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F1 2020: Hamilton presented with Schumacher helmet after record-equalling win

By Liam Blackburn
Lewis Hamilton

Nurburgring, October 11: Lewis Hamilton was "honoured" to receive one of Michael Schumacher's helmets after equalling his record for the most Formula One Grand Prix wins.

The Mercedes driver claimed the 91st victory of his career - a total that brought him level with seven-time world champion Schumacher - as he triumphed at the Eifel Grand Prix on Sunday.

It was the first F1 race since 2013 at Nurburgring in Schumacher's home country, and the Ferrari great's son was on hand to mark Hamilton's landmark victory.

F1 2020: Record-equalling Hamilton moves level with Schumacher's wins total at Eifel GP

Mick Schumacher - who was due to take part in his first F1 practice on Friday, only for the poor weather conditions to deny him the chance - handed Hamilton one of his father's iconic red helmets from the 2012 season as the Briton spoke on stage following his win.

"I'm honoured," Hamilton told the younger Schumacher. "This is such an honour; I really appreciate it."

Asked what it meant to him to receive the gift, Hamilton added: "I don't even know what to say.

"When you grow up, watching someone and you genuinely idolise them, just in terms of the quality of the driver they are, what they are able to continuously do year on year, race on race, week on week with their team...

"I remember playing as Michael on a game called Grand Prix 2. Seeing his dominance for so long, I didn't think anyone, especially me, would be anywhere near Michael in terms of records, so it's an incredible honour. It's going to take some time to get used to.

"As I came into the pitlane, that's only when I realised that I'd equalled that. I hadn't even computed it once [until] I crossed the line.

"I couldn't have done it without this incredible team, everyone continuing to push behind me and giving their everything."

It was the other Mercedes who started the race on pole and even after Hamilton claimed the lead from Valtteri Bottas on the first corner, the Finn fought back and nipped ahead again at the next turn.

However, relentless pressure from the championship leader forced Bottas into an error on lap 12 as he locked up.

Mechanical issues forced Bottas to retire not long after and Hamilton was able to emerge victorious ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Renault's Daniel Ricciardo to extend his lead in the title race to 69 points.

"I had a good start, got up alongside Valtteri and we both understeered into this corner, so I tried to give as much room as possible," Hamilton added.

"He was in my blind spot so I didn't know where he was. I moved wide to the outside, he came back, he did an amazing job. I remember coming out of that corner thinking, 'Good on you, man, I'm impressed. That was good.'

"After that I just had to make sure that I tried to hang on to him for as long as possible and I managed to look after my tyres really well. I could see he was graining his front tyres, so I knew the next couple of laps were the time for me to push, then he had the lock up.

"It was not an easy race at all. The Red Bulls are so fast. Max drove extremely well. The one chance he had was at the restart, but I managed to pull away. You could see their pace at the end, we've got a serious fight on our hands."

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Story first published: Sunday, October 11, 2020, 21:20 [IST]
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