Alex Rins revelled in an "unbelievable" feeling after the Suzuki Ecstar rider clinched his first MotoGP win of the 2020 season on Sunday.

Rins overtook Maverick Vinales with 16 laps remaining in the Aragon Grand Prix, and held off a brilliant charge from Alex Marques to claim victory.

Joan Mir came in third, rising to the top of the world championship standings in the process, with Fabio Quartararo slipping from pole position to 18th place.

"Incredible, unbelievable," Rins said of his win. "Since the start, I was so calm, I was thinking maybe it was a bad thing!

"I had a good start, and then when I was behind Maverick I was thinking I had a bit more.

"I tried to manage it, tried to manage the risk. This first position is for all the fans that always come here to Aragon, for all this amazing team and for my family, my friends, girlfriend, everybody."

Marquez – the younger brother of six-time world champion Marc – claimed second for the second race running, though he may have snatched his maiden MotoGP triumph if not for a wobble on the final turn with three laps to go.

The Spaniard was still thrilled with his display, however, saying: "Honestly I didn't expect to be on the podium, starting from P11.

"I was trying my best from the beginning, in the end I was one of the riders who took a bit more care on the rear tire.

"Work to do, all it would need was one mistake, but I'm happy to be on the podium for a second week in a row."

Meanwhile, new championship leader Mir was left to rue some mechanical issues which he felt cost him a push for second on the final lap.

"It feels amazing [to be top]," he said. "Going race by race, trying to be as consistent as I can.

"I'm not really happy about today because I was struggling a lot on the last lap, we had some problems with the front of the bike on the last lap and I was not able to maintain the pace.

"Disappointed about that but super happy to be on the podium."

Fabio Quartararo's grip on the MotoGP world championship lead slipped in dramatic fashion as he slumped from pole to 18th at the Aragon Grand Prix, which was won by Alex Rins.

Suzuki Ecstar rider Rins took the lead from Maverick Vinales with 16 laps remaining and fended off a brilliant charge from Alex Marquez – who also finished second in France last time out – to clinch his first win of the season.

Marquez was right on the wheel of Rins heading into the last three laps, but a wobble on the final corner handed Rins the chance to race away.

Rins' team-mate Joan Mir claimed the remaining podium place, overtaking Quartararo at the top of the championship standings in the process.

Quartararo mounted an amazing comeback in qualifying after he went down on his hip, returning to take a second successive pole ahead of Vinales.

Yet the Frenchman, who had won all three races in Spain in 2020, swiftly found himself down in seventh as his Petronas Yamaha struggled for grip, and he could only watch on as Rins and fellow title contender Mir did the damage ahead before he slipped even further down the standings in a remarkable fall from grace.

Rins made his move early, powering ahead of Vinales to take a lead he did not relinquish, and a Suzuki one-two looked likely when Mir moved second.

Rookie driver Marquez, however, had other ideas, and showed qualities his older brother Marc will surely be proud of as he produced a stunning charge.

Holding a 2.2-second lead over Vinales heading into the final six laps, Marquez sliced through Mir's line on the final turn.

A late push for victory looked on for the 24-year-old, only for a skid and a wide turn going into the penultimate lap to cost him the chance of a maiden MotoGP triumph.

With Vinales finishing fourth and Andrea Dovizioso taking seventh, just 15 points separate the four title contenders entering the final races of 2020.

 

TOP 10 
1. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar)
2. Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda) +0.263s
3. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +2.644s
4. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +3.911s
5. Takaaki Nakagimi (LCR Honda) +4.570s
6. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) +4.756s
7. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) +8.639s
8. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) +8.913s
9. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) +9.390s
10. Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) +9.617s

Fabio Quartararo recovered from another high-speed crash to give himself a great opportunity to extend his championship lead at the Aragon Grand Prix.

Quartararo will start on pole at MotorLand on Sunday after an astonishing display of courage in qualifying, having suffered a heavy fall in the final practice session.

The Frenchman was seen using a crutch in the paddock after going down on his hip at turn 14 on Saturday, but returned to the track to take a second successive pole ahead of Maverick Vinales, with Cal Crutchlow taking third.

Quartararo has won all three races in Spain this year and with Joan Mir, 10 points behind the Petronas Yamaha rider in the riders' standings, only sixth, opportunity knocks for the leader.

