Hamilton joins Michael Schumacher as a seven-time F1 world champion after amazing Istanbul victory from sixth on the grid; Hamilton now statistically the most successful driver of all time holding or sharing all of F1’s biggest records.
Lewis Hamilton clinched the 2020 F1 championship with a stupendous drive to victory in a wet and unpredictable Turkish GP to equal Michael Schumacher’s illustrious record of seven drivers’ world titles.
In a race in which numerous drivers could have won in challenging wet conditions, Hamilton pulled off an unlikely but fitting triumph from sixth on the grid to seal his seventh title in the 94th win of an unprecedented career.
Already the record holder for the most victories, pole positions, podiums and points, Hamilton’s equalling of Schumacher’s prestigious titles record means he is now statistically the most successful F1 driver of all time.
Incredibly, Hamilton also lapped the only man who could have denied him the title on Sunday – Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who endured a torrid afternoon and spun five times to finish 14th.
Showing raw emotion both in the cockpit and then when climbing out of his car in parc ferme as he realised the staggering scale of his achievement, Hamilton said: “I’m definitely a bit lost for words.
“I’ve got to say thank you to my family. We dreamed of this when we were young, watching the Grand Prix, and this is way, way beyond our dreams. It’s so important for kids – dream the impossible. You’ve got to work for it, chase it, and never give up or doubt yourself.”
Hamilton’s seventh title has been won with three races to spare in the 2020 season.
Sergio Perez finished second for Racing Point to tie his best-career best. The Mexican was second in the race’s opening stages behind team-mate Lance Stroll, who impressively led from his out-of-the-blue pole before the Canadian’s race fell apart after his second pit stop.
Stroll finished ninth in a disappointing end to an otherwise impressive weekend.
Perez came under attack on the final lap from Charles Leclerc but a late lunge backfired on the Ferrari driver, who lost the final podium position to Sebastian Vettel. It was the four-time champion’s first top-three result of a torrid season.
Both Red Bulls could have won the race but spins for each of Max Verstappen and Alex Albon when in promising positions put paid to the team’s hopes. Verstappen ended up sixth, with Albon seventh. Both were beaten to fifth by McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, who raced strongly from a penalised 15th on the grid.
While Hamilton was always in the box seat to close out the championship this weekend, it had looked for most of F1’s return to Turkey that it was unlikely it would be clinched via a podium appearance, let alone a race win.
Struggling with the low-grip Istanbul Park track, Mercedes registered their worst qualifying result of the turbo-hybrid era – sixth and ninth – and their fortunes did not appear likely to improve when rain started falling in the hour ahead of the race.
On full wet tyres at the start, Hamilton made a strong getaway and moved up to third behind Stroll and Perez on the first lap. But he was soon shuffled back down to sixth and dropped behind Vettel – who stormed the start from 11th on the grid – and the two Red Bulls.
A poor start for Verstappen had allowed Racing Point to form a one-two through the first corner and Stroll and Perez threatened to race away from the pack at the front. Indeed, Hamilton was already a full pit stop behind the runaway Stroll inside five laps.
But the race turned as the track started to dry sufficiently for the shallower intermediate tyres to be fitted at the opening pit stops.
While Stroll still led Perez – with Verstappen spinning out of contention when chasing the latter – their advantage over the chasing pack shrunk with Albon, Vettel and Hamilton all also emerging as potential race victors.
Leclerc’s pace in the pack on new intermediates triggered others to head to the pits – including Stroll, who had started to struggle on his worn inters. But the performance of Hamilton, who moved into second when Vettel pitted again and Albon spun out, overruled the Mercedes’ pit wall’s request to follow suit with fresh tyres and instead hunted down Perez, who also stayed out.
Passing the Racing Point with 22 laps to go, Hamilton comfortably pulled clear and, despite the lingering risk of late rain, managed his tyres brilliant to the finish to win by 31 minutes and put the most authoritative seal on his historic championship victory.
Source: Sky Sports News