Lewis Hamilton’s win in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix has seen him break yet another Formula One record, set by Michael Schumacher.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen had started on pole, but Hamilton gained the lead when he was stopped earlier by his Mercedes team to complete an undercut of the Dutch driver.
Hamilton kept his lead through the second set of pit stops, with Verstappen running 11 laps longer to set up a grandstand finish.
The strategic battle between the teams meant that Hamilton had to hold off Verstappen, who was on fresher tyres for the final 17 laps of the race.
Hamilton was forced to nurse his tyres and measure his pace to hold off Verstappen, who caught up to him with five laps to go.
A lap later, the 23-year-old attempted to pass Hamilton around turn four of the Bahrain International Circuit.
He looked to have completed a superb move around the outside of reigning world champion Hamilton, but a snap of oversteer took him off the track.
With rules stating that drivers must stay on the right side of the exit kerb on the outside of that corner, Verstappen was quickly ordered to hand the position back to Hamilton.
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Though it looked likely that Verstappen would be able to catch and pass Hamilton successfully, the Red Bull car’s pace dropped off to leave Hamilton to take his 96 th win in F1.
Schumacher broke numerous records during his time driving for Jordan, Benneton, Ferrari and Mercedes, including those for wins, podiums and pole positions.
Hamilton has since broken all three of them, setting a new record for race wins in last season’s Portuguese Grand Prix on his way to claim a record-equalling seventh world championship.
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And he has started the 2021 season in the same vein, with Sunday’s race also seeing him break the record for most laps lead.
As he led the race on lap 43, he broke Schumacher’s record of 5111 laps led, going on to set the new record at 5126.
He can increase that at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in three weeks’ time, though if Sunday’s race is anything to go by, he faces a major challenge from Verstappen.
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