Cementing his place in the pantheon of Formula 1 greats, Lewis Hamilton secured his seventh Formula 1 world drivers’ championship by winning the Turkish Grand Prix yesterday. The Briton came out tops in a topsy-turvy race and now equals the record set by Michael Schumacher in 2004.
The Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport driver had to work hard for his latest victory, having started sixth on the grid after a wet qualifying. The torrid conditions that continued on Sunday caught Hamilton out twice and caused him to slide off the track, including on the first lap.
Still, he hung on and, blessed by the improving conditions (and having made only one pitstop), he romped home to take the chequered flag. Racing Point’s Sergio Perez bagged an impressive second place ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastien Vettel, who made a welcome return to the podium after a last-gasp opportunistic move on teammate Charles Leclerc.
Only one driver was able to take the title fight to Hamilton, and that was his teammate Valterri Bottas. The Finn needed to score eight more points than his rival to keep his hopes alive, but he had a race to forget in Istanbul. Having already started down in ninth, he then spun twice on the opening lap together with Renault’s Esteban Ocon. That second spin involved a collision and caused a puncture and damage on Bottas’ Mercedes, and he spun a further four times (!) to finish 14th.
Hamilton’s triumph capped off an extraordinarily dominant season for Mercedes, coming just one race after the latter wrapped up the constructors’ championship at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The Brackley-based team was the only one in contention for both crowns, having won all but two races in 2020. It was a year where the records tumbled – the team also clinched its record seventh straight title, while Hamilton broke Schumacher’s hold on having the most wins with 94 (and counting) victories.
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