Edd Straw's Turkish GP driver ratings + reader debate - The Race
Formula 1

Edd Straw’s Turkish GP driver ratings + reader debate

Nov 16 2020
By Edd Straw

Formula 1’s return to Istanbul park was a historic – and chaotic – one, which sprung some surprise performances from some unlikely stars and left other big names struggling. Oh, and a champion was crowned too.

There’s plenty to talk about in Edd Straw’s Turkish Grand Prix ratings this week, and as usual, you can join Edd for some healthy debate from 5.30pm UK time today. Leave your comments below!

Hamilton

Started: 6th Finished: 1st

Qualifying

Practice laps: 54

Gap to team-mate: -0.698s

Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.409s

Usually the fact the Mercedes is relatively kind to its tyres is a positive, but it was a struggle to get the rear tyres to work all weekend and given he had to rely on his pre-red flag pace in Q1 Hamilton wasn’t far off being eliminated early. In the circumstances, Hamilton’s Q3 lap looked decent enough, but both he and his team-mate struggled badly for grip.

Race

Penalties:

Positions gained/lost lap 1: NONE

1 stop – wet/inter

Jumped to third at the start but an off at Turn 9, followed by going deep entering the final complex, meant he was shuffled back to sixth by the end of the lap. He stopped for inters after eight laps, briefly jumping Alex Albon before being repassed and was as far back as 24.5s off the lead on lap 19 before making significant gains.

Max Verstappen’s spin handed him fifth, then he jumped Sebastian Vettel, Albon and Lance Stroll when they made second stops, and he reeled in and breezed past Sergio Perez – doing a brilliant job to make it to the end on his inters and win by just over half-a-minute.

VERDICT: Did what he could with no grip in qualifying, then drove a brilliant race.

Bottasnew

Started: 9th Finished: 14th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 70

Gap to team-mate: +0.698s

Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.523s

Bottas had the same troubles as Hamilton, but ended up three places behind his team-mate after struggling a little more over the first two-thirds of the lap. But otherwise, felt powerless to do much more.

Race

Penalties:

Positions gained/lost lap 1: DOWN 9

2 stops – wet/inter/inter

Spinning as a consequence of Esteban Ocon’s first-corner rotation was a blow, but it was misjudging his pass on Charles Leclerc into Turn 9 later in the lap – sailing past the Ferrari then clattering into Ocon – that gave him endplate and steering damage.

The rest of the race was about survival with his multiple offs largely down to the damage he was carrying.

VERDICT: Qualifying was decent and the race wasn’t as bad as it looked – but the damage was self-inflicted.

Vettel

Started: 11th Finished: 3rd

Qualifying

Practice laps: 84

Gap to team-mate: -1.527s

Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.000s

For the first time in 11 races, Vettel outqualified Leclerc having put in a decent performance in Q2 despite Ferrari’s wet-tyre struggles. It’s just unfortunate that those Ferrari struggles meant that he was still deep in the midfield rather than up where Leclerc has been in recent races.

Race

Penalties:

Positions gained/lost lap 1: UP 8

2 stops – wet/inter/inter

A great launch combined with some wise decisions on the run to the first corner allowed him to keep out of trouble and climb to fourth, picking up third when Hamilton went off later in the lap.

Although he was jumped in the first pitstop phase by the Red Bulls, he reclaimed fourth when Verstappen spun, then undercut his way past Albon to run third.

Vettel was subsequently passed by Leclerc, but taking it easy early in the stint paid dividends and he started to reel Leclerc in late on. He grabbed third in the final complex when Leclerc went deep trying to grab second from Perez – coming close to nicking second on the run to the line.

VERDICT: Vettel’s best result of the season and best all-round performance too.

Leclerc

Started: 12th Finished: 4th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 80

Gap to team-mate: +1.527s

Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.180s

Leclerc had a lively day on Saturday, punting Ocon into a spin in P3 and having an off in Q1, but he made it to Q2. He said he had “no explanations” for his qualifying struggles, ending up 1.5s off Vettel’s pace but only two places behind, with the Ferrari struggling to get the wets working despite looking handy on the intermediates in practice.

