Lewis Hamilton overcame a wet thriller in Istanbul to claim a record-equalling seventh Formula One world title by taking victory at 2020 Turkish Grand Prix.
Hamilton begun the race in sixth but a mistake at Turn Nine after rising to third upon the start saw him slip back to sixth where he struggled even after his stop on lap nine, until he took advantage of a drying track as he ran his intermediate tyres to slicks to the checkered flag as others faltered.
Hamilton now extended his championship lead over Valtteri Bottas to 110 points which ultimately was enough for his seventh title following a series of spins for the Finnish driver who needed to reduce his title deficit by eight points to continue his now failed title bid.
Speaking post race on his stunning victory and seventh title which matches Michael Schumacher’s haul, Hamilton said; “I’m definitely a bit lost for words. I think I have to start with saying a big thank you to all the guys here and all the guys back at the factory.”
Hamilton also had words of advice for young fans, saying; “It’s so important for kids out there to hopefully see this and know that don’t listen to anyone that tells you that you can’t achieve something. Dream the impossible and speak it into existence. You’ve got to work for it, you have got to chase it and you’ve got to never give up and never doubt yourself.”
Sergio Perez clung onto second after surviving late drama as Charles Leclerc made a last-gasp move at Turn Nine only to concede position at Turn 12 and slip to fourth as Sebastian Vettel claimed his first podium of the season in third to lift himself to 13th in the driver standings.
Carlos Sainz, Max Verstappen, Alex Albon, Lando Norris, Lance Stroll and Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top ten.
The drama began before lights out when Antonio Giovinazzi and George Russell suffered crashes on their outlaps to the grid in wet conditions, with Russell starting from the pit lane following his crash into the pit wall at the pit entry.
AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly meanwhile was instructed to start from the back of the grid after his team dissembled his car for a power unit change overnight, only to not then make those changes but in process breached Parc Ferme rules.
Once the race got underway, Stroll got a clean getaway from pole as Perez slotted into second ahead of Hamilton whilst Vettel leap from 11th to fourth as Verstappen struggled to find gears after a clear getaway.
Valtteri Bottas needed to finish ahead of Hamilton by eight points to prolong the title battle to Bahrain but a spin at Turn One alongside Esteban Ocon ended his chances, on top of further spins throughout the race as he finished 14th and a lap down on his now seven-time champion teammate.
Hamilton ran wide at Turn Nine which saw him slip to fifth but Albon made an inside move at Turn 12 to knock the Brit back down to sixth, where he remained stuck behind Vettel for much of the first half of this race.
Up front, Stroll and Perez pitted at start of laps ten and 11 respectively but Verstappen was unable to make a clear run of air count as he pitted on lap 12 for Intermediate tyres, ultimately dipping his right front tyre across the pit exit line, forcing him to visit the stewards post-race.
Stroll soon about bridging a circa eight second gap to Perez which reached as high as 10s at start of lap 19 as the Mexican struggled with his tyres on the slippery track, despite producing a stunning defensive move to fend off Verstappen a lap earlier to send the Dutchman spinning out of victory contention.
Tyre wear soon began to become an issue for drivers and by lap 36, Perez had found himself in DRS range of his teammate who pitted a lap later for new intermediates, which ultimately proved difficult to work as the pole-sitter faded quickly to an eventual ninth-placed finish after being passed by Norris in the final laps.
Hamilton meanwhile benefitted from a mixture of mistakes and two-stop strategies to find himself in third and after Stroll pitted, he was able to rapidly reel in Perez and passed him into Turn 12 for the lead.
Both Hamilton and Perez then proceeded to make their intermediates last to the flag as Perez clung on for second after briefly losing position to Leclerc out of Turn Nine on the final lap, only for the Monegasque to run wide into Turn 12, allowing the Mexican through to snatch back second just ahead of Vettel by 0.327s.
Leclerc meanwhile clung onto fourth ahead of Sainz by 0.505s as the Spaniard recovered from 15th on the grid, whilst Verstappen’s earlier spin forced him into a three-stopper which saw him just edge out Albon and Norris who claimed fastest lap and eighth.
Stroll clung onto ninth which gave Racing Point 20 pivotal points as they climbed to third in the Constructor standings, ahead of McLaren who collected 15 points to go fourth on 149 points as Renault slipped to fifth on 136 points after Norris tagged Ricciardo into a spin at Turn 12 on Lap 48.
Perez was the big winner outside of the championship’s top three as his second-placed finish propelled him up to fourth in the driver standings, leading Leclerc by three points with Ricciardo a further point behind the Monegasque.
Further down the order, Williams’ gamble to start both Russell and Latifi on Intermediate tyres backfired as Russell finished a lap down and Latifi retired with damage from a collision with Haas’ Romain Grosjean on lap 39.
2020 Turkish Grand Prix Results
|1||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||58||1h 42m 19.313|
|2||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||58||+ 31.633s|
|3||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||58||+ 31.960s|
|4||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||58||+ 33.858|
|5||Carlos Sainz||McLaren||58||+ 34.363|
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||58||+ 44.873|
|7||Alex Albon||Red Bull||58||+ 46.484|
|8||Lando Norris||McLaren||58||+ 1m 01.259|
|9||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||58||+ 1m 12.353|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||58||+ 1m35.460|
|11||Esteban Ocon||Renault||58||+ 1 Lap|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri||58||+ 1 Lap|
|13||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||58||+ 1 Lap|
|14||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||57||+ 1 Lap|
|15||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||57||+ 1 Lap|
|16||George Russell||Williams||57||+ 1 Lap|
|17||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||55||+ 3 Laps|
|DNF||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||11||Technical|