Lewis Hamilton delivered a superb drive from sixth on the grid to claim victory in a tough, wet Turkish Grand Prix and clinch his seventh Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship crown, matching Michael Schumacher’s tally of titles.
Hamilton overcame early woes involving a lack of grip in wet conditions to claw his way back into contention and after passing Racing Point’s Sergio Pérez on lap 36 his decision to pursue a one-stop race allowed him to take his 10th win of the season ahead of Pérez and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel who took third place on the final lap after team-mate Charles Leclerc went wide after trying to steal second from Pérez
At the start, as pole sitter Lance Stroll and Racing Point team-mate Sergio Pérez made superb starts to take P1 and P2, Max Verstappen suffered huge amounts of wheelspin off the line and the Dutch driver was quickly swamped by rivals. Alex Albon too got away with difficulty but did well to avoid trouble in Turn 1 when Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo tagged team-mate Esteban Ocon who then hit Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas. Both Ocon and Bottas dropped to the back of the field.
Midway through the first lap Max and Alex found themselves fifth and sixth respectively, but as championship leader Lewis Hamilton struggled for grip on the tricky surface both Bulls powered past to sit behind third-placed Sebastian Vettel who had risen from P11 on the grid after an excellent start.
At the front, Stroll began to carve out substantial lead and within four laps he was six seconds ahead of Pérez and almost 14s seconds ahead of Vettel who was backing Verstappen up.
The game changed, though, on lap 10 when Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc pitted from P14 to take on intermediate tires. The Monegasque driver immediately began to set purple sector times and his pace sparked a flurry of stops for the green-banded tires.
Both Racing Points and Vettel made the switch, as did Hamilton, but Verstappen stuck with the wet tires until his own race fastest lap of 1:48.610 was immediately shattered by Hamilton who set a time of 1:45.872 on his new inters. That promoted a switch to inters for Verstappen, which was repeated a lap later by Albon.
Verstappen managed to rejoin ahead of Vettel and quickly began to close on Pérez, while Albon emerged in P6 behind Hamilton. The Mercedes driver was bottled up behind Vettel and when he tried to make a slightly ambitious move past the German he lost grip and was forced wide. That allowed Albon to sneak through to make his own attack on the Ferrari driver. He made his way past the German on the next lap to claim P4 and that became P3 on lap 17 when disaster struck for Verstappen.
The Dutchman had closed right up to Perez but it was too close and unsighted he got too much kerb and spun behind the Mexican. He managed to correct the wild slide but having flat spotted his tires he was forced to pit for a new set of inters. He rejoined in P8.
Now in third place, Albon began to close in on Pérez, lapping a second quicker than the Mexican. On lap 25 he got to within DRS range of the Racing Point driver and began to pressure the Racing Point driver. Gradually, though, Albon’s inters began to wear in Perez’s wake and he couldn’t find a way past.
On lap 33 though Albon’s race unraveled when he made a mistake midway through the lap and went wide. That put Hamilton through to P3. Stroll then made his second stop for inters but the Canadian’s pace then seemed to desert him as he suffered tire graining and though he emerged in P4 he was soon under pressure from the twin Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc. They soon made their way past the Canadian and Albon rapidly followed suit.
Ahead, Hamilton was putting Perez under pressure and on lap 36 he slipped past the Racing Point to claim the lead.
Verstappen, on old intermediates, was now coming under pressure from the Ferraris and when Leclerc passed him the Dutchman pitted for a final set of green-banded tires.
Albon was struggling, though, and when he was passed by Sainz, he found himself in P6 directly ahead of Verstappen who was running quicker on his new inters. The Bulls then swapped position seven laps from home and with a large gap to Sainz in fifth place the pair settled for sixth and seventh places at the flag.
Ahead Hamilton and Perez, still holding onto their ageing intermediates now looked comfortable. Leclerc, though, was determined to challenge for second place and on the final lap he made his move.
The Ferrari driver muscled his way past the Racing Point but then running offline on the wet side of the track he locked up into the final corner and that not only allowed Perez to re-take second place but also allowed Vettel to slip past his team-mate to claim his first podium finish of the season.
Leclerc managed to hold onto fourth ahead of Sainz, Verstappen and Albon, while eighth place and the point for fastest lap went to McLaren’s Lando Norris. Ninth place went to the unfortunate Stroll and the final point on offer was taken by Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo.
2020 FIA Formula 1 Turkish Grand Prix – Race
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 58 1:42’19.313
2 Sergio Pérez Racing Point/Mercedes 58 1:42’50.946 31.633
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 58 1:42’51.273 31.960
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 58 1:42’53.171 33.858
5 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren/Renault 58 1:42’53.676 34.363
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 58 1:43’04.186 44.873
7 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda 58 1:43’05.797 46.484
8 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 58 1:43’20.572 1’01.259
9 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 58 1:43’31.666 1’12.353
10 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 58 1:43’54.773 1’35.460
11 Esteban Ocon Renault 57 1:42’23.252 1 Lap
12 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri/Honda 57 1:42’32.202 1 Lap
13 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 57 1:42’33.613 1 Lap
14 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 57 1:43’11.527 1 Lap
15 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 57 1:43’41.668 1 Lap
16 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 57 1:43’57.645 1 Lap
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 55 1:41’45.515 Not running
Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 49 1:31’18.383 Retirement
Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 39 1:15’39.771 Retirement
Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 11 22’13.153 Retirement