Hamilton equals Schumacher with 91st victory, Verstappen and Ricciardo to the podium
By Dennis Schnitzler 11 October 2020 | 17:07
Lewis Hamilton has won the Eifel Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver took advantage of the problems that teammate Valtteri Bottas had and drove to victory: his 91st. In doing so, he equalled record holder Michael Schumacher. Max Verstappen finished second, while Daniel Ricciardo gave Renault its first podium since the team's return in 2016.
It soon became clear that it was going to be a chaotic afternoon in Germany. At the start, everyone had a good start and Valtteri Bottas immediately made a gap to Hamilton. Verstappen got safely through the first couple of corners and was able to keep up with the Mercedesses, while teammate Alexander Albon completely out breaked himself. The Red Bull driver had to go in early, which caused him to drop back in the field and forced him to chase the rest of the field down again.
A few laps later, Bottas made a mistake, allowing Hamilton to take the lead quite easily. The first retirement was George Russell. The Williams driver was hit hard by Kimi Raikkonen in turn one which launched his car into the air. A flat tire meant a DNF a little later, after which there was a temporary virtual safety car situation. This was the moment for Hamilton and Verstappen to dive into the pits. After a slow stop for the Mercedes driver, Verstappen was able to get a little closer.
Breakdowns for Bottas and Albon
Shortly after the pit stops of Hamilton and Verstappen, fate struck for Bottas. The Finn had problems with his Mercedes W11 and had to go into the pits and meant that his race was over. Mercedes retired the car. Moments later, Esteban Ocon also had problems with his car, so he also had to go into the pits to park his car.
Meanwhile, Alexander Albon tried to overtake Daniil Kvyat's AlphaTauri, but it didn't go as planned. The Russian lost his front wing and logically a lot of lap time. A five-second time penalty was handed out to Albon for the action, but that didn't matter much in the end. Moments later, the Thai Briton had to park his RB16 in the pit box due to a problem with the Honda engine, making him the fourth DNF of the day a fact.
The battle in midfield remained in full swing. After problems with his car, Lando Norris was unable to match his previous lap times, so Sergio Perez and teammate Carlos Sainz passed him by. In the meantime, Charles Leclerc was in fourth place, but soon got into battle with Perez, who seemed to be faster. The result was a pit stop and a two-stop strategy for the Monegask F1 driver.
Norris provides a potentially exciting ending
Norris had been complaining about the lack of power during the race and with about 15 laps to go he parked his car along the track. Due to the somewhat dangerous location of the stranded car, the safety car was called out. Virtually the entire field, including Hamilton and Verstappen, dived in to the pits with 10 laps to go.
Verstappen, however, was not able threaten Hamilton anymore and Hamilton drove to his much desired 91st victory without too much problems, with which he and Michael Schumacher set the Formula 1 record for most victories. Verstappen finished in a decent second place. Ricciardo crossed the line in third after holding Perez behind him in the final laps. For Renault, it is the first podium since the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix when Nick Heidfeld came third. and for Ricciardo his first since his last podium in Monaco in 2018.
Behind the three podium finishers, it was Perez who finished fourth. Behind him were Sainz, Pierre Gasly, Leclerc, substitute Nico Hülkenberg, Romain Grosjean and Antonio Giovinazzi who finished within the points. (Photo: Mercedes AMG F1)
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