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EXCLUSIVE: Hamilton engineer names SURPRISE best race of F1 legend's life

EXCLUSIVE: Hamilton engineer names SURPRISE best race of F1 legend's life

EXCLUSIVE: Hamilton engineer names SURPRISE best race of F1 legend's life

EXCLUSIVE: Hamilton engineer names SURPRISE best race of F1 legend's life

Lewis Hamilton has driven to over 100 victories in his Formula 1 career since joining the sport in 2007.

Memorable moments include wins that secured him the title on the last corner on the last lap and home victories on three wheels.

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Yet there was an early drive that cemented the Brit as a champion-in-waiting for many that never resulted in a top-step finish.

GPFans exclusively went behind the scenes with Hamilton's race engineer to understand what happened at Istanbul Park when a rookie driver turned heads up and down the paddock.

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Hamilton won GP2 in 2006

Hamilton's 'Drive of his life'

Frederic "Fifo" Guyot was the man in Hamilton's headset that 2006 summer's day in Turkey as his driver lined up P7 for GP2's Sprint Race.

The reverse-grid format meant the young Hamilton's P5 qualification had him start further back, but soon had to make up even more places after an early-race spin tumbled him to P19... but he finished on the podium.

"Regarding the race in Istanbul, it's full of legends," states Guyot, referring to rumours of his ART team running a super-low downforce setup, "but there was nothing special.

"Even the drivers asked me, 'What did you do in Istanbul?'' Nothing! I think that day he just made a big mistake by spinning and being in P7, with big pressure from [Nelson] Piquet [Jr.], who was coming back in the championship.

"And then he just did the best drive of his life that day."

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F1 at Istanbul Park

'Magic' in Turkey

Guyot recalled that Hamilton was the driving force behind the fightback rather than the car underneath him.

"By pushing a lot and having the right position in the flat corner... in the last sector [Turn 11].

"It was nothing special; he was just pushing the limit and was quicker than the others by braking a lot later.

"The downforce was nothing special because when we started the race, we were not expecting to be P19. "Because of his spin, he had to recover, and it was magic."

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Hamilton drove 'angry'

'Angry' Hamilton rewarded

This sensational Turkish race is similar to an F2 race by Hamilton's 2025 teammate, Charles Leclerc, who adopted an unusual pit strategy in Bahrain's 2017 round and drove 10 flat-out laps to close an impossible gap for the win.

When asked if Guyot saw similarities, he said it was "Exactly the same; he didn't care; it was like everything was lost, now I'm screwed, so I will do 100%, maybe more.

"If it was a normal race, it would never have been as quick as it was that day because he was taking a lot more risk.

"Driving angry, taking all the risk, and getting all of the rewards, it's brilliant. "He was missing one lap to win the race, I think."

Hamilton finished P2 behind Andreas Zuber and left Turkey leading the GP2 championship by 10 points over Nelson Piquet Jr and eventually took the title before stepping up to F1 in 2007.

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