An absolutely thrilling Turkish Grand Prix has resulted in a dominant victory by Lewis Hamilton to clinch his 7th World Championship in the best possible way. Sergio Perez finished second as Sebastian Vettel made a last lap move onto the podium.
Before the start, penalties were handed to Sainz, Russell and Norris, meaning they faced an uphill battle
The start of the race saw extremely wet conditions with nearly everybody on full wet tyres. Both Williams were the only ones on intermediates, but they quickly ended up at the back.
When the lights went out, Stroll made a solid start and went into the lead, ahead of Perez and then Hamilton. Ocon and Bottas both spun without damage in Turn 1 while Max Verstappen dropped down to 8th after a very difficult getaway.
Positions changed continuously though throughout the first lap, with Vettel emerging in third place at the end of the first lap. Verstappen and Albon followed up in 4th and 5th after benefiting from a mistake by Lewis Hamilton who slotted back in to 6th. Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Sainz and Magnussen completed the top 10.
At the end of lap two, both Racing Points were rapidly pulling away, with Stroll especially going a lot faster than the rest of the field. Max Verstappen seemed to be able to go somewhat faster but had difficulty getting past, despite frequently taking different lines through corners.
At the start of lap 4, with no rain falling on the track, it was clear conditions improved. Everybody went faster lap after lap, and by lap 6, the advantage of the Racing Points disappeared, with fastest laps from Albon and Hamilton.
The lap after that, Leclerc was the first one to switch to intermediate tyres, followed by Bottas, Hamilton, Vettel and many others in the next few laps.
Vettel's stop enabled Verstappen to up the pace, going fastest in 1:48.610 just when Perez pitted as well. The lap was quickly improved upon by Hamilton who went 3 seconds faster on 2-lap old intermediate tyres.
Verstappen pitted next, and returned to the track in 4th place, just in between Perez and Vettel who was chased closely by Hamilton. Albon pitted one lap later and returned 2 seconds behind Hamilton.
These stops brought Stroll back in the lead, 10s ahead of the Perez, Verstappen, Vettel, Hamilton pack.
Giovinazzi then retired on lap 14 to cause a virtual safety car period, with after that some passing moves on track. Albon for instance got past Hamilton and Vettel in a single lap after Hamilton went off track trying to get past Vettel, after which he once again complained about his car's front brakes not working very well.
Verstappen meanwhile tried to find a way past Perez, and on lap 17 he was extremely close to the Racing Point on the long brack straight. The mild right hand corner there however was too much to ask, so Verstappen lost grip at the front, went wide and spun twice. The Red Bull driver was extremely lucky not to hit anything, and so he could rejoin behind Hamilton, only to return to the pits immediately due to a flat spotted tyre.
Verstappen returned to the track in 8th, again in another train, led by Ricciardo, then Sainz, Verstappen and Leclerc.
Lance Stroll, on the other hand, struggled to keep up the pace and started to lose precious time. The advantage that once was 12s had reduced to 3.5s on lap 25, even with Perez having to fight off Albon behind him.
But Stroll wasn't the only one starting to struggle with tyres, as the front tyres of most cars were wearing out quickly. By lap 30, everybody virtually had slicks in front. As Albon lost some time on Perez, Vettel and Hamilton caught up with him.
Moments later, Hamilton refuted the idea of switching to slicks while Charles Leclerc pitted to take on a new set of intermediates. Leclerc's stop paid off immediately as he was 4s faster than before his stop, and thereby easily fastest of the entire field.
Ricciardo, Vettel, Russell and Gasly made the same pitstop in the next two laps. Vettel sadly had another sluggish stop with 5.3s.
Alex Albon pitted one lap later as well, but only did so after spinning off and losing his third place to Lewis Hamilton. The Racing Points waited longer, but Stroll was eventually pitted on lap 35. It seemed like the moment to seize for Hamilton, as he upped the pace on his old intermediate tyres and easily passed Perez for the lead on lap 36.
On lap 39, another interesting battle happened between Stroll, Vettel, Albon and Leclerc. Both Ferraris seemed to have come alive as the race progressed. Stroll lost out big time here, ending up behind all three in a single lap, while also getting company from Sainz who came up from behind after having set the fastest lap. The Spaniard also easily made it past Stroll and Albon in the next few laps.
Leclerc eventually emerged ahead of the pack into 4th and went charging off towards Verstappen who then was 8s up the road. Two laps later, that gap closed, and Leclerc easily moved into 3rd, followed by another pitstop for Verstappen who took on another new set of intermediates.
Lewis Hamilton from that point on simply controlled the race and went on to finish first with 31s ahead of everybody else. Charles Leclerc, in an attempt to get second, lost his podium in the final corners, bringing Vettel there as the Monegasque finished 4th, only just ahead of Carlos Sainz.
Max Verstappen finished 6th as the race unravelled after a promising beginning.
|2||11||Sergio Perez||Racing Point Bwt Mercedes||58||+31.633s||18|
|5||55||Carlos Sainz||McLaren Renault||58||+34.363s||10|
|6||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||58||+44.873s||8|
|7||23||Alexander Albon||Red Bull Racing Honda||58||+46.484s||6|
|8||4||Lando Norris||McLaren Renault||58||+61.259s||5|
|9||18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point Bwt Mercedes||58||+72.353s||2|
|11||31||Esteban Ocon||Renault||57||+1 lap||0|
|12||26||Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri Honda||57||+1 lap||0|
|13||10||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri Honda||57||+1 lap||0|
|14||77||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||57||+1 lap||0|
|15||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||57||+1 lap||0|
|16||63||George Russell||Williams Mercedes||57||+1 lap||0|
|17||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||55||DNF||0|
|NC||8||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||49||DNF||0|
|NC||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||39||DNF||0|
|NC||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||11||DNF||0|