Hamilton matches Schumacher's record with 91st win
By Alan Baldwin
(Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton reached Michael Schumacher's record of 91 Formula 1 victories on Sunday with an Eifel Grand Prix victory that catapulted the Mercedes driver closer to a seventh world championship.
While the Briton triumphed at the Nürburgring, the German race track on which the great Ferrari Schumacher won five times, team-mate Valtteri Bottas suffered a great success in his title hopes with his first retirement of the season.
Hamilton, who celebrates his seventh win of the season, is now 69 points ahead of the Finn - that's almost three race wins - and has six laps to go.
Red Bulls Max Verstappen finished second and scored a bonus point by setting Hamilton's fastest lap in the end. Australian Daniel Ricciardo finished third for Renault on his first podium since 2018 when he was with Red Bull.
It was also the first time as a Renault designer since her return in 2016.
Schumacher's son Mick, the Formula 2 front runner who could face Hamilton next season, presented the Briton with one of his father's red helmets from his second F1 stint with Mercedes.
"Congratulations and that is in the name of all of us. A great achievement," said Mick, whose father suffered serious head injuries in a skiing accident in 2013 and has not been seen in public since.
"Thank you very much, it is a great honor," said Hamilton before stepping onto the podium on the circuit closest to Schumacher's youth home in Kerpen. "I don't even know what to say.
"When you grow up watching someone you generally adore, you know really just in terms of the quality of the driver, but what he can do continuously, year after year and race after race and week after week," he added Briton.
"Having seen his dominance for so long, I don't think anyone, and especially me, didn't imagine that I would be anywhere near Michael in terms of records. So it's an incredible honor, and it's going to be some time take time to get used to it. "
Hamilton said he didn't realize the importance of what he'd done until he got into the pit lane after taking the checkered flag.
Bottas started on pole, Hamilton was second on the grid and was worried about his steering wheel. After a bike-to-bike battle with his team-mate, he came through the first corners.
However, the Finn opened the door on lap 13 when he ran wide on turn one and damaged his tires, with Hamilton lying close behind and continuing on turn two.
Bottas then reported a power failure five laps later during a virtual safety car phase and was withdrawn from the pits by the team.
"Bad luck. What can I say," said the Finn to Sky Sports television.
The safety car was deployed late in the race when McLaren's Lando Norris pulled away with a smoking engine and both Hamilton and Verstappen complained over the radio about the slow pace and cold of their tires.
Hamilton made the restart smoothly and from then on it was just a matter of the last few laps to the historic finale.
The Mexican Sergio Perez was fourth for Racing Point, McLaren's Carlos Sainz fifth and Pierre Gasly sixth for AlphaTauri.
Ferrari's Charles Leclerc finished seventh and Nico Hülkenberg went from last place on the grid to eighth place as a replacement for the uncomfortable Canadian Lance Stroll at Racing Point.
Romain Grosjean scored his first points of the season with ninth place for Haas and Italian Antonio Giovinazzi finished 10th for Alfa Romeo.
His team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion, who achieved a record of 323rd Formula 1 starts, finished twelfth.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, Editing by Gareth Jones and Christian Radnedge)
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