Race

Penalties: –

Positions gained/lost lap 1: DOWN 2

2 stops – wet/inter/inter

Massive wheelspin at the start dropped him to 17th, although he was 14th by the end of the lap. He was the first of the wet starters to switch to intermediates on lap six, which allowed him to jump up to ninth place. He then passed Ricciardo before kicking off the second round of stops, jumping Sainz then passing Stroll, Albon, Verstappen and Vettel to run third.

Having reeled in Perez, he took the position on the last lap but locked up into the final complex and was re-passed by the Racing Point and Vettel – triggering some angry self-berating on the slowdown lap.

VERDICT: Struggled slightly more than Vettel in qualifying but his superb race drive was undermined by late error.


Nov 15 : Turkish Grand Prix review

Verstappen

Started: 2nd Finished: 6th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 72

Gap to team-mate: -2.393s

Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.000s

Fastest in all three practice sessions then Q1 and Q2, Verstappen looked a dead cert for pole position heading into Q3, But struggles to get the front inters up to temperature meant it was nip and tuck with Racing Point.

He probably would still have taken pole but for losing more time than Stroll to the Perez yellow flag and then understeer in the final corner that delayed getting the power down while just ahead on pace.

Race

Penalties:

Positions gained/lost lap 1: DOWN 2

3 stops – wet/inter/inter/inter

Verstappen started the race as favourite but wheelspin off the line meant he barely moved, briefly dropping to sixth before settling into fourth place. Ran longer than most to leapfrog Vettel to run third before catching Perez, only to spin at Turn 11 while sat under the Racing Point’s rear wing.

That and the enforced pitstop dropped him to eighth but while he climbed back to third when others stopped, his third visit to the pits relegated him to seventh, although he did pass Albon in the final stint.

VERDICT: Could still have had pole despite inter struggles and didn’t deal with the race troubles well.

Albon

Started: 4th Finished: 7th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 74

Gap to team-mate: +2.393s

Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +1.239s

While there were some bright moments on Friday and Saturday, Albon was still a couple of seconds off Verstappen in each segment of qualifying. But he showed consistently solid pace through qualifying and equalled his best grid position of the season with fourth.

Race

Penalties:

Positions gained/lost lap 1: DOWN 1

2 stops – wet/inter/inter

Slipped to fifth on the first lap but after pitting for intermediates late he passed Hamilton and Vettel to run fourth, which became third when Verstappen spun.

At one stage, he looked set to challenge the Racing Points for the lead but the pace faded, then his own spin dropped him to sixth having been repassed earlier by Hamilton. In the final stint, he lost places to Verstappen and Sainz, but picked off Stroll and shook out seventh.

VERDICT: There was a lot of good after recent struggles, but was still a couple of seconds off Verstappen in qualifying and spun away places in the race.

Norris

Started: 14th Finished: 8th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 67

Gap to team-mate: -0.465s

Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.177s

Having found it easier to get the tyres working in the wet in the past, McLaren was baffled by the struggles to do so in the wet qualifying session. Norris wasn’t too far off making Q3 with his final effort in Q2, but in doing so he passed double-waved yellow flags. He was told not to abort the lap but should have done, resulting in a five-place grid penalty.

Race

Penalties:

Positions gained/lost lap 1: DOWN 1

2 stops – wet/inter/inter

Had a terrible start, with the anti-stall kicking in, and was briefly 18th and last of those who made a grid start. He finished the lap 15th but picked up places, jumping the two AlphaTauris in the first round of pitstops.

He passed Kevin Magnussen, George Russell (who he ambushed at the last corner), Kimi Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo and Stroll with McLaren’s pace improving as the race progressed to salvage eighth place.

VERDICT: Qualifying was messy and the race started badly, but he fought back admirably with some fine passes along the way.

Sainz

Started: 15th Finished: 5th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 59

Gap to team-mate: +0.465s

Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.024s

Sainz had the same troubles as his team-mate but didn’t quite manage to get the same pace out of the car in Q2, though in such conditions the gap wasn’t significant. Unfortunately for Sainz, he was hit with a three-place grid penalty for impeding Perez during Q1.

