Lewis Hamilton claimed the 91st victory of his Formula 1 career at the Eifel Grand Prix to draw level with Michael Schumacher’s all-time wins record.

Hamilton capitalised on an engine issue that forced his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas into a rare retirement to match Schumacher’s milestone that has stood unrivalled since the German’s last win for Ferrari at the 2006 Chinese Grand Prix.

A seventh victory from the first 11 races of the 2020 season has propelled Hamilton into a mammoth 69-point advantage at the top of the championship and strengthened his quest to equal Schumacher’s tally of seven drivers’ world title this year.

Hamilton took the chequered flag 4.4s clear of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, while Daniel Ricciardo delivered Renault its first podium since returning to F1 in 2016 with a brilliant drive to third.

Having been beaten to pole position by Bottas for just the third time this season, Hamilton made the better start out of the two Mercedes drivers and initially took the lead as the pair ran deep into Turn 1 and came perilously close to contact, but Bottas fought back to reclaim the position with a bold dive up the inside at Turn 2.

Bottas looked to have the upper hand over Hamilton in the opening stint as he steadied a gap of around 1.5 seconds, but a huge lock up and wide moment at Turn 1 opened the door for Hamilton to sweep past into the lead at the next corner.

The Finn’s day turned into a complete nightmare when he reported a loss of power on Lap 17 and began to drop down to the order.

Having fallen to seventh place, Mercedes ultimately called Bottas into the pits to retire with a suspected MGU-H problem, marking a huge blow to his title hopes.

Hamilton took full command of proceedings from there on in and managed a late Safety Car restart to perfection despite concerns over low tyre temperatures to beat Verstappen to his second victory at the Nurburgring, a venue Schumacher won at five times.

Ricciardo fended off a charging Sergio Perez to record his first podium finish since he won for Red Bull at Monaco in 2018 and force Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul to carry out their tattoo bet.

Despite a sublime drive, Perez was left to settle with a strong fourth place ahead of Carlos Sainz’s McLaren and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly.

Charles Leclerc following up his stunning qualifying display with a solid seventh place for Ferrari, with Nico Hulkenberg impressively recovering from the very back of the grid to take eighth place after his late call-up to replace the unwell Lance Stroll.

Romain Grosjean battled against finger pain to claim his first points of the season for Haas in ninth, ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi, who completed the top-10 in his Alfa Romeo.

Sebastian Vettel missed out on points on home soil by less than a second as he finished 11th, ahead of former Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who surpassed Rubens Barrchello’s long-standing record of race starts.

Kevin Magnussen, Nicholas Latifi and Daniil Kvyat were the only other classified finishers as five drivers dropped out.

FULL RACE RESULTS FROM THE 2020 F1 EIFEL GRAND PRIX.

 

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