How Hamilton made history in ‘a race he wasn’t supposed to win’

2020 Turkish Grand Prix review

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It was not his race to win.

For almost two thirds of the Turkish Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton’s dominance over the field in 2020 appeared to have been neutered by a combination of virgin asphalt, heavy rain and temperamental tyres.

Hamilton, who had at one stage dropped as far as 20 seconds from the race lead, played only a supporting role over the first 200 kilometres around a soaked Istanbul Park.

But, by the time the chequered flag fell, the newly-crowned seven time world champion had made fools out of millions for entertaining the idea that anyone would upstage him on the day of his greatest achievement.

Poetically, Hamilton ascended to Formula 1’s most exclusive club at the same venue where his legend had arguably began before he even became a grand prix driver. His masterpiece of a recovery drive in the 2006 GP2 support race belongs in the pantheon of mythical performances from future greats, alongside Toleman driver Ayrton Senna’s exploits at Monaco or Jordan debutant Michael Schumacher lining up on the fourth row at Spa.

Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Istanbul Park, 2020
Stroll took a shock pole position on Saturday
Now, Hamilton’s history will be forever tied to the Turkish track as the location for when he became only the second seven-time world champion in F1’s history.

Even before the sun rose on Sunday morning, the Turkish Grand Prix had already proven the strangest race weekend of this bizarre 2020 season.

An ill-judged and potentially unnecessary decision to fully resurface Istanbul Park a month prior had almost entirely robbed the fast, flowing circuit of natural grip. Friday practice was farcical, with grip levels no better in the dry than most venues would be in the wet, and lap times a risible 10 seconds off the 15-year-old benchmark.

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When the heavens opened on Saturday, qualifying became a lottery of tyre temperatures. Keep them in the narrow operating window and you would have an advantage over your rivals so great you’d make them look like they were racing in a different formula.

Just as no one had predicted heading into the weekend, it was Racing Point’s Lance Stroll who claimed pole position. Following a torrid run of bad luck and sub-par performances, Stroll had become the first North American driver to take pole in a world championship grand prix since Jacques Villeneuve during the infamous European Grand Prix of 1997 at Jerez.

Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo, Istanbul Park, 2020
The drama started before the race
“To put it on pole is a special moment for me and one of the biggest highlights of my career for sure,” said Stroll. Sadly for the 22-year-old, although he led more laps than anyone else, he did not come away with anything like the kind of result which looked possible for much of the race.

Any faint hopes the drivers had that Sunday may offer any more comfortable conditions were literally washed away as the clouds over Istanbul soaked the circuit for the second day in succession. With a steady downpour of rain in the hours before the race, it became clear that a wet race lay ahead.

Even making it to their grid slot proved fraught with danger. Having secured his best starting position of the season, Antonio Giovinazzi left the pit lane and rounded turn two at a speed that might generously be described as a crawl, only for his Alfa Romeo to break traction and send him gently skidding into the barriers. After a long wait for assistance, he was eventually recovered and allowed to limp back to the grid with a broken front wing.

George Russell further demonstrated how difficult simply keeping the car on the road was when he slipped into barriers on the entry of the pit lane, dislodging his front own wing.

“I came into the pits, I turned at slow speed and I just went straight on,” he explained. “I was tiptoeing around. Those laps to the grid was the least amount of grip I’ve ever experienced ever in an F1 car. Probably ever in my life, to be honest.”

Despite the chronic lack of grip and the standing water calling for full wet tyres, there was no consideration of a Safety Car start. When the lights went out to signal the start of the race, the scene was almost comical.

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There was very little grip on the racing line, but almost none off it, and cars floundered as they left the line. From second on the grid, Max Verstappen was swallowed up in the first 100 metres as he slipped briefly into anti-stall.

Start, Istanbul Park, 2020
Ricciardo tagged Renault team mate Ocon at the start
Esteban Ocon was one of the few to find some kind of traction and had major momentum heading to the downhill braking zone for turn one. Ocon tried to take his line, but with team mate Daniel Ricciardo to his left and Hamilton to the inside of the pair of them, there was an inevitable collision when the room ran out. A light tap from his team mate sent Ocon spinning.