WHAT HAPPENED IN QUALIFYING

It was looking bleak for Quartararo when he was carried from the side of the track on a stretcher in FP3, yet he was given the all-clear after having an X-ray in the medical tent.

The 21-year-old also crashed on Friday, but showed in qualifying he is a man on a mission in the battle for the title.

A lap of one minute, 47.076 seconds gave him back-to-back poles, having started at the front at Le Mans last weekend before finishing back in ninth. 

The wounded Quartararo just pipped Vinales in the final moments of qualifying, sending a big message to his rivals. Mir will still fancy his chances despite giving himself work to do, while Andrea Dovizioso was furious after failing to make it out of Q1.

Dovizioso is just 18 points adrift of Quartararo, but that could be significantly bigger on Sunday, as he will start back in 13th on the grid.

No Ducati riders made it through to Q2 automatically but Jack Miller was able to take fifth behind Franco Morbidelli, while Danilo Petrucci - winner of the French Grand Prix - qualified in eighth. 

 

THE STARTING GRID

1. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha), 2. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha), 3. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda)
4.  Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha), 5. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), 6. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar)
7. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda), 8. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati), 9. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia)
10. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar), 11. Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda), 12. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
13. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), 14. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), 15. Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) 
16. Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing), 17. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing), 18. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
19. Bradley Smith (Aprilia), 20. Tito Rabat (Esponsorama Racing), 21. Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda)

 

ARAGON GRAND PRIX TALKING POINTS

Mir claimed Quartararo "lost the most" despite extending his lead by two points at the French Grand Prix last weekend. 

Quartararo let his riding do the talking on Saturday and has another Spanish success in his sights, following victories in the Grand Prix of Spain, an Andalucia triumph and victory in Catalonia.

What is certain is there will be a new winner of this race on Sunday, with Marc Marquez not fit to claim victory for the fifth year in a row.

Casey Stoner was the last non-Spaniard to win the Aragon GP back in 2011 and Vinales will be hoping that trend continues.

Dovizioso will surely not end the Spanish dominance and it would be a massive achievement if he avoids his longest run without a podium finish in the premier class since 2016.

The Ducati rider has gone five races without finishing in the top three.

 

WHAT THE RIDERS SAID

Fabio Quartararo (pole): "As soon as I had the crash I wasn't sure if I could ride. Right now it's not that bad, but when I crashed I felt quite bad. I stood up and felt something was wrong, but I'm so happy because it was a tough morning."

Maverick Vinales (2nd): "I'm very happy and honestly couldn't have asked for much more. I felt incredible, which is the most important thing, and tomorrow we'll try to improve a little bit more and hopefully have more consistency."

Cal Crutchlow (3rd): It's nice to come here and get a front row, I was so close in Le Mans. The team has been done a great job, we've been working hard and seem to have made a small step in every session.

 

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders
1. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) 115
2. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) 105
3. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 97
4. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 96
5. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) 81

Teams
1. Petronas Yamaha 192
2. Suzuki Ecstar 165
3. Ducati 161
4. Monster Energy Yamaha 154
5. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 135

Fabio Quartararo went from being on a stretcher following a high-speed crash to securing pole for the Aragon Grand Prix. 

Championship leader Quartararo was carried off the side of the track with a hip injury after going down hard at turn 14 during the final practice session at Motorland on Saturday. 

The Petronas Yamaha rider was seen using a crutch in the paddock but was cleared to return to the track after a trip to the medical tent revealed he had not broken anything. 

Quartararo astonishingly went through the pain barrier to secure first place on the grid ahead of Maverick Vinales, with Cal Crutchlow qualifying in third. 

Frenchman Quartararo also crashed on Friday as cool conditions made life difficult for the riders, but he has a great opportunity to extend his advantage in the battle for the title on Sunday. 

A lap of one minute, 47.076 seconds gave him back-to-back poles, having started at the front at Le Mans last weekend before finishing back in ninth. 

Joan Mir, 10 points behind Quartararo in the riders' standings, will start from sixth, while Andrea Dovizioso was furious after failing to make it out of Q1 and will have to try and work his way up from 13th. 

