Lewis Hamilton won an epic wet-race at the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix and sealed a record-equalling seventh world title. Hamilton’s ninety-fourth win of his career and the tenth win of the season saw the Briton script a commanding win even as drivers spun and fell by the wayside all around him.
Sergio Pérez finished in second position as he endured through a late-challenge from Charles Leclerc on the final lap. The Mexican made a strong case to stay on the grid next season with another well-crafted race that secured the ninth podium of his career.
Sebastian Vettel with a stellar opening lap that took him from eleventh to fourth position joined his old rivals on the podium. The German sealed his first podium of the season as he lunged past team-mate Leclerc as he locked up on the final lap.
On a day when fortunes swung around frequently on a wet and low grip track, Leclerc lost a podium in his bid to overtake Pérez on the final lap and finished in fourth position. Carlos Sainz with a measured drive took fifth position.
The race started under cold and wet conditions at the Intercity Istanbul Park circuit in Turkey. Lance Stroll started in pole position for the first time in his career. The young Canadian had the formidable Max Verstappen to contend with on the first row.
Team-mate Pérez and Alexander Albon started on the second row. Daniel Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton lined up behind them. Esteban Ocon, Kimi Räikkönen, Valtteri Bottas and Antonio Giovinazzi started at the sharp end of the grid.
The two Williams Racing team drivers, George Russell and Nicholas Latifi started from the pit lane on the intermediate tyres. All the other drivers were on the full wet weather tyres.
Giovinazzi was the first driver to spin off the track even as he went to the starting grid in the treacherous conditions. The two BWT Racing Point Formula One Team drivers, Stroll and Pérez, made a good start to lead the way.
Both Verstappen and Albon fell back as they crawled off the starting line. Hamilton squeezed through the inside of Ricciardo to take third position.
Ricciardo took evasive action and in the process spun his fast-starting team-mate Ocon around. Bottas was also involved in the melee and spun around, one of several spins for the Finn during the race.
Vettel had made a great start and slotted into fourth position behind Hamilton. An off-track excursion for Hamilton at Turn 9 saw him fall to sixth position as Vettel, Verstappen and Albon swept past him.
Bottas was involved in another incident with Ocon on the opening lap which saw the Frenchman suffer a rear-tyre puncture. At the end of lap 1, Sainz had also gained places jumping from fifteenth to ninth position. Stroll at the end of lap 1 had a commanding lead of over three seconds over Pérez.
Leclerc was the first driver to pit on lap 6 for the intermediate tyres. A couple of laps later Vettel and Hamilton pitted for the intermediates as the track was beginning to dry in places.
By lap 13, all the leaders had pitted for the intermediate tyres. Stroll had a comfortable lead of over ten seconds from team-mate Pérez. Verstappen had jumped Vettel in the pit stops to take third position. Hamilton, Albon, Ricciardo, Sainz, Leclerc and Kevin Magnussen were in the top 10 positions.
Giovinazzi retired with a reliability issue that brought out the Virtual Safety Car (VSC) briefly. On lap 16, Hamilton tried to overtake Vettel and slid off the track losing a position to Albon. Albon then overtook Vettel for fourth position.
On lap 18, Verstappen who was in hot pursuit of Pérez for second position overcooked his move on the outside at Turn 11 and spun off and lost positions to Albon, Vettel and Hamilton. The Dutchman had flat-spotted his tyres and dived into the pits for a new set of intermediate tyres and rejoined in eighth position.
Albon in the meantime had closed in on Pérez for second position. The drivers were complaining about their intermediate tyres but were told by their pit walls to wait to see if the track would become dry enough for the slick tyres.
On lap 30, the DRS was finally enabled. On lap 31, Leclerc pitted for a second time for new intermediate tyres and rejoined in ninth position. Ricciardo pitted shortly afterwards as he was overtaken by Sainz for sixth position.
