Hamilton showcased all his GOAT credentials in his 92nd win

Edmondson: Remarkable Hamilton completed record in style (2:10)

Laurence Edmondson felt Lewis Hamilton showed some of his greatest skills in his record-breaking 92nd Grand Prix win. (2:10)

If you still need proof that Lewis Hamilton can lay claim to Formula One GOAT status, look no further than his performance at the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Strip away the fact that it was his record 92nd win -- that's simply a number that will continue to go up as long as he races in F1 -- and instead focus on how he caught, passed and extended a 25-second lead over Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. In difficult and changeable conditions, Hamilton simply crushed Bottas and showcased the talent that has seen him surpass Michael Schumacher's record of 91 wins.

Similar, and in many cases more spectacular, performances can be found dotted through Hamilton's 14-year career, but Sunday's win was perfectly timed to illustrate the talent that is now making history on a weekly basis.

What made the win so special?

First off, let's deal with the seemingly unshakable counter argument that he's only winning because he's in the best car. While it's true that the Mercedes is the class of the field, we still have a useful barometer of Hamilton's performances in Bottas.

It's fair to say Bottas is not a candidate in F1's GOAT debate, but he is still a very competent and talented driver. He consistently qualifies within a few tenths of Hamilton -- and on occasion ahead of him -- but over the course of a season he has been comprehensively outperformed by his teammate for four years running. Sunday's Portuguese Grand Prix was a great example as to why.

On lap 19 Bottas was leading the race. He was running the same strategy as Hamilton and had the same car with a very similar setup at his disposal. Yet when the flag fell 47 laps later, he was a third of a lap -- or one mile -- behind Hamilton.

That gap, and how it came about, tells you all you need to know about the difference between a great driver and a good one.

The difference between Hamilton and Bottas

While it may not make for the most thrilling narrative, the gap between the two was all about tyre temperature. Only by understanding what was happening with the tyres can you gain a full appreciation for Hamilton's performance, so stick with it.

From a tyre perspective Portimao was an anomaly. Usually drivers are fighting a constant battle to keep their tyres from overheating, but at the Portuguese Grand Prix, a smooth track surface and a relatively low track temperature, meant the key to success was generating tyre temperature.

"We spend 90 percent of races where we actually have too much of tyre temperature and you are trying to keep the tyres cool, but we were in the opposite situation here in these cold conditions, which was made worse by a bit of light rain," Mercedes' chief trackside engineer Andrew Shovlin explained. "If you can create tyre temperature your grip goes up.

"For the first few laps at the start, you could see that we were struggling with the warm-up and in that stage you don't know if it is all going to come to us when we get up and running.

"If you looked at the tyre temperatures, they just weren't building and the risk is you get trapped in this region where you can't generate the grip to generate the temperature to generate more grip."

On the face of it, such a scenario should have played to Bottas' strengths. The Finn's natural driving style generates more heat in the tyres, which is part of the reason he is often so competitive at circuits like Russia and Baku, where the track surface is smooth and the temperatures low.

It was no surprise, therefore, that he had a better opening lap and passed Hamilton with ease at Turn 8.

"Valtteri seemed to get that going a bit quicker and with Lewis it took a bit longer," Shovlin added. "But it's also a balance of how much risk do you take in those difficult conditions and I think Lewis was being a bit cautious."

It's testament to Hamilton's supreme self-confidence that he let the race come to him. Even his pass on Carlos Sainz, who had managed to generate serious temperature in the soft tyres on his McLaren at the start of the race and take an early lead, was a low-risk affair using DRS on the pit straight.

But throughout those early laps, Hamilton was using his innate ability to understand what the tyres needed and how best to extract performance from them. Mercedes' data showed that Bottas was hammering around generating front tyre temperature, but Hamilton was adapting his driving style to shift more workload to the rears and gain more a more balanced temperature across the four tyres.

He did so without any prompting from the pit wall, using his own initiative to learn the car's weaknesses and tailor his driving style around them. After picking up his winner's trophy, he said he wasn't sure how much information he should divulge in the post-race press conference, but in the end couldn't help providing an insight.

"Ultimately it's no secret, I think today was about tyre temperature," he said after the race. "I felt through the race that I was learning, lap on lap, more about the circuit.

"I was trying lots of different lines and discovering new lines that worked well. The wind direction was very, very tricky today -- lots of crosswinds, headwinds and tailwinds -- and there were some positions that you could utilise to your favour and others that kind-of get in the way.

"I think the key is the times when you have a tailwind, it's minimising the loss through those stages"

On laps 16, 17 and 18, Hamilton put his learnings from the opening laps into action and set a succession of fastest laps. The gap to his teammate shrank from 2.3s to 0.4s as Bottas clearly struggled for rear end grip, and by the time Hamilton started lap 20 the overtake was already a formality.

