This website uses cookies for analytics and personalised content. View our Privacy Policy for more information on cookies.
Skip to main content
Back

Seventh heaven in reach for Hamilton as racing returns to Turkey

12/11/20

The Briton will need to finish ahead of Valtteri Bottas to seal it.

Lewis Hamilton is on the brink of more Formula 1® history as the sport prepares to return to Turkey for the first time since 2011.

The Mercedes driver will win title number seven – a feat only Michael Schumacher has achieved previously – if teammate Valtteri Bottas does not gain eight points more than him in Istanbul.

Hamilton's only previous win at this circuit came 10 years ago but few would bet against him doubling that tally after he responded to a tricky start to take the chequered flag at Imola last time out.

Bottas still has hope of prolonging the title battle, though, while there is plenty to play for further down the field in Sunday's race, which starts at 9:10pm AEDT on Sunday 15 March.

LAST TIME OUT

Hamilton surpassed Schumacher's record for race wins in Portugal and landed victory number 93 at Imola two weeks ago.

The Briton was beaten to pole by Bottas and slipped to third behind Max Verstappen after a sloppy start, but a strong drive on medium tyres and the benefit of a timely virtual safety car saw him claim a lead he was never likely to relinquish.

Bottas held onto second despite damage to the floor of his Mercedes, but the Finnish driver has now taken just five victories from 15 pole positions and sits 85 points adrift of Hamilton in the drivers' standings.

Verstappen spun off with a puncture, allowing Renault's Daniel Ricciardo to complete the podium, although he is 67 points behind Verstappen for the season.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN ISTANBUL

Bottas needs an eight-point swing over Hamilton to prolong the title battle until at least Bahrain on November 29.

The Turkish Grand Prix has not been held since 2011, when Sebastian Vettel won, but it remains a popular one among the drivers. The Istanbul Park circuit combines long straights and fast cornering but, unlike Imola, offers plenty of room for overtaking.

Verstappen's customary bold approach could well pay dividends as he looks to close the gap to the top two, while just 32 points separate Ricciardo in fourth and AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly in 10th.

Mercedes might have strolled to another constructors' title, with Red Bull comfortably second, but the race for a top-three finish is heating up.

Renault are third, one point above McLaren and Racing Point, with Ferrari just 31 points further back. Williams remain the only scoreless team this season.

TOP FIVE STATS

Fast and furious – Bottas knows a win and a bonus point for the fastest lap would be enough to deny Hamilton a seventh world title... at least for now.

Pole vault – Few drivers have managed to reel in the pole-sitter in Istanbul. Only Jenson Button (2009) and Hamilton (2010) have won there without taking pole.

Renault on the right track – Ricciardo has a podium in two of the past three races but will hope to lead Renault to back-to-back top-three finishes for the first time since Australia and Malaysia in 2011 (Vitaly Petrov and Nick Heidfeld).

Clean sweep – Mercedes have taken pole at every grand prix since Abu Dhabi in 2019 (14 in a row and all 13 this season). No team have ever taken 100 per cent of pole positions in a single season.

Loyalty bonus – Hamilton is one away from surpassing Schumacher for the most race wins for a single F1® team. The German's record stands at 72 for Ferrari.

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
Drivers
  1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 282
  2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 197
  3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 162
  4. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) – 95
  5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 85
Constructors
  1. Mercedes – 479
  2. Red Bull – 226
  3. Renault – 135
  4. McLaren – 134
  5. Racing Point – 134