TURKISH GP – Lewis Hamilton takes a seventh world title in a thrilling drama-filled race

Testing & Race Reports

Lewis Hamilton has secured a record-equalling seventh world championship with victory in a thrilling Turkish Grand Prix. The Englishman looked to struggle with the circuit all weekend but took the lead of the race with twenty laps to go.

Mercedes had gone into the race following there most difficult Friday and worst qualifying in the turbo-hybrid era. The result gives Hamilton his seventh world championship, level with Michael Schumacher’s record title haul. Also makes him statistically the most successful F1 driver of all time.

Arguably it was one of the most difficult wins of his career, having dropped thirty seconds behind midway through the race being behind. It was an afternoon where sticking to a one-stop was looking unlikely, but crucially brought Hamilton passed Sergio Perez on lap thirty-seven, from where he controlled the final laps.

But a key decision he made was not to make a second pit stop late in the race, which would have given Perez the lead, that call came with twenty laps to go. His inters appeared so warn by the end of the race they looked like slicks.

Hamilton said, “I definitely am a bit lost for words. Naturally, I have to start with saying such a huge thank you to the guys here and back at the factory. The journey we have been on has been monumental.”

“I also want to say a big thank you to Team LH for sticking with me all these years, and to my family. We dreamed of this when I was young, but this [seven titles] was way beyond our dreams.”

If Hamilton wins the remaining three races, he will surpass Sebastian Vettel and Schumacher’s record for number of wins in a single season, that would likely open the question what if we had a full twenty two race calendar. Also pole in the remaining three races would see him reach a hundred career pole positions.

Perez had inherited the lead from his Racing Point teammate Lance Stroll, the Canadian who led half the race made a second stop which dropped him down to ninth. While Perez had to defend second place from Ferrari’s Vettel, who finished on the podium for the first time this season.

It has been the Italian teams’ strongest weekend of the season, they have shown place in the wet conditions.

Perez said, “I told my team on the radio: ‘One more lap on those tyres, I think they will have exploded.’ The vibrations were really bad towards the end. But I think it also made our race.”

“Looking after them towards the beginning and towards the end, with drying conditions, I think the team did a fantastic job with the strategy in the race.”

Leclerc tried to pass Perez on the final lap, but a late lunge for second proved costly he failed to pass the Mexican which allowed Vettel to close the gap and got the move done on the final lap, the highlight of his torrid eighteen months.

The only man who could have stopped Hamilton Valtteri Bottas had a disastrous afternoon, finishing the race fourteenth on a weekend he needed to outscore Hamilton by seven points. The Finn appeared to struggle with the conditions spinning five times.

It wasn’t only Bottas who had a difficult afternoon, Red Bull had a potential race win slip through their fingers after both Max Verstappen and Alex Albon spun while battling with the Racing Points dropping them both down the order and out of contention for a podium.

Red Bull could have easily won the race, but driver error cost them lead of the race. Verstappen also made a poor start from second, allowing Perez to get past him forming a one-two with Stroll, it also allowed Hamilton into third after starting sixth.

Verstappen is under investigation for possibly crossing the pit exit line after his second stop.

Carlos Sainz even managed to get passed the Red Bull’s, the McLaren driver finishing in fifth half a second ahead of Verstappen. The Spaniard delivering a solid race to get passed Albon to take fifth, after a penalty dropped him to fifteenth on the grid.

Lando Norris got passed Stroll when the Canadian ran wide at turn one for tenth place. The Englishman then passed his future teammate Daniel Ricciardo, when he also spun his Renault dropping him to tenth making him the final driver to finish on the lead lap.

Renaults sole point may prove costly in a close battle with Racing Point and McLaren in the constructors, with their main rivals both finishing the race with both cars in the top ten. Alpha Tauri’s Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly were twelfth and thirteenth.

Bottas was fourteenth, in a race where he spun five times and needed to outscored Hamilton by eight points, he couldn’t match his teammate pace until the final lap.

The Finn like Hamilton this weekend has struggled, and his race proved to be the same, once again small hope of a championship alive. He later described his race as a “disaster.”

Telling reporters “All the moments I had, it was not like how it should be. It was a messy race, a disastrous race. Obviously I was trying to push as hard as I could, because there was nothing to lose for me today.”

“When I dropped back I was pushing as hard as I could, made mistakes, and for sure with the damage as well, made it quite tricky. It could be the most difficult race I’ve had in Formula 1 so far, and also the result.”

Kimi Raikkonen was fifteenth ahead of George Russell and Kevin Magnussen. Romain Grosjean and Nicholas Latifi also retired in the pits a few laps after they had clashed and spun off.

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Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.