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Ranked: Hamilton's top 10 Formula 1 wins

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Ranked: Hamilton's top 10 Formula 1 wins
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Jul 7, 2020, 10:17 AM

We first picked out Lewis Hamilton's 10 greatest Formula 1 victories after his 50th success at the 2016 United States Grand Prix. Remarkably, since then he has added another 34 wins, some of which have been among his best, so it seemed right to revisit the list as the 2020 season finally gets going.

Michael Schumacher's record of 91 wins is not very far away and, depending on the competitiveness of his Mercedes and the length of the campaign, Hamilton could reach it this year.

For this list, we looked at Hamilton's experience at the time, the machinery at his disposal, the challenges he faced on any given weekend, and the nature of his success. Great overtaking and virtuoso displays in tricky conditions were also taken into account, as were Hamilton's own views.

10. 2018 German GP, Hockenheim

Podium: Race winner Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, second place Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1

Podium: Race winner Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, second place Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Hamilton race: 219
Hamilton win: 66
Car: Mercedes W09
Started: 14th

Most of the greats have at least one blast through the pack to victory on their CV and this race at Hockenheim is Hamilton's only win from outside the top 10 on the grid. Hydraulics issues in qualifying meant Hamilton had to start 14th, while championship leader Sebastian Vettel lined up on pole.

Vettel's Ferrari duly led as Hamilton started a charge that got him through the midfield runners and - thanks to Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull starting even further back - into fifth on lap 14 of 67. As those ahead pitted Hamilton rose to third, while Kimi Raikkonen's early stop allowed him to jump teammate Vettel into the lead. The status quo was eventually restored with some team orders so, after Hamilton's stop, the order was Vettel-Raikkonen-Valtteri Bottas-Hamilton. Then conditions changed.

"I knew there was the possibility to win when it started to rain," said Hamilton.

Although Hamilton now became the fastest man on the circuit by some margin, Vettel continued to build his lead as Raikkonen struggled - Bottas closed in and grabbed second in traffic.

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The moment of high drama came on lap 52. Vettel was nine seconds ahead of Bottas when he locked up into the Sachskurve and slid at slow speed into the gravel. It was a small error with major consequences: it meant no points for the Ferrari driver and another spot for Hamilton.

The safety car was called. Bottas came in, but confusion over the radio meant Hamilton aborted his entry to the pits, driving across the grass to continue. When Raikkonen pitted on the next lap, Hamilton took over at the front, with teammate Bottas second.

The job wasn't done yet, because Bottas now had fresh ultrasofts and attacked at the restart, Hamilton forced to go defensive. Mercedes then instructed the Finn to stay put. Hamilton had needed some luck, but had played his part to take one of his most remarkable wins.

"I didn't make any mistakes at all, so I was really proud of today," said Hamilton, who also moved into a points lead he was not to lose.

9. 2013 Hungarian GP, Hungaroring

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W04

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W04

Photo by: Sutton Images

Hamilton start: 120
Hamilton win: 22
Car: Mercedes F1 W04
Started: 1st

Hamilton's move to Mercedes, following frustrations at McLaren as Vettel racked up win after win, seemed bold. It now looks like a masterstroke, but during the combination's first season there were plenty of dramas, such as the tyre failure in the 2013 British GP.

Somewhat surprisingly, Hamilton's first win came at a baking hot Hungaroring, when his F1 W04 did not eat its rear rubber as anticipated.

Even the British driver had seemed underwhelmed after taking pole: "If we win tomorrow it will be a miracle," he said, expecting a tough race.

Crucial to his success, other than the tyres lasting, was a no-nonsense pass on Jenson Button's McLaren immediately after Hamilton had pitted from the lead.

Main rivals Vettel and Romain Grosjean (Lotus) found Button a harder nut to crack. By the time the McLaren pitted, 13 laps after Hamilton had gone by, Vettel - who had been within 1.7s of Hamilton - was 13.4s behind.

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Hamilton was similarly firm in passing Mark Webber after the Mercedes' second pit visit. Raikkonen's Lotus won a multi-layered and exciting battle for second, but Hamilton finished 11s clear as he scored his first Mercedes success.

After an awful first lap, teammate Nico Rosberg was battling for ninth when his engine let go. His best lap was almost half a second slower than Hamilton's.

Autosport gave Hamilton 10/10 and said: "This was a weekend in which he was consistently fast, error-free and executed the race perfectly."

8. 2012 United States GP, Austin

Podium: Race winner Lewis Hamilton, McLaren

Podium: Race winner Lewis Hamilton, McLaren

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Hamilton start: 109
Hamilton win: 21
Car: McLaren MP4-27
Started: 2nd

By the time F1 headed to Austin for the first time, Hamilton was already out of the 2012 title fight and Vettel was well on his way to his third consecutive crown.