Arriving quickly on the scene, Valtteri Bottas tried to take avoiding action and ended up looping his Mercedes in sympathy. It was the beginning of the end of his already vanishingly slim chances of beating Hamilton to the title.

The two Racing Points of Stroll and Sergio Perez had successfully converted their starting positions from the outside of the grid to lead the field through the first lap and into the unknown. Hamilton ran wide at turn nine and had to take the escape road, allowing Sebastian Vettel to slip by into third place having gained an impressive eight positions over the opening lap.

As Hamilton dropped behind the two Red Bulls of Verstappen and Alexander Albon, Bottas and Ocon had their second collision in half a lap at turn nine. The contact saw the Renault forced to pit with a puncture, while Bottas was left with front wing damage and misaligned steering on his Mercedes.

Hamilton was therefore virtually assured the title from the outset. The only question left was the manner in which he would take it.

The complex cocktail of track conditions meant that, on this wet track, keeping optimum tyre temperature was the single, overriding critical factor. With clear air ahead of them, the Racing Points took off at the front, just as they had in similar conditions in Q3.

By the end of lap three, Stroll was leading his team mate by six seconds, with the two pink machines over ten seconds ahead of Vettel’s Ferrari in third. Five laps in and the eventual winner Hamilton was 21 second adrift of the lead and struggling to make any kind of progress on challenging Albon ahead.

As the lack of grip offered no reasonable option other than rigidly sticking to the racing line, opportunities to pass on track proved few and far between.

Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Istanbul Park, 2020
Stroll led convincingly to begin with
With Charles Leclerc down in a lowly 14th place and no rain having fallen since the lights went out, Ferrari decided to gamble and called him in for intermediates at the end of lap six.

Immediately, Leclerc set the fastest middle and final sectors on his out-lap. Unsurprisingly, this prompted the rest of the field to pit and dump their full wets in favour of the green marked tyres.

Red Bull were the only team to hesitate. Verstappen had briefly been able to pick up the pace after he had been released into clear air by virtue of Vettel pitting. Moreover, the team hadn’t been able to unlock pace from the intermediates as easily as their rivals in qualifying. This was how Verstappen, having controlled proceedings until Q3, found himself bumped back to second on the grid by Stroll.

Verstappen was eventually brought in to make the swap at the end of lap 11, but was able to rejoin ahead of Vettel into third place and almost jumped second-placed Perez having made the most of the clear track.

Stroll’s ability to activate the intermediate tyres had won him pole position on Saturday and he appeared to be making them work for him once again out front. Perez began to drop back from his team mate and was now having to focus his attention on his mirrors and the pursuing Verstappen behind. Not that Perez was able to see anything in his mirrors due to the spray.

Rounding turn nine on lap 18, Perez made a mistake and presented Verstappen with an excellent opportunity to pressure Perez down the long back straight. Tucked up behind the Racing Point, Verstappen tried to stick close through the right hand kink of turn 11, but a combination of a damp track and aero wash from Perez ahead sent him wide and onto the ice-like artificial grass.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Istanbul Park, 2020
Two spins ended Verstappen’s victory hopes
The Red Bull pirouetted through 540 degrees at over 200kph, but mercifully never left the track surface. With a five-second gap to Albon behind, Verstappen was able to safely stop on the side of the track and get his Red Bull going again – albeit now down in sixth. With his tyres ruined by flat spots, Verstappen pitted for a fresh set.

With no more pressure from Verstappen to contend with, Perez begin cutting into his team mate’s lead. But by this point, Racing Point’s advantage on the intermediates was beginning to evaporate. The leading pair’s lap times were now the slowest of all the cars in the top 10 and the front of the field slowly began to contract.

After such a strong and controlled first half of the race, Stroll was beginning to look vulnerable for the first time. “There’s so much wear, Brad,” he reported to race engineer Brad Joyce.

The notoriously graining-prone intermediates were starting to cause problems for a number of drivers. Ferrari remembered how effective their early call to bring Leclerc in had been earlier in the race and decided to be the first to try a second stop for intermediates at the end of lap 30.

