Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Autodromo do Algarve, 2020

Hamilton’s recording-breaking Algarve win was ‘new-version Lewis at his best’

2020 Portuguese Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton’s victory in the Portuguese Grand Prix was a fitting way to break the record for most F1 wins because it demonstrated how he has improved as a driver, says Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin.

Despite losing the lead at the start of the race, Hamilton overtook team mate Valtteri Bottas and went on to win by a comfortable margin of 25 seconds.

Shovlin said the performance was “one of those days where you saw Lewis at his best” and showed the qualities of “the more recent version of Lewis”.

Hamilton showed patience in waiting for his time to strike, said Shovlin. “He was pretty calm losing places off the start, he didn’t take risks – he acknowledges that he was a bit cautious in those conditions. But he knew that it would all come back to him.

“He clearly had pace in hand a bit behind Valtteri. As Valtteri started to struggle with the tyres a little relatively early on in that first stint – Valtteri was feeling the car was quite inconsistent – you saw that Lewis was suddenly just up behind him. With Valtteri struggling a bit with the balance, Lewis was able to make that pass.

“Then he just managed the race. His pace was incredible at times, just how much he actually had in hand. So I think it was definitely one of his races where it was sort of fitting to go to the top of the all-time winners chart with a performance like that.”

Although Hamilton is yet to confirm his plans for the 2021 F1 season and beyond, Shovlin believes he is in the peak of his form and capable of adding many more victories to his record-breaking tally of 92.

“You do get some records over time – you realise you’re reaching either 100 races for the team or whatever – but I think with this one, with Lewis, when you look at the names on that list, you can’t believe that we’ve been a part of it as a team getting into the top of the list.

“His achievement is just phenomenal. He doesn’t show any signs of giving up or slowing down or anything either. So I suspect he’s going to go on and hit some more milestones.

“But it’s just a phenomenal achievement. The way that he works, the way that he’s driven to win and driven to improve, to be honest he improves by putting a lot of hours in outside of the car trying to learn everything from every difficult day that he ever has. When you see how he works, it’s almost not surprising that he’s achieved it. But it’s a phenomenal number of races.”

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2020 Portuguese Grand Prix

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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34 comments on “Hamilton’s recording-breaking Algarve win was ‘new-version Lewis at his best’”

  1. “He was pretty calm losing places off the start, he didn’t take risks – he acknowledges that he was a bit cautious in those conditions. But he knew that it would all come back to him.”

    This just shows how much he has in hand over Valtteri – he knows he can lose places to him and then just motor past later in the race. He is just in a different league and he knows it.

  2. I guess Lewis ate Valtteri’s porridge.

    1. Valtteri’s recovery after the start made me think that it might have been the finest porridge ever, but he might have left too much of it on the smörgåsbord.

  3. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    26th October 2020, 9:25

    One interesting fact is that the total number of wins by all other drivers on the grid added up is only 10 more than him at 102.

    1. Well given Vettel has 53…

      1. And your point is? yes he has over half of them, but the fact is, Hamilton nearly has the same number of wins as everyone on the grid combined, which even includes 2 other drivers with 5 WDCs added together.

  4. 80 of his 92 wins from the front row of the grid.

    1. Just shows you how amazing he is on a Saturday and Sunday

      1. Jonathan Parkin
        26th October 2020, 10:11

        7 wins from 3rd, 2 wins from 4th, 1 win from 5th, 1 win from 6th and 1 win from 14th are the others

      2. The interesting thing about this year is that if Hamilton is continuing to show he’s the best out there at qualifying, Bottas has also been pretty impressive this year. There have just been 4 occasions where Hamilton has been much over a tenth of ahead and one of them, Bottas had break problems so that gap may not be entirely representative.

        In 3 of the other 8 sessions, Bottas managed to beat Hamilton, one of them being by several tenths. But 7 of them were all within around a tenth of a second.

        5 were actually under 0.075 seconds between them.

        Austria: Bottas by 0.012
        70th Anniversary: Bottas by 0.063
        Spain: Hamilton by 0.059
        Italy: Hamilton by 0.069
        Tuscany: Hamilton by 0.059 – Again!

        Even Hungary and Portugal were only a fraction over a tenth.

        Bottas may not have the best race pace (but that is being compared to Hamilton also), and he was heavily beaten beaten in qualifying in Russia and Belgium, but in general given he is against the very best, I think his one lap pace is very under rated. He very likely will be one of the best qualifiers on the grid.

        1. It shows that Mercedes and the drivers know how to get a car to drive, unlike another team on the grid, who has a car that gets lapped by their own teammate. Someone needs to tell that team how to do things world champions do.

        2. Very true.

          I think we also perhaps need to consider car set up and whether Bottas is setting up for ultimate speed v Hamilton setting up for the race as he mentioned yesterday?

          As well as adaptability that others have mentioned there is also the consistency element that separates them on race day – knocking out 99% laps, lap after lap. Bottas seems to have higher variability. You see it too in other fast drivers too like Norris – can be very quick over a few laps but not across a whole race very often, however being relatively inexperienced I imagine this is one area that Lando could make significant progress in.