But Hamilton is often one of the first drivers to get on top of a new circuit and he duly qualified on the front row, alongside Vettel's Red Bull.

Webber (Red Bull) initially relegated Hamilton to third, but after one failed attempt the McLaren moved back into second on lap four of 56 and pulled away.

After both Vettel and Hamilton made their single stops, the McLaren was only two seconds behind, but with Raikkonen's yet-to-stop Lotus splitting them.

Hamilton used DRS to make his way past on lap 24, just before Raikkonen came in, by which time Vettel's lead was 2.4s. The British driver closed Vettel down, but the Red Bull was quick enough in the crucial places to keep it just out of overtaking range.

That was until lap 42, when Vettel caught the slow HRT of Narain Karthikeyan in the snaking and narrow section from Turns 3 to 7. Now Hamilton was in range and, as they headed down the back straight, he simply blew by on the outside with the help of DRS.

"I knew I had to grab my chance, so I turned the engine up to maximum revs and pushed like crazy," said Hamilton, who was rewarded for his dogged and relentless pursuit.

"He had one chance to pass, and he took it," agreed Vettel, who was unable to respond even though he finished just 0.7s behind.

7. 2011 German GP, Nurburgring

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren MP4/26

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren MP4/26

Photo by: Sutton Images

Hamilton race: 81
Hamilton win: 16
Car: McLaren MP4-26
Started: 2nd

Another swashbuckling racer's performance helped Hamilton beat Webber and Fernando Alonso at the Nurburgring in 2011.

A stunning qualifying effort - 1.2s faster than teammate Button - secured Hamilton a surprise front row start, after he'd switched from Carbone Industrie brakes to Brembos. Hamilton then grabbed the lead from Webber at the start, while Alonso's Ferrari soon got the better of Vettel, setting up a three-way battle for victory.

The McLaren driver held off Webber until a small mistake into the chicane on lap 12 of 60 allowed the Red Bull to pass into the final corner. But Hamilton ensured he got a good run onto the start/finish straight and retook the lead on the blast down to Turn 1.

Webber's earlier stop then allowed him to jump Hamilton, but the Red Bull couldn't shake off his pursuer. At the second stops, Webber came in first and was hung out to dry when he tried to pass Hamilton as the McLaren emerged from its tyre change.

Hamilton then showed how it could be done by passing Alonso, who emerged just ahead after his own stop. The leaders had to change onto the unfavoured medium tyre for the final stint, but Hamilton was able to open up a small gap over Alonso before the crucial stops.

He was immediately able to lap faster than Alonso's Ferrari after the McLaren's final pit visit and came home 4s clear. "Vintage Hamilton, 10/10," said Autosport's driver ratings.

6. 2008 German GP, Hockenheim

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren Mercedes MP4/23

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren Mercedes MP4/23

Photo by: Sutton Images

Hamilton start: 27
Hamilton win: 8
Car: McLaren MP4-23
Started: 1st

The revised MP4-23 and Hamilton was the quickest combination around Hockenheim in 2008 - as proved by a comfortable pole position - but McLaren's strategy forced him to pull out a great drive.

Things started well. Hamilton led from the off and was 11.8s clear of Felipe Massa's Ferrari after 35 of the 67 laps. But then Timo Glock's Toyota suffered a suspension failure and crashed, bringing out the safety car.

Strangely, McLaren decided not to bring Hamilton in, even after the rest of the field peeled off as the team thought the safety car period would be short and that Hamilton would have enough time to rebuild a gap before pitting.

Wrong. Hamilton had just nine laps between the race recommencing and having to make his second stop. He thus emerged fifth with 17 laps to go, despite having charged off into the distance at the restart.

Teammate Heikki Kovalainen, who had struggled for pace all weekend, didn't pose too much of a problem. Nor did Nick Heidfeld, who was trying a similar strategy in his BMW and soon pitted.

But ahead lay Nelson Piquet Jr, in front by virtue of a perfectly-timed stop and leading a GP for the first time, and championship contender Massa.

Massa was struggling with his brakes and Hamilton dived by into second on lap 57. He was now 2.1s behind the leading Renault.

Hamilton was on Piquet's gearbox within two tours and, on lap 60, returned to his rightful place at the front after going down the inside of the Renault at the Spitzkehre hairpin.

"That dazzling pace had regained him the victory the tactical call had almost lost him," said our report.

5. 2019 Monaco GP, Monte Carlo

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W10, leads Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG W10

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W10, leads Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG W10

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Hamilton race: 235
Hamilton win: 77
Car: Mercedes W10
Started: 1st

In the wake of the death of Niki Lauda, who had been so instrumental in persuading Hamilton to join the Silver Arrows, emotions were high at Monaco. And this time it was a strategic error from Mercedes that made life tougher for Hamilton.

