Hamilton hits 100 wins
F1 star breaks another record, regains title lead
Published: Sep 28, 2021 04:18 PM
Lewis Hamilton gets out of his car after winning the Formula One Russian Grand Prix in Sochi on Sunday.  Photo: VCG

Lewis Hamilton gets out of his car after winning the Formula One Russian Grand Prix in Sochi on Sunday. Photo: VCG

British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton came home first at the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi and brought up an unprecedented century of wins.

"Wow... 100! It's taken a long time and I wasn't even sure the 100th would come!" Hamilton said after a remarkable comeback victory as the rain came down on the Russian circuit.

"Going to bed last night I wasn't the happiest with the job I did yesterday. I watched the replay over and over again; they were subtle mistakes but I was so determined to put things right when I woke up this morning.

"Today was tough - I lost a lot of ground at the start, just trying to stay out of trouble. I was patient and at the end, when the rain came, I didn't want to let Lando [Norris] go by boxing. Of course I didn't know what the rain was doing, it was just my feeling but I'm incredibly grateful to the strategy team for the job they did today. Getting anywhere near 100 victories wouldn't be possible without the hard work of the men and women here and back at the factory, I'm so grateful to them - it just feels so special."

Hamilton - who has 101 poles and seven world championship titles to go with his 100 wins - had a word for ­Norris, who was set to win a first F1 race before it unraveled as the rain came down.

"Lando did an amazing job today, he had incredible pace and he's doing such a great job for McLaren. It was bittersweet to see my old team ahead, they're doing so well powered by Mercedes and it's good to see them united again. Max did a good job to come up from second to last, the battle continues and we know we need to be on top form over the remaining races."

While Norris is one for the future - as is the destination of the driver's championship this season - Hamilton took the time to appreciate the moment.

"It is a magical moment. I could only have dreamed of still being here, to have this opportunity to win these races and to drive with such phenomenal talents this late on in my career. I am so proud of everything we have done. This is a special moment for everyone that has been part of it."

Lewis Hamilton Photo: VCG

Lewis Hamilton Photo: VCG

He also thanked the fans.

"I just want to say a big thank you to all these fans; we've got such a great crowd here. I know it's not been the best weather but what a race it provided. So a big thank you to everyone in Russia for having us. It's taken a long time to obviously get to 100 and I wasn't even sure whether or not it would come."

Hamilton won his 99th Grand Prix back in July. He might need to win a few more to retain his driver's championship title.

Mercedes-Benz head Toto Wolff was delighted with the landmark win.

"Those final few laps were so intense, but we managed to make the right calls and lead the field across the finish line. A big congratulations to Lewis on his 100th win. What we are witnessing is just mind-blowing. It'll be talked about for the next few days, but it'll only be years down the line when we realize that we've all been part of this journey. A journey no other driver in F1 history has done so far."

Incredible achievement

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director for Mercedes, also offered his congratulations to Hamilton.

"Congratulations to Lewis on his 100th win, it's an incredible achievement and hopefully he can find time over the next few days to enjoy it. Obviously the end of the race was quite exciting, the team stayed calm and reacted well to the conditions and ultimately that's what gave us the win."

The win saw Hamilton return to the top of the drivers standings, wresting the lead back from Red Bull driver Max Verstappen who started from the back of the grid in Sochi.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner offered his congratulations.

"Today's result in recovering from 20th to second is an amazing performance," he said. "Our congratulations must go to Lewis on his 100th victory, but second for us after taking our grid penalty feels like a victory. With six or ­seven laps to go it didn't look like it was going to be possible. In tricky weather conditions like we had today, you can very easily come out looking like a hero or zero."

Verstappen could come out of this season looking a hero if he can continue his form, which has been a key factor in why Hamilton has had to wait since July's 99th win at Silverstone for his 100th win.

The Red Bull driver did not offer his congratulations to Hamilton, unsurprising given the war of words between the pair.

"Wow, we will definitely take that result! Of course to come from last to second is very good and when I woke up this morning I definitely didn't expect this result. To finish where we did with the penalty we had, we didn't lose as many points as we could have so as a team we did a really good job."

A good job but also a job not yet done, even if the view is that Red Bull and Verstappen are favorites going into the final seven races of the season, despite Hamilton's lead.

"There's been plenty of races where we've not maximized, as a team, collectively, both drivers and everyone." Hamilton said.

"But we're still in the fight and we can continue to improve. There are definitely things that we will try and do better moving forwards but we just won't give up, we'll just keep trying, keep pushing, remain hopeful."
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