Again, Leclerc was instantly quicker on fresher tyres. As he set the fastest lap of the race, Ferrari opted to bring Vettel in too from fourth. This finally released Hamilton, who had been stuck behind Vettel, biding his time and protecting his tyres.

Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Istanbul Park, 2020
Both Red Bull drivers looked quick enough to win
After his team mate’s spin, Albon led the charge for Red Bull and looked quick enough to be a candidate for victory. However he faced the same problem as his team mate: a Racing Point with Mercedes grunt, no assistance from DRS, and even less grip off-line to attempt a pass. With Hamilton in clear air and catching him, Albon gifted the Mercedes driver third place by spinning at turn four.

Despite his lead, Stroll was clearly uncomfortable. Perez reported he was “losing a lot of time behind Lance” – a clear prompt for the team to take action.

Leclerc’s lap times indicated a second set of intermediates were a viable option. Racing Point called Stroll in, but when he queried the call told him to stay out.

After another lap the decision was made. “We should box this lap for a new inter,” said Joyce. “OK, it’s your call,” Stroll replied.

Hamilton had spent most of the race playing with different settings on his Mercedes’ steering wheel trying to find something that would unlock more performance. But eventually he’d found a configuration that worked and with a clear track, he began clocking a series of personal bests as the gap to Perez ahead shrank.

By now the track was dry enough that race control had decided to allow drivers to use DRS. Flipping his rear wing open on lap 37, Hamilton cruised up behind Perez on the back straight and was through into the lead before he had to touch the brake pedal for turn 12.

In what has become the defining feature of this 2020 season, Hamilton yet again began to disappear into the horizon from the moment he hit the front of the race for the first time.

Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Istanbul Park, 2020
Stroll was even slower after his second pit stop
While Hamilton’s worn intermediates, which were increasingly beginning to look like slicks, offered decent traction, former leader Stroll’s lap times were initially war worse on his new tyres. Over a period of six laps, he plummeted from fourth position down to eighth.

While Stroll struggled, Carlos Sainz Jnr was flying. For the first time all weekend, McLaren were finally finding their feet. After jumping from 15th to ninth on the opening lap, Sainz had kept his nose clean and was able to demote the hapless Stroll for seventh place. That soon became fifth at the expense of the two Red Bulls.

At this stage, Hamilton’s pace had been so consistent that his lead had already ballooned to 20 seconds. It may have seemed like the Turkish Grand Prix had been up for grabs for a large portion of the race, but by now it seemed clear that only a dramatic twist would prevent Hamilton from sealing his seventh title with a 94th career victory.

If Hamilton’s old intermediates were managing to hold on after over 40 laps, there were now question marks over whether Perez’s tyres in second would be able to hold on. The two Ferraris of Leclerc and Vettel were catching rapidly, consistently over a second a lap quicker than the Racing Point on inters that had done around 20 fewer tours of the Istanbul Park circuit.

As the laps began to pass and the finish drew closer, Leclerc was now close enough to Perez where he was now affected by the dirty air. He would be relying on a mistake to capitalise.

There was a final drama for Hamilton as the laps ticked down. The radars indicated a fresh cloudburst was incoming, and with his intermediates now almost bald, a sudden shower would be a perilous development. Mercedes readied a fresh set of intermediates and called him in for a ‘safety’ stop. Hamilton thought back to Shanghai 2007, and decided he didn’t want to risk the damp pit lane entrance with his well-worn tyres.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Istanbul Park, 2020
Hamilton’s intermediates turned to slicks by the end of the race
The rain stayed away, Hamilton navigated the final corners and took the chequered flag to secure his 10th win out of 14 races and the 2020 world drivers’ championship. This seventh title seemed to provoke a more emotional response in Hamilton than many that had come before it – perhaps recognising the magnitude of matching Michael Schumacher’s defining accolade.

But while Hamilton unleashed his emotions, an almighty scrap had broken out for second, half a minute behind.

Perez, his tyres finally crying enough, had run wide at turn nine, allowing Leclerc by on the exit of the next bend. But the Racing Point immediately tucked into the Ferrari’s slipstream and the pair ran side-by-side down the hill for the last time, Perez holding the racing line on the outside.