Race

Penalties:

Positions gained/lost lap 1: UP 6

2 stops – wet/inter/inter

Kept out of trouble at the start to climb to ninth on the first lap and passed Raikkonen for eighth before making his stop for inters.

He looked set for a minor points finish but the conditions came to McLaren and, after gaining a place from Verstappen’s spin, he passed Albon and Stroll in the last stint to bag fifth.

VERDICT: Struggled with the tyres in qualifying, but maximised the emerging race pace of the McLaren.

Ricciardo

Started: 5th Finished: 10th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 61

Gap to team-mate: -1.027s

Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.000s

After struggles in practice, Ricciardo what he called a “sensible” approach in qualifying and delivered his best lap of Q3 at the end to take fifth place after building his pace progressively through the final segment and adding a few risks on his final attempt. A very well-executed session.

Race

Penalties:

Positions gained/lost lap 1: DOWN 2

2 stops – wet/inter/inter

Ricciardo made a great start but had to back off owing to the wall of cars ahead, then was squeezed between Hamilton and Ocon, tipping his team-mate into a spin.

He held seventh in the first stint but came under increasing pressure as the race progressed. Running on the most common strategy, he slipped behind Leclerc, Sainz and Norris – spinning in battle with the latter.

VERDICT: His progressive qualifying approach paid dividends, but after the first 100 metres the race was a struggle.

Ocon

Started: 7th Finished: 11th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 68

Gap to team-mate: +1.027s

Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.000s

Ocon looked good through Q1 and Q2 and potentially had the legs of Ricciardo, but with Renault splitting its tyre strategy he headed out on intermediates in Q3. After staying out in the futile hope that conditions would come to him, he had time to pit and attempt just one flier on wets. Had he started on wets, beating Ricciardo was possible.

Race

Penalties:

Positions gained/lost lap 1: DOWN 12

2 stops – wet/wet/inter

It went well for the first few seconds until he spun after being clipped by Ricciardo, who was squeezed between Ocon and Hamilton. Ocon recovered from the spin but was clattered again by Bottas later in the lap, picking up a puncture.

He had to stop for fresh wets, then made the switch to inters after 10 laps. Without the time loss, he’d have finished eighth at worst based on his pace.

VERDICT: A little misfortune in qualifying and a lot in the race meant his underlying pace didn’t shine through.

Gasly

Started: 19th Finished: 13th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 76

Gap to team-mate: -3.491s

Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.402s

Gasly flirted with elimination in Q1 having struggled on wets before the first red flag, but with the session effectively boiling down to a one-lap shootout he respected the yellow flags caused by Kvyat enough and was just on the scene of Latifi’s incident at the right time not to have to abandon the lap.

But that was as good as it got and he was nowhere in Q2. Would have started 13th thanks to the McLaren drivers being penalised had he not been forced to start from the pits because of AlphaTauri’s parc ferme breach.

Race

Penalties: back-of-the-grid start (parc ferme violation)

Positions gained/lost lap 1: UP 6

2 stops – wet/inter/inter

This was a race of survival for Gasly given the AlphaTauri couldn’t get the tyres to work. He raced to 13th on the first lap behind Kvyat and was in exactly the same position by the end of the race.

Unlike his team-mate, he opted for two stops and, having overcut Kvyat at the first round of stops, he dropped behind him when he made his second – picking off Russell and Bottas to finish behind his team-mate.

VERDICT: Plugged away in qualifying and the race but never broke free of car/tyre limitations.

Kvyat

Started: 16th Finished: 12th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 78

Gap to team-mate: +3.491s

Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +1.475s

Kvyat’s pace on wets in the first part of Q1 was better than Gasly’s, but after two red flags it all came down to his pace on the final lap. He was kicking himself for getting caught out and spinning in Turn 2, which led to his elimination.

Race

Penalties: 0

Positions gained/lost lap 1: UP 4

1 stop – wet/inter

Held 12th early on before making the switch to intermediates, which dropped him behind Gasly among others. He ran that set of tyres to the finish but never managed to run higher than the 12th place he started and finished in – ending up one place ahead of his one-stopping team-mate.

