Hamilton takes title lead, equals new Schumacher record

Race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates in parc ferme.
ยฉ XPB 

Sunday proved to be a red letter day for Lewis Hamilton, who took the lead of the Formula 1 drivers championship with victory in the 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix.

In the process he equalled a significant record set by Michael Schumacher, that of clinching eight wins at a single venue. He's also just five wins away from Schumacher's all-time tally of victories.

Hamilton first won the race in his rookie season with McLaren in 2007, and then picked up further wins in 2009, 2012, 2013 and 2016. He's been unbeaten at the Hungaroring since 2018.

As a result of today's race in which he also picked up a point for setting the fastest lap of the day at the end, Hamilton has taken the lead of the title battle for the first time this year by five points over his Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas.

If he wins the title again this year, it will be his seventh - equalling the record set by Schumacher in 2004. He has long-since overhauled the German's tally of 68 pole positions, with this weekend seeing him earn his 90th in Saturday's qualifying session.

Hamilton led for all but one lap on Sunday and was never under threat from his rivals. But he explained this had presented its own issues.

Mercedes AMG F1 celebrate as race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W11 finishes the race.

"Believe it or not it was still pushing out there, particularly for the fastest lap at the end." Hamilton explained afterwards. "My job out there is obviously to make no mistakes, which I didn't.

"But being able to manage the tyres the way I do, that's something I'm constantly working trying to work, constantly studying how to improve.

"I think that's why I was able to get that gap that I had and get that lap at the end," he continued. "I was managing those mediums for a long, long time, right at the end it was perfect to get on the fresh tyre and get the extra point.

"Whilst I was on my own for [most of] the race, it was just a different kind of challenge, and of course we had great pace.

"Honestly it was one of my favourite races to have raced," he continued. "It couldn't have been without these great guys that are working, just great pit stops, great strategy."

It's certainly all looking a lot better for Hamilton than it did at the start of the month, when things went awry in the season opener at the Red Bull Ring and put him on the back foot.

Race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates on the podium with Peter Bonnington (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 Race Engineer.

"I definitely feel round one was multiple different punches that I wasn't perhaps ready for," he admitted.

"But I refocused, which I try to do between every race, and the last two have been fantastic.

"I think this weekend [we've been] just on point throughout the weekend, so we need to try to keep this up."

The next two rounds will be at Hamilton's home circuit of Silverstone, and he admitted that not having the fans there in the grandstands due to coronavirus restrictions was a blow.

"I love Silverstone," he said. "[Not having any fans] is something that's really bugging me a bit ... It feels great to be out there because when you're in the zone you're in the zone, but I really do miss the energy they bring.

"I don't have a lot years left [in F1] and that's going to be one year I miss the guys, all the fans, but I do want them to stay safe and we're in that time where safety is everything.

"I hope I can perform well for them there because I know they'll be watching from a distance," he added. "I do hope everyone is staying safe."

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