        3. Bottas qualifying performance improved after he was given Lewis’s race performance engineer, Ricci Musconi. Both Lewis and Bottas have admitted this. This is the same way Rosberg’s performance improved after he was given a dossier on Lewis’s driving secrets.

    2. Yes David, largely because Hamilton has the world record for pole positions by a very long way.
      He is the fastest driver in qualifying ever. The numbers don’t lie.

      1. I think the poles are more representative of how dominant his car has been.

        He lost qualifying head to head with Rosberg 11-8 in 2014.

        1. You must really hate Sundays. I bet every Sunday morning you wake up hoping and praying something happens to Lewis’s car or that he for some reason can’t race that day. Only to be very disappointed when he crosses the finishing line in first place and breaking more records. I’m sure this bothers you so much that you have sleepless nights over Hamilton.

        2. You dislike Hamilton on every level don’t you? You belittle his achievements and opinions at every opportunity.
          Whether it is his message not to cut down the rainforest, or his wins, or his poles or anything else to do with him.
          It is very strange.
          You clearly have F1 knowledge, but a delusional belief that Verstappen is one of the best ever.
          This is despite every shred of evidence pointing to him not being that fast (reference DR beating him as teammates over 3 yrs) and mentally fragile.
          Look at the number of crashes he is in that he could avoid, but some sort of red mist descends over him.
          He cannot analyse or accept his mistakes and thus will not be able to change nor improve.
          Not a trait shared by any of the greats and will be one of the reasons he doesnt win multiple Wdcs.

        3. The car doesn’t drive itself.
          Lewis thrashed Alonso, Kovalalalaein, Butttttton, Rosberg (who doesn’t dare to face a rematch), Bottas and lives rent free in the heads of fans like yourself.

          It must be very sad to be one of the biggest los.er. Lay8ng in your bed and crying to sleep every night.
          ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

        4. Isn’t it amazing Bongo brings up a single year (2014) in order to rubbish a driver’s qualifying performance against his teammates in 15 years? How sad do you have to be to do that?

          Never mind that was the year Lewis was new to the team, and Mercedes were using brakes he wasn’t familiar with.

      2. Numbers don’t mean that much. Drivers of bygone eras didn’t have the luxury of starting hundreds of F1 races to rack up numbers. Percentages are more meaningful. And you cant beat El Chueco, the GOAT forever, at percentages.
        Average rank of Lewis Carl David Hamilton on the starting grid: 3.74 (and 3.29 in the race finish)
        Average rank of El Chueco on the starting grid: 1.75 (beat that); 1.78 in the race finish

    3. And he has only managed to win once on three wheels.

    4. Today he dropped to 3rd before passing for the win. Watch the races, don’t just look at the numbers.

    5. And Senna had 34 of his 41 wins from front row, 5 from 3rd, 1 from 4th and 5th.
      What’s your point?

      1. David Dimbo’s point is to demonstrate his jealousy driven hate for Hamilton whenever he can.

    6. But he also won 12 from further down. Even from P14 in Germany 2018. In the wet. Against Vettel in the fastest car.

      Vettel never won from a start position lower than P3!

      1. isaac (@invincibleisaac)
        26th October 2020, 22:10

        So for Hamilton’s 12 wins that weren’t from the front row I can think of 11 … anyone care to put me out of my misery and tell me the missing race he won from 3rd?!

        14th – Germany 2018
        6th – Silverstone 2014
        5th – Singapore 2017
        4th – Silverstone 2008
        4th – Hungary 2009
        3rd – China 2011
        3rd – Monaco 2008
        3rd – Monza 2018
        3rd – Bahrain 2019
        3rd – Hungary 2019
        3rd – Mexico 2019
        3rd – ?

    7. Does Horner pay you to come up with this stuff? You two would be a great double act at a wake.

  5. I beg to differ @Ian dearing i believe there was once before where lewis in the rain had an accident road round the track on 3 wheels pitted and retook the lead to win. I think it may have been monaco. He was driving a mclaren back then. So in a sense this years race is is second 3 wheel race win.

  6. You could see Hamilton taking different lines from others, and from what he’d done previously, throughout the race. He was continually adapting to the new circuit and changing winds while balancing out the car. Hence the relatively huge gap to Bottas by the end. Normally, at a known circuit, he’d have managed the distance less. But he was actually going faster while keeping more in the tyres: Mercedes pitted both when Bottas started getting vibrations. Phenomenal drive indeed. A pity some of the visitor to a dedicated Formula 1 site have no idea what they’re actually watching.

    1. managed the distance more*

    2. @david-br I know right? Also the way he set up Bottas to fail. Pushed him into destroying his tyres and then pounced in only a few laps. Amazing how Hamilton just turned up the wick and crushed Bottas.

      I don’t think this is new though. We’ve seen him do it to Vettel, Rosberg and Verstappen too.

  7. A brilliant win to establish a new (important) record. Looks like he took my “Just shut up and race” to heart. :-)

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