Leclerc hit the brakes at his usual mark with his usual severity, but in the midst of battle had failed to account for the standing water that remained on the inside. He locked up and ran wide, fortunate to not go off the track. It was a costly error as it not only allowed Perez to sneak back into second, but opened the door for Vettel to jump up into third too.

Perez won the drag race out of the final corner to cross the line in second and cap off a memorable weekend for Racing Point with the team’s second podium of the season. Vettel, enduring a miserable final season with Ferrari, reached the podium for the first time in more than a year.

Leclerc was incandescent with rage at throwing away a possible second place on the final lap. “I fucked it up in the last corner,” he expressed frankly after the race. “I’ve been good for one part of the race, but shit when it matters and that’s it.”

Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Istanbul Park, 2020
Perez resisted pressure from various rivals for second place
Team principal Mattia Binotto, observing proceedings from the team’s Maranello base, was swiftly on the radio to commiserate with Leclerc. Yet he offered not a word of congratulations to Vettel on taking his first podium finish of the season.

Behind this late drama came Sainz followed by the two Red Bulls, led by Verstappen who passed Albon in the closing laps. The team’s 300th race had been a missed opportunity: A rare opportunity for a win or even a one-two slipped through their fingers.

Lando Norris finished eighth, having easily been the quickest man on track in the closing laps. He later explained that his intermediates had worn so low, he had effectively been driving on slicks by the end.

In a race that promised so much, ninth place was a gut-punch for Stroll, who’d seen the tyre performance that had helped him to pole position and early lead of the race completely abandon him for reasons unknown.

“It’s frustrating when you’re in the lead by 10 seconds and all of a sudden you finish ninth,” he said, dejected. “I don’t understand how that happens.”

Ricciardo took the final point for Renault in 10th. After such an unusual weekend, the Australian hoped the sport wouldn’t face similar circumstances again.

“We didn’t really get to push an F1 car this weekend,” he explained. “Sure, it made it tricky and exciting, but it was hard to get a lot of satisfaction out of it from a driving point of view.”

Surely no one enjoyed the race less than Bottas. Coping with a damaged car from the start, he spun no fewer than six times. Yet his second-fastest lap time of the day suggested that even if beating Hamilton was out of the question from lap one, a better finish than 14th was possible.

But one driver who had found the race intensely satisfying was the newly-crowned world champion, Hamilton. Having embraced his crew, Hamilton described his achievement as a realisation of a lifelong dream.

F1's seven-times champions: Hamilton and Schumacher
F1’s two seven-times champions: Hamilton and Schumacher’s title wins compared
“We dreamed of this when we were young, when we were watching the grand prix,” he said. “I wouldn’t be able to do this if I didn’t join this team and the journey we’ve been on has been monumental.”

Having moved into the Mercedes seat vacated by Schumacher in 2012, Hamilton has taken just eight seasons to match his predecessor. Alongside him on the podium, Hamilton’s most respected rival, Sebastian Vettel, encapsulated the sense of how the most successful driver in the sport somehow always seems to find a way to win.

“He took the win in a race where maybe he wasn’t supposed to win,” Vettel said.

It was a Turkish Grand Prix that will be remembered for so many reasons. Formula 1 cars may never turn a wheel at this track again, but it will remain a venue which has played a role in one of the most remarkable victories of the era – and one of the sport’s greatest ever achievements.

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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Istanbul Park, 2020
Hamilton brought his pet dog Roscoe to the team’s victory celebrations

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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52 comments on “How Hamilton made history in ‘a race he wasn’t supposed to win’”

  1. I had no doubt Hamilton would finish in the points short of an incident, I picked Verstappen as favourite to win. I overestimated Verstappen’s maturity while underestimating Hamilton’s ability.

    1. @johnrkh I was just really happy Hamilton won the 7th championship in such style at a memorable (and probably iconic) race. I thought it was bound to be another of those championship wins where he completes the number of points needed by coming in around 5th, off the podium. Since the Massa War years, though, Lewis has been extra careful in avoiding car damage, as you can see with how cautiously he navigates the first laps, preferring damage avoidance to track position. He then combines that with keeping the tyres strong while maintaining speed by working out lines throughout the race (again he said he was doing the same in Turkey as at Portugal where he opened out a similar lead over Bottas while conserving the tyres better). And finally he made all the right pit calls, disagreeing with the team where necessary and using his own experience to make them. Just all round skill at his job.

