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Five things to expect from the Turkish Grand Prix

Five things to expect from the Turkish Grand Prix

F1 News

Five things to expect from the Turkish Grand Prix

Five things to expect from the Turkish Grand Prix

Formula 1 returns to Istanbul Park for the first Turkish Grand Prix since 2011 with Lewis Hamilton in position to clinch a record-equalling seventh drivers' world championship title.

In securing the constructors' title at Imola, Mercedes guaranteed a seventh consecutive drivers' and constructors' championship double with only Valtteri Bottas in mathematical contention to steal the crown from Hamilton.

Max Verstappen, who was on course to finish second in Imola before a tyre failure curtailed his efforts, will look to bounce back with a strong result while his Red Bull team-mate aims simply to put in a strong performance to increase his chances of remaining with the team, and potentially in the sport, into 2021.

With the gap for third between Renault, Racing Point and McLaren now just a solitary point, it is still anybody's guess as to how the battle will pan out this weekend.

So, upon the eve of what could be another historic weekend, what are the key things to look out for?

Hamilton to join Schumacher?

So far this season, Hamilton has equalled and bettered Michael Schumacher's podium record, has equalled and bettered his win record, and is now on the brink of equalling his championship success record.

Team-mate Valtteri Bottas must outscore Hamilton by eight-points to prolong the challenge into the Bahrain double-header. Anything less and Hamilton will equal Schumacher.

Of all the German's records that it was thought no driver would match, this was the crown jewel. To achieve success over such lengthy period requires qualities few possess and an unrelenting drive to succeed.

What better way could Hamilton achieve the feat than to take victory at the circuit where he announced himself onto the world stage with a sublime comeback drive in the 2006 GP2 series?

Russell with a point to prove?

Imola provided heartbreak in plentiful doses for Williams. Not only did Nicholas Latifi narrowly miss out on the top 10 but George Russell crashed out from a points-paying position while lapping behind the safety car no less.

After crashing, the dejected Briton was shown on camera hunched over against the barriers, visibly upset with himself. However, with encouragement from drivers and fans alike, the Mercedes junior will look to bounce back with a bang this weekend, looking to take advantage of a fourth consecutive 'new' track.

As Williams continues to improve, the team has been open in its ambition to compete in the midfield in 2021, and Russell, who is yet to score a point in his F1 career, is fired up to ensure the team does not register a first pointless year in its history.

His speed on a Saturday has been clear for all to see this season and a Q2 appearance will no doubt help to exorcise the demons of two weeks ago.

Fight for third getting ever closer - who will take the advantage?

The topsy-turvy battle for third is far from over, even with just four rounds remaining.

Every time a team appears to gain an advantage, its rivals snap back and reduce the point gap once more.

In recent weeks, Renault has appeared to take a leading role in the battle with Daniel Ricciardo having twice stood on the podium in the past three races, although, had Racing Point not pitted Sergio Perez during a late safety car at Imola, the picture could have been decidedly different.

McLaren looked off the pace of its two rivals but still managed to bag a double-points finish to remain firmly in the hunt.

Bearing in mind the McLaren was a race leading car in Portugal just a week before Imola, it shows just how the midfield can swap positions in the blink of an eye. A big result here could be crucial for momentum heading into the final three races.

Can Albon pull himself up by the thread he is hanging on?

Another race and another mistake from Albon. Rarely is a driver subjected to such an enormous amount of pressure as Albon is under and the cracks have more than started to appear.

In his defence, the British-Thai driver has been resolute when speaking about his situation in public, although acknowledged he was "hanging in there" after his spin at Imola.

Nevertheless, the Red Bull seat is still his and a solid performance this weekend would do him the world of good. Momentum and confidence are all that is needed as he tries to cement his 2021 seat and looking at his qualifying performances, he isn't far away from his weekends coming together.

One good start could be the difference between a smooth run to fourth or an anxious midfield tussle.

Tyre talk - Will high-loads be an issue?

The list of Pirelli tyre failures was added to at Imola as Verstappen saw second taken from him in the dying stages of the race.

The instant puncture - seemingly caused by debris on circuit - was not what anybody wanted to see and adds to the problems suffered by both Mercedes drivers and Carlos Sainz at the British Grand Prix and Daniil Kvyat at the Austrian Grand Prix.

With that in mind, the high-speed, quadruple-apex Turn 8 will surely be a cause of concern should a similar situation arise and may therefore play a part in strategy on race day.

A cautious Pirelli has brought the hardest three compounds in its range to Istanbul, but this too could create problems with low ambient temperatures potentially leading to poor tyre warm up.

If you don't like hearing about tyres, the Turkish Grand Prix may not be the one for you.

Before you go...

McLaren can’t afford mistakes in Turkey – Sainz

Has Hülkenberg inadvertently harmed Racing Point's chances of finishing third?

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