VERDICT: The Q1 spin counts against him, but like his team-mate delivered a par drive for the machinery in the race.

Perez

Started: 3rd Finished: 2nd

Qualifying

Practice laps: 66

Gap to team-mate: +1.556s

Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.000s

Perez appeared set for pole position for much of Q3 but it got away from him at the end. Closing on Giovinazzi through the first part of his lap, he opted to take an inside line at the approach to the Turn 7 right-hander despite being too far back to pass the Alfa Romeo, understeered, controlled an initial rear-end slide then spun when he got on the power. Giovinazzi’s presence would likely have ruined the lap anyway, but the error made sure of it.

Race

Penalties:

Positions gained/lost lap 1: UP 1

1 stop – wet/inter

Perez jumped to second at the start by passing the barely-moving Verstappen and settled into second place.

As the second stint progressed, he closed on Stroll and appeared on the brink of taking the lead when the Canadian was called in. The team decided Stroll’s graining troubles meant Perez should stay out to the end, which he did – hanging on to second place with a bit of luck despite letting Leclerc by with a last-lap error thanks to the Ferrari driver making his own mistake seconds later.

VERDICT: Was a little unlucky on the final qualifying lap and drove a superb race, but did have a slice of luck after his error let Leclerc past.

Strollnew

Started: 1st Finished: 9th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 64

Gap to team-mate: -1.556s

Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.000s

Stroll showed that not only was the Racing Point working well on intermediates with his pace in Q1, but also that he was capable of extracting the best from them. His final lap in Q3 was superb, sacrificing time when he had to thanks to the yellow flag caused by Perez and making sure of pole with his momentum off the final corner.

Race

Penalties:

Positions gained/lost lap 1: NONE

2 stops – wet/inter/inter

Stroll looked the part as he led the race for all but four of the first 36 laps (and those four out of the lead were thanks to pitstop timing), but his struggles to keep the intermediates alive – which the team says was down to damage it discovered after the race – meant he was on the brink of losing the lead to Perez when he stopped.

Too much sliding after changing to fresh inters caused graining and put him in serious tyre trouble. By the time he’d stemmed the time losses, he’d fallen back to ninth place.

VERDICT: Brilliant in qualifying and comfortable when leading early, but overworking the intermediates in both stints contributed to his downfall – although didn’t deserve to slump as far as he did.

UPDATE: Stroll’s score was revised after the extent of his damage was revealed by Racing Point on Monday

Kimi

Started: 8th Finished: 15th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 79

Gap to team-mate: -4.481s

Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.235s

Never looked troubled as he sailed serenely to Q3 for the first time this year and ended up eighth fastest. But that was with his penultimate lap as he spun in Turn 2 on his final attempt and eliminated himself from a battle for what could have been as high as sixth place.

Race

Penalties:

Positions gained/lost lap 1: NONE

2 stops – wet/inter/inter

Ran eighth early on before being passed by Sainz before making his pitstop to switch to inters, but thereafter was never a points threat. Struggles getting the front tyres up to temperature or to get sustained grip from the inters meant he fell towards the back, with a spin in the closing stages on shot rubber leading to a late pitstop. He emerged ahead of Russell and stayed there to the flag.

VERDICT: Qualifying was excellent but, first stint aside, struggled with the intermediates.

Giovinazzi

Started: 10th Finished: DNF

Qualifying

Practice laps: 70

Gap to team-mate: +4.481s

Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +3.795s

While Giovinazzi made it to Q3 comfortably and had been fifth fastest in Q2, he was nowhere in Q3. His first run was well off Raikkonen’s pace thanks to struggling in the first sector and, having switched to intermediates, had a difficult final run. His first flier on inters was ruined by a spin at Turn 8, then he had an off at Turn 5 during a difficult final attempt with no grip.