    2. The Skeptic (@)
      17th November 2020, 3:23

      @johnrkh – well summarised! I admire Verstappen – he is a brilliant and exciting driver – but every so often his Ego Quotient exceeds his Intelligence Quotient….

      For me, one exciting story of the race that deserves more analysis is Vettel. He drove very well to keep Hamilton behind for several laps… and he would have stayed ahead of Leclerc the whole time were it not for another delay in the pits. Ferrari have treated Seb very poorly this year… and the quote below is more evidence.

      Team principal Mattia Binotto, observing proceedings from the team’s Maranello base, was swiftly on the radio to commiserate with Leclerc. Yet he offered not a word of congratulations to Vettel on taking his first podium finish of the season.

  2. He won because he had a superior car and DRS.
    He couldn’t get past Vettel when he didn’t have access to it. And he spun more than once.
    It’s all but forgotten that DRS changed the game – it isnt’t true racing.
    Yes Hamilton is a great driver but without DRS he doesn’t win this race.

    1. He spun more than once? That should corrected to less than once!

    2. @Jon

      You must have been watching a different race, because Hamilton didn’t spin once. He ran wide a couple of times, but thats it.

      Perhaps you mistook him for the Spinning Finn?

    3. There is an ever growing list of things without which Hamilton wouldn’t have got this or that accolade and/or record Jon, but what remains is that he was there to take it then and there, not spun, not retired, no sabbatical, or in the wrong car/circumstance/position, but where he was when that thing helped him to get it done.

      I have a long list of things without which Schumacher might not have gotten his records, but ultimately, he did get them, and that was and remains huge and unique accomplishment. Let’s just appreciate the commitment, effort, talent, and persistence that got them there.

    4. Nik (@nickelodeon81)
      16th November 2020, 12:53

      Please tell me which laps he spun.

      Also, please also confirm that every driver had access to DRS including VER, so explain why this only worked for HAM. Did he have super DRS?

    5. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      16th November 2020, 13:32

      The day Hamilton retires, he’ll take with him 50% of the paddock’s ability. These are the best drivers out there and Hamilton possesses more talent than half of them combined. Some say it’s the car but you and I both know it’s the drivers who make the difference. If Max had driven the same way, he would have ended the race 3 minutes ahead of Stroll. Oh, and I know you didn’t mean the DRS part because once Lewis started finding pace out of the tires, DRS wouldn’t have mattered. You’re talking many seconds quicker per lap.

    6. Staggeringly superficial understanding of how the race was won. Suggest you check out a good analysis of it on Autosport before running your mouth

    7. Hamilton never spun, not even once. Such blatant lies.

    8. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      16th November 2020, 19:26

      I get the distinct feeling that people like Jon here just hover on these comment sections to throw a bomb in for fun. I find it hard to believe that someone who follows F1 to the extent that they know this website and take the time to contribute could be that obtuse. Should we feel for Jon’s limited cognitive abilities? Does Jon need our help?

      1. Totally agreed.

  3. Every F1 driver wants to be known as ace in wet condition. Max, Lecrec, Ric and their respective team managers (Horner etc) have been known to tout their prowess, claiming they are the best in wet driving condition. A few of them demonstrated that prowess at one time or another but none of them has proven to be as consistent as Hamilton when performing in wet surfaces. Max and Lecrec would prefer to continue to think it’s merely the car and they will be champions too just like LH. Max certainly has the car this weekend and failed miserably. Lecrec has the car too and crumbled. It’s also interesting to watch how both of these young guns needed so much comfort to deal with their own failures. Time to stop claiming they are the best in wet? And welcome back Vettel. Imagine Vettel’s internal pains having to face such a humbling season, having to turn p each weekend knowing your team doesn’t want nor appreciate you. Yet he comes good and remains professional. The same goes for Perez – another mature personality able to put away other struggles to demonstrate their true abilities. No doubt there will be many holes to pick to justify why the wins from these 3 individuals are not as great. And no, it is not true they will also be champions if given the Merc machine.

