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PREVIEW: 2020 Formula 1 Turkish Grand Prix – Intercity Istanbul Park

4 Mins read
Credit: Red Bull Content Pool / Getty Images

Another Formula 1 weekend, another new addition to the 2020 FIA Formula 1 World Championship calendar. The Turkish Grand Prix held at Intercity Istanbul Park was subbed in after the cancellation of multiple races due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

The Turkish Grand Prix hasn’t been held since 2011 so a lot of the current grid haven’t had a taste of the Istanbul circuit.

Previous winners at the track include Jenson Button and Felipe Massa plus the current drivers of Kimi RäikkönenLewis Hamilton and Sebastian VettelSergio Pérez also raced at the track in 2011 and Daniel Ricciardo was given a Free Practice session, who drove in place of Jaime Alguersuari in a Scuderia Toro Rosso.

What happened at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix?

Lewis Hamilton won the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the same race where Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team claimed their seventh consecutive Constructors’ Championship.

The race start wasn’t the best from Hamilton as he saw himself go from second to third after being overtaken by Max Verstappen on Lap one. Pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas had the race in control and it looked like it would be his race to lose.

Both Mercedes drivers where on two different strategies. Bottas pitted on Lap nineteen but Hamilton was determined to keep going and try and get a pit undercut on his team-mate and Verstappen. The F1 gods must have been looking down on Hamilton as an incident to Esteban Ocon’s car on Lap twenty-nine meant a virtual safety car was imposed, the perfect opportunity for Hamilton to pit and come out ten seconds ahead of Bottas.

Bottas lost some momentum with a charging Verstappen all over the back of him and was eventually overtaken by the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver.

The race seemed to calm down until Verstappen became an unfortunate retirement of the race. His wheel punctured heading into the Villenueve chicane and he beached his car in the gravel trap. This brought out a full safety car. 

Earlier in the race, Pérez took advantage of fifth placed Charles Leclerc and fourth place Ricciardo taking earlier pits and undercut them meaning with Verstappen out, he was sitting pretty in third. However, his team decided to pit him during the safety car, and this put him down to sixth, with the drivers in front of him opting not to pit. George Russell also became a casualty, crashing behind the Safety Car when on course for the first point in Formula 1.

With just a few laps left, we got racing again. Ricciardo managed to hold of a surprising late charge from Daniil Kyvat to take third, his second podium of the year with Bottas finishing off the podium in second.

Hamilton and Ricciardo finished off the celebrations by doing one of the Australians famous shoey’s, something the Brit said he would never do (and probably won’t do again!)

What happened the 2011 Turkish Grand Prix?

Sebastian Vettel won the last Turkish Grand Prix with his Red Bull Racing team-mate Mark Webber just behind him for a one-two.

Webber did have to defend his second-place finish from a charging Fernando Alonso, but the Australian driver crossed the line two seconds ahead of the Ferrari.

A mini battle for fourth between Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Button formed with Hamilton claiming the position. Button had originally been in the mix for fourth, but his tyre degradation became an issue in the latter of the race and was eventually overtaken by Rosberg.

Timo Glock was unable to start the race due to losing fifth gear prior to the race start. Kamui Kobayashi managed to climb up to tenth after starting at the back of the grid due to issues with his fuel pump during qualifying.

At the time of the race, it had had the most pitstops across all drivers at eighty. It was beaten by the Hungarian Grand Prix in the same year.

The Circuit

The track is 5.338km and the race will consist of 58 laps making the total race distance of 309.396km. The circuit has a total of 14 corners, six to the right and 8 to the left. The lap record still hasn’t been beaten since its inaugural race back in 2005. It is held by Juan Pablo Montoya at a time 1:24.770.

Credit: Pirelli Media

Sectors Corners and DRS zones

None of the corners have official names at the track. However, Turn 8 is infamously named ‘Diabolica’. This is due to is combination of speed, multiple-apexes and bumpiness on this downhill lefthander. It is dubbed one of the best left-hand corners in the world.

Sector One consists of Turn 1 through to Turn 6. Sector Two is Turn 7 to Turn 10 and Sector Three finishing off with Turn 11 through to Turn 14.

There are two DRS Detection Zone’s at the circuit. The first one starts just after Turn 14 going along the pitlane straight and the second starts just before Turn 11, going along the straight finishing before Turn 12.

Tyre strategy

The three hardest compounds have been chosen for the upcoming race weekend. Drivers will have the white striped hard C1, the yellow striped medium C2 and the red striped soft C3. 

Each driver must have a set of the C1 hards and C2 mediums available for the Grand Prix and one of them must be used.

Teams will see the return of thirteen sets of tyres after the previous race weekend at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was lowered down to ten due to no Friday practices.

What should we look out for this year?

Hamilton can win the Drivers’ Championship as long as Bottas doesn’t outscore him by eight points. Bottas won’t be able to confirm second place yet if Hamilton does win as Verstappen is only thirty-five points away.

Ricciardo still sits in fourth as ‘best of the rest’. With their recent strong performances, Pérez and Leclerc could come and take that title away from him.

We still don’t have a clear-cut winner for third place in the Constructors’ Championship. In fact, it’s gotten even tighter. Renault DP World F1 Team are currently occupying third with 135 points. McLaren F1 Team and BWT Racing Point Formula One Team are tied on 134 points, with McLaren in fourth due to achieving more podiums.

Scuderia Ferrari can still mathematically gain third place but with their performances this year, it doesn’t seem likely they will achieve that feat. 

Williams Racing are still yet to score a point this year. Russell was close in the last race which made his crash under the safety car even harder to watch.

What’s the schedule?

Friday 13 November

08:00 GMT / 11:00 Local Time – Free Practice one

12:00 GMT / 15:00 Local Time – Free Practice two

Saturday 14 November

09:00 GMT / 12:00 Local Time – Free Practice three

12:00 GMT / 15:00 Local Time – Qualifying

Sunday 15 November

10:10 GMT / 13:10 Local Time – Race

How can I keep up with the action?

Follow all the action at The Checkered Flag with our extensive coverage, quotes and analysis of every session of the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix.

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