Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team’s Lewis Hamilton extended his championship lead over Valtteri Bottas to 69 points after claiming victory in Sunday’s Eifel Grand Prix at the Nürburgring.
Hamilton who started the race from second took an early lead however Valtteri Bottas retook the lead straight away and began to pull away.
Sadly for Bottas, a second win in a row was not to be as he retired from the race.
Hamilton’s win, was his 91st career victory which matches seven time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher’s record.
Speaking following the action, Hamilton said:
t’s tough to put what this means into words. I remember watching Michael winning all those races when I was a kid and playing racing games with my brother and choosing to play as Michael. I dreamed of being there myself, but I don’t think anyone and especially me, imagined another driver getting anywhere near Michael’s records. It was beyond my wildest dreams to be equalling his number of race wins and it just shows that dreams can come true. It’s an incredible honour and something that will take some time to sink in. But I couldn’t have done it without this incredible team, everyone pushing so hard and giving it absolutely everything. A huge thank you to everyone back at the factories and also a huge respect for Michael, I feel really grateful today. In terms of the race itself, it was tough out there. I had a really good start and Valtteri did an amazing job to defend into Turn 2, I wouldn’t expect it to be any other way. Then it was about trying to figure out how I could beat Valtteri, so I really had to look after the tyres and make sure I stuck with him. I saw he was struggling a bit and knew the opportunity would come, but then he had the lock-up. I managed to build a good gap after that, but then the Safety Car came out. Max was right behind me and I knew I had to have a strong restart to keep him behind. I managed to catch him out which is always nice and that gave me the jump I needed. But you can see the pace Red Bull had at the end, so we’ve got a serious fight on our hands.
Valtteri Bottas commented following the race saying:
It’s a frustrating way to finish a race, it was really good fun until I started to lose power during the Virtual Safety Car. The start and the battle with Lewis through the first couple of corners was nice, there was no way I was going to make it easy for him. Obviously, later on I had a lock-up into Turn 1 and lost the position, which meant I stopped early. The new tyres were starting to feel pretty good and I was hopeful I could have potentially undercut. Everything was still to play for. But then it was quite a big loss of power – something wrong with the Power Unit. We’ll have to investigate what that is, but it was really unlucky. I went around for a couple of laps to see if it recovered but there was nothing else we could do.
Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team Principal and CEO Toto Wolff comented saying:
Congratulations to Lewis on the victory today and for equalling Michael’s record for most F1 wins. It’s an incredible moment. I remember watching F1 when Ferrari were winning every single Championship. Now our team have been able to catch them up and seeing Lewis equalise Michael’s winning record, it’s much more emotional than I thought it would be. An amazing thing to witness and a fantastic drive by Lewis today. It was a challenging race with very tricky, cool conditions. Valtteri and Lewis had a brilliant battle on the first lap, they raced each other hard but knew where the boundaries were. Valtteri went full rally style, keeping his foot on the throttle and maintained position. The pace of Valtteri’s opening few laps were incredible and it was such a shame he suffered the lock-up and then had the Power Unit issue. Otherwise, he would have been in the fight for victory, for sure. We still need to analyse what caused his retirement, because we don’t yet know the real cause. Everyone at Brixworth on the Power Unit side are pushing the boundaries all of the time and that’s why these things can sometimes happen. Of course, disappointing for Valtteri but we know how resilient he is, so I’m sure he’ll bounce back.
Chief Engineer Andrew Shovlin commented following the race saying:
Another really impressive win from Lewis and it’s incredible that he’s equalled Michael’s colossal tally of race wins. Michael has many good friends within the team, and it was very moving to see Mick and the family mark the occasion by giving Lewis one of Michael’s helmets. Valtteri on the other hand had a tough day. It was going well for him, but all his bad luck seemed to come within a few laps. He’d struggled a bit with the front end when we had some spots of rain, which triggered a lock up that meant he had to box for a new set. He then lost race time to Lewis and Max, because they benefited from a faster stop under the VSC, and then on the restart he was losing power and we couldn’t recover the situation. So, we retired the car. We’re still looking into the problem, but the early indications are that it’s an electronic issue rather than a hardware issue. Lewis’s day was more straightforward. He did a good job of preserving the tyres in the first stint and was starting to make good time on Max later in the stint, but ultimately both got pulled in by the VSC. He had everything under control in the second stint. We had the gap to just shadow what Red Bull were doing but the Safety Car came out, which made the decision to convert to a two-stop very easy. Overall, it’s been pleasing to see car work well in the cold conditions but as we’ve seen in other years, Red Bull are developing well and it’s looking like it will be pretty tight in the remaining races. However, retiring a car from a race is not our normal standard and it’s especially tough for Valtteri, who had good prospects after such a strong pole position yesterday. We’ll work hard to get on top of that issue and look forward to the challenge of another new track in Portugal.