Emphatic victory for Lewis Hamilton as he becomes 7x World Champion!
Hamilton Wins the Turkish Grand Prix from 6th – Full Race Recap
Lewis Hamilton has created history yet again, as he secures his 7th World Title in phenomenal style. Coming into the weekend, Bottas needed to outscore his teammate by 8 points or more to extend the championship battle, but the Finn had no answer to Hamilton’s brilliance as the wet weather exposed the gap between the 2 Mercedes drivers.
The Mercedes had struggled all weekend, the combination of a wet qualifying session and a freshly resurfaced track resulting in their worst qualifying session all year, managing just 6th and 9th respectively - the first time a Mercedes had not qualified on pole this year, as Lance Stroll took a surprise Pole Position for Racing Point, ahead of Red Bulls Max Verstappen.
A wet track for the race start was bound to create drama, but it was the Racing Points who got away well, Stroll maintaining first and Sergio Perez capitalising on a poor start from the Red Bulls to take 2nd. Indeed the Red Bulls stood still and were swamped by the pack behind them, the Renaults of Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon making particularly good starts, before coming together which saw Ocon spin out on turn 1, with Bottas equally caught out and spinning into the first corner – the first of no fewer than 5 spins in a race to forget for the only driver that was mathematically able to deny Hamilton his record equalling championship title.
An unfamiliar sight this year saw Sebastian Vettel capitalise in the tricky conditions to elevate his Ferrari 8 positions in 1 lap, to run 3rd after qualifying outside the top 10, and the experienced German was able to keep the charging Verstappen behind him despite the Red Bull showing dominant pace all weekend. The battle enabled the 2 Racing Points to open up a healthy gap at the front of the grid, at one stage Stroll was leading by more than 10 seconds to his teammate in 2nd, but with the track drying and more than 40 laps still to go, there would be many more twists and turns before a winner was decided.
LeClerc was the first to pull the trigger, pitting from a lowly 14th to change off of wet tyres and onto the intermediate compound – immediately the Ferrari started setting quickest sectors of the race, prompting the team to pit Vettel from 3rd to change his tyres too. The released Red Bull of Verstappen immediately set a fastest lap of the race on the wet tyres, highlighting the difficulty facing the teams in whether to pit or not, but the delay proved to be the right move for Verstappen, coming out ahead of Vettel after his stop, despite it being twice as slow as the 2 seconds stops that have become commonplace in Formula 1. In contrast, staying out just a lap longer than his teammate, Albon would lose 2 places following his pitstop, coming out 6th behind both Hamilton and Vettel.
Lap 13 saw the deployment of the Virtual Safety Car to recover the Alfa Romeo of Giovinazzi following a mechanical failure, given the conditions it was surprise that this was the only safety car – virtual or full – that was needed all race. The restart would be tricky for all drivers following 4 slow laps that would cool each car’s tyres, but it was the Red Bulls that got up to speed the quickest with Alex Albon able to make 2 quick fire moves to get past Hamilton and Vettel to promote himself up to 4th behind his teammate, who was also on the charge carrying an overspeed against Perez in front of him into the quick turn 11, but a loss of downforce and slippery conditions saw the Red Bull spin out of contention, destroying it’s tyres in the process – a welcome price to pay to avoid hitting the barriers. The resulting pit stop saw the Dutchman fall to 8th place.
With just over half distance gone, the front 3 was Stroll, Perez and Albon and it looked to be history in the making with none of the 3 having ever won a race before, the gap ever shrinking making it anyone’s race. But it was not to be – the race quickly unravelled for 2 of the front 3 as Albon span from 3rd to prompt a stop which dropped him to 6th, and Stroll questioning his pit strategy that saw him put onto fresh inters. Despite only dropping to 4th in the stop, the Canadian was unable to make the most of the fresh rubber and quickly fell back through the grid, ultimately coming home a lowly 9th in what will be a bitterly disappointing result for Racing Point as they failed to capitalise on their 1st ever pole position.
