Britain’s Lewis Hamilton sealed his seventh Formula 1 World Championship with a masterful display in the treacherous conditions of the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix. Hamilton has now matched Michael Schumacher with a record-equaling seven F1 titles.
Hamilton’s win took his tally to 94 race victories in 14 seasons, a feat that has never been achieved before by any driver. The man is in a class of his own, as he proved with one of his best-ever drives at the Istanbul circuit.
The track was resurfaced just days before the grand prix and, during a wet practice and qualifying, cars were sailing off the track in every direction. Hamilton could only qualify in sixth place, unable to get his Mercedes-AMG’s tires in their optimum operating window.
Come race day, a start in a rainstorm saw Hamilton make up places on lap one, but he couldn’t match the pace of pole-sitter Lance Stroll in the Racing Point. Soon Hamilton was 30 seconds behind the leader and his chances of victory looked very slim indeed. The rain faded and drivers switched their full-wet tires to intermediates and, as a dry line began to appear, Hamilton made up lost ground. Others, including team mate Valtteri Bottas, continued to spin off the circuit, burn through their tires, and make more pitstops.
Only Hamilton and Sergio Perez were able to make their tires last to the end, and by the checkered flag Hamilton was some 30 seconds clear of second place. Hamilton defined his own strategy, refusing a last-minute pit stop call for fear of crashing in the slippery pit lane. During his rookie year with McLaren in 2007, that’s exactly what happened in the Chinese Grand Prix, and it cost Hamilton the world title.
Now, the mature, considered Hamilton seems to be unstoppable on track, and he’s also found his voice off the circuit, pushing for equality in motorsports and championing the environment.
“I feel like I’m only just getting started,” he told a post-race press conference.
Is Hamilton the greatest Formula 1 driver of all time? Having won one in three races through an incredible career, he certainly makes a strong case—but we’re sure you’ve got your own views, so let us know in the comments.