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Tricky Turkey! – Turkish Grand Prix Weekend Preview

With the Formula One Paddock still rejoicing Lewis Hamilton’s centenary win, whilst simultaneously mourning the loss of Lando Norris’s first, we move on from Sochi for this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix!

Written by Aiden Hover, Edited by Bruna Brito

Istanbul Park is back once more following its triumphant return last year – which marked the end of a 9-year absence from the Formula One calendar. Opened in 2005, it’s widely accepted that this track is one of Hermann Tilke’s better designs with many of its aspects later finding their way onto other tracks – such as its daunting quadruple-apex turn 8 which was later lovingly recreated at COTA for 2012. Besides the bumpy and exciting turn 8, other highlights include the sweeping, undulating, opening complex which has been likened to Laguna Seca or the tight closing chicane in a similar vein to Spa-Francorchamps. The long-run into turn 12 onto the chicane is likely the best place for overtaking due to its harsh braking zone, although overtaking is possible around much of the track!

Despite its relatively short lifespan in Formula One so far, the Turkish Grand Prix has certainly not failed to disappoint! Some stand out moments includes playing host to Felipe Massa’s maiden Grand Prix Pole and win in 2006 before going on to win at the same venue again in 2007 and 2008 to make it three-in-a-row or the equally impressive battle between Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher again in 2006! The most famous race however must be 2010 in which title rivals and teammates Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel came together sending both off-track and Vettel out of the race – this, in turn, gifted a 1-2 to McLaren who themselves had teammate squabbles with their drivers, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, ignoring team orders to maintain position and save fuel which led to a stunning battle as the laps ticked down to the end!

Last year’s race was a true spectacle of Formula One talent and entertainment. Following a rained out qualifying, in which Lance Stroll scored his first Pole Position with a stunning wet drive, the race too began in wet slippery conditions. The conditions were made harder with the fact that the track had recently been resurfaced and much of the track still had yet to be rubbered in – a problem that plagued the drivers all weekend. What ensued over the next hour and a half was a truly legendary race. With Racing Point leading 1-2 for much of the race and slow starting Lewis Hamilton battling back through the field with Sebastian Vettel, there was entertainment at every corner. Hamilton masterfully kept his Intermediate tyres alive as the track dried out and made his way past Sergio Perez on his way to win the race and with it equal Michael Schumacher’s record of seven Formula One World Drivers Titles! Behind, with Lance Stroll relegated down the order following a tyre blunder, Sergio Perez was tasked with defending his second place from both Ferraris – a battle that would last until the line with Perez leading Vettel to complete the podium as Leclerc agonised over his near-miss mistake. Uncharacteristic mistakes plagued much of the field with the likes of Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas driving races to forget – making the achievement of Lewis Hamilton that much sweeter!

This year’s championship is unlikely to be decided this weekend, however, with Max Verstappen trailing by just two points from Lewis Hamilton. Both drivers came into luck last time out with a well-timed stop from RedBull promoting Verstappen from 7th to 2nd as the rain began to worsen and Mercedes bringing Hamilton in before McLaren’s Lando Norris to secure the win. Both will be hoping for a more straightforward race this weekend, but with rain forecasted once more, anything can happen!

Be sure not to miss any of the action this weekend!

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