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Lewis Hamilton vows to stick with Mercedes to rewrite Formula One’s record books after drawing level with Michael Schumacher’s 91 wins

Hamilton promised to stay at Mercedes and rewrite Formula One’s record books after drawing level with Michael Schumacher’s victory haul.

The Briton’s 91st win in Germany came 14 years and 10 days after the Ferrari great’s last triumph, in China.

And in a clear sign he will sign a new deal with the Silver Arrows ahead of next season, 35-year-old Hamilton said: ‘I will continue to charge on and see what is possible. I have got the best team behind me and they inspire me.

I love doing what I am doing. I love the challenge. I love the sport, the smell of it, and the atmosphere it creates. It is going to be difficult to let it go.’

Hamilton’s next target is a seventh world title, to equal Schumacher again, before the season ends in Abu Dhabi on December 13.

He leads Valtteri Bottas by a commanding 69 points with six races remaining.

Of Sunday’s landmark, Hamilton added: ‘It has not sunk in yet. I grew up watching Michael winning all those grands prix and I could not fathom equalling him.

‘It is hard for people to understand how hard it was to get those 91 wins, to deliver weekend in, weekend out, year on year, and to stay in shape.

Sadly, as the world knows, the legendary driver is confined to barracks as he wages a glacial recovery following the horrific skiing accident that robbed him of his vitality nearly seven years ago.

So it was left to Michael’s 21-year-old son Mick, an aspiring Formula One driver and leader of the F2 standings, to perform the rituals on behalf of a private, tight family, handing one of his father’s old helmets to Hamilton, like a baton.

The recipient was touched. The pair hugged as much as Covid permitted.
‘I understand that now, more than ever. It doesn’t get easier.’

‘Getting to Formula One was the first step of the dream, and then it was emulating Ayrton (Senna),’ said Hamilton.

‘But Michael was just so far ahead, it was beyond my wildest dreams that I could be here today having equalled this record.’

Hamilton knew, when he was a boy and Schumacher was an automaton of success, that the German almost destroyed the sport with his relentless brilliance. Now, after 261 races in 14 seasons, Hamilton is level with him at the age of 35.

A seventh title beckons for the Briton after he moved 69 points clear of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas with 11 of 17 rounds completed. Barring an unexpected turn, a century of wins awaits him on a silver salver.

EIFEL GRAND PRIX RESULTS AND STANDINGS
RACE RESULT

1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 1hr 35mins 49.641secs

2 Max Verstappen (Hol) Red Bull 1:35:54.111

3 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Renault 1:36:04.254

4 Sergio Perez (Mex) Racing Point 1:36:05.711

5 Carlos Sainz (Spa) McLaren 1:36:11.546

6 Pierre Gasly (Fra) AlphaTauri 1:36:12.407

7 Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 1:36:20.455

8 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Racing Point 1:36:22.237

9 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas 1:36:28.722

10 Antonio Giovinazzi (Ita) Alfa Romeo 1:36:29.676

11 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1:36:30.451

12 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo 1:36:31.117

13 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas 1:36:39.226

14 Nicholas Latifi (Can) Williams 1:36:44.090

15 Daniil Kvyat (Rus) AlphaTauri 1:36:45.229

Not Classified:

16 Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren 42 laps completed, 17 Alexander Albon (Tha) Red Bull 23 laps completed, 18 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Renault 22 laps completed, 19 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes 18 laps completed, 20 George Russell (Gbr) Williams 12 laps completed

Fastest Lap:

Max Verstappen 1min 28.139 secs on lap 60

DRIVERS’ STANDINGS

1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 230pts

2 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes 161

3 Max Verstappen (Hol) Red Bull 147

4 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Renault 78

5 Sergio Perez (Mex) Racing Point 68

6 Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren 65

7 Alexander Albon (Tha) Red Bull 64

8 Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 63

9 Lance Stroll (Can) Racing Point 57

10 Pierre Gasly (Fra) AlphaTauri 53

11 Carlos Sainz (Spa) McLaren 51

12 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Renault 36

13 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 17

14 Daniil Kvyat (Rus) AlphaTauri 14

15 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Racing Point 10

16 Antonio Giovinazzi (Ita) Alfa Romeo 3

17 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo 2

18 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas 2

19 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas 1

20 Nicholas Latifi (Can) Williams 0,

21 George Russell (Gbr) Williams 0

Constructors’ standings: 1 Mercedes 391pts, 2 Red Bull 211, 3 Racing Point 120, 4 McLaren 116, 5 Renault 114, 6 Ferrari 80, 7 AlphaTauri 67, 8 Alfa Romeo 5, 9 Haas 3, 10 Williams 0

What a remarkable story this has been since Hamilton first burst across the horizon in 2007 with a bravura opening corner on his debut in Melbourne and then victory in only his sixth race, in Montreal — the triumph he picked out last night ahead of his other 90 wins.

He thought of his dad, Anthony, his biggest supporter and how he had shaped him to break the mould of the possible.

Would Verstappen be able to pile on the pressure? No, Hamilton made light of cold rubber on the re-start to remain clearly in front.

His serenity was in contrast to Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who spun as he seems always to do four days.

The four-time champion, inspired by Schumacher as a kid, had once imagined all the records falling at his own feet as he dominated F1 in the first four years of the last decade.

ajay
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