Lewis Hamilton can secure the 2020 Formula 1 title this weekend even if he finishes second to Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the Turkish Grand Prix.
Hamilton leads Bottas by 85 points, and after the Turkish GP there will only be 78 points on offer across the remaining three races.
That means Bottas must outscore his team-mate by eight points this weekend to keep his wafer-thin title hopes alive.
If he leaves Turkey 78 points adrift, then even a trio of Hamilton DNFs and a maximum Bottas haul across the final three rounds would only be enough to bring the two level on points at the end of the season and Hamilton would win on a countback.
Hamilton is set to end the year with at least nine victories, compared to a maximum of six for Bottas.
Therefore, Hamilton can afford to finish second behind Bottas as race winner and still be guaranteed the title, assuming Bottas does not score the bonus point for fastest lap.
Hamilton will be champion in Turkey if…
- Hamilton wins
- Hamilton finishes second and Bottas fails to win with fastest lap
- Hamilton finishes at least fourth and Bottas is second or lower
- Hamilton finishes at least fifth and Bottas is third or lower
- Hamilton finishes sixth and Bottas is third (without fastest lap) or lower
- Hamilton finishes seventh and Bottas is fourth or lower
- Hamilton finishes eighth and Bottas is fifth or lower
- Hamilton finishes ninth and Bottas finishes sixth or lower
- Hamilton finishes 10th and Bottas finishes sixth (without fastest lap) or lower
- Hamilton fails to score and Bottas finishes 7th or lower
Securing the drivers’ title will mean Hamilton joins Michael Schumacher with a record-equalling seventh championship.
He has already surpassed another of Schumacher’s records this season, having now recorded 93 victories in F1.
Hamilton will likely face fresh questions about his future if he wraps up his seventh title as he still does not have a new Mercedes deal beyond 2020.
He has talked positively about continuing with Mercedes, most recently in light of the team winning its seventh consecutive constructors’ title at the previous race at Imola – where Hamilton said that “it’s almost more exciting” winning the teams’ championship.
“It’s a very strange sport in the sense that it is a team sport but there are two championships and then there is an individual championship,” he said.
“But what is at the core of our job is to deliver points and results for the team. So when you win a team championship I think it’s almost better than an individual [title] because it’s something you do collectively, with a large group of people.
“And whilst we are the ones standing on top of the podium we are not above anybody. We are on the same level, we are all part of the chain links.
“You can tell that everyone is so happy when they get the constructors’ title. When we do the Christmas party and we celebrate with everyone, everyone just knows that they did a remarkable job and that they have done something that nobody else has done before.
“That’s cool to be a part of. Even if I was to stop today that would be something that I would be able to share with that large group of people for the rest of my life.”