Lewis Hamilton passed Valtteri Bottas to take a commanding victory in the Portuguese Grand Prix and break Formula 1’s all-time win record. Hamilton dropped to third in a manic first two laps that ended with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz leading, but fought back to crush Bottas’ hopes.
After both Mercedes passed Sainz, Hamilton tracked Bottas before taking the lead on lap 20. From there, Hamilton dominated to take his 92nd career Grand Prix victory.
Hamilton received a standing ovation from the socially distanced crowd, before celebrating with team members and then a long embrace with father Anthony.
Hamilton said he “owed it all” to his Mercedes team, adding: “I could only ever have dreamed of being where I am today.
“I didn’t have a magic ball when I chose to come to this team and partner with these great people, but here I am.
“Everything we do together – we are all rowing in the same direction and that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing.
“And my dad’s here and my step mum Linda, and Roscoe [Hamilton’s dog]. It is going to take some time for it to fully sink in. I was still pushing flat out as I came across the line. I can’t find the words at the moment.”
His victory, on a humiliating day for team-mate Bottas, gave Hamilton a 77-point advantage in the championship as he moves ever closer to a seventh world title, which would match Schumacher’s other surviving record.
Hamilton had to do it the hard way, cool temperatures and a sprinkling of rain at the start leaving his Mercedes grip-less on its medium tyres on the opening lap, on which he was passed by both Bottas and Sainz.
Sainz, using his soft tyres to great advantage over the medium-shod Mercedes, produced a stellar opening lap from seventh on the grid and passed Bottas for the lead at Turn Five on the second lap.
But once the Mercedes’ tyres were up to temperature, they wasted no time in dispatching the McLaren and disappeared into a race of their own.
Hamilton never let Bottas get much more than a couple of seconds ahead and then after 15 laps started to pour on the pace, setting fastest lap after fastest lap to close in on the Finn and then pass for the lead into Turn One.