On lap 34, Vettel pitted and an Albon spin saw him drop to fifth position behind Stroll, Pérez, Hamilton and Verstappen. Albon pitted for a new set of intermediate tyres and rejoined in sixth position behind Vettel.
Pérez had now closed the gap to Stroll and the Canadian pitted on lap 37 and rejoined in fourth position behind Verstappen. On the same lap, Hamilton passed Pérez to take the race lead.
Stroll could not warm up his tyres and fell back to eighth position by lap 42. On lap 44, Leclerc made rapid progress and had taken third position from Verstappen.
Verstappen made another pit stop and rejoined in seventh position. On the next lap, Sainz had taken fifth position from Albon. By the end of lap 45, Hamilton had extended his lead over Pérez to over 18 seconds. Leclerc, Vettel, Sainz, Albon, Verstappen, Stroll, Ricciardo and Norris were in the point scoring positions.
On lap 48, Bottas who had already been lapped by Hamilton pitted and rejoined in last position. Ricciardo lost ninth position to Norris after an off-track excursion.
On lap 56, Verstappen had taken sixth position from Albon. Norris had overtaken the early race leader Stroll for eighth position.
Hamilton was asked by his team to pit in anticipation of rain in the final laps. But Hamilton elected to stay out as he did not want to lose track position to Pérez.
The Mexican who also like Hamilton had stopped only once was struggling on his worn out intermediate tyres. On the final lap, Leclerc lunged past him only to overcook his move and lose his position to Pérez and Vettel.
Hamilton sailed to an imperious win that seemed impossible at the start of the day. In a chaotic wet race, the Briton showed his mettle to clinch his seventh drivers’ championship and equal the great Michael Schumacher’s record.
Pérez clinched the ninth podium of his career as he took second position with a well-crafted drive. Vettel with a last lap overtake took his first podium of the season to salvage a wretched campaign for him.
Leclerc lost a podium with his bold move on the final lap and had to be content with fourth position. Sainz with a fine opening lap salvaged good points for the McLaren F1 team with fifth position.
The two Aston Martin Red Bull Racing drivers, Verstappen and Albon, had to be content with sixth and seventh positions as errors scuppered their podium chances.
Norris also essayed a fine recovery drive to finish in eighth position and clinch the extra point for fastest lap. Stroll after leading most of the race could not switch on his intermediate tyres in the third stint and finished in a disappointing ninth position. Ricciardo took the final solitary point with tenth position.
Bottas finished in fourteenth position after umpteen spins and was no match to his peerless team-mate Hamilton on this day. Hamilton comfortably clinched his seventh drivers’ championship after one of the best wins of his career.
Both titles have been clinched as expected by Mercedes and Hamilton. We now go to Bahrain for two back to back races in two weeks time (27 to 29 November 2020).
2020 Turkish Grand Prix Race Results:
|1||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:42:19.313||58||25|
|2||11||Sergio Pérez||MEX||BWT Racing Point Formula One Team||+31.633s||58||18|
|3||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Scuderia Ferrari||+31.960s||58||15|
|4||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||+33.858s||58||12|
|5||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||ESP||McLaren F1 Team||+34.363s||58||10|
|6||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||+44.873s||58||8|
|7||23||Alexander Albon||THA||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||+46.484s||58||6|
|8||4||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||+61.259s||58||5|
|9||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||BWT Racing Point Formula One Team||+72.353s||58||2|
|10||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Renault DP World F1 Team||+95.460s||58||1|
|11||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Renault DP World F1 Team||+1 lap||57||0|
|12||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||+1 lap||57||0|
|13||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||+1 lap||57||0|
|14||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||+1 lap||57||0|
|15||7||Kimi Räikkönen||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing||+1 lap||57||0|
|16||63||George Russell||GBR||Williams Racing||+1 lap||57||0|
|17||20||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||Haas F1 Team||DNF||55||0|
|NC||8||Romain Grosjean||FRA||Haas F1 Team||DNF||49||0|
|NC||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||DNF||39||0|
|NC||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Alfa Romeo Racing||DNF||11||0|