Hamilton wins wild Turkish Grand Prix and takes seventh world championship

Lewis Hamilton won his seventh world championship following a wet and wild Turkish Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver has now equalled Michael Schumacher’s achievement with seven titles.

Racing Point’s Sergio Perez finished in a solid second place while Sebastian Vettel drove a superb race in the Ferrari to score a podium spot with third.

The majority of the race was led by polesitter Lance Stroll, who lost out by taking a second pit stop for intermediates, a strategy Charles Leclerc used to charge to third in the closing stages, which he lost to teammate Sebastian Vettel after making a last-gaps move on Perez, while Mercedes opted to leave Hamilton on a one-stopper after he had charged up the leading Racing Point cars.

The race result gives Hamilton the 2020 championship and he now level with Michael Schumacher’s record title record.

At the start, all the cars made slow, slippery starts, but it was the Red Bull cars that could not carry enough momentum off the line, which meant Max Verstappen and Alex Albon were quickly swamped from second and fourth by the Renault and Mercedes cars.

Esteban Ocon followed Perez into Turn 1 in third position as Stroll led away from pole, but he was tapped into a spin by Daniel Ricciardo, who had turned out of the left-hander to avoid Hamilton, with the Mercedes suddenly appearing on his inside.

Ocon spun around and Bottas was left with nowhere to go, spinning in sync with the Renault as he avoided contact – although the Mercedes driver later tagged Ocon into a second spin, giving him a left-rear puncture, as he lost the rear of his W11 at the Turn 9 left-hander later on lap one.

Stroll and Perez surged clear, with Hamilton up to third from sixth on the grid, but he slid off at Turn 9 and was jumped by the fast-starting Vettel, who was up from P11 on the grid, and the recovering Verstappen.

At the end of lap one of 58, Stroll had a lead of 3.6 seconds over Perez, which he set about extending to over five seconds with a series of fastest laps over the next few tours before the Mexican driver started to ease back towards his teammate.

After Leclerc had proved the time was right to take intermediates with a stop from P14 on lap six, the leaders started to come in two laps later, led by Vettel and Hamilton from third and fifth – by which time Hamilton had become the fastest driver on track.

When they came in on lap eight, Verstappen was unleashed from behind Vettel and he insisted on staying out on his full wets until lap 11, two laps after Stroll had come in and easily retained the net lead.

Perez pitted the lap ahead of Verstappen, but had a slow right front change, and when the Red Bull finally came in – with Albon waiting until lap as the last of the leaders to change tyres – Verstappen just manage to jump ahead of Vettel, fractionally behind Perez.

Stroll’s lead once the stops had shaken out was up to 10.7 seconds, with the race then neutralised on lap 13 by the virtual safety car as Antonio Giovinazzi – who had crashed on the way to the grid ahead of the race, as did George Russell – pulled over to retire on the straight down the hill from Turn 8.

When the race resumed two laps later, the Red Bull drivers were able to fire their tyres up best of the leaders, with Verstappen harrying Perez and Albon easily passing Vettel at Turn 7 on lap 16 after Hamilton had locked up and slid off at Turn 12 – the track’s main passing point – the lap the VSC ended.

Verstappen had a chance to pass Perez when the Racing Point slipped out of Turn 9 on lap 18, after he had begun to make significant in-roads into Stroll’s lead, but after the Red Bull looked to Perez’s inside of the Turn 11 kink he shot out on the kerbs on the outside and lost the rear, spinning off at high speed and falling behind Albon, Vettel and Hamilton.

As he had flat-spotted his tyres, Verstappen had to pit for another set of inters, falling to eighth with Albon then homing in on Perez as Hamilton struggled to stay with Vettel as the teams started to think about switching to dry tyres.

By lap 24, Perez had whittled Stroll’s lead down to the four-second mark, with Albon following closely behind before then fading back over the next five laps as he struggled with the inters starting to wear on the drying track.

The tread falling away on the green-walled tyres seemed to favour Vettel and Hamilton, as they started to home in on the leaders as the race approached the halfway stage, when Leclerc again triggered another round of stops as he pitted for more inters from ninth.

His pace encouraged Vettel to pit as well, with Albon then gifting Hamilton third with spin at Turn 4 on lap 34, after which he immediately pitted.

Up front, Perez was suddenly closing right up to Stroll, getting with one second – DRS had been activated on lap 30 – as Racing Point considered whether to take the fresh inters or leave its drivers out.

But with Hamilton suddenly looming and the Ferraris flying on their new tyres, Stroll pitted on lap 36, coming out fourth, behind Verstappen – a factor again thanks to his early second stop.

Hamilton instructed Mercedes to leave him out and by the start of lap 37 he was within one second of Perez’s car, then making a simple DRS pass on the long run to Turn 12 to take P1, which he had in the opening laps been nearly a pitstop behind.

