the 300th grand prix victory for a British driver, with a personal win number 96 and a 75th for Mercedes.

There was, however, one stat that trumped them all this weekend – and sure enough it was Hamilton that claimed it again.

More laps led than anyone in history

There are few records left to collect, but this one is special. Hamilton has now led more laps than anyone in history. Michael Schumacher, of course, held the previous record, with 5,111, but that has now gone too.

Hamilton, who trailed Schumacher’s record by 13 laps, assumed the lead from Max Verstappen on lap 18 and ran for 10 laps before pitting. He then took the lead back on lap 40 and raced past the record.

He has now led 5,126 laps out of the 15,222 laps he has driven. That’s 33.6% per cent of the time spent in the lead which, interestingly, is just less than his win percentage of 35.96 and his pole percentage of 36.7.

Second best too familiar for Verstappen

Second place was not what Max Verstappen wanted to take home from Bahrain, but it is a position with which he is very familiar after finishing second at the track in the last two Bahrain Grands Prix.

It was also the 14th time the Dutch driver has been second behind Lewis Hamilton and the seventh time he has finished in the runner’s up spot since the start of 2020.

A record-equalling podium

It was the 14th time that Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Valterri Bottas have stood on a podium together, a stat matched only by the trio of Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel in the past.

It is a sure fire bet that the current dominant trio will go on to claim the outright record this season. It is more a matter of when, not if, that will happen, and the bigger question is how many more they can add to the total.

Debut delight for Japan

Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda started his debut race from 13th on the grid but used the impressive performance of his AlphaTauri-Honda machine to race through the pack and claim points with a ninth-placed finish.

It made Tsunoda the 65th F1 driver to score points on his debut and the first to achieve the feat since Stoffel Vandoorne finished 10th for McLaren at the season opener in Bahrain in 2016.

It was also the first points for a Japanese driver since Kamui Kobayashi was ninth in the 2012 Brazilian GP for Sauber.

Schumacher ‘success’

Mick Schumacher made it to the finish for Haas on his F1 debut, albeit last, but while the relative performances differed dramatically, Mick’s debut was technically better than that of his father, seven-time world champion Michael.

Schumacher senior famously joined the F1 grid mid-season in Belgium, as a replacement for Belgian Bertrand Gachot who had been jailed for an alleged assault on a London taxi driver.

Blessed with a good car, the Gary Anderson-designed Jordan 191, the hotly tipped youngster finished Friday practice eighth and qualified seventh but retired on lap one. He then moved to Benetton and the rest is history.

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