No Ducati riders made it through to Q2 automatically but Jack Miller was able to take fifth behind Franco Morbidelli, while Danilo Petrucci - winner of the French Grand Prix - qualified in eighth. 
 

Qualifying results

1. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) 1:47.076
2. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.046s
3. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) +0.229s
4. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) +0.241s
5. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) +0.337s
6. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.603s
7. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +0.683s
8. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) +0.848s
9. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +0.912s
10. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.959s
11. Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda) +1.113s
12. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +1.126s

Sebastian Vettel should have decided to retire from Formula One rather than continue racing, according to three-time champion Jackie Stewart.

After Ferrari and Vettel opted against extending their agreement beyond this season, the 33-year-old agreed to take a seat with the Aston Martin works team from 2021.

The four-time champion has struggled to mount a serious title challenge since joining the Scuderia in 2015, winning just 14 races in an era dominated by Mercedes.

Vettel admitted prior to signing with Aston Martin that retirement was an option he was considering, and Stewart thinks leaving F1 would have been a good choice.

Stewart told Stats Perform News: "Sebastian Vettel's a very nice gentleman. He's had a wonderful career and I personally would love to see him retiring and do what I do.

"Go to some of the best events, get involved with some of the best multinational corporations. He’d be a great ambassador for the sport apart from anything else. But if he wants to continue racing it’ll be because he loves the sport."

Vettel has scored just 17 points in the truncated 2020 season, with Charles Leclerc claiming Ferrari's only two podiums of the campaign.

The Scuderia are sixth in the constructors' standings and Stewart hopes their woes this year are not a sign of a long-term decline.

"Ferrari is one of the great brands that has ever lived. For whatever reason, this year has been a disaster for them. I hope and pray that next year we can see Ferrari as they really should be," he added.

Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton equalled Michael Schumacher's all-time record of 91 F1 wins at the Nurburgring last time out and could surpass him at the Portuguese Grand Prix next weekend.

Hamilton appears on course to match Schumacher's seven drivers' titles, but Stewart feels it is impossible to determine whether the Briton is the greatest driver of all time.

"It's a fantastic achievement to win as many races as he has. He's driving definitely the best car on the track," said Stewart.

"Nevertheless, he's driven extremely well but it's very difficult to say he was the greatest driver of all time. Was [Juan Manuel] Fangio better than Michael Schumacher? You don't know that. Was Arnold Palmer better than Gary Player? Or much more importantly was he better than all of the current golfers?

"But Lewis has driven extremely well and deserves the success that he has."

Andrea Dovizioso is concerned about his chances of making it to Q2 at the Aragon Grand Prix after Maverick Vinales and Yamaha impressed in Friday's running. 

Monster Energy Yamaha rider Vinales topped the timesheets in FP1 and FP2, a day after his team-mate Valentino Rossi was ruled out of the race having tested positive for coronavirus. 

Championship leader Fabio Quartararo recovered from a crash in the first session – one of five to go down as riders struggled in cold FP1 conditions – to finish the day with the second fastest time, just ahead of Petronas Yamaha team-mate Franco Morbidelli. 

Quartararo's closest title challenger Joan Mir was fourth for Suzuki Ecstar, while the fastest Ducati-powered bike was Johann Zarco down in 11th - and he had to overcome two crashes. 

Dovizioso was 13th – 1.244seconds behind Vinales – finishing just ahead of Jack Miller and factory team colleague Danilo Petrucci, who won in Le Mans last time out. 

"I don't know why we couldn't put the right temperature on the front and rear tyres, and we couldn't push, we couldn't put that intensity," Dovizioso, who is third in the standings, 18 points behind Quartararo, said to Motorsport. 

"On the left corners I wasn't too bad compared to last year. But on the right corners it was the points where I was losing compared to last year. 

"On Saturday the wind will be maybe okay, but to be able to push and put the lap time will be difficult. I don't understand why this happens, especially in this track. 

"Saturday we will understand a bit more because the wind will be normal, and the limit will be the same. This means it's just the temperature on the tyre. 

"I'm a bit worried about Saturday morning. If the wind will be normal it will help us, but to go faster than the lap time of this afternoon will be very hard." 

Dovizioso and Miller both made the podium here last season. 

Miller, who will join the factory team from Pramac Racing in 2021, added: "We are struggling in the wind like hell. 

