Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton could already break records in 2021

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Formula 1 (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Formula 1 (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

After a 2020 Formula 1 season that was characterized by Lewis Hamilton breaking records, he has a chance to break more in the 2021 season opener already.

If you thought Lewis Hamilton’s record-breaking 2020 Formula 1 season ended his stint of breaking records, namely those held by fellow seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, think again.

Hamilton, back for his ninth consecutive season with Mercedes following his fourth consecutive world championship and his sixth in the first seven seasons of the V6 turbo hybrid era, has as chance to break two more major records — yes, already in the 2021 season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit.

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He trails Schumacher by just 12 laps led (5,111 to 5,099) for the lead of the all-time laps led list and he is tied with Schumacher for the most podium finishes with a single constructor.

Hamilton had a chance to break the first of these two records in last year’s season finale. He entered the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit having led at least 16 laps in seven of his 11 starts at the track, but the five-time race winner failed to lead at all there in 2020. In fact, he failed to run anywhere other than his eventual finishing position of third place.

He has led at least 49 laps in three of the last seven races at Bahrain International Circuit, and he is set to start today’s season opener in second place alongside Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on the front row.

As for the other record he can break, he can do so simply by finishing the season opener in the top three.

Should he finish the Bahrain Grand Prix on the podium, he will become the new recordholder for the most podium finishes with a single constructor with 117.

He had been slated to potentially break another record in the season opener as well, before a schedule change.

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The season was originally scheduled to get underway with the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park Grand Prix Ciruit on Sunday, March 21 before coronavirus pandemic-related restrictions in Melbourne, Australia led to its postponement to Sunday, November 21.

Excluding 2020, which did not see an Australian Grand Prix as a result of the pandemic, he has taken six consecutive pole positions for the 58-lap race around the 16-turn, 3.296-mile (5.304-kilometer) road course in Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia. That is good for every single pole position at the track in the V6 turbo hybrid era.

Hamilton is tied with Schumacher and Ayrton Senna for the most pole positions for a single race. Schumacher took eight pole positions for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit and Senna took eight for the San Marina Grand Prix at Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari (Imola).

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Will Hamilton break any of these all-time Formula 1 records today? ESPN is set to broadcast the Bahrain Grand Prix live from Bahrain International Circuit beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET this morning. He also has a chance to tie Schumacher’s record for most consecutive seasons with a win (15) in this event.