Race

Penalties:

Positions gained/lost lap 1: DOWN 1

1 stop – wet/inter

He survived into the barrier on a reconnaissance lap needing just a change of front wing. Wheelspin off the line cost him three places on the run to the first corner, but he shook out 11th by the end of the lap. Held the position in the first stint, then suffered a gearbox failure a few laps later while sat between Ocon and Kvyat.

VERDICT: Did a great job to reach Q3 but a bad job in it and, after escaping spinning into the barrier with a pre-race front wing change, had little chance to do anything in his brief race.

Grosjean

Started: 17th Finished: DNF

Qualifying

Practice laps: 63

Gap to team-mate: +4.902s

Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +3.064s

Grosjean wasn’t able to get the wets working in the first part of Q1, but was confident of nailing a Q2 place after the restart. Perhaps he was too confident, as he was too aggressive into Turn 1, locked the fronts and then spun into the gravel, causing another red flag.

Race

Penalties:

Positions gained/lost lap 1: UP 1

2 stops – wet/inter/inter

Grosjean was never really in the game in the race thanks to tyre-temperature troubles and, after the first stint, settled into a position one place ahead of last-placed Latifi.

He was so far clear of the Williams that he was about to lap him when Latifi clashed with him while attempting to let him past, with Grosjean spinning then suffering another spin while trying to rejoin.

VERDICT: Couldn’t make the most of the limited machinery in qualifying or the race.

Magnussen

Started: 13th Finished: 17th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 62

Gap to team-mate: -4.902s

Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +1.811s

Magnussen did a great job in Q1 prior to the red flag to hold seventh place, but had to back off twice on his final attempt after the second restart thanks to yellow flags. Understandably, he was furious to be shuffled back nine places and eliminated.

Race

Penalties:

Positions gained/lost lap 1: UP 3

2 stops – wet/inter/inter

Ran 10th early on and inevitably got jumped by Leclerc at the first round of stops. But he held onto 11th in the middle stint and was in good shape to finish there when a cross-threaded left-rear wheelnut forced him to stop at the pit-exit. He lost a huge amount of time and subsequently retired late once there was no chance he could pick up a place.

VERDICT: Drove superbly and deserved more from qualifying and the race, but luck was against him.

Latifi

Started: 18th Finished: DNF

Qualifying

Practice laps: 59

Gap to team-mate: +11.594s

Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +7.706s

With Williams struggling more than most to build and keep temperature in the wets during Q1, a single-lap shootout after a red flag was far from ideal. Latifi had set a near-identical pace to Russell in the first sector when he spun into the gravel in Turn 8 while gently feeding in the power.

Race

Penalties:

Positions gained/lost lap 1: DOWN 2

2 stops – inter/inter/inter

Couldn’t get anything like the performance Russell did out of the intermediates after a pitlane start and quickly lost contact with the rest of the pace after falling into a tyre temperature negative spiral.

Established in last, he increasingly struggled with poor visibility and dirty mirrors before colliding with Grosjean while the Haas driver was lapping him.

VERDICT: Everything that could go wrong did go wrong on an awful weekend.

Russell

Started: 15th Finished: 16th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 57

Gap to team-mate: -11.594s

Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +1.709s

Like team-mate Latifi, found it impossible to maintain tyre temperature and was struggling badly for grip throughout Q1. In a session of extreme understeer and wheelspin when he so much as glanced at the throttle, Russell was never a Q2 threat.

Given he was already due to start at the back thanks to engine component changes, something he compounded with a five-place penalty for a yellow-flag infringement, it made no difference.

Race

Penalties:

Positions gained/lost lap 1: NONE

2 stops: inter/inter/inter

Crashing in the pit entry on a reconnaissance lap was a disastrous start, but given he’d always planned to start from the pits on intermediates it cost nothing more than a new front wing.

After a few difficult laps, the race started to come to him but when Norris lunged up the inside at the last corner, Russell ran wide and started to lose tyre temperature. The pace slid away on that set and never came on subsequent sets and he ended up last of those running at the flag.

VERDICT: Had a big pace advantage over Latifi and did an excellent job in the first stint before descending into tyre-temp trouble, although the reccy lap pit-entry shunt was embarrassing.

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