"Sector one, sector two, very difficult. Hopefully it looks like the wind is coming down Saturday and Sunday so we can be more competitive. 

"All the Ducatis seemed to be struggling. It's just the way the bike works - the big front fairing doesn't help. 

"In the wind, the biggest thing you need is a bike that turns and we struggle still with this issue of turning on a perfect day - the problem is amplified when you turn into the wind." 

FP3 on Saturday will be delayed by 30 minutes to allow track temperatures to reach a safe level, which also happened in FP1, though that was not enough for riders to avoid problems. 

Alex Marquez, who finished the day eighth for Repsol Honda, said after practice a half-hour delay to FP3 will not be enough due to the winter-like conditions.

Vietnam Grand Prix officials have given up on hopes of staging their inaugural Formula One race in 2020, describing their decision as "extremely difficult but necessary".

Originally due to take place in April as the third event on the calendar, it was one of a host of races to be postponed as the COVID-19 crisis escalated.

There had been a possibility it could be rescheduled towards the back end of the season; however, talks have led to the conclusion that it cannot now take place.

A statement on the official race website said: "After numerous discussions among the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile [FIA], Formula One World Championship Ltd, the Hanoi People's Committee, and the Vietnamese Motorsports Association [VMA], the Vietnam Grand Prix Corporation [VGPC] regrets to announce that the 2020 Formula One Vietnamese Grand Prix will be cancelled.

"This has been an extremely difficult but necessary decision to reach in view of the continued uncertainty caused by the global coronavirus pandemic."

The 2020 season has seen the race programme trimmed from 22 to 17 races, with Australia and the United States among the countries to lose its races, while the flagship Monaco Grand Prix was also cancelled.

VGPC chief executive Le Ngoc Chi said: "We are unable to welcome the most exciting and prestigious motorsport series on the planet to Vietnam in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This was a very difficult decision for all of us to make but ultimately it was the only solution after carefully reviewing all safety criteria as well as the efficiency under current conditions."

Seven-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi has tested positive for coronavirus and will miss this weekend's Aragon Grand Prix.

Rossi is the first rider to be forced out of an event through COVID-19 and the Italian also expects to miss the Teruel GP, the second of back-to-back races at MotorLand.

The Monster Energy Yamaha rider is self-isolating at home in Tavullia, where he returned after crashing out of the French MotoGP in Le Mans last weekend.

Rossi called for a doctor after waking up on Thursday morning with a slight fever and underwent two COVID-19 tests, the second of which came back negative.

The 41-year-old's team revealed he had not been in contact with any colleagues while he has been in Tavullia.

 

"Unfortunately this morning I woke up and I was not feeling good," Rossi posted in a statement on social media.

"My bones were sore and I had a slight fever, so I immediately called the doctor, who tested me twice.

"The 'quick PCR test' result was negative, just like the test I underwent on Tuesday. 

"But the second one, of which the result was sent to me at 4pm this afternoon, was unfortunately positive. I am so disappointed that I will have to miss the race at Aragon.

"I'd like to be optimistic and confident, but I expect the second round in Aragon to be a no go for me as well.

"I am sad and angry because I did my best to respect the protocol, and although the test I had on Tuesday was negative, I self-isolated since my arrival from Le Mans.

"Anyway, this is the way it is and I can't do anything to change the situation. I will now follow the medical advice and I just hope I will be feeling well soon."

Rossi has failed to finish the last three races and is 13th in the riders' standings after nine rounds.

His positive test comes a week after six members of the Yamaha team had to stand down for the French Grand Prix due to an engineer contracting the virus.

Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis said "First and foremost, we hope Valentino will not suffer too much in the coming days and will recover fully in the shortest time possible.

"It comes as a second blow for our MotoGP operations having faced the absence of Project Leader Sumi-san and five YMC engineers at the Le Mans race after one member tested positive - despite being fortunately totally asymptomatic.

"These two incidents remind us that no matter how careful you are, the risk is always present - as we see with the rising numbers of infections in Europe at this time.

"We have checked with the Italian health authorities and we have been advised that any member of our team that was in contact with Valentino up until Monday is excluded from direct risk.

"Nevertheless, we will be even more attentive from now on to minimise the chance for any future issues."

