Hamilton struggled to “keep it together”
Lewis Hamilton had all the emotions of his past in mind during the last laps the Turkish Grand Prix, telling himself “keep it together, you got this”. The Mercedes driver won a chaotic wet race in arguably one of the most difficult races of the season where Mercedes looked be on the back foot.
Hamilton took victory securing his seventh title, despite at one point being twenty-four seconds behind Lance Stroll following the first round of stops, he then rose to lead the race when the field to win the race by over thirty seconds, where he was audibly overcome with emotion after he had crossed the line.
In the post-race press conference, Hamilton said: “Very rarely do I ever like lose control of my emotions and those last few, and obviously we were having that discussion about whether we were going to pit, and I was just telling myself: ‘keep it together, Lewis, you got this’.
“I could feel it getting closer, also knowing ‘if I finish when I’m finishing right now, I’ve got this championship’. all these emotions were running through me and I was trying to stop it because I was thinking about all my whole career.”
Hamilton says on the final of the race he was thinking minutes away and when he crossed the line he burst into tears. He also says that he couldn’t have done it without his dad, who encouraged him to keep going, and his mum, step mum and brother. who have all stood by me through thick and thin.
He added “I remember watching other drivers in the past crying – and I was like ‘I’m not going to do that!’ But it was too much.”
Hamilton explained “the key today was really just keeping my wits about me – learning as I went [as well]”, when asked by Motorsport.com how he adapted his approach to gain time on his rivals after moving to the intermediates.
Channel 4 commentator Mark Webber described his former rival as “untouchable.” He says in the latter part of his career he is still motivated and getting the job done so that’s really, really average news for the opposition because he’s got a trophy cabinet that nobody else can match.
Hamilton contract talks to begin in days
Mercedes F1 CEO and team principal Toto Wolff says he expects to start talks with Lewis Hamilton over a new contract within a few days. The Englishman became the most successful driver in the history of Grand Prix racing and F1 when he sealed a seventh world title.
However, Hamilton hasn’t signed a new contract but made it clear he wants to sign a new contract. Wolff told BBC News in a special programme broadcast last night on Radio Five Live “Flying back from a seventh drivers’ championship, you can’t talk about a contract. It wouldn’t do justice to the achievement.”
“We’re going to give it a few days then we are going to talk about it. Our relationship is much beyond business, it is one of friendship, one of trust.”
“This one day of negotiations is something we don’t enjoy as it’s the only time where we are not having shared objectives. The best deal is one where both parties walk off not completely satisfied.”
Earlier in the year Wolff and Hamilton agreed to put off contract talks because they wanted to secure the drivers’ and constructors’ championships first.
Also the pandemic played its part in delaying talks, neither side wanted to risk derailing the campaign by catching coronavirus so were avoiding contact talks.
Hamilton’s seventh title, secured with his ninety-fourth career victory in Turkey on Sunday, equals the achievement of Michael Schumacher, but the Briton ranks as F1’s most successful ever driver because he surpassed the German’s record of ninety-one wins last month. He also has more pole positions than anyone else.
Wolff added “We are all thinking of Michael very often and his achievements. There’s very few great drivers – [Juan Manuel] Fangio in the ’50s and then [Ayrton] Senna and then obviously Michael Schumacher, who set the record, and now Lewis.
MPs and Peers call for Hamilton knighthood
The chair of the British All-Party Parliamentary Group on Formula 1, Sir Jeffery Donaldson has called on prime minister Boris Johnson to knight Lewis Hamilton. The group of MPs and Lords want Hamilton to receive “national recognition” after he equalled Michael Schumacher’s record of winning seven world titles on Sunday.
Sir Jeffrey told BBC News, “The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Formula 1 supports the call for Lewis Hamilton to receive national recognition of his tremendous sporting achievements for British motorsports. With his record-breaking season this year, we believe now is the right time to do this.”
He also said the group would be writing to Johnson. The prime minister and MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip tweeted on Sunday “An impressive victory – well-done @LewisHamilton! You have made us all so proud Flag of United Kingdom.”
