The first ever Grand Prix race to be held at the Portimão Circuit did not disappoint. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton predictably crossed the line first and with that broke the world record of Formula 1 victories, trumping Micheal Schumacher’s 91 race wins by one. Love him or hate him, the six-time world champion is now statistically the motorsport’s most successful driver as he outperformed his teammate Valtteri Bottas and his rival in the Red Bull of Max Verstappen.
The Brit started in pole position but quickly lost his lead as a dramatic turn of events unfolded. Both Mercedes seemed to struggle from the start as their medium tyres took time to warm up. This trouble at the top gave way to an overtaking frenzy which claimed the Racing Point of Sergio Perez. As the fireworks of the opening laps subsided, Hamilton took back the lead and managed to extend it to the biggest winning margin of the season by 25.592 seconds, while making Formula 1 history in the process.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc reignited his team’s hopes as he crossed the line in fourth place after what has been a painful period in the Italian stallions’ 2020 season. While the Monegasque may have fallen short of the podium, he did well to keep the hungry drivers behind him at bay. Pierre Gasly, for example, was unable to get around Leclerc’s Ferrari and took home a solid fifth place for AlphaTauri while Carlos Sainz in his orange McLaren finished in sixth place despite a heroic charge to lead the pack at the beginning of the race.
Leclerc’s teammate Sebastian Vettel rounded off the top 10 after the two Renaults of Esteban Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo. The German veteran of the sport managed to grasp the final points-paying place after a solid comeback on the track. It has been reported that Vettel will race for new kids on the block Aston Martin in the 2021 F1 season, giving him the opportunity to escape the shadow of his younger teammate.
Despite this action packed debut race in Portimão, the Portuguese Grand Prix will be remembered as the moment when Hamilton shattered a longstanding world record after yet another mighty drive from an indisputably mighty driver. At 35 years of age the Brit can look back on an exceptional career but it is far from over as he sets his sights on the the 7-time World Championship record which he could very likely match at the end of this, a highly monumental and condensed 2020 F1 season.
The fossil-fuelled action will pick up in Italy at the infamous Imola track for the inaugural Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on November 1.