The champion quickly dropped Perez, who also did not pit for a second set of inters, building a gap on nearly 20 seconds over the next ten laps.

In the pack behind, Vettel, now being followed by the charging Leclerc, attacked a struggling Stroll into Turn 12 on lap 39, and when the former leader fought back at the left-hander, he slid deep and was passed by both Ferraris – then demoted at the same spot by Albon and Carlos Sainz on the next two laps.

Leclerc was on the move again on lap 40 when he passed Vettel with DRS on the run to Turn 12 and he quickly gapped his teammate over the next few tours, the period where Sainz passed Albon for fifth and the gaps between the leaders spread out significantly.

Despite the threat of rain returning in the closing stages, Hamilton, after Mercedes considered pitting him for a safety stop given his gap over Perez, cruised home to win by a comfortable 31.6 seconds.

Leclerc had slipped off the road at Turn 4 as the race entered its final stages, but he had enough in hand over Vettel to stay third, where he seemed destined to finish before the gap to Perez closed rapidly over the final laps.

Perez went deep at Turn 9 on the last lap and that gave Leclerc the chance to attack for second coming into Turn 12, but the Ferrari went too deep, which allowed Perez to stay in front and the suddenly close Vettel to nip ahead into third.

Leclerc therefore finished fourth ahead of Sainz, with Verstappen recovering to sixth ahead of Albon despite having another spin as they lapped the spun Kimi Raikkonen off the road at Turn 4.

Lando Norris demoted Stroll to ninth when the former leader slipped off the road at Turn 1 late on, with Daniel Ricciardo, who also spun while battling Norris a few laps before, rounding out the top ten.

Bottas ended up a lapped P14, spinning a further three times – five in total – as he struggled in a race where he had to beat Hamilton by eight points to keep the title fight alive.

He came in to take new inters in the closing stages after his teammate had put him a lap down, but his pace did not match Hamilton’s until the very last lap.

Kevin Magnussen retired in the pits late on, having rejoined the race after being released from his second stop with a suspected loose wheel – which will be investigated after the race.

Romain Grosjean and Nicholas Latifi also retired in the pits a few laps after they had clashed and spun off.

Verstappen also faces a post-race investigation for possibly crossing the pit exit line after his second stop.

So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton in becoming this season’s world champion and equalling Michael Schumacher’s achievement. This is a historical moment in the sport by becoming a legend. Fantastic to see Sebastian Vettel back on the podium as it has been a while since he last finished in the top 3. It was so nice to see the champions giving respect after a chaotic race. Do feel sorry for Lance Stroll. After leading the most laps in the Racing Point, he had to settle for P9. His teammate Sergio Perez at least gave the team a solid amount of racing points with P2.

Turkish Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:42:19.313
2 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 31.633
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 31.960
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 33.858
5 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 34.363
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 44.873
7 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 46.484
8 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1:01.259
9 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1:12.353
10 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:35.460
11 Esteban Ocon Renault 1 lap
12 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1 lap
13 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1 lap
14 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1 lap
15 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1 lap
16 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1 lap
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari –
– Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari –
– Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes –
– Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari –

Stroll takes first ever pole position in dramatic qualifying session

Racing Point’s Lance Stroll scored his first ever pole position by beating Max Verstappen to take a shock maiden pole in a wet and dramatic qualifying session for Formula 1’s 2020 Turkish Grand Prix.

The session was heavily disrupted, with Q1 suspended for nearly 45-minutes after the rain intensified following the opening ten minutes, and when it did get going again it was quickly red-flagged for a second time when Romain Grosjean became stuck in the Turn 1 gravel after spinning off in his Haas.

Verstappen largely led the way throughout the qualifying session, with Esteban Ocon spending the long Q1 delay at the head of the times after impressing during the initial running, be he appeared to be caught out by a Q3 switch from wets to intermediates.

The Red Bull Racing driver’s first Q3 lap was a one minute, 52.326 seconds, which was over two seconds slower than Verstappen had gone to top Q2, but he looked to be going massively faster with two opening purple sectors on his next lap.

But Verstappen abandoned that run after Sergio Perez had shot to P1 with a one minute, 52.037 seconds using the green-walled inters, and so Verstappen came in to take that tyre.

But he although Verstappen found time at the very end of Q3, he was not in command as he had been before, with Perez and Racing Point suddenly looking to be the pole favourites.

But Perez, who had spun on his next lap after seizing P1, was eventually shuffled down to third after Stroll, who had headed out on the wets early on in Q3 in a different approach to his teammate, put in a one minute, 47.765 seconds to rise to the front.

Verstappen had to find a way past Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo before he final run, where he climbed from third to second, but wound up 0.29 seconds behind Stroll.

Alex Albon took fourth for Red Bull ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, who stayed on the wet tyres throughout Q3.