The BBC says the letter reads “we write to encourage you to recommend to Her Majesty The Queen that Lewis Hamilton receive a knighthood”.
The letter continues: “It is clear that Lewis has demonstrated his outstanding achievement in his field… He has used this and his own experience to support others and he is a credit to the United Kingdom.”
In another letter, the chair of the UK regulator Motorsport UK, David Richards said “For many years, Britain has led the world in F1 engineering, and we’ve produced many great drivers.”
“But we can now celebrate the greatest of them all and there can be no more fitting way to do this than award Lewis Hamilton a knighthood.”
Bottas’s most difficult race
Valtteri Bottas has described the Turkish Grand Prix as the most difficult race of his career. The Finn was the only driver who could have stopped Lewis Hamilton claiming a seventh title if he was able to outscore his teammate by eight points.
Bottas spun at the first corner and did so again on numerous occasions. His afternoon was made worse by the fact he was lapped by Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, who won the race and secured the title in the process.
Bottas was clearly not enjoying the race while it was taking place. In the closing stages, when told there were four laps remaining, the Finn replied: “I wish it was less”.
He said the car did not feel right at any point. He told ESPN, “I had the spin in the first corner, I was avoiding one of the Renault spins, then I had the collision in Turn 9 on the first lap.”
“The car was not right. I could feel that the steering wheel was going to the left on a straight line, and then in the left corners, the car was behaving differently, sliding. All the moments I had, it was not like how it should be. It was a messy race, a disastrous race.”
Bottas admitted that some of the spins were because he was pushing as hard as he could when he made mistakes following the feeling that he had nothing to lose.
Rosberg’s verdict on Hamilton
Nico Rosberg believes Lewis Hamilton winning seven world titles should rank alongside the greatest sporting achievements in history. The German, the only driver other than Hamilton to win a championship in the hybrid era, warned he is “only just getting started” should be a cause of worry for the rest of the F1 field.
Speaking to Sky Sports, the 2016 champion said, “No one would have ever thought that Michael Schumacher’s titles would be equalled or broken, and yet now he’s there.”
“I think it’s not only one of the best and successful Formula 1 achievements but it’s one of the greatest achievements in sporting history as a whole.”
A debate will now restart over where Hamilton ranks in the list of the sport’s greatest-ever drivers has inevitably intensified.
“I’m not going to say here and now one is better than the other, I think they’re there or thereabouts,” said Rosberg of comparisons between Schumacher and Hamilton.
He argued if you mention Hamilton you then mention Schumacher, Juan Manwell Fangio and Ayrton Senna, who he believes is the best, but says they are equal in their own way they’ve all been just unbelievable.
Rosberg also warned that with Hamilton now appearing to set his sights on an eighth title next year and saying he is just beginning, he would be thinking “my goodness, what’s he going to end up with?”
Masi responds to criticism of restart rules
F1 race director Michael Masi has responded to Sebastian Vettel’s criticism of the “embarrassing” safety car restart rules, saying his suggestion was previously rejected by teams.
The rule allowing cars to unlap themselves under the safety car came into question during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, after cars passed marshals at high speed.
Vettel said it was “embarrassing” that drivers had to complete an extra lap to unlap themselves instead of having the timing software adjust and give them a lap back.
Masi said the restart at Imola had been fully reviewed by the FIA, and that some changes would be made to ensure cars had time to unlap themselves more carefully.
He told Motorsport.com, “We’ve made some procedural changes that were discussed with the team managers and the drivers as the respective meetings on Thursday and Friday night, all of which both groups were completely supportive of.”
“There’s been procedural elements that have changed regarding the suggestions of what can and can’t be done in the future, for 2021 and beyond. It’s a topic that’s on the sporting advisory committee agenda, which is a group representing the FIA, F1, and all of the team managers.”
Masi says there will be a discussion to weigh up the positives, negatives and unintended consequences. He says this idea has been rejected before based on fuel and tyre management as elements that would be impacted.