Despite the track continuing to dry, conditions remained tricky and it was not uncommon to see cars spinning off the circuit, particularly when under pressure and off the racing line, and the challenging conditions left the teams in a quandary over strategy – the dry racing line burning through the intermediate tyres would usually have prompted a switch to dry tyres, but wet patches coupled with the slippery resurfaced track saw no driver opt to change compound. Perhaps learning from his teammate’s misfortune, Perez opted not to come in for a second stop and instead stayed on track to nurse his tyres to the end, a skill he has shown on multiple occasions in his career. Despite being overtaken by Hamilton on lap 37, it looked to be the smart move, as Perez 2nd place was under no real threat until the last lap. Both Ferraris running in the top 4 were rapidly closing in on Perez and a last lap lunge from LeClerc saw him briefly move up to 2nd, but he locked up and ran wide, the Racing Point cutting back inside to reclaim the place. LeClerc now out of position was instantly under pressure from his teammate, and on the last corner of the race Sebastian Vettel swept past his teammate to secure 3rd place and his first podium of the season, a fine reward for what was a spectacular drive for both Ferraris, after starting 11th and 12th. Perez was able to hold onto his 2nd place which represents his highest ever finish in Formula 1, and further highlights the injustice that may present itself if he does not secure a drive for next year.
Despite coming in to the race as the only 2 drivers that could win the championship, the challenging conditions truly exposed the gulf in talent between the 2 Mercedes drivers. Not for the first time this year Bottas had a race to forget, spinning at least 5 times before being lapped by his teammate, ultimately finishing 15th beating only the backmarker of George Russell’s Williams. By contrast, Lewis Hamilton put on a performance to match his status of Greatest Of All Time. One of only a handful of drivers not to spin out, Hamilton drove through a tricky period at the start of the race to master the conditions and win his record equalling 7th title in style.
Lewis Hamilton fans would usually be able to recite the post race radio messages from a man so accustomed to winning, but not today, as the emotion of the achievement understandably spilled over and was clear for all to hear. Nobody in history has won more championships than Lewis Hamilton. ‘You have made history man’ Sebastian Vettel exclaimed as he was the first to congratulate Hamilton on his achievements, showing his respects to the man that was at one point his biggest rival. Hamilton equals the record set by Schumacher, and with regulations remaining largely the same next year is there anyone capable of stopping Lewis Hamilton from further etching his name into the history books.
With 3 races left, there are still many battles raging on throughout the grid, and with each position worth multiple millions of dollars in prize money you can guarantee there is still excitement to come. Join us in 2 weeks time in Bahrain for the beginning of a triple-header finale to this record breaking season.
Winner Lewis Hamilton – Champion (Mercedes)
Fastest Lap Lando Norris – 1:36.036 (McLaren)
Driver of the Day: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
Pos Driver Team Time Pts
1 L. Hamilton Mercedes 1:42:19.313 25
2 S. Pérez Racing Point +31.633s 18
3 S. Vettel Ferrari +31.960s 15
4 C. Leclerc Ferrari +33.858s 12
5 C. Sainz Jr McLaren +34.363s 10
6 M. Verstappen Red Bull +44.873s 8
7 A. Albon Red Bull +46.484s 6
8 L. Norris McLaren +61.259s 5
9 L. Stroll Racing Point +72.353s 2
10 D. Ricciardo Renault +95.460s 1
11 E. Ocon Renault +1 Lap 0
12 D. Kvyat AlphaTauri +1 Lap 0
13 P. Gasly AlphaTauri +1 Lap 0
14 V. Bottas Mercedes +1 Lap 0
15 K. Räikkönen Alfa Romeo +1 Lap 0
16 G. Russell Williams +1 Lap 0
17 K. Magnussen Haas DNF 0
18 R. Grosjean Haas DNF 0
19 N. Latifi Williams DNF 0
20 A. Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo DNF 0