  4. Great achievement by ham. Brilliant consistent drive, optimal cashing in on the mistakes made by others.
    The intermediate tires came to (the end) of life.
    On the monsoon tire Verstappen did great (except both RBR starts), but the intermediate ended his run for the win.
    Conclusion, the young ones way to eager, the old ones cashing in for podiums.

  5. Turkey has made the greatest snatch of F1 history. Didn’t have a slot for 2020, missed and messed track surfacing, but st7ill will be remembered as one of the most spectacular race of the V6 era and the location where Hamilton made history clinching a record-equalling 7th world title.

  6. What a great article to read. I enjoyed your words taking me back to those moments in the race that proved critical and entertaining. Well done Will Wood, awesome read!

  7. That proposed “safety stop” would have been a disaster. Hamilton would have probably finished behind Sainz. I can’t believe Mercedes didn’t learn from practice and qualifying (and the race) that their car takes forever to heat up new tires. Hamilton showed his experience in rejecting that stop.

    Also, “spinning in sympathy.” Martin Brundle better copyright that phrase before it becomes more popular!

    1. @dmw Hamilton asked whether the tyres might explode. Checking Bottas’s used set, Mercedes said they should be fine. So after that, given the pace he was on, the only reason to bring Hamilton in was the prospect of rain on the final lap. But given it was one lap and he’d be finishing it first, if the rain even came, I was rooting for him to stay out. If you added up the caution needed to enter the pit lane, maybe a slip there, plus Mercedes not being the fastest tyre changers, and the need to warm up the new tyres, with the Ferraris approaching too, it seemed far too risky in comparison to trusting Hamilton to keep it on track for one lap of rain starting.

      1. In all those radio chats, it was Hamilton who was ahead of the game. He was the one asking the questions, weighing up the possibilities.

        The most surprising fact from this article is that Hamilton also found time to dial in a better setup on his strearing wheel, all whilst driving in those conditions. Not even the Sky commentators spotted that. I would have loved to have seen the onboard footage of this.

        The arm chair supporters wanted dramatic overtakes on a track which was only ever going to produce dramatic wipe outs. Its to Hamilton’s credit that he didn’t force the race, but allowed the race to come to him.

        Now i wonder what they were thinking when they had the track resurfaced just a month before.
        Its like Vettel says. “He took the win in a race where maybe he wasn’t supposed to win,”

    2. Completely agree with this. The tyre he was on had the benefit of being soft and maintaining heat whilst being a slick tyre. Going to a New set of intermediates, would have put him out just in front of pères, on a heavily Grove tyre that would have to go through the slow graining and overheating phase all over again. There’s isbevery chance he would have gone quite far backwards.

      An excellent decision not to put, even though I’m not sure if he was aware of that fact.

  8. Question: Has Lewis ever been lapped by a teammate in normal race circumstances?

    I thought about this during Sunday’s race as Bottas was lapped again… Anyone have an example?

    1. What do you define as normal circumstances. Rainy or flooded track or incident packed race.
      I think from my most recent memory, Hamilton was lapped in Monaco by Button and co while a major accident was happening at the time also. 2011 perhaps

      1. I remember him being lapped before and racing the lead driver to unlap himself which the commentator at the time said he was allowed to do but it was the first they saw someone do it (could be wrong)….At the time I thought that was ballsy….

    2. In 2007 he was lapped at the Nurburgring and in Brazil.
      In 2008 he was lapped in Bahrain,
      In 2009 he was lapped in Spain, Monaco, Great Brittain, Germany.
      In 2012 he was lapped in Germany
      In 2013 he was lapped in Spain.
      In 2017 he was lapped in Mexico.

      I think these are all the instances of Hamilton being lapped, some of them probably aided by bad luck.

      1. Were all these by his team mate?

        1. OOliver, the 2007 European GP would count, in as much as, having gone off the track at Turn 1 due to that rain shower, he ended up falling a lap down by the time that he returned to the circuit.

        2. No, Mexico 2017, he was lapped by Bottas, Europe 2007 he was lapped by Alonso. Not sure if Kovalainen lapped him in Bahrain 2008, wil be close though. In 2012 he was lapped by Button. That is probably all.

