Formula 1 Eifel Grand Prix: Hamilton Makes History


Lewis Hamilton (above) won Sunday’s Eifel Grand Prix. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Michael Hernandez, Contributing Writer

On Sunday, Oct. 11, Formula 1 returned with the Eifel Grand Prix in Germany. Lewis Hamilton, sponsored by Mercedes, won the race, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in second and a surprise podium for Daniel Ricciardo with Renault in third. This time, there was chaos even before the race began. Over a typical race weekend, there are two practices on Friday, one on Saturday, followed by qualifying on Saturday, and then the race on Sunday. However, due to heavy rain and poor visibility, both practice sessions on Friday were canceled, which meant less time for the teams and drivers to learn the track. This was crucial because the last time that Formula 1 raced at this track was in 2013, where only four of the current drivers were still on the grid. 

On Saturday, Racing Point’s Lance Stroll felt unwell, as if that wasn’t enough, so they had to call on Nico Hulkenberg, a former F1 driver who was with Renault last year. Although Hulkenberg did not have a contract this year, this is his third race of the season. His first two races were in England, where he filled in for Stroll’s teammate Sergio Perez, who had contracted COVID-19. After the singular practice session, it was time for qualifying, where the Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton got pole position and second, respectively. Max Verstappen was third, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in fourth and Daniel Ricciardo in sixth.

When the race went underway, Bottas held the lead, followed closely by Hamilton and Verstappen. Ricciardo jumped up to fifth and was on the rear of Leclerc. After a couple of laps, Ricciardo finally got past Leclerc for fourth. After things quieted down, it seemed that the top four would remain in their positions. However, Bottas encountered a mechanical problem and ended up retiring the car, which let Hamilton gain the lead, putting Verstappen into second and Ricciardo into third. After that retirement, it seemed that the race was wrapped up, and nothing exciting would happen. However, on lap 45, McLaren’s Lando Norris retired due to an engine problem, and they brought out the safety car, which brought everyone back together. On the restart, Perez, who was in fourth after the safety car, tried to attack Ricciardo, but he couldn’t get past him. After 60 laps, Hamilton took the checkered flag, closely followed by Verstappen and then Ricciardo, to claim his first podium since 2018 and the team’s first podium since 2011. 

With this result, Hamilton increases his championship lead, and it seems that it is only a formality for him to win his seventh championship. This was also his 91st victory, which put him equal to F1 icon Michael Schumacher, who also won seven championships. However, with more races to go, anything is possible. The next race is in Portugal at the Portimao Circuit next weekend, where a race has never been held. Anyone can challenge for the win because no one knows the track. Only time will tell us if Portimao brings us as much excitement as these previous races have given us.