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Seventh title heaven for Hamilton after another stunning wet-weather masterclass

Seventh title heaven for Hamilton after another stunning wet-weather masterclass


Seventh title heaven for Hamilton after another stunning wet-weather masterclass

Seventh title heaven for Hamilton after another stunning wet-weather masterclass

Lewis Hamilton produced another wet-weather masterclass to underline his status as a newly-crowned seven-time Formula 1 champion.

It was always a case of when, rather than if, Hamilton would win his latest title, and he did so at the first opportunity thanks to a crazy race at Istanbul Park, with the 35-year-old claiming the 94th win of his career, and his 10th this season.

It means the 35-year-old has now equalled the haul of championships won by the legendary Michael Schumacher, opening up an unassailable 110-point lead over team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

The Finn endured a wretched race and was humiliatingly lapped by Hamilton en route to finishing a miserable 14th.

An emotional Hamilton then broke down in tears on the warm-down lap en route to parc fermé, placing his head in his hands, and visibly wracked with emotion as you could see his body shaking.

Rain prior to the start made the circuit treacherous again, as was the case during Saturday for qualifying, and while even Hamilton struggled initially, the race and the conditions came to him.

The Briton cruised home by 31.6 seconds to Racing Point's Sergio Perez, with Ferrari producing its best result of the season as Sebastian Vettel claimed third ahead of Charles Leclerc after the duo had started 11th and 12th respectively.

With race director Michael Masi electing for a standing start rather than behind the safety car, there was appreciable chaos behind Stroll who made a clean getaway.

Verstappen was unable to find any grip and bogged down, allowing Hamilton, the two Renaults of Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon and Bottas to surge past.

But in crawling through turn one, Ricciardo tagged team-mate Ocon, sending the Frenchman into a spin, followed likewise by Bottas who was forced to brake to avoid the twirling Renault.

A second incident between Bottas and Ocon at turn nine resulted in the Finn clipping the Renault, sending both into a spin again, but resulting in a rear-left puncture for the latter and necessitating an immediate pit stop.

Hamilton, meanwhile, had pushed his way into third behind a Racing Point one-two, only to run wide at one stage that allowed Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, Verstappen and Albon to all move up a place.

Vettel was the big winner on lap one, making up eight places from 11th, but as the track conditions began to flip to allow intermediate tyres to be fitted after all bar the Williams duo had started on the full wets, the German was one of those to pit early.

In staying out longer, Verstappen managed to gain a place, leapfrogging Vettel with an undercut that promoted him to third behind Stroll and Perez.

Vettel then found himself under pressure from fifth-placed Hamilton as Albon was the last of the 20 drivers to pit at the end of lap 12 - after leading for a lap - and dropped down to sixth.

The field was soon reduced to 19 when Antonio Giovinazzi retired on lap 13.

The Alfa Romeo driver was fortunate to start the race anyway as he had slid off the track and kissed a barrier with his front wing on his initial lap to the grid.

It resulted in the Italian being craned back on to the track - whilst he was still sat inside - before being allowed to take up his place on the grid, only for his race to soon be run.

On lap 16 an attempt from Hamilton to pass Vettel resulted in him ultimately losing a place to Albon after the Briton had run wide.

Albon then showed Hamilton how to pass Vettel with an easy move into turn seven, promoting him to fourth, which quickly became third on lap 18 as Verstappen then spun in trying to pass Perez.

The Dutch driver pirouetted twice, allowing Hamilton and Vettel to also pass, but in flat-spotting his tyres he was required to make a second stop for fresh intermediates, dropping him to eighth.

At the halfway stage of 29 laps, and with a dry line beginning to form, the top five of Stroll, Perez, Albon, Vettel and Hamilton were covered by just over nine seconds, and with the victory up for grabs.

On lap 30, Masi made the call to enable DRS, as previously it been deemed unsafe to do so due to the conditions.

With drivers then taking on fresh sets of inters, Vettel relinquished his fourth place to Hamilton who was swiftly promoted to third on lap 34 as Albon spun ahead of him at turn four.

Leader Stroll then pitted after 36 laps, dropping to fourth, promoting Perez into the lead, albeit momentarily because with DRS available Hamilton grabbed first place from the Mexican.

Despite staying out on worn inters, Hamilton proceeded to pull away at a rapid rate from Perez, while Stroll fell away completely after complaining of graining that had appeared quickly on his fresh rubber to limp home in ninth.

Hamilton then effectively turned his inters into slicks, which was enough to carry him home - after passing Bottas on lap 46 en route - by a staggering margin to Perez who had also stayed out on the wearing green-striped Pirelli.

Behind the Ferraris, who swapped places in the penultimate corner after Leclerc had failed with a pass on Perez for second, McLaren's Carlos Sainz also conjured a superb drive from 13th to claim fifth ahead Verstappen and Albon.

McLaren's Lando Norris clinched eighth, and also the point for fastest lap, with Stroll ninth ahead of Ricciardo and Ocon.

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