Starting on a what could be called a very wet track, Lewis Hamilton looked slow and sounded frustrated. Yet again, Hamilton found victory lane, and in doing so claimed his seventh world title at the Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday (Nov. 15).
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) November 15, 2020
Sergio Perez finished second, scoring valuable points for Racing Point’s hopes of earning third in the Constructor’s championship.
In a surprising result, Sebastian Vettel took third, earning his best result of the season.
Max Verstappen looked like he might be the driver to beat but seemingly beat himself throughout the race and wound up in sixth. Alex Albon led at one point but seemed to struggle late in the race and took seventh.
Lando Norris started 16th and drove a steady race, creeping through the field to cross the line in eighth. Lance Stroll led for the first half of the race but then suffered through the second half and limped across the finish in ninth.
Daniel Ricciardo took the last points-paying position by finishing 10th.
Hamilton’s win seemed improbable during through the first 30 laps of the race, but he made his worn wet intermediate tyres work by driving the tread off them and turning them into de facto slicks.
He managed what was left of the rubber to find the pace that other drivers were losing by being on fresh intermediates. Those tyres held the temperature better than slicks would, and as the track dried and the race progressed, Hamilton took control.
Hamilton earned his 94th win and tied Michael Schumacher with seven championships.
Early on, the race did not look like it would go Hamilton’s way. For much of the event, Hamilton lagged behind the leaders, at one point sitting nearly 30 seconds off the lead.
Stroll looked to have the race in hand but Racing Point could not figure out the best strategy to keep the Canadian driver there. As the track began to dry, the team and driver struggled to manage the intermediates, and he fell off the pace.
While Stroll may have pitted and lost his way, Perez stayed out and attempted to keep the field at bay. His effort proved solid in the end but he could not muster enough of a challenge for Hamilton’s charge.
With Verstappen performing a compelling satirical version of his best and worst selves, the lead became Hamilton’s for the taking.
Once Hamilton took the lead, there was every reason to believe that it would be a short-lived escapade. His tyres were worn and he had complained about his brakes earlier in the race.
In an inspired spell of driving, Hamilton instead found himself in a fortuitous position and with enough left in his car to steer it toward victory.
Rather than being fazed by the degradation of his intermediates, Hamilton found them to be able to hold the heat and work as pseudo-slicks. In conjunction, his brakes were able to maintain their heat better and he then kept his car on the racing line to drive away from the field.
In the end, Hamilton built a gap of nearly 30 seconds over second-place Perez, cruising to the win. He had set himself up so that if a late rain shower came, as many in the paddock expected, he had a pit stop in hand to grab new intermediates and keep his spot in first.
While Hamilton’s wins have become commonplace over the years, his drive at the Turkish GP is exactly the type that showcases the talent of a world champion. He managed his tyres, showed patience, kept his wits, knew what he wanted from his team — at one point calling off a pit stop — then exhibited the talent needed to drive away from the field as everyone else struggled to make sense of the slick track.