He had led from the start after taking a fine pole and all looked normal until a safety car period brought the leaders in on lap 11 of 78. Mercedes opted to put medium Pirellis on Hamilton's car, while Red Bull and Ferrari went for hards for Max Verstappen and Vettel respectively.

Racing went green again on lap 15, giving Hamilton the task of conducting a mammoth 64-lap stint on the softer compound. Hamilton expressed his frustration over the radio, but that didn't prevent him putting in a well-judged drive, looking after the rubber and not making mistakes while keeping arguably the most aggressive driver on the grid - Verstappen - behind him. Verstappen had extra motivation to pass Hamilton, if he needed any, thanks to a 5s penalty for a clash with Bottas during the pitstops.

His big attack finally came on lap 76. Verstappen was close enough to the struggling Mercedes to try an ambitious move down the inside into the chicane. Hamilton demonstrated his sixth sense-like racecraft by straightening up as the Red Bull arrived, taking the sting out of the inevitable contact and allowing the Mercedes to come out still ahead.

It was easy to imagine a more destructive clash had any other driver in the field been in the lead car.

"I think it was one of the hardest races I've had," said Hamilton. "It was one of the most strategic drives that I think I have ever had to do in terms of finding that balance around the track to try and keep the gap. "I definitely touched the barrier a lot of times."

4. 2011 Chinese GP, Shanghai

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren MP4/26

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren MP4/26

Photo by: Sutton Images

Hamilton start: 74
Hamilton win: 15
Car: McLaren MP4-26
Started: 3rd

Hamilton only just made it out in time to line up third in China after his McLaren initially failed to fire.

That didn't stop both McLarens jumping poleman Vettel's Red Bull, Hamilton following teammate Button as the top three broke clear.

But McLaren lost out during the first round of pitstops, Hamilton falling to fifth.

With the frontrunners employing a range of two- and three-stop strategies thanks to the fragile Pirellis, things didn't unwind until the closing stages. And Hamilton had a lot of work to do on-track.

Hamilton dived down the inside of Button at the first corner before his third and final stop. Once everyone had pitted, Hamilton thus found himself fourth.

He caught and passed Rosberg's Mercedes and then overcame the Ferrari of Massa with 12 laps to go. At that point he was still 4.6s behind leader Vettel.

It took just six laps for the McLaren to catch the Red Bull. Vettel defended hard, but Hamilton took the lead on lap 52 of 56 with a bold move into the high-speed Turn 7.

"It was another beautiful - and highly unconventional - move that took Seb completely by surprise," said our report.

Hamilton took the flag more than five seconds clear, and reckoned it one of his best: "This race is in my top three of race wins, up there with Silverstone and Monaco in 2008."

3. 2014 Bahrain GP, Bahrain

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W05

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W05

Photo by: Sutton Images

Hamilton start: 132
Hamilton win: 24
Car: Mercedes F1 W05 Hybrid
Started: 2nd

The third round of the 2014 season is high on the list because it demonstrates that Hamilton can win even when he isn't the fastest. He outraced teammate Rosberg in a way that helped set the tone for their subsequent battles.

Rosberg arrived leading the championship, qualified on pole and set fastest lap, but came away second best.

"Rosberg had the strongest hand in a dramatic Bahrain Grand Prix, but didn't play it right and lost out in a thrilling head-to-head," said our report.

Things started going wrong for Rosberg, and right for Hamilton, when the #44 Mercedes was able to claim the lead on the inside on the run to the first corner.

Once well clear of the field, Rosberg launched an assault on Hamilton. On lap 19 he dived underneath Lewis into Turn 1, but couldn't get it stopped and Hamilton repassed on the exit before pitting.

Rosberg took the slower medium tyre for the second stint, but underlined his pace by only losing minimal time to his soft-shod teammate. That meant he would come back at Hamilton when they pitted for the final time and effectively swapped compounds.

Rosberg was even helped by a safety car period around the time of the second stops. Instead of having to use some of his tyre advantage to eat into Hamilton's lead, which had risen to nearly 10s, he had 11 laps to find a way by.

There was also energy deployment from the hybrid systems to utilise and several times Rosberg attacked, only to be rebuffed.

His big effort came with six laps to go, diving up the inside into Turn 1 and duelling all the way to Turn 4. He tried again on the next tour, but each time Hamilton was able to position his car in the right place to emerge ahead, albeit narrowly.

"It felt like one of the best-calculated races I've ever had - how I was using my power and how I was positioning my car," said Hamilton.

"He'd catch me down the back straight, still be with me at the last corner and have DRS. So I had to accept he was going to come past.

"I couldn't come to the inside and then block, I had to get him back. I don't know how I did it all the time."