Fabio Quartararo "lost the most" at the French Grand Prix last weekend despite extending his lead in the riders' standings, according to Joan Mir.

Championship leader Quartararo was considered one of the favourites to win the race in his homeland but it was Danilo Petrucci who triumphed in the rain at Le Mans.

On the final lap the Petronas Yamaha rider took ninth from Mir, who slipped down to 11th when Maverick Vinales also got past him.

Quartararo consequently increased his advantage over Mir in the championship standings by two points to 10, though Andrea Dovizioso finishing fourth means just 19 points separate the top four riders in the title race.

Perhaps attempting mind games ahead of this weekend's Aragon Grand Prix, Mir expressed his opinion that Quartararo missed a great opportunity to gain far more significant ground on his rivals.

"I think the rider to beat this weekend is Quartararo," said Mir.

"He is the one who is the leader in the world championship and the one who may lose it. He is surely the one who lost the most at Le Mans.

"He had a good pace and could not do better and did not score [more] points compared to his rivals."

Quartararo was still proud of his performance given the conditions, though acknowledged they robbed him of a chance to back-to-back wins for the second time this season.

"Well for sure in the dry conditions we were there to fight for victory because our pace was great," Quartararo said. 

"I think that we, let's say not lose, but I think the potential to finish on the podium was much higher [in the dry] than finishing on the podium in the wet by far.

"In rain I never felt that great on the bike, and at the end for me it was a tough race because the potential was better on the dry. But I'm still happy about my result in the rain.

"It was a good fight in the last lap, but for sure we had more potential on the dry to win much [more] points than we did."

After the Aragon Grand Prix there are just four more races remaining on the 2020 calendar.

The leading MotoGP title contenders had a weekend to forget at Le Mans and will be looking to respond by making gains in Spain at Grand Prix of Aragon.

Danilo Petrucci won the French Grand Prix ahead of podium debutant Alex Marquez in wet conditions last Sunday.

Fabio Quartararo could only finish ninth after starting on pole in his homeland, but extended his lead to 10 points as Joan Mir crossed the line in 11th.

The Aragon GP this week will be the first of back-to-back races at MotorLand, where Repsol Honda confirmed Marc Marquez will not make his return from a broken arm.

Nineteen points separate the top four riders in the battle for the title, with Andrea Dovizioso and Maverick Vinales third and fourth respectively.

The last seven races have been won by different riders and Quartararo is the only one to have claimed victory more than once in a strange season.

Fourth spot for Dovizioso in France ensured he made ground on Quartararo and it is all to play for in the battle for the title.

 

LAST TIME OUT

Petrucci claimed just the second win of his career in the premier class, ultimately coasting home following a titanic tussle for much of the race. 

Rain delayed the start but, once they were able to get under way it looked like a Ducati 1-2-3 could be on the cards. 

Petrucci, Dovizioso and Jack Miller were battling it out at the head of the field, eventually joined by Suzuki Ecstar's Alex Rins to seemingly set the platform for a four-way battle to the finish. 

However, Miller went off the track with eight laps remaining, dropping him down the field before the Australian was forced to retire.

Rins was not in contention for much longer, as a slip at the first chicane effectively ended his bid for victory. While able to get back on the bike and resume racing, he finished 16th. 

 

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR AT MOTORLAND ARAGON 

Given the way the season has panned out so far, it is probably anybody's guess what to expect at MotorLand.

What is guaranteed is that Marc Marquez's dominance of the race will end, given he is not ready to return.

The reigning champion has won the Aragon GP in each of the last four years, his most recent success coming ahead of Dovizioso and Miller.

His younger brother, Alex, should be riding on the crest of a wave after his best performance in the premier class last weekend.

Wednesday marked the 19th anniversary of Valentino Rossi's maiden premier class victory, but the legendary Italian will not have been in any mood to celebrate given his woes of late.

TOP FIVE OPTA STATS

Home comforts – After Casey Stoner's first two victories (2010 and 2011), only Spanish riders have won in the following eight editions of this race (Marc Márquez 5; Jorge Lorenzo 2 and Dani Pedrosa 1).

Not a happy hunting ground for Italians - MotorLand Aragon is, of the circuits of the 2020 MotoGP season, the only one at which an Italian rider has not tasted victory.

