PRIXVIEW – Turkish Grand Prix

Features Prixview

Formula One heads to Asia and the Middle East crossing the Bosporus strait for the Turkish Grand Prix which returns to the calendar for the first time since 2011. Istanbul Park once described as  “the best race track in the world” by Bernie Ecclestone.

Turkey held it’s the first race in 2005, that weekend proved quite difficult for drivers to get to grips with the anti-clockwise circuit, one of few on the calendar. Istanbul is a wide circuit which could create opportunities for overtaking. Like many circuits of its nature, it took inspiration from places like Monza, the Nürburgring, Spa and Suzuka.

Turn Eight, nicknamed Diabolica, is one of the iconic corners of the circuit a triple apex corner provides opportunities for drivers to overtake and get alongside. It would later become the inspiration for Austin’s Turns Seventeen and Eighteen, another iconic corner is the dive down the sharp first corner, like the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca.

Turn one has been the scene of many accidents on the opening lap a tight narrow ninety-degree corner which heads downhill into the sweeping turn two. the sharpest with a radius of merely 15 m (49 ft), the circuit runs over four different ground levels with a start/finish straight over 650 m (2,133 ft) in length.

Felipe Massa took his first win in the early stages of the 2006, along with teammate Michael Schumacher and the two Renaults all battled into turn one, with Fisichella spinning into Turn One. The chain reaction caused Kimi Raikkonen to crash into the Toro Rosso’s Scott Speed, leading a puncher.

Massa remained in control following the safety car on lap 15, before pulling away from both Schumacher and Alonso. The two world champions with fifteen laps remaining the focus shifted onto the battle for second place. Schumacher then attempted to chase after the Renault, it went down to the final corner but the Ferrari was unable to pip Alonso.

The Brazilian followed up his win in Istanbul with two further wins in 2007 and 2008. Massa started from pole while Lewis Hamilton’s charge to fight for victory as Alonso fell into the midfield, Massa did take the victory.

The 2010 race was defined by a now-famous crash between the two Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. Webber took pole and had control of the race until Vettel challenged him for the lead of the race on lap forty when the two crashed into each other.

The accident leads to Vettel retiring from the race and the two McLaren’s inheriting a one-two. McLaren then instructed the drivers to conserve fuel in the closing stages of the race, instituting team orders telling Button not to overtake Hamilton. However, at Turn Eight Button took the lead, only for Hamilton to dive down the inside at the first corner, narrowly avoiding his teammate he took the lead and victory.

The following season Vettel and Webber secured a Red Bull one-two finish, ahead of the beginning of the European season. The German took pole by four-tenths of a second becoming the first driver to take pole for five consecutive since Fernando Alonso did so in 2006.

This weekends race marks the latest start to the flyway races since the final round of the 1960 season in Watkins Glenn.

Facts and figures

Round 14 of 17
Race Formula 1 DHL Türkiye Grand Prix 2020
Venue Intercity Istanbul Park, Tuzla, Turkey
Circuit Length 5.338 km (3.317 mi)
Laps 58
Race Distance 309.396 km (192.250 mi)
Lap Record 01:24.770 (Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren-Mercedes, 2005)
Most wins drivers Felipe Massa (3)
Most wins manufacture Ferrari (3)

Fast facts

  • Like Silverstone Istanbul Park crosses two internal boundaries with the districts of Pendik and Tuzla districts on the Asian side of Istanbul. Istanbul one of a few cities to be considered trans-continental.
  • Sebastian Vettel got a speeding ticket nine seconds into his F1 practice debut in Istanbul in 2006.
  • The 2011 race saw the record set for the number of pit stops and overtakes since 1983.
  • Istanbul is one of the best tracks ever penned by Tilke, with parts of the circuit having been compared over the years to similar features at Spa-Francorchamps, Interlagos and Laguna Seca.