Lewis Hamilton was the lead Mercedes in sixth, having trailed behind teammate Valtteri Bottas throughout the sessions leading up to Q3 and during their initial laps on the wets in the last session.

But after Mercedes called its drivers to take the inters, Hamilton was able to improve more, as Bottas set a personal best on his final run but still ended up down in ninth.

Ocon and Raikkonen ended up ahead of the Mercedes, with Antonio Giovinazzi rounding out the top ten.

Q2 ran uninterrupted throughout, with the drivers finding chunks of time with each lap they set.

Verstappen led the way, nearly two seconds clear of anyone else, while the Alfa Romeo cars reached Q3 for the first time in 2020.

All of the eliminated runners set personal bests on their final laps, but they could not improve by enough, headed by Lando Norris in P11.

Norris and teammate Carlos Sainz had run with the inters at the start of Q2, but came in for wets ahead of their final runs.

This took them inside the two-minute mark, but they were still big chunk behind the top 10 cutoff, as Norris finished nearly 0.7 seconds slower than Ricciardo.

Sebastian Vettel split the McLarens in P12, with Charles Leclerc also out in Q2 in P14, despite his strong pace in the dry practice sessions on Friday, and his P2 in FP3.

Pierre Gasly was knocked out in P15 despite a late visit to the AlphaTauri pits to take fresh wets, while Sainz faces a post-qualifying investigation after possibly impeding Perez during one run in Q2.

In Q1, Kevin Magnussen was eliminated in P16 as he was caught behind several incidents following the second red flag, one of which was Daniil Kvyat spinning at Turn 3, which cost him the chance to escape the opening segment as he complained about poor visibility.

Kvyat therefore ended up out in P17, ahead of George Russell, who also lost time running behind the incidents after the second restart – the second of which was Nicholas Latifi spinning off exiting the middle apex of Turn 8 and beaching his Williams in the gravel on the outside.

Russell will start last after his replacement power unit parts will drop him to the rear of field, which will boost Grosjean and Latifi a spot each from P19 and P20.

Verstappen and Albon headed Q1 with the only times under two minutes – as they lapped at the head of the field after the second restart, ahead of the two incidents taking place in their wake.

All laps completed by drivers passing the yellows flying for Kvyat’s spin and Latifi’s beached Williams will be investigated after the session, which could yet change the order for the grid.

The was also a strange incident at the start of Q2, where the session was allowed to get underway despite Latifi’s Williams still being craned away.

So such an exciting and dramatic qualifying session. Congratulations to Lance Stroll in scoring his first pole position in Formula 1 and to Racing Point with a top three thanks to Sergio Perez. As for Max Verstappen, he was unlucky to miss out on P1 but his speed was really impressive following the practice sessions and the two segments in qualifying.

Turkish Grand Prix qualifying positions:
1 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1:47.765
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:48.055
3 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1:49.321
4 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 1:50.448
5 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:51.595
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:52.560
7 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:52.622
8 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:52.745
9 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:53.258
10 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:57.226
11 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1:54.945
12 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:55.169
13 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1:55.410
14 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:56.696
15 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1:58.556
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 2:08.007
17 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 2:09.070
18 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 2:12.909
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 2:21.611
20 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 2:10.017

Hamilton victorious at Imola as Mercedes wins constructors’ title

Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton beat Valtteri Bottas to victory in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, where Mercedes clinched their seventh constructors’ title, as a puncture took out Max Verstappen.

Hamilton easily survived a five-lap shootout to the finish following the Red Bull’s dramatic spinning retirement, racing away from Bottas, who had led the early stages before losing ground due to floor damage as he ran ahead of Verstappen.

At the start, Bottas comfortably led away on the long run to the Tamburello chicane, but Hamilton, although he reacted well, lost ground to Verstappen as they progressed through their acceleration away from the grid.

Verstappen was alongside by the time they arrived for the braking zone for the left first part of Tamburello and he easily moved into second place, with Hamilton even forced to defend slightly against Daniel Ricciardo, who had moved up fourth when Pierre Gasly was crowded out by the second Mercedes ahead on the approach to the race’s real first corner.

The top three quickly raced clear, much as they have at many other events this season, with Hamilton tracking Verstappen within a second early on, before falling back out of DRS range after he had reported difficulty following the Red Bull.

By the start of lap eight of 63, Ricciardo was already over ten seconds off first place, as the top three were able lap in the 1m19s bracket – more than a second quicker than the rest at this stage.

Bottas gradually edged his lead up to the two-second mark by the start of lap 16, where he was told to push as the soft-starting runners behind the top three began to pit to get rid of their suffering rubber.

Valtteri set a string of fastest laps in the one minute, 18 seconds, with Verstappen only able to reach that pace two laps later, with the Red Bull coming in at the end of lap 18 to take the hard compound tyres.