Rosberg wasn't entirely happy with some of Hamilton's driving, contributing to tension that would lead to a clash at Spa and, arguably, his ongoing issues when trying to battle his teammate wheel-to-wheel.

2. 2018 Italian GP, Monza

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1

Photo by: Alessio Morgese / Luca Rossini

Hamilton race: 222
Hamilton win: 68
Car: Mercedes W09
Started: 3rd

Despite having the fastest car, at least in qualifying, all was not well at Ferrari on home ground. First of all, it was the 'wrong' driver on pole position - Raikkonen instead of title contender Vettel - and the team also chose to tell the Finn that his services would not be required for 2019 prior to the race.

It was perhaps not a surprise when Raikkonen decided not to make life easy for Vettel at the start to hold the lead. Apparently perturbed, Vettel was still focusing on his teammate into the second chicane on the inside line. With typical opportunism, Hamilton moved to the outside entering the left part of the chicane and went the long way around the Ferrari. Vettel then understeered into the Mercedes, the slight contact being enough to spin him around.

Hamilton then breezed into the lead following a safety car period, but Raikkonen was in one of his more combative moods. He picked up the tow and went back into the lead around the outside approaching the second chicane.

Hamilton hounded Raikkonen for the rest of the stint and made his stop much later - lap 28 to Kimi's lap 20. He rejoined 5.7s behind but with fresher rubber.

Mercedes left Bottas out and he now held Raikkonen back, helping Hamilton to close in. Perhaps even more importantly, the Ferrari also started suffering with a blister on the left-rear tyre. Hamilton had some front blistering, but it was less severe and he remained in Raikkonen's wheeltracks even after Bottas finally made his stop.

At the end of lap 44 Hamilton got a run on the Ferrari down the start/finish straight. Raikkonen defended on the inside, but Hamilton braked later and completed the move around the outside into the first chicane. The Mercedes then raced clear to take the chequered flag 8.7s ahead of Raikkonen. Vettel took fourth and fell yet further behind in the championship fight.

"This was Hamilton's victory, because he forced errors and made the vital passes when he had to," said Autosport's report. "Mercedes did an impeccable job at Monza, but the brilliance of Hamilton was the key ingredient that made all the difference."

1. 2008 British GP, Silverstone

Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren MP4-23 Mercedes battles with Lewis Hamilton, McLaren MP4-23 Mercedes

Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren MP4-23 Mercedes battles with Lewis Hamilton, McLaren MP4-23 Mercedes

Photo by: Rainer W. Schlegelmilch

Hamilton race: 26
Hamilton win: 7
Car: McLaren MP4-23
Started: 4th

"It's performances of that calibre that make legends," said Autosport after what remains Hamilton's most dominant performance in Formula 1.

In appalling conditions at his home grand prix at Silverstone, Hamilton - in only his second F1 season - put on one of the virtuoso wet-weather drives. And one that, unlike his 2008 Monaco success, did not require a big dose of luck.

After a couple of poor races - including his infamous pitlane gaffe in Canada - Hamilton had slumped to fourth in the points and needed a good weekend.

From row two Hamilton made a fantastic start and nearly overtook teammate and polesitter Kovalainen at Copse, the two McLarens briefly touching.

While experienced hands like Webber and Massa rotated on the first lap, Hamilton pressured his teammate. Clearly quicker, Lewis made it by on lap five into Stowe when Kovalainen made things easy for him as he started to struggle with his tyres.

Hamilton, who was having trouble with a misting visor he kept having to clear, was faster and kinder to his tyres. He drew away, but faced a new challenge when Kovalainen spun and Raikkonen's Ferrari moved into second and started closing the gap.

The top two came in together. Ferrari kept Raikkonen on the same set of inters, McLaren gave Hamilton a new set and gave him a bit more fuel but still got its man out ahead.

As they exited, the rain returned, playing in to Hamilton's hands - new intermediates were better than old ones when water levels increased. Raikkonen was 22s behind just five laps after the stops.

And that was the last anyone saw of Hamilton, despite a brief off at Abbey when the rain intensified again.

At the second stops, McLaren fitted new intermediates at a time when the fastest on track were on extreme wet tyres. For a while, Hamilton was three seconds slower than the best on the extreme rubber but much faster than others on intermediates.

He didn't have to stop again to change back to inters as the track dried, so his lead grew and grew. McLaren even asked him to slow down.

"If I go any slower I'll lose concentration," was Hamilton's reply.

The result was that Hamilton lapped everyone up to and including Raikkonen in fourth, finishing 1m08.6s ahead of second-placed Heidfeld's BMW Sauber.

"There's every chance that his seventh GP win could stand as his best," said Edd Straw in Autosport. Forty-three victories on our view hadn't changed and with another thirty-four wins added to Hamilton's tally that view remains the same.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton Shop Now
Author Kevin Turner