Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of winning his seventh Formula One Drivers’ Championship as the grid travels to Turkey for the first time since 2011 for this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix (Race: 10.10am Sunday, live on Sky Sports F1). How will our Turkish GP preview see this F1 race unfold? Read on and find out.
Hamilton led home a Mercedes one-two ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas to record his ninth victory of the 2020 season at Imola two weeks ago. The result sealed a record-beating seventh consecutive constructors’ championship for the German team.
The likelihood is that Hamilton will now add the drivers’ championship to his and the team’s haul. Bottas must outscore him by eight points in Turkey to keep the title race alive into the final three Grand Prix of the year. In basic terms, if Hamilton were to finish second, Bottas would have to both win the race and record its fastest lap to remain in the hunt.
Hamilton is one of only four members of the current grid to have previously raced at the Istanbul Park circuit in F1 machinery, and one of two, alongside Sebastian Vettel, to have previously won there. On the back of three victories on the trot, he is the deserved favourite and most likely winner of this weekend’s race.
With Red Bull’s Max Verstappen removed from the running following a puncture-induced crash, Daniel Ricciardo claimed a second podium finish in three races for Renault at Imola. Daniil Kyvat finished in a superb fourth for AlphaTauri, ahead of Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari and the Racing Point of Sergio Perez.
Perez had been in line for a podium finish himself until his team took the decision to bring him in for a tyre change under the safety car. They were worried that the hard tyres that he’d managed so well through the race would struggle to regain their grip after a period at lower temperature running.
His initial rise from 11th on the grid up to third was another reminder of just how good Perez is at managing his tyres and making the most of long stint strategies. Tyre management was always an important factor when Turkey was a regular F1 venue and there is little reason to think that won’t again be the case this weekend.
Racing Point have a competitive car and in Perez, a driver potentially capable of converting that into the team’s second podium finish of the season on Sunday.
Renault, Racing Point and McLaren are embroiled in an incredibly tight three-way fight to claim third in the constructors’ championship, with Renault currently just a point ahead of the other two teams. McLaren didn’t match the individual results of their two competitors at Imola but were the only one of three teams to get both of their cars into the points, with Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris coming home seventh and eighth respectively.
Just four points now separate McLaren’s two drivers in the individual championship. Sainz has gradually chipped away at Norris’ early-season lead and now has a good chance of overtaking him by the end of the year. A sixth top-six finish of the season on Sunday would likely bring him closer to that aim.
The two Alfa Romeo cars took the final pair of points-paying positions at Imola, with Raikkonen leading home teammate Antonio Giovinazzi in ninth and 10th.
Vettel had another difficult weekend for Ferrari, qualifying down in 14th, well off the pace of his teammate Leclerc. He got involved in a sloppy first-lap collision and thereafter was unable to claw himself up into the points, eventually finishing 12th.
Hopefully Vettel will be reinvigorated by his move to Racing Point, soon to be renamed Aston Martin, for 2021. For now he should be able to help his team out by securing his seventh points finish of the year in Istanbul.
It was at the Istanbul Park circuit that Vettel got his first taste of a Formula One weekend as a test driver for the BMW-Sauber team in 2006, and he dominated the last event there in 2011, taking pole position and the race victory en route to the second of his four drivers’ championships.
Vettel may have been a couple of steps off the pace for much of the season but he seems to decent bet to take a top 10 finish on Sunday.
So these are JustBookies’ F1 Turkish Grand Prix betting tips for this preview:
- Bet on Sergio Perez to finish in the top three (ie: a podium finish) @ 7/2 with Paddy Power, BetVictor, Betfair or William Hill.
- Back Carlos Sainz to finish in the top six @ best odds of 15/8 with William Hill.
- Bet on Sebastian Vettel to finish in the points (a top 10 finish) @ best of 10/11 with William Hill.