Spain gains for Quartararo - Championship leader Quartararo has won in the last three MotoGP races held in Spain, all of them in 2020 (Grand Prix of Spain, Andalucia and Catalonia).

Dovi desperate to stop the rot - Dovizioso has not finished on the podium in his last five races. If he not in the top three at MotorLand, it will be his worst run without a podium in the top category since 2016 (7 races).

Rossi retirements racking up - Valentino Rossi has abandoned in his last three races for third time in his 500cc/MotoGP career (previously 2011 and 2019). He has never abandoned four races on the spin.

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders
1. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) 115
2. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) 105
3. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 97
4. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 96
5. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) 81

Teams
1. Petronas Yamaha 192
2. Suzuki Ecstar 165
3. Ducati 161
4. Monster Energy Yamaha 154
5. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 135

Marc Marquez will not make his comeback on home soil at the Aragon GP this weekend.

The six-time MotoGP world champion has been out since suffering a broken arm in a crash at the season-opening Spanish Grand Prix in July.

A comeback for Marquez had been mooted in the first of back-to-back races at Motorland Aragon, but Repsol Honda confirmed Alex Marquez and Stefan Bradl will ride for the team again in Spain.

Bradl secured a season's best finish of eighth at Le Mans last weekend and hopes to build on that.

He said: "I am happy to continue competing with the Repsol Honda team in Aragon but I also hope Marc continues to recover well.

"Getting back in the points in the last race has given me extra motivation for this weekend in Aragon.

"It is a circuit with a lot of variety and some difficult points, especially if the temperatures are colder, you should pay attention to the right side of the tire at the beginning of the lap.

"The objective is to return to offer the best possible result for the team."

Lewis Hamilton's father expressed his sadness that Michael Schumacher could not be at the Eifel Grand Prix to see his son equal his record tally of Formula One victories.

Mercedes driver Hamilton took the chequered flag for the 91st time at the Nurburgring on Sunday to draw level with the legendary Schumacher.

There was a touching moment when the German great's son, Mick, presented the six-time F1 world champion with one of his father's helmets after his record-equalling win.

Hamilton's father, Anthony, spoke of his pride over his son's achievements, but revealed his sadness that Michael Schumacher could not be present due to the serious injuries he suffered in a skiing accident in 2013.

He told Sky Sports News: "While it was an exciting day and certainly an honour to receive that from Mick Schumacher, it's also tinged with a bit of sadness because Michael's not here."

Championship leader Hamilton was taken aback by the gesture from Formula 2 driver Mick Schumacher, who was denied an F1 practice drive on Friday due to bad weather.

"Wow, I'm really, really honoured man. Thank you so much, I really appreciate that thank you," said the Briton.

"I don't even know what to say. I mean, when you grow up watching someone, you genuinely idolise them in terms of the quality of the driver they are and what they're able to continuously do, year on year and race on race, week on week with their team.

"I remember playing as Michael on the game, Grand Prix 2 I think it was.

"Seeing his dominance for so long, I don't think anyone – and especially me – could imagine that I'd be anywhere near Michael in terms of records. It's an incredible honour."

Hamilton needs one more world championship win to equal Schumacher's haul of seven.

Daniel Ricciardo outlined his tattoo plans for Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul after winning a bet by finishing third at the Eifel Grand Prix. 

The Australian clinched the team's first podium place since they returned to Formula One in 2016, coming home behind race winner Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull's Max Verstappen. 

Abiteboul and Ricciardo had a long-standing wager that the former would get inked with a tattoo of his driver's choosing should he end up on the podium. 

And Ricciardo was only too happy to be reminded about that after delivering. 

"It's real, it's real. It's going to happen," he said. 

"We'll have to do some thinking now. [The tattoo will be] probably something to do with me, but I think with a German flavour. 

"This is obviously the place we did it, so a little tip of the hat to something traditional in Germany as well."

Abiteboul seemed willing to keep up his end of the bargain too. 

"It was a long time ago, so I will have to negotiate about that," he said during F1's post-race coverage.  

"I think he gets to choose a design, I get to choose the size, which I think is what matters in this case!" 

Asked about the tattoo's placement, Abiteboul added: "I don't know, we'll talk about it, we'll see. We'll take a bit of time to negotiate." 