"Today was one of those days where you saw Lewis at his best," Shovline added. "And it was the more recent version of Lewis where he was calm losing places at the start, didn't take any risks and acknowledges that he was a bit cautious in those conditions, but knew it would all come back to him.

"He clearly had pace in hand behind Valtteri, who relatively early on in that stint thought the car was quite inconsistent. As Valtteri started to struggle with the tyres a little, Lewis was suddenly just behind him, and as Valtteri struggled with the balance, Lewis was able to make that pass."

On the face of it the overtake looked easy, but it was the end result of a weekend of hard work. As early as Friday practice, Hamilton had recognised the issues that might emerge in the race and worked with his engineers to find a solution with the car set-up.

"Set-up was something that I really focussed on," he added after the race. "It was less about qualifying set-up, and more for the race set-up and I think today that enabled me to go one better, I guess, than before.

"I just felt like I was generally getting faster and faster throughout the race -- but I had to keep up the pace for these tyres. That was really the key."

Shovlin offers a little more insight into Hamilton's set-up choices.

"He's talking about how he got the balance of the car to not use the tyres too hard on either end," he added. "Qualifying was more about warm up, getting the temperature there and in the race, the left tyres really get a hammering here, and it was about not working the front or the rear too much because then the balance starts to get away from you.

"Lewis is naturally good at managing the tyres and his this really good feel for where he is hurting them and how to keep the rubber on them.

"After the overtake, he just managed the race and his pace was incredible at times -- just how much he had in hand. It was definitely one of his races where it was fitting to go to the top of the all-time winner's chart with a performance like that.

"It was just impressive how calm he stayed under what were really tricky conditions."

Hammering home his advantage

Hamilton wasn't alone in benefitting from getting the tyres up to temperature. It was clear from the opening lap that the two McLarens, which ran first and third at one point, and Kimi Raikkonen, who jumped from 16th to sixth, also managed to hit the sweetspot.

But there were very few examples -- perhaps Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari and Pierre Gasly in the AlphaTauri -- of drivers who were able to master the tyres over a race distance.

Hamilton's pit stop on lap 40 was actually earlier than planned due to Bottas suffering vibrations from his tyres. Vibrations are often a warning sign of an imminent tyre failure, so Mercedes took no chances by pitting both its drivers.

At that point of the race Hamilton held a comfortable nine second lead over Bottas, and even though it was Bottas who was struggling the most, Mercedes stuck to its standard procedure of pitting the lead car first. Bottas pitted a lap later on lap 41 but emerged in traffic, worsening his situation as Hamilton continued to up his pace.

"[The gap between the two drivers] was most evident on that hard tyre transition, Lewis managed to get it to work quite well, quite quickly, but Valtteri dropped into some backmarker traffic, which meant he had to run at their pace and not the natural pace," Shovlin said. "At that point there was about ten degrees Celsius difference in tyre temperature and you could see that it was manifesting itself in, near enough, a second in lap time.

"The key is all in of that performance gap was temperature difference and it's why you suddenly found at stages in the race there was quite a big gap between the two cars. But in terms of race time, during that period on the hard tyre Valtteri lost quite a lot of race time there by not being able to carve through as quickly as if he had warm tyres."

Bottas asked for soft tyres rather than the hards for his final stint, but with 25 laps to go all the data was indicating he would have struggled towards the end of the race.

"We have done it on other occasions, but it is always a difficult situation," Wolff said of Bottas adopting a different strategy. "If you ask the lead driver to put the hards on because you think it's the right choice but the second driver tries to convince you about the other thing, it is very difficult to explain if you basically reverse the order. So we don't want to interfere too much, and while there will be times when we allow these calls, we were pretty convinced the hard was the better tyre.

"All the data we have seen from other cars out there showed the hard outperformed the medium and the soft. And when you look at Esteban [Ocon] and Checo [Perez] out there at the end on the softs, it didn't function at all and was actually the weakest tyre at the end of the race. So we were pretty robust in our decision because we knew or expected it to be the better tyre."

Everything about Hamilton's race was superior to Bottas' and it was no coincidence that he ended up dealing with the change of tyres and evolution of the race more successfully than his teammate.

It tells you an awful lot about the talent he has in reserve and his ability to adapt to any given situation on track. That's what makes him one of the -- if not the -- greatest F1 driver of all time and it's a key reason why he has won more grands prix than any other driver.

"When you look at the names on that all-time winners list, we can't believe that we have been part of it, as a team, getting him to the top," Shovlin added. "His achievement is just phenomenal and he doesn't show any signs of giving up or slowing down either, so I suspect he will go on and hit some more milestones.

"It's just a phenomenal achievement and the way that he works; he's just driven to win and driven to improve. He improves by putting a lot of hours in outside the car and tries to learn everything from every difficult day that he ever has.

"When you see how he works, it is almost not surprising that he's achieved it. It's a phenomenal number of races."