F1 2020: History looms for Hamilton as series returns to Portugal

By Ben Spratt 21 October 2020 26
F1 2020: History looms for Hamilton as series returns to Portugal

In-form Lewis Hamilton can take the Formula One record for most race wins outright as the series returns to Portugal this weekend.

Defending champion Hamilton again tops the drivers' championship this year after winning seven of the 11 grands prix so far in 2020.

Those successes have seen the Briton seize a slice of history, tying Michael Schumacher's mark of 91 F1 victories last time out.

The Portuguese Grand Prix, which begins at 13:10 local time (GMT) on Sunday, can now provide the setting for Hamilton's big moment as he seeks to surpass the former Ferrari great.

LAST TIME OUT

Hamilton certainly enjoyed himself at the Eifel Grand Prix in Germany 10 days ago.

Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas had started on pole, but an early error allowed Hamilton to take advantage and he held off Max Verstappen to take the win and further increase his season lead. Bottas retired on lap 19.

Mick Schumacher, son of Michael, had been due to get his F1 bow in practice before adverse weather conditions intervened.

But Hamilton's feat - a record-equalling 91st success - meant Mick still had a part to play, handing over one of his father's helmets to the victor.

"This is such an honour," Hamilton told the 21-year-old. "I really appreciate it."
 

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN PORTUGAL

Hamilton is determined to ensure his looming achievement does not provide a distraction, insisting he is wary of the threat of Red Bull and Renault, whose Daniel Ricciardo finished third in Germany.

"I think Red Bull as well as Renault have really picked up their game and closed the gap, so we've got to continue to keep our heads down," he said.

But while all eyes will of course be on Hamilton, there are others who need a performance just as badly.

Ferrari have now gone seven races without a podium since Charles Leclerc finished third at the British GP. Only once since the turn of the century - in the final eight grands prix of the 2014 campaign - have the Scuderia endured a longer such run.
 

TOP FIVE OPTA STATS

More Hamilton history? - The season leader can become just the second driver - after Schumacher (5111) - to lead for 5000 laps if he runs in first place from start to finish on Sunday.

Ending the wait - The Portuguese GP is back 24 years after its previous race, when Jacques Villeneuve (Williams) won in 1996. Portimao is the fourth track to be used for this event, following Estoril, Porto and Monsant.

Another ticked off - This will be the 32nd different circuit Hamilton has raced at. He has tasted victory at 27 of the other 31 and achieved pole at 28 - both records.

Winning Williams? - Williams have won five of the past six races in Portugal, also taking pole position at five of these grands prix. No team can top their overall tallies of six wins and five poles in Portugal.

Or maybe not... - Williams pair George Russell and Nicholas Latifi are the only drivers on the grid without a single point in 2020.
 

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 230
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 161
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 147
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) - 78
5. Sergio Perez (Racing Point) - 68

Constructors

1. Mercedes – 391
2. Red Bull – 211
3. Racing Point - 120
4. McLaren – 116
5. Renault – 114

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Ben Spratt

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