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Five talking points from the Turkish Grand Prix

Five talking points from the Turkish Grand Prix

F1 News

Five talking points from the Turkish Grand Prix

Five talking points from the Turkish Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton wrapped up his record-equalling seventh world championship in the best possible style by overcoming the most challenging of conditions at the Turkish Grand Prix to take his 10th win of the season.

The Mercedes driver drew level with Michael Schumacher with a 31-second victory over Sergio Perez in a race he should never have been in contention for, let alone creating the biggest margin of victory of the season.

After a weekend of chaos, excitement, history and - most importantly - sliding, what have we learned from Formula 1's return to Istanbul Park

Hamilton's turn for seventh heaven celebrations

Last time out in Imola, Mercedes celebrated becoming the first team to take seven consecutive constructors' titles and it was the same number Hamilton would celebrate on Sunday in Turkey.

Much like the low-grip conditions that plagued the Mercedes cars during the opening laps at the Portuguese GP, Hamilton slipped and slid his way around the opening lap, eventually finishing it sixth after running wide at turn nine despite a good initial getaway.

After six laps, Hamilton was already a pit-stop adrift of race leader Lance Stroll but on intermediate tyres and a drying track, the champion came alive.

By lap 37, he was up behind Sergio Perez, the new race leader after Stroll -amongst others - had pitted for a second set of inters. An easy move with DRS assistance on the Mexican into turn 12 set Hamilton on the road to glory.

The Briton still had to manage his tyres across a 48-lap stint that turned his once intermediates into a set of rudimentary slicks. The performance, perhaps kindly, rendered team-mate Valtteri Bottas' disastrous weekend obsolete. A drive of pure class. Was it his greatest victory? Maybe.

Ferrari join fight for third

With both titles effectively signed, sealed and delivered in Mercedes' favour even ahead of the last few rounds, much of the excitement surrounding the paddock had zeroed in on the fight for third between Racing Point, Renault and McLaren.

The trio were separated by a single point before arriving in Turkey. Perez's podium means Racing Point now has a five-point gap to McLaren who limited the damage after an abysmal qualifying to keep in touch, while Renault fell back after scoring just a single point.

But from nowhere, Ferrari has entered stage right to join a battle they seemingly had no hope of earlier in the season. The key over the past weekend was having a second car fighting it out for points. In fact, it was Sebastian Vettel - who has struggled thus far - who came out ahead of Charles Leclerc in both qualifying and the race.

A first podium of the season for the German added to Leclerc's fourth-place means the Scuderia now sit just six points shy of Renault and 24 adrift of Racing Point.

If Ferrari can pull off third in the championship, it would be an astonishing comeback.

Red Bull miss golden opportunity

It was a dream scenario for Red Bull heading into the race on Sunday. Mercedes out of the way, struggling for pace. Max Verstappen with the bit between his teeth after being pipped to pole position the day previously. Alex Albon qualifying in the top four and looking for redemption after a difficult string of races.

Okay, a poor start allowed Perez and Vettel through, but both Verstappen and Albon had enough pace to instantly re-pass the Ferrari.

In fact, as the track dried and everyone switched to intermediates, Red Bull looked the team to beat pace-wise. But then disaster. Verstappen, up behind Perez, ran wide at turn 11 and spun, flat-spotting his tyres and forcing an extra pit-stop.

Albon was still in the fight and looked just as fast compared to the leading Racing Points. But a spin of his own cost Albon any chance of challenging for the podium, whilst his second set of inters never switched on as well as the first.

In a time of such dominance from Mercedes, Red Bull will surely look back on this race with some anguish as an opportunity missed.

Heartbreak for Stroll

Even though Stroll plummeted from the high of his maiden pole position to the low of finishing well adrift of the leaders, it is hard to pinpoint a single error in the Canadian's drive.

A stunning start gave Stroll a comfortable cushion - five seconds to his team-mate and a further six to Verstappen in third.

After the first pit-window, Stroll's advantage had increased to 10 seconds over Perez and he looked in complete control of the race. Then all of a sudden, he seemed to hit reverse gear.

The chasing pack closed in lap-by-lap as Stroll struggled with tyre graining and understeer, before a second set of inters put the final nail in the coffin for his race. He had no answer for his competitors as one-by-one, they made their way through.

In the end, Stroll finished one minute and 12 seconds behind Hamilton and 11 seconds off of Lando Norris in eighth - who with 18 laps remaining was over 40-seconds adrift of the Racing Point driver.

Formula 1 really can be so cruel.

Safety needs to be taken more seriously

During qualifying, the second session was started with a recovery vehicle still on the circuit, removing Nicholas Latifi's Williams after a spin at turn eight at the end of Q1.

FIA race director Michael Masi revealed the reason the green lights were switched on was that the clerk of the course insisted the truck would be off-circuit by the time the cars would reach the area on their out-laps.

When it became apparent the truck was unable to do so, double-yellow flags were extended to cover the sector. But why did it happen in the first place? Masi said that they would have handled it differently "with the benefit of hindsight," but what more hindsight do you need than 2014. That's hindsight.

Double-yellows didn't work two-weeks earlier in Imola when Stroll flew past marshals still removing debris from the track around a blind apex, so why take the risk on a track with next-to-no grip, in the wet when visibility is low and a car has already gone off in that exact area to cause the situation in the first place?

Two safety issues in two weekends certainly ring alarm bells.

Before you go...

Hamilton-Mercedes ‘dream team’ is F1’s best ever after record 73rd win

Hamilton's seven F1 world championship titles ranked


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