Perez made experience count
F1 motorsport managing director Ross Brawn believes that Sergio Perez, who finished second to Lewis Hamilton at the Turkish Grand Prix, made his experience count. The Mexican is without a seat for 2021 after Racing Point signed four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel, who finished third for Ferrari at Istanbul Park on Sunday.
Canadian teammate Lance Stroll finished ninth after starting from pole position. Perez’s only hope appeared to be Red Bull, who haven’t decided whether to retain Alexander Albon as Max Verstappen’s teammate.
The Mexican has scored 100 of third-placed Racing Point’s 154 points from 14 races, despite missing two rounds after contracting coronavirus. Albon has amassed just 70 of Red Bull’s 240
Brawn wrote “Perez put in a great performance… it would be a tragedy if he isn’t in F1 next year. He more than deserves his place on the grid. If you’re a team (that) wants a competitive driver to maximise every opportunity, Perez is your man.”
Perez managed to make his set of intermediate tyres do forty-eight of the fifty-eight laps on a set of inters. After the race when asked about his future, he said, “You are only as good as your last race, so it’s important to finish on a high. The rest is not in my hands,” he said when asked about his future.”
Brawn, whose eponymous team won both championships in 2009, defined Sunday’s race as “the old guard demonstrating their experience and the young pretenders showing they have a bit more to learn.”
While Stroll, lined up on the front row with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, the podium placings went to a trio of drivers aged over 30.
Brawn also defended organisers from criticism of the slippery track surface, saying they had done a fantastic job.
Alpha Tauri’s pace “embarrassing” and “poor”
Pierre Gasly has described Alpha Tauri’s performance at the Turkish Grand Prix as “embarrassing” and “poor” after both he and teammate Daniil Kvyat finished outside the points.
Gasly made it home in thirteenth, a place behind Kvyat after both drivers struggled all day to find pace in the tricky conditions. The failure of both drivers to score points also harmed its hopes of challenging Ferrari for sixth place in the world championship also took a hit as the Maranello-based outfit logged 27 points with third and fourth places.
Gasly’s day started badly when the FIA launched an investigation after the team changed its mind having been given permission to change the power unit.
The stewards decreed that as the team had worked on the car, it was a parc ferme infringement, and Gasly thus had to start from the back of the grid.
Gasly told Motorsport.com, “Not only today, the whole weekend was really bad. So we had a very poor performance in the wet. And honestly it’s a bit embarrassing, because we were just so slow with the wets, with the inters, we can’t switch them on. It was the same in quali.”
“We took a penalty. So a lot of problems. And we need to do better, because honestly, it was a poor performance from our side since yesterday morning. And we’ll have to work for the next races.”
Nissany given second FP1 outing
Williams test driver Roy Nissany will get another FP1 outing at the Bahrain Grand Prix, ahead of him joining reserve Jack Aitken in the post-season Abu Dhabi test.
The Israeli has already driven in practices for the team in Barcelona and Monza as part of his contract with the team. His third outing for the team will be at next week’s Bahrain GP, with his final run set for the one-day post-season rookie test that F1 is holding in Abu Dhabi.
While not all teams will take part in the post-season test, Williams has committed to giving both its young drivers an outing. They will get one car each for the test, which will be the final opportunity for F1 teams to run before the 2021 pre-season testing programme kicks off.
Nissany and Jack Aitken both meet the criteria of needing to have taken part in fewer than two Grands Prix to be allowed to run in the test. Both drivers are excited to drive for the team again.
Aitken said: “Of course I’m delighted to be able to step back into the FW43 in Abu Dhabi. After my FP1 outing with the team earlier in the year, I’ll be looking to build upon my experience with the team and get some ever-welcome laps under my belt.”
“Although we won’t be able to test too much with the way the programme is set, there are always things to learn, and it will be a great way to finish the season.”
Nissany added: “The Abu Dhabi test is another great opportunity for me to develop my connection with the car. In contrast to an FP1, the test gives us much more time and miles to fine-tune and synergise the car and my driving.”