After a nine year absence, Formula 1 (F1) returns to Istanbul for Round 14 of the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship, the Turkish Grand Prix.
Britain’s Lewis Hamilton comes into the race in fine form, His victory at Imola, Italy, a fortnight ago gives him an 85-point lead against his nearest rival and Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas at the top of the Drivers’ Championship.
With four races to go this season, and a maximum of 104 points left to score, the odds are heavily stacked in Hamilton’s favour to claim his seventh F1 World Drivers’ crown.
The feat would put the 35-year-old British driver level with Michael Schumacher on the all-time list of Most F1 World Titles.
Hamilton has already had an outstanding season. Last month, he overtook Schumacher’s incredible record of 91 F1 race wins. Many had thought the German driver’s record tally, set 14 years ago, would never be beaten.
Hamilton’s victory at the Portuguese Grand Prix surpassed Schumacher’s total. He added to that tally at Imola, giving him 93 wins to date, securing his status as one of the greatest ever racing drivers.
Winning his seventh world title in Turkey – the first opportunity he can claim the Championship – would cap an already stunning season. However Hamilton’s track record at Istanbul Park isn’t great.
The British driver has featured in five Turkish GPs (2007-11) during his F1 career, winning only once in 2010. His only other podium appearance was in 2008, coming second to Felipe Massa.
Ahead of the F1 Turkish Grand Prix 2020: Valtteri Bottas & Lewis Hamilton training on the track at Istanbul Park, 12 Nov. 2020
The Istanbul track is regarded as one of motor sport’s most challenging circuits, the highlights of which is the tricky Turn 8. On average, cars average around 270km/h through its multiple apexes, with the speed and duration of Turn 8 placing heavy load on tyres.
The rest of the circuit is demanding too, with the long back straight offering great opportunities for overtaking.
Luck, however, may be with Hamilton for the weekend. The Turkish Grand Prix is one of the new races added to the F1 2020 season following a host of cancelled fixtures due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Hamilton has won at Nurburgring, Portimao and Imola – all new additions to the F1 2020 calendar, which suggests the omens are good for him in Istanbul too.
You can catch all the action from this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix on television. For UK viewers, watch on the subscription Sky Sports F1 channel, or on free-to-air Turksat channel S Sport (Turksat 4A,TP11 – Frekans 12188 MHz Polarizasyon: Vertical (Dikey), DVB-S2 8PSK – Symbole Rate: 27500 ksym/s FEC: 5/6).
The race starts at 10.10am (UK time), 13.10 local time on Sunday, 15 November.
Main image, top, of Lewis Hamilton at the Silverstone Grand Prix, 8 July 2018. Photo © Jen_ross83 Wikimedia / CC by 2.0