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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Lewis Hamilton and his record-equalling F1 title: The evolution of a racing maestro

Both Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher won their seventh title at the age of 35 and if the Briton signs with Mercedes again for the new season, chances are he may very well overtake the German.

Written by Shashank Nair | November 16, 2020 9:21:05 am
Lewis Hamilton with the championship trophy after winning the Turkish GP. (Reuters)

One look at Lewis Hamilton’s tyres after the Turkish Grand Prix conveys a lot about why he was always going to be the man to match Michael Schumacher’s legacy. His Michelins blistered and peeling off the edges, the Brit won the race in the rain despite a disastrous qualifying session and secured the points needed to secure his seventh Formula One title, equalling the legendary German driver’s record.

What he did

In the modern era of Formula One, managing tyres has always been the key to staying at the top and no one has really evolved alongside the sport in the manner that Hamilton has. From being a pedal-to-the-metal driver who went through six years of not winning a title during Red Bull’s era of dominance, to achieving the level of mastery he has in managing his Mercedes’ tyres – Hamilton recognised the direction the sport was taking and changed his style accordingly.

While most cars pitted multiple times in order to counter the wet conditions in Turkey on Sunday, Hamilton was one of only two drivers who ran their races on single-stop strategies and intermediate tyres. What is incredible is that Hamilton started sixth on the grid and finished with an over-30 second advantage over the next driver.

What he has achieved

This is Hamilton’s fourth championship in a row and he has won the last six of his eight championship attempts – with the two losses coming to Nico Rosberg in 2016 and Sebastien Vettel in 2013. He now has 94 race wins as compared to Schumacher’s 91 but has done so in 42 fewer starts. The Brit has amassed 92 pole positions and has 163 podium finishes to his name, eight more than Schumacher. Both Hamilton and Schumacher won their seventh title at the age of 35 and if Hamilton again signs with Mercedes for the new season, chances are he may very well overtake the German’s championship title count.

READ | Hamilton’s road to his seventh title, race by race

What he said

After the race, an overwhelmed Hamilton said, “I remember watching Michael winning those championships and all us drivers here are always doing our best job we can. Just to get one, or two, or even three, it’s so hard to get. Seven is just unimaginable.”

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