Lewis Hamilton rose to the challenge to match Michael Schumacher’s all-time Formula 1 victory record, and did so on the German’s home soil at the Nurburgring in an action-packed Eifel Grand Prix.
The victory is Hamilton’s 91st win in Formula 1 and it came in a race he dominated after Mercedes team-mate and polesitter Valtteri Bottas retired due to an engine-related problem.
The Finn led from pole and was challenged into Turn 1 by Hamilton, but he fended off the challenge to the retain the lead. Bottas managed to build an almost two-second gap to his team-mate, but his hard was undone when he locked up into Turn 1 on Lap 12, allowing Hamilton to once again draw alongside.
The pair almost made contact as Bottas rejoined the circuit, but Hamilton had track position to swoop around the outside to claim the lead in Turn 3. The Briton would hold the lead until the chequered flag, despite a late Safety Car.
Bottas’ mistake also saw him come under threat from Max Verstappen before the Finn pitted for fresh tyres after flat-spotting his fronts. But just moments later his race would come to an end with a loss of power, which gradually dropped him down the order before he pulled into the garage to retire.
With Verstappen now second, the fight over the final podium spot was between Daniel Ricciardo, Lando Norris and Sergio Perez.
However a number of retirements would follow Bottas, with George Russell and Kimi Raikkonen making contact at Turn 1, earning the Alfa Romeo driver a ten-second penalty and Russell a DNF as his Williams sustained suspension damage.
Esteban Ocon followed with brake failure, then it was Alexander Albon’s turn. He previously made contact with Daniil Kvyat, causing the AlphaTauri drivers front-wing to come loose, and was handed a five-second time penalty as a result. Red Bull retired the Thai racer instead, suggesting they’d noticed an engine issue.
That was followed by McLaren’s Norris suffering from a loss of power. The Briton attempted to drive through the issue, but was losing performance quickly, with Perez taking up fourth as he set about chasing down Ricciardo and the final podium position.
Norris’ eventual retirement caused a Safety Car and allowed Ricciardo to bolt on some fresh tyres, neutralising the battle with Perez who previously held a 12-lap tyre advantage.
The Australian would go on to claim his first podium with Renault and the team’s first since Malaysia 2011 – tattoo incoming for team boss Cyril Abiteboul.
Points for Hulkenberg!
Nico Hulkenberg enjoyed his Eifel GP as he came through from last on the grid to finish eighth, claiming 4 points to add to his six from the 70th Anniversary GP, when he last stood in for Racing Point.
Meanwhile both Romain Grosjean and Antonio Giovinazzi added points to their tallies with ninth and tenth, just pipping Sebastian Vettel to a top ten finish after the German spun during the early stage of the race.
Formula 1 heads to Portugal for round 12 of the 2020 F1 World Championship.
2020 Eifel Grand Prix Race Result
|2||M. Verstappen||Red Bull||+4.470|
|4||S. Perez||Racing Point||+16.070|
|8||N. Hulkenberg||Racing Point||+32.596|
|10||A. Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+40.035|
|12||K. Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+41.476|
|17||A. Albon||Red Bull||DNF|