Ricciardo, who will join McLaren next season after two years with Renault, last enjoyed a podium finish when he won the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix, and he was overjoyed to be back among a leading trio. 

"It's been a while," he noted. "To be honest, it feels like the first podium all over again. 

"I think it's been two and a half years and the feeling is really nice. It's fresh. Wow. 

"Just so happy, obviously, to see everyone as well. We've all waited a long time for this, so I think everyone is going to soak it up."

Danilo Petrucci feared the worst when the rains came before his brilliant French Grand Prix victory.

The main contenders for the MotoGP title all struggled at a sodden Le Mans, leaving Petrucci to claim only the second win of his career in the premier class.

Petrucci had been enthused over how his Ducati was handling the famous track in dry conditions and, when the heavens opened, he conceded to having concerns that a difficult 2020 season would take another wrong turn.

"It's unbelievable. Since this morning I had a good feeling on the dry. When I saw the rain on the grid, I say 'no, come on!'," he told BT Sport after becoming the seventh different race winner of the campaign.

"I am always strong in the rain but maybe I scored only a podium in the past.

"I waited so long for this victory. I couldn't dream that I could win here again.

"I am really, really happy because I am always on the podium here in Le Mans. This victory is for all the people who believed in me during these difficult times.

"I simply could not understand what I did."

A veteran of nine MotoGP seasons, Petrucci explained a rare success was a lot for him to take in.

"I don't know how I feel now. It's really a mix of emotions. It's been a very difficult period after last year and the beginning of this season," he added.

"I'm really happy and have been confident all weekend. For sure it has been tough."

Lewis Hamilton was "honoured" to receive one of Michael Schumacher's helmets after equalling his record for the most Formula One grand prix wins.

The Mercedes driver claimed the 91st victory of his career - a total that brought him level with seven-time world champion Schumacher - as he triumphed at the Eifel Grand Prix on Sunday.

It was the first F1 race since 2013 at Nurburgring in Schumacher's home country, and the Ferrari great's son was on hand to mark Hamilton's landmark victory.

Mick Schumacher - who was due to take part in his first F1 practice on Friday, only for the poor weather conditions to deny him the chance - handed Hamilton one of his father's iconic red helmets from the 2012 season as the Briton spoke on stage following his win.

"I'm honoured," Hamilton told the younger Schumacher. "This is such an honour; I really appreciate it."

Asked what it meant to him to receive the gift, Hamilton added: "I don't even know what to say.

"When you grow up, watching someone and you genuinely idolise them, just in terms of the quality of the driver they are, what they are able to continuously do year on year, race on race, week on week with their team...

"I remember playing as Michael on a game called Grand Prix 2. Seeing his dominance for so long, I didn't think anyone, especially me, would be anywhere near Michael in terms of records, so it's an incredible honour. It's going to take some time to get used to.

"As I came into the pitlane, that's only when I realised that I'd equalled that. I hadn't even computed it once [until] I crossed the line.

"I couldn't have done it without this incredible team, everyone continuing to push behind me and giving their everything."

It was the other Mercedes who started the race on pole and even after Hamilton claimed the lead from Valtteri Bottas on the first corner, the Finn fought back and nipped ahead again at the next turn.

However, relentless pressure from the championship leader forced Bottas into an error on lap 12 as he locked up.

Mechanical issues forced Bottas to retire not long after and Hamilton was able to emerge victorious ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Renault's Daniel Ricciardo to extend his lead in the title race to 69 points.

"I had a good start, got up alongside Valtteri and we both understeered into this corner, so I tried to give as much room as possible," Hamilton added.

"He was in my blind spot so I didn't know where he was. I moved wide to the outside, he came back, he did an amazing job. I remember coming out of that corner thinking, 'Good on you, man, I'm impressed. That was good.'

"After that I just had to make sure that I tried to hang on to him for as long as possible and I managed to look after my tyres really well. I could see he was graining his front tyres, so I knew the next couple of laps were the time for me to push, then he had the lock up.

"It was not an easy race at all. The Red Bulls are so fast. Max drove extremely well. The one chance he had was at the restart, but I managed to pull away. You could see their pace at the end, we've got a serious fight on our hands."

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