Event timetable





P1 11:00-12:30 08:00-09:30
P2 15:00-16:00 12:00-13:30


P3 12:00-13:00 09:00-10:00
Qualifying 15:00-16:00 12:00-13:00


Race 13:10 10:10

The (many) title permutations for the Turkish GP

  • If Bottas wins the race with the fastest lap (26 points), Hamilton cannot be champion in Turkey
  • If Bottas wins the race without the fastest lap (25 points), Hamilton will be champion if he is second (18 pts)
  • If Bottas is second with the fastest lap (19 points), Hamilton will be champion if he is at least fourth (12 points)
  • If Bottas is second without the fastest lap (18 points), Hamilton will be champion if he is at least fourth (12 points) or fifth with the fastest lap (11 points)
  • If Bottas is third with the fastest lap (16 points), Hamilton will be champion if he is at least fifth (10 points)
  • If Bottas is third without the fastest lap (15 points), Hamilton will be champion if he is at least sixth (8 points) with or without the fastest lap
  • If Bottas is fourth with the fastest lap (13 points), Hamilton will be champion if he is at least seventh (6 points)
  • If Bottas is fourth without the fastest lap (12 points), Hamilton will be champion if he is at least eighth with the fastest lap (5 points)
  • If Bottas is fifth with the fastest lap (11 points), Hamilton will be champion if he is at least eighth (4 points)
  • If Bottas is fifth without the fastest lap (10 points), Hamilton will be champion if is at least ninth with the fastest lap (3 points)
  • If Bottas is sixth with the fastest lap (9 points), Hamilton will be champion if he is at least ninth (2 points)
  • If Bottas is sixth without the fastest lap (8 points), Hamilton will be champion if he is at least 10th (1 point)
  • If Bottas is seventh or lower, Hamilton is guaranteed to be champion

What happened in 2011?

Sebastian Vettel dominated the race from pole position taking his third win of the season. Behind him Red Bull teammate Mark Webber passed Fernando Alonso to secure second. Vettel was careful not be caught out during the final round of stops, hanging on to victory.

The race saw battles up and down the field, while Vettel made smooth progress, building a lead of almost six seconds before his first stop on lap 10. The world champion made sure he was not caught out during a final flurry of stops and came in for a fresh set of hard tyres to ensure there would be no repeat of China when he was denied victory by Hamilton with four laps to go.

Hamilton, however, lost ground at the start to Alonso, it set him up for another duel for position with teammate Jenson Button. For the second year in a row, the two swap positions on track several times. Like in China, making an extra pit stop in the race gave him fresher tyres and allowed him to catch Button in the closing stages and make the move.

Rosberg had qualified in third in an improving Mercedes and jumped Webber at the start. The German did not have the pace over 58 laps on heavy fuel and, although he defended bravely, he found himself repeatedly overhauled and finished fifth.

Race Result – 1) S. Vettel, Red Bull – Renault, 01:30:17.558, 2) M. Webber, Red Bull – Renault, 8.807, 3) F. Alonso, Ferrari, +10.075

What to watch for?

We head to Istanbul at the latest time of year and with the nine-year gap between races much of the historical data is useless, as well as the time of year we are here. This means that practice will be busy, we may see some issues with tyre warm-up throughout the weekend that will be a key thing to watch as it could be crucial in the outcome of the race.

The focus will be on whether Lewis Hamilton can win his seventh world title, this is I believe a circuit he should do well at and could have the edge. Watching the last three races from memory I believe overtaking is possible, but we don’t know how these cars will perform they are bigger and produce large amounts of downforce and dirty air.

Mercedes biggest challengers are going to be Red Bull, you have to think that they probably aren’t going to have enough to really take the fight in normal conditions. But they could play a pivotal role in the race if they manage to cause headaches for Valtteri Bottas mainly, they can make it hard for him. Bottas hasn’t got the same amount of options to the title.

Racing Point you need to believe will be leading the midfield battle with Renault and McLaren, you have to think will be close, we will be watching that. Ferrari is not going to be part of that battle, this circuit you need to believe is one which will expose the team’s lack of downforce.

2010 vs 2011 Race Data

P1 Fastest

P2 Fastest

P3 Fastest

Q1 Fastest

Q2 Fastest

Q3 Fastest

Race Time

Fastest Lap


01:38.670 01:26.456 01:26.037 01:27.013 01:25.610 01:25.049 01:30:17.558 01:29.226


+10.023 -1.824 -1.049 -0.048 -1.208 -1.246 +02:30.062 +0.061


01:28.653 01:28.280 01:27.086 01:27.067 01:26.818 01:26.295 01:28:47.620 01:29.165


White Hard (C1)

Yellow Medium (C2)

Red Soft (C3)

3 3



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