BREAKING | F1 century: Hamilton secures 100th career win in Formula 1

26-09-2021 14:39
Breaking News
BREAKING | F1 century: Hamilton secures 100th career win in Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton has won the 2021 Russian Grand Prix which takes his career tally of wins to 100 in Formula 1. Having overtaken Michael Schumacher's record in 2020, Hamilton becomes the first-ever F1 driver to reach a century of Grand Prix victories. The seven-time World Champion is gunning for a historical eighth title as he continues to break records and reach unprecedented milestones. 

Unexpected achievement

Ever since Hamilton announced his contract extension to cover the 2021 season, and even more so following his latest two-year deal with Mercedes, a sense of inevitability fell over the Formula 1 world. But whether you're a fan of Hamilton or not, this sense of inevitability shouldn't fog the view of an unbelievable achievement. 

Hamilton burst onto the F1 scene in 2007 with plenty of expectation on his shoulders. And to some extent, the then McLaren driver delivered straight away. He stood on the podium in Australia, Malaysia, Bahrain, Spain and Monaco before winning the Canadian and United States Grands Prix. Ten races had to pass before Hamilton failed to reach the podium in a Grand Prix. 

Even in this current era where younger drivers are more prevalent, it still takes some time for a driver to get acclimatised with the top level of F1. A remarkable start for Hamilton who managed to showcase his skills from day one in the pinnacle of motorsport. A proper foreshadow of what was to come but little did we know just how far he would raise the bar over the next decade and more. 

When Schumacher strutted his stuff in the 90s and 00s, nobody could believe it. And the general consensus at the time suggested that nobody would ever get close to what the German driver achieved. Yet in what has been a relatively short time since, Hamilton has come along and took the milestones to a brand new level. Despite the sudden burst of success at the start of his career and the demonstration of Hamilton's skillset, a century of wins was never even questioned. An unbelievable, unexpected achievement that should not be undervalued by the recent feeling of inevitability. 

Is Hamilton the greatest driver ever? 

Statistically speaking yes. Hamilton is, without doubt, the greatest driver in the history of the sport when looking at the statistics. Hamilton is equal on most Championship wins, has the most wins, has the most pole positions and has the most podiums. Nobody can argue with that. However, the old adage 'statistics never lie' doesn't ring true in Formula 1.

The cross-era comparison between drivers is near impossible given the significant difference in circuits, cars and technology. These days the rules and regulations take effect as well, the sport currently sees a record 23 Grands Prix per season, and 25 points available to the winner, plus the potential of an extra point for the fastest lap. It certainly hasn't always been like that. Back in the day, seasons were lucky to see 15 races and a totally different, smaller, points system was in place.  

Even comparing drivers in the same era is near impossible. Often forgotten, F1 is a team sport and some of the strongest drivers don't find themselves in the strongest teams at the peak of their careers. Again, nobody can argue with the fact that Hamilton has been in the strongest car since the hybrid era was introduced. 

But for those who want to engage in the debate, it's becoming harder and harder to argue against those who put Hamilton in the number one position. The 2021 battle with Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen adds further fuel to this debate. The Dutchman is putting Hamilton to the test and the Red Bull car is strongest on specific circuits. Hamilton could add another big feather to his cap by winning this battle, and yet another if he wins a title in a third different unique era post-2022.

What's next?

It's a great achievement for a driver to start 100 Grands Prix. Only around 10% of F1 drivers have managed to do this. Winning 100 races is crazy. Hamilton's racing legacy is sealed whatever happens over the next three seasons. Over the last few years, Hamilton has demonstrated that he is using this legacy positively to tackle further issues not only within sport but around the world. Sustainability, diversity and inclusivity to name just three. The Hamilton Commission forms a very strong part of this. 

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