As with many of the other locations in this reshuffled season’s calendar, the Turkish round was booked as an emergency replacement following the numerous cancellations that followed the coronavirus outbreak.
The Turkish track is 5,833 meters long and it is well known for its long straights and challenging curves, especially the triple-vertex number 8, which requires great downforce and efficiency, as well as a high deal of power.
Before such a demanding layout, Pirelli has picked the most hard range of tires: C1 (hard), C2 (medium) and C3 (soft).The low temperatures expected on Sunday (a maximum of 13º C) at the TurkishGP could make it difficult for the compounds to heat up, hampering their performance. There is also the added challenge of racing at a new track with no information on how the car is likely to behave.
Hamilton, nearing Schumi’s record
Regardless of the circumstances, Lewis Hamilton remains the absolute favourite at the TurkishGP.
With only four Grands Prix to go and 104 points at stake, the Englishman leads Valtteri Bottas by 85 points and he would only need to leave Istanbul with a 76-point advantage in order to get crowned. Bottas hasn’t had a victory since Russia.
Verstappen, to chase the podium
Max Verstappen stands as the only real challenger to the black arrows and is expected to lead the fight for third place once again, although he will be hoping to wedge himself between the two Mercedes.
The Dutch Devil, however, is not the only one with his sights set on the podium. Daniel Ricciardo could, in theory, rob him of the honour. The Italian was third in San Marino, his second consecutive podium with Renault in 2020, and is fourth in the standings (84 points).
The midfield: As equal as ever
The battle for third place in the Constructor’s Championship could not get any more exciting. With the addition of new bidder Renault, there are three teams separated by just one point ahead of the TurkishGP.
The good results produced by the French team have allowed them to accumulate 104 points, one more than McLaren and Racing Point.
The ‘Pink Squad’ possesses the best machine in the midfield. Any more mistakes from the wall, however, as happened in Emilia Romagna, could prevent their leader, the Mexican Checo Pérez, from adding any more points.
If it hadn’t been for the poor strategic decisions of the team and the weakness of his partner, Lance Stroll, whose performance suffered after being ill with coronavirus, the team from Silverstone could well be leading the fight for third place.
Rid of the misfortunes that seemed to be hunting him during the first part of the year, the Spaniard is showing a clear performance improvement.
He is