Bottas followed him in on the following tyre, easily rejoining in front, while Hamilton was told he would be extending his stint in a bid to jump Verstappen.

Hamilton had been nearly two seconds behind the Red Bull before it stopped, and so now Mercedes concentrated on how to get the world champion back into second place.

He produced a series of fastest laps, briefly reaching the one minute, 17 seconds, before Mercedes asked if he could go considerably longer as he reached the rear of the pack to lap the backmarkers.

Bottas, who was informed he had picked up floor damage on the left-hand side of his car in the second lap, possibly as a result of striking debris from another car, was just keeping Verstappen out of DRS range, but was regularly lapping slower than his teammate, before being told he was “one-second unsafe” to Hamilton on lap 30.

The lap before, Esteban Ocon had pulled over on the run to the Variante Alta with a suspected gearbox problem, and as the Renault was being recovered, race control opted to activate the virtual safety car.

This gave Hamilton the chance to pit and he rejoined easily still in the lead, with a near four-second margin to his teammate.

In the second half of the race, Hamilton quickly extended his lead over Bottas as he lapped in the low one minute, 18 seconds, reaching a 10-second advantage at the end of lap 40.

As Hamilton was untroubled up front, Bottas had to fend off Verstappen with his hobbled car.

He was able to stay ahead despite dipping his wheels into the gravel trap on the outside of the two Rivazza turns on lap 36, but when he went deeper into the gravel at the same spot six laps later, Verstappen got his chance to retake second.

He used DRS to close on the momentum-robbed Mercedes, and roared ahead around the outside on the approach to Tamburello at the start of the next lap.

Verstappen immediately reached Hamilton’s pace, but was unable to close his 13 seconds lead before he dramatically retired from the race on lap 51, when a sudden puncture of the right-rear of his car spun him off and out in the gravel at the Villeneuve chicane, coming to rest with his right-rear tyre destroyed.

Bottas pitted for used softs immediately as the safety car was called, but Hamilton was forced to wait an extra lap, and just rejoined ahead of his teammate, warned urgently to respect the delta time to avoid a penalty.

The race restarted on lap 58 – extended after George Russell crashed while following the safety car on the approach to the first part of the Acqua Minerali double-right, going into the wall on the outside of the track and out of P10.

This was such a disappointing result for Russell as he was about to score his first championship point for Williams. But alas, this crash under the safety car was heartbreaking.

Hamilton streaked clear from a 0.6 seconds lead at the restart, lowering the fastest lap considerably in the final tours, setting it for good on the last lap, to win by 5.7 seconds over Bottas and seal Mercedes’ seventh constructors title in succession.

In the pack behind, Ricciardo took what had at one stage looked like an unlikely best-of-the-rest finish in third for Renault.

The Australian was boosted up to the final podium spot by not stopping under the safety car, while Sergio Perez, who had risen up ahead of Ricciardo from P11 on the grid, starting on the advantageous mediums and running longer in the first stint as a result, did come in.

That dropped Perez back behind Ricciardo, Charles Leclerc and Alex Albon, with Daniil Kvyat, Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris also taking fresh soft rubber during the interruption.

Kvyat used it best, shooting up to fourth when the race resumed – including a brave pass on the outside up the hill to the Piratella turn – but he could not cut into Ricciardo’s advantage and finished 0.8 seconds adrift at the flag.

Leclerc held onto fifth, with Perez sixth after passing Albon at the Villeneuve chicane and the Red Bull spinning down to last place on the exit.

Sainz was seventh ahead of his teammate Norris, with Alfa Romeo pair Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi rising up from P18 and last on the grid to take the final points positions.

Raikkonen ran longest of anyone before stopping, getting into the points after the two late crashes, with the safety car boosting Giovinazzi who had run the reverse strategy to his teammate, stopping early after starting on the softs.

Nicholas Latifi finished 0.7 seconds off the first point of his Formula 1 career in P11, leading home Sebastian Vettel, Lance Stroll and Romain Grosjean – who all stopped under the safety car while the Williams did not (Stroll knocking over his Racing Point jack-man as he slid into his pitbox with cold brakes).

The other non-finishers were Kevin Magnussen, who retired in the pits after reporting his car’s upshifts were giving him a headache, and Gasly, who also came into retire – in his case on lap seven

So congratulations to Mercedes in winning this year’s constructors title. That’s seven consecutive times in the turbo-hybrid era. Incredible achievement in this sport.

Imola race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:28:32.430
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 5.783
3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 14.320
4 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 15.141
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 19.111
6 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 19.652
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 20.230
8 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 21.131
9 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 22.224
10 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 26.398
11 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 27.135
12 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 28.453
13 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 29.163
14 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 32.935
15 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 57.284
– George Russell Williams-Mercedes DNF
– Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda DNF
– Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari DNF
– Esteban Ocon Renault DNF
– Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda DNF