STROLL'S POLE, VETTEL'S PODIUM, LEWIS' 7th TITLE: 2020 TURKISH GRAND PRIX REVIEW
In the beautiful Intercity Istanbul Park Circuit, the young Canadian scores his first career pole, to only be taken from win by Lewis Hamilton.
It was a wet and slippery weekend in Istanbul Park, and to make matters worse, the track was just resurfaced. It is visible from even the Free Practice sessions that every driver was struggling, even the likes of Lewis Hamilton who was gunning for a 7th WDC title. At some point, both Mercedes ended up in P8 and P20, for Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton respectively.
Then comes qualifying time. And in a surprising turn-out, Lance Stroll ended up fastest in Q3, making him the pole-sitter for this race. This also marks the first time since Jacques Villeneuve in 1997 European Grand Prix that a Canadian would take pole position in a race.
You've seen elf on a shelf, now get ready for Stroll on pole. In 2nd place, Max Verstappen and in 3rd place was Stroll's teammate, Sergio Perez.
Then come race time. Everyone was heading to their grid places, hoping that they could put off a decent launch in this slippery condition. But then, a calamity struck the Italian driver Antonio Giovinazzi in the Alfa Romeo, when he lost control and went off just before lining up on the grid. Luckily, the team managed to get his car fixed at the right time so that he could start in P10.
Finally, it's lights out and away they go!
Started in P2, Verstappen was struggling with his launch, thus dropping him back to middle grounds. At Turn 1, while avoiding Esteban Ocon, Valtteri Bottas spun and dropping him to the far back off the grid.
Both Esteban Ocon and Valtteri Bottas went to the run-off area at Turn 1
But then, all of the sudden, a surprise came from Sebastian Vettel who started P11, now ended up in P4. The 4-time world champion German truly showed his rainmaster abilities. That, or with Binotto stayed at home made the team faster. But anyway, the battle ensued with several pitstop changes to change the tires from wet to intermediate, causing the order to go crazy, even one time Alex Albon from Red Bull was in P1.
On the other hand though, as Albon put pressure on the Pink Panthers a.k.a Racing Point (cheeky eh), he spun in Turn 4. Not much hope for him to catch up then.
In other news, Max Verstappen was trying to put pressure on Sergio Perez at Lap 18, but then the Mexican sprayed some water into the Dutch's field of view, causing him to lose control and spin, thus making him lose position.
Meanwhile, it has turned poorly for Stroll, as the Canadian lose position from 1st to 9th due to bad strategy calls from Racing Point.
Around Lap 37, Perez, who was in the lead, was overtaken by Hamilton who didn't pit and opted with one-stop strategy. The position stayed until the end, as Hamilton quickly created a 20 second gap between him and Checo.
In Lap 56, the Mercedes pit crew was told to stand by for a "safety stop", but Hamilton decided not to do that, insisting that he can managed his tires.
FInal lap came by, and finally Hamilton crossed the line, securing the race win and 7th World Champion title!
Behind him, a battle ensued for P2, P3, and P4 between Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc, and Sebastian Vettel. Leclerc locked up in the third to last corner, which allowed Checo and Seb to overtook him, and secured P2 for Checo and P3 for Seb. What a race!
Game recognizes game.
Overall, along with the Italian GP, this race was one of the most exciting ones in 2020. As a long time fan of Seb (my other fandom goes to Ricciardo), it was so refreshing to see him secured that podium, and kudos for Checo for one hell of a drive. For Hamilton though, a huge congratulations for reaching the impossible!
You can also watch the highlights here: