Source: reddit

Wet weather fortunately didn’t cancel the Turkish Grand Prix but that didn’t mean it was going to make it easy for the drivers. The constant drizzle kept the track wet for the most part, leading to teams sticking to intermediate tyres and wondering what the best pit strategy should be with some faring better than others.

When everyone saw that Bottas would be taking pole at the Turkish Grand Prix, I think many were sceptical he could keep Max Verstappen in P2 at bay. Bottas has been having an off year and an unlucky year at times, but in Istanbul, he managed one the best drives of his career. He didn’t put a foot wrong and that ultimately showed on the podium. There really isn’t much to say or takeaway from Bottas on Sunday because it was just an effortless drive – skill and consistency was all he needed.

Bottas’ teammate, Lewis Hamilton, did not have the same effortless drive. Starting from P11 meant that he would have to claw his way to the podium, tooth and nail. It wasn’t easy from the start as Yuki Tsunoda gave Hamilton a hard time trying to overtake. It was a commendable effort from the Japanese driver to keep the World Champion behind him but eventually Hamilton got through. Yuki showed a lot of potential at the Turkish Grand Prix which is good news for AlphaTauri.

It was rather smooth sailing for Hamilton until he reached Sergio Perez in P4 and we got a fantastic battle. The defensive skills of Perez were put to the test by Hamilton and we got a great show. Check it out below.

The only reason Hamilton got past Perez eventually was because the Red Bull driver went into the pits, while Hamilton was saying he could go the whole race on just one set of tyres. Arguments over the pit strategy were heard in the last third of the race with Hamilton eventually conceding to his team. Though, it still didn’t go down well. Hamilton lost two positions, putting him in P5 and staying there. Hamilton said afterwards that, “I should have either stayed out or come in much earlier.”

Could he have gone longer though? Charles Leclerc found himself in a similar situation and found the performance of the car by the last 15 laps to be severely lacking in the Ferrari. Bottas was closing in on Leclerc when he decided to pit for new intermediate tyres.

This is where it gets technical. The performance of the intermediate tyres was okay while they were new but after five laps they began to grain and lose their performance. Once the drivers got through that rough patch, the tyres were good to go. This is what caused problems for Lewis Hamilton.

Leclerc had pitted before Hamilton as the Ferrari team realised earlier that going to the end of the race on one set of tyres wasn’t going to work. It cost Leclerc P1, but it couldn’t have been worse. Hamilton was now stuck behind Leclerc whose tyres were coming out of the rough patch which Hamilton’s were about to enter. It meant the Ferrari could pull ahead and leave Lewis Hamilton in P5 with Pierre Gasly approaching the champion fast. Luckily for Hamilton, his tyres emerged from the rough patch before Gasly could make a proper attempt at an overtake.

So if Hamilton had continued it actually may have cost him more positions than the pit stop. It just didn’t seem viable, but Hamilton has been insistent that he should have stayed out. I’m not an eight-time world champion so what do I know? Maybe with the Mercedes’ great downforce it could have been feasible to stay ahead of Leclerc, but the Ferrari’s had pace this weekend and the Mercedes would likely have struggled to hold the position against them.

While it wasn’t the smoothest of sailing for Leclerc, can we just take a moment to appreciate his teammate, Carlos Sainz, and his phenomenal drive? From the back of the grid all the way to P8 with some bloody ballsy overtakes thrown in for good measure. An underappreciated driver that I’m glad is finally getting the recognition he deserves.

In other F1 news, Lewis Hamilton just launched an amazing partnership to hire 150 black STEM teachers.