The comeback: Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel made an excellent start to the Turkish Grand Prix and held fourth place ahead of Lewis Hamilton for a long time before he had to let him pass. In the final corners he secured third place by overtaking his team-mate Charles Leclerc. It is Vettel’s first podium finish of the season and the first podium finish since 27 October 2019, when he finished second in Mexico. After months of disillusionment in the uncompetitive Ferrari and the announced change of team, it is the first ray of hope for Vettel in what feels like an eternity.
Race result: But the actual news from Istanbul was of course a different story: Lewis Hamilton won the chaotic Istanbul race ahead of Sergio Pérez (Racing Point). The Mercedes driver thus celebrates his seventh WRC title prematurely and draws level with Michael Schumacher. Here you can read the race report.
Rote Humility: Although Vettel had every reason to be pleased with his performance, his first path led him to Hamilton’s cars. Still with the balaclava over his head, he knelt over the Mercedes pilot’s cockpit and offered him his hand. “We can watch him make history, that’s what I told him,” Vettel said, “He deserved it all.”
World champion in congratulations: Vettel has been one of the first to congratulate Hamilton on his world titles in recent years. He broke off an interview for this in Mexico in 2018, even though he had just lost the World Cup himself. In 2019, Vettel congratulated his long-standing rival in the waiting room before the awards ceremony, having previously dropped out. Vettel can be accused of a lack of sporting consistency. But not that he is not a great sportsman.
Tyre chaos: The whole race weekend was dominated by tyre problems. The drivers struggled with the new track surface, which had been moved to the calendar at short notice for the Istanbul race, which had slipped into the calendar due to the corona crisis. The cold and wet conditions did the rest, as did the tyre manufacturer: Pirelli had not expected the tarmac to be renewed in Istanbul, bringing only the hard tyre compound with him. This resulted in countless spins, also in the race – and before that: Even before the formation lap, Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) and George Russell (Williams) had already bumped the noses of their cars at the track boundary.
The (supposed) rival for the title: In order for Hamilton not to become champion in Istanbul yet, his team mate Valtteri Bottas would have had to make up at least eight points. The Finn, however, did not get along with the conditions at all. Having started in ninth place, he spun on the wet track one spin after the other. In the meantime, to Hamilton’s displeasure, he even stopped Hamilton at the team-internal lap. Bottas’ 14th place in Istanbul is his worst result in a finished race since the USA Grand Prix four years ago. The collapse: Racing Point was the best place to cope with the conditions throughout the weekend. The controversial owner’s son Lance Stroll even made it to pole position and drove in front for a long time. If Racing Point was ridiculed as a pink Mercedes after plagiarism accusations, one could almost have asked if Mercedes was not the black Racing Point. However: After a tyre change and driving errors Stroll fell further and further behind after lap 37, in the end he only finished ninth.
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