      2. None by his teammate

        1. Did you pull that fact out of your a**? Hamilton was lapped by Alonso and Massa at the Nurburgring in 2007. It doesn’t prove anything though. So, no reason to lie. Every driver has disastrous weekends.

        2. At least 3 times he was lapped by his teammate on track. Maybe 4, not sure about Kovalainen at Bahrain.

  9. Now it’s time to ramp up 100/100. That’s poles and victories. Why not? The attention is good for the sport and advertisers. Promote the Best Driver in Grand Prix History by inclusion in a media blast worldwide. Good for the Sport, good for the Media and good for the Fans.
    100 poles and 100 victories from the Seven Times World Drivers Champion of Formula One.
    Hell of a record from one Hell of a driver.

  10. Great read, thanks!

    Indeed this race was such a testament to Hamilton’s drive and relentless consistency. Winning the race with what was essentially the third fastest car. Yet you still see people complain that “it was just the car”.

    OK so maybe the other drivers in those fastest cars made life easy for Hamilton by failing in one way or another, but the point is that Hamilton does almost always make the most of it and then picks up the wins other drivers leave up for grabs. Like also so many races in 2019.

    1. @f1osaurus

      OK so maybe the other drivers in those fastest cars made life easy for Hamilton by failing in one way or another

      A day when failing was easier :oP
      That was actually the case, though. MV recovered great from his spin(s) but after flat-spotting the tyres, had to pit and so lost the chance to ‘develop’ the inters. Even worse for Bottas who ended up in a downward spiral of spins and lack of tyre grip. Vettel was a good benchmark of where other drivers could have been with a mistake-free race.

      1. @david-br True, Vettel had a great race for once in a long time. Mostly set up already from the first few laps when he jumped to P3.

    2. Jonathan Edwards
      16th November 2020, 22:40

      This is disingenuous. He did not have the third fastest car. In the conditions in which quali took place, yes, the Mercedes couldn’t generate heat in the available laps. After 7-10 laps, however, they had no such issue. Once the track started drying, and the tire temp was there, the Mercedes was the fastest car on track.

  11. Nice (long) read and well written. Thanks a lot.
    I’m also happy Hamilton did win his 7th championship in style and not just by default

  12. Hamilton must have been in heaven with a giant picture of himself behind him. The best or among the best drivers ever for sure, but hilariously transparent in his desire to be a mega celeb (particularly in America where he’s desperate to get traction).

    1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      16th November 2020, 19:31

      You taking about the podium? That’s Liberty Media and the FIA trying to make it a visual spectacle. Lewis didn’t even notice it. I’ve always derided “Media Studies” as a Mickey Mouse qualification. You are the very first person I’ve come across that actually needs it. Good luck!

      1. 🤣🤣🤣 what an excellent response!

        1. @davewillisporter

          Did I say he was responsible for the background? No, it’s obvious from my phrasing I didn’t imply that and it’s obvious a driver would not be allowed to do it. So, I guess you need a reading comprehension 101 course or were willfully misinterpreting my comment. I literally said I bet he loved to see his face blown up (at Citizen Kane size ) because he sure loves to pose for fashion magazines and be seen with celebs. He’s a fame chaser.

          Anyway, I’ve worked in PR for a decade and politics for nearly as long. I’ve probably forgotten more than you know about media strategies.

          So much for an excellent response…

          1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
            17th November 2020, 12:01

            As I “literally” said, he didn’t even notice. (He never looked behind while those images were displayed)
            You “literally” said:
            “Hamilton must have been in heaven with a giant picture of himself behind him. The best or among the best drivers ever for sure, but hilariously transparent in his desire to be a mega celeb (particularly in America where he’s desperate to get traction).”
            That’s what “literally” means. Exactly what you said.
            “I bet he loved to see his face blown up (at Citizen Kane size ) because he sure loves to pose for fashion magazines and be seen with celebs. He’s a fame chaser.” is called paraphrasing. In other words, summarising what you “literally” said.
            Just a point, he’s been on every talk show including Ellen, goes to fashion shows with Tommy Hillfiger and hangs out with Rappers and Serena Williams. He’s already A list. He doesn’t have to try.
            You’re not very good at comprehension are you?

          2. @davewillisporter You’re batting a thousand, mate… I wonder if he’ll pitch again? ;)

          3. Dave (@davewillisporter)
            17th November 2020, 16:54

            @Aldoid Thanks! As if to prove my last point, Lewis was on CBS This Morning talking about his race and lack of diversity in the sport. When was the last time he was on GMB? He’s more well known in the states that F1 is!

          4. You are really top notch! What a Wally.

  13. Tommy Scragend
    16th November 2020, 19:11

    Yet he offered not a word of congratulations to Vettel on equalling the team’s best result of the season.

    Just a small point of pedantry – Vettel didn’t equal Ferrari’s best result of the season; he only finished third. Leclerc finished second in Austria.

  14. Let’s settle this “it’s just because HAM is in a Mercedes” question.

    Firstly let me say I have massive respect for LH. As a human being he uses his influence to try and make the world a better place.

    Lewis Hamilton is without doubt one of the greatest drivers at the moment. It’s is not just the car.

    However, in a Williams, or even a Renault he would not be champion.

    So the real question is not is it the car, but how much of his dominance is down to the car?

    You could level that question at most of the F1 champions. As others have said, it is a team sport.

    The success of Mercedes and lack of completion from Bottas, Ferrari and Red Bull do allow us to question the stats.

    I’d like to think it’s reasonable of me as an F1 fan to be able to say Hamilton is deservedly world champion in 2020 but stats alone do not make him GOAT. You cannot look at the stats without considering the context.

    1. Mate Incan see you are trying to be constructive in the way you formulate your argument. It is well balanced. But mate, don’t start this one here please. Don’t drag this comment section towards the damn argument we here everything Lewis wins, gets pole, has a comment in press conference. Let it slide for this one and settle it next week when he’s on pole or something

    2. If winning in this Merc makes you eligible for being the GOAT, then Bottas would be eligible if Lewis wasn’t there. Cause he would have scored the most with a nobody as a teammate. However, we know Lewis IS a GOAT candidate because the dude beat (technically tied) Alonso in his rookie season. Only an amazing driver could do that. And I’m saying this as someone who doesn’t like Hamilton (look at my comments above).

  15. I can * hear* every time*

  16. Nice to see Hamilton at work in this race. I kind of like to think this was what Prost or Lauda sounded like on the radio. A few moves ahead of everyone else there. Nice to see the contrast with that meathead Verstappen.

  17. Such a beautifully articulated piece. Could almost visualize everything as they happened.

    Over the years, Hamilton has collected various accolades and records, and with it, has also dragged on some naysayers. It’s only obvious that with such heady success comes a bunch of people who believe that they know better than a seven-time world champion. Clowns!

    Now, with Checo Perez, if this performance does not convince bigger teams to sit up and take note of his abilities, then I do not know what will. True, this working-class hero is neither the youngest nor the most talented of drivers on the paddock, but he sure deserves more than oblivion. With Verstappens being vocal about their choice of wingman at RBR next season, the team will be missing a trick and a half to mount a serious challenge at Mercedes for the Constructors’ Championship if they do not get Check to drive for them. In fact, with Bottas’ questionable race craft, even Mercedes should give a serious thought to hiring Perez for an year or two to galvanize their position.

    Finally, in my humble opinion, Lance Stroll deserves more respect than he gets. Yes, he has a rich dad who also happens to own the team he drives for. With the new dawn for Aston Martin Racing beckoning, the ideal line up for the team should have been Vettel-Perez. However, now that we know that is not happening, and are never tired of giving the 22-year-old a hard time, we must also appreciate the guy’s progress in a somewhat competitive car. He is growing and improving. Not just the quali, but the initial 30-some laps in treacherous conditions should bear testament to his skills and more importantly, his clear head under the lid. Off the track, he has always been gracious even on the face of severe trolling and criticism. True that his father’s riches have made it easier for him to find a seat in F1, but lest we forget, he is also a decent racecar driver across conditions. Among the younger crop on the paddock, he is among the least talented, but if he continues to grow as he is doing, he will soon beat the likes of Norris and Albon. For every brickbat he takes, he is slowly emerging as a better driver.

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