Hamilton laps Bottas, wins epic Turkish GP and 2020 F1 title - The Race
Formula 1

Hamilton laps Bottas, wins epic Turkish GP and 2020 F1 title

Nov 15 2020
By Scott Mitchell-Malm

Lewis Hamilton claimed his record-equalling seventh Formula 1 world championship with an unlikely victory in a crazy Turkish Grand Prix.

In incredibly challenging conditions, Hamilton worked his way forwards by making a set of intermediates last longer on a drying track than anyone else could manage.

Valtteri Bottas had to outscore Hamilton by eight points to kepep his championship hopes alive, yet ended up a lapped 14th after six separate incidents.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Turkish Grand Prix Race Day Istanbul, Turkey

Shock polesitter Lance Stroll commanded much of the race only to tumble back to ninth in the second half, though his Racing Point team-mate Sergio Perez still took second.

That was despite a last-corner lunge from Charles Leclerc in which the Ferrari went wide and ended up losing the final podium spot to his team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

Track conditions were so difficult that Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo had to be retrieved from the gravel and George Russell broke his Williams’s front wing on the pit entry barrier during the reconnaissance laps.

As the field slithered griplessly off the grid on full wets, Verstappen bogged down badly and immediately tumbled to eighth while Stroll broke away at the front.

A four-abreast moment for the Mercedes and Renaults into Turn 1 ended with Esteban Ocon being tagged into a spin and Bottas rotating solo in sympathy, with the pair then having a separate clash further around the lap that sent Bottas spinning again and gave Ocon a puncture.

Hamilton emerged in third behind the Racing Points, but ran wide later in the lap and fell to sixth.

Remarkably Vettel stormed through from 11th to third through the opening corners, though he couldn’t keep pace with the Racing Points and was soon 15 seconds off the lead and holding up the recovering Verstappen.

The Red Bull could find no way past the Ferrari, and Verstappen asked to stay out as long as possible on wets as everyone began to pit for intermediates from lap six onwards.

Although that tactic didn’t look promising as drivers on inters flew, Verstappen did manage to leapfrog the Ferrari and rejoin close behind Perez, as Stroll grew his lead to 11s.

Desperate to pass Perez and chase Stroll, Verstappen then ran wide out of the Turn 11 kink and had a high-speed spin that prompted a pitstop to replace his flat-spotted tyres.

Now it was Hamilton’s turn to struggle to pass Vettel – who was back up to third. The championship leader went wide in his efforts and was overtaken by the flying second Red Bull of Alex Albon.

Albon managed to pass Vettel with ease and set off after the Racing Points, as the top three closed up with Stroll struggling with his intermediates on a slightly drying track.

But just as Albon began to look like the favourite for victory, he hit the same tyre concern and began to lose pace before spinning out of Turn 4 and coming in for fresh inters.

Vettel made the same choice, freeing up Hamilton, who joined Perez in rapidly catching Stroll as the leader had increasing frustration with his tyres.

Stroll’s glorious period in control of a grand prix ended when he made his stop for a second set of inters, though, as he couldn’t get any pace out of the new tyres and began tumbling down the order with very slow pace.

But while fresh tyres seemed to be the logical move, Perez and Hamilton were able to keep theirs alive.

Hamilton surged past Perez with DRS for the lead on lap 37 of 58 and then scorched away into a massive lead, setting a pace on his worn tyres equal to the speed others were getting out of fresh rubber further back.

He declined Mercedes’ suggestion of a last-minute pitstop for new tyres as further rain threatened the nearly-dry track, and clinched a title that draws him level with Michael Schumacher by winning with a half-minute margin.

Leclerc had charged up the order with two early pit calls, first for intermediates and then for fresh intermediates, allowing him to convert an unhappy initial 14th place to a podium challenge.

He flew through the order late on, passing team-mate Vettel and catching Perez as the Racing Point went wide on the last lap. But a dive on Perez into the final complex took Leclerc wide and allowed Vettel to snatch third place back from him.

Carlos Sainz Jr showed similar late pace to Leclerc as he took fifth for McLaren, right on the tail of the podium fight at the end.

The Red Bulls of Verstappen and Albon ended up only sixth and seventh, Verstappen having a second spin late on.

Lando Norris was the last man to overtake Stroll so took eighth, with Daniel Ricciardo spinning to 10th as he tried to fend off Norris earlier.

Bottas had four more spins after his first-lap misadventures, and annoyed Hamilton by holding him up while being lapped. He eventually finished a miserable 14th.

Race Results

Pos Name Car Laps Laps Led Total Time Fastest Lap Pitstops Pts
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 58 22 1h42m19.313s 1m39.413s 1 25
2 Sergio Pérez Racing Point-Mercedes 58 2 +31.633s 1m40.392s 1 18
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 58 0 +31.96s 1m39.662s 2 15
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 58 0 +33.858s 1m39.961s 2 12
5 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 58 0 +34.363s 1m38.754s 2 10
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 58 1 +44.873s 1m38.431s 3 8
7 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 58 1 +46.484s 1m39.099s 2 6
8 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 58 0 +1m01.259s 1m36.806s 2 5
9 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 58 32 +1m12.353s 1m39.921s 2 2
10 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 58 0 +1m35.46s 1m40.677s 2 1
11 Esteban Ocon Renault 57 0 +1 lap 1m41.006s 2 0
12 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 57 0 +1 lap 1m41.019s 1 0
13 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 57 0 +1 lap 1m39.586s 2 0
14 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 57 0 +1 lap 1m38.193s 2 0
15 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 57 0 +1 lap 1m39.743s 3 0
16 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 57 0 +1 lap 1m40.814s 2 0
Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 55 0 DNF 1m40.948s 3 0
Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 49 0 DNF 1m43.281s 3 0
Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 39 0 DNF 1m43.495s 3 0
Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 11 0 DNF 1m51.122s 1 0

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