Lewis Hamilton made history at the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday, securing the victory to not only take the lead atop the 2021 Formula 1 standings, but also to become the first F1 driver in history to reach 100 career wins.
Here’s the call leading up to Hamilton’s historic finish:
Hamilton already owned the F1 record at 99 wins, passing second-place Michael Schumacher’s mark of 91 wins last season. The next-closest active racer on the all-time wins list is Sebastian Vettel, who claims 53 career wins.
“It’s taken a long time to get to 100," Hamilton said, “and at times, I wasn’t sure it would come.”
Hamilton entered Sunday’s race with a five-point deficit to rival Max Verstappen in the 2021 season standings. With his victory, he now claims a narrow two-point lead over Verstappen (246.5-244.5) with only seven races remaining. Verstappen finished second to Hamilton in Sunday’s race, minimizing the damage Hamilton could do in the standings with his win.
“We didn’t lose so many points today, so that’s really, really good,” Verstappen told his team over the radio.
Verstappen started Sunday’s race at the rear of the field due to a penalty for an engine change; once rain hit the Sochi Autodrom, however, he quickly switched to his intermediate tires and raced his way to a podium finish. Likewise, Hamilton fought back from seventh place to pass Lando Norris for the win; the latter elected to stay on the track in slick tires, sliding off the track.
Hamilton is looking for his eighth overall F1 championship and fifth straight. Verstappen, who still claims the season lead in wins (seven, to Hamilton’s five), is looking for the first title of his career.
Both Hamilton and Verstappen are coming off a race at the Italian Grand Prix in which they collided in a scary crash; Verstappen jumped the kerb trying to cut in front of Hamilton, causing his car to mount Hamilton’s. Both drivers blamed the other for the crash, with Verstappen saying Hamilton should have left him room for the maneuver. Hamilton said Verstappen could easily have avoided causing the crash.
Hamilton and Verstappen were also involved in a crash at the British Grand Prix, with the former winning the race while Verstappen went to the hospital as a precautionary measure.
The next race on the F1 schedule is the Turkish Grand Prix, which takes place from Oct. 8 through 10.