Brawn: 'Staggering' Hamilton could reach 120 wins in F1

F1 managing director Ross Brawn believes Lewis Hamilton's ensured presence in F1 in the next couple of years... The post Brawn: 'Staggering' Hamilton could reach 120 wins in F1 appeared first on F1i.com.

Brawn: 'Staggering' Hamilton could reach 120 wins in F1

F1 managing director Ross Brawn believes Lewis Hamilton's ensured presence in F1 in the next couple of years could allow the sport's "staggering" centennial winner to reach 120 Grand Prix triumphs.

In Portugal last year, Hamilton had surpassed Michael Schumacher's record tally of 91 wins in the F1 world championship. Before Sochi, the Briton had last won at Silverstone back in July.

In Russia, a Mercedes stronghold since the race's addition to the F1 calendar in 2014, the scene was therefore set once again for the seven-time world champion to rise to the three-digit landmark.

But the race looked promised to McLaren's Lando Norris until the event was turned on its side by a late bout of rain and Hamilton, who had made the right strategy call, prevailed.

©Mercedes

"It’s a milestone no one thought anyone would ever reach," said Brawn in his post-race column for F1.com.

"Michael’s tally of 91 was so far ahead of what anyone else had ever done at that point that it never seemed conceivable that anyone would get near it.

"But then Lewis beat it – and now Lewis has 100 wins. There is nothing stopping him.

"Who knows where it’s going to end up? He’s with us for another couple of years at least – and he will win races every year.

"I don’t think we could predict 200 wins, but I think we could certainly predict 20 more as he’s still massively competitive and motivated.

"It’s just staggering and congratulations to him, as it’s a centenary that no one ever thought would be achieved."

  • Read also: F1i's Driver Ratings for the 2021 Russian GP

Looking ahead to Formula 1's exciting end-of-season showdown between Hamilton and his archrival Max Verstappen, Brawn reckons the Mercedes and its star driver will need to pull out all the stops to vanquish worthy opponents Red Bull and Max Verstappen.

"Mercedes and Lewis weren't on it in qualifying, at a track where they were expected to dominate given recent history," said Brawn.

"Friday practice showed they were much quicker on the long runs. It was all there for them to take advantage. So the fact it didn’t go to plan shows that this is not a slam dunk for them.

©Mercedes

"They’re going to have to fight hard all the way to the end if they are going to win the championship. Fighting hard internally is different than fighting hard externally.

"When you’re fighting hard internally, what’s the worse that can happen? If one driver doesn’t win, the other would do.

"They had years where it was Nico or Lewis as there was no one to pick up the pieces if they didn’t deliver. Mercedes had that cushion if they messed up.

"Now there is no cushion. Max is putting up a massive challenge for championship, he was fantastic on Sunday, delivering a masterclass in damage limitation to recover to second from last and while he lost the championship lead, he’s only two points behind Lewis now."

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The post Brawn: 'Staggering' Hamilton could reach 120 wins in F1 appeared first on F1i.com.

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Raikkonen says 'right call' sealed points finish in Sochi

Kimi Raikkonen was among those that made a dash for the pits when the rain came down in... The post Raikkonen says 'right call' sealed points finish in Sochi appeared first on F1i.com.

Raikkonen says 'right call' sealed points finish in Sochi

Kimi Raikkonen was among those that made a dash for the pits when the rain came down in the closing stages of the Russian Grand Prix, and the call helped the Alfa Romeo driver seal his P8 finish.

From P13 on the grid, Raikkonen progressed into the top-ten during his first stint on the medium tyres.

But the Finn's switch to the hard compound predictably pushed him down the order from where he tried to battle his way back into the points, running in the wake of Esteban Ocon's Alpine.

Raikkonen felt he was faster than the French but Alfa's top speed deficit versus the Alpine kept him behind.

©AlfaRomeo

"We made a good start and gained some positions, and then followed the Alpine most of the race," said the F1 veteran who had sat out the last two races due after testing positive for Covid.

"I felt the car was behaving well but we were a bit too slow to really make progress. I felt I had more speed but when the straight opened up I had no chance of overtake him."

Eventually, Raikkonnen's break came with the rain that rolled into Sochi late in the day and a timely call from the Alfa Romeo pitwall.

"Luckily we made the right call," he said. "I felt that it was too wet already and we were one of the early ones to come in to change tyres and it paid off in the end."

  • Read also: F1i's Driver Ratings for the 2021 Russian GP

Indeed, the late opportunistic stop put the Iceman back in the top-ten from where he managed to snatch another couple of positions to conclude his day P8 in the running order.

Asked if he drew upon his rallying experience to deal with the tricky conditions in the race's final laps, Raikkonen said: "Not really. Our car is for sure not the best in the wet conditions, but luckily we pitted at the right moment and then we had decent speed in the last couple laps.

"I managed to pass some cars, so not too bad."

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The post Raikkonen says 'right call' sealed points finish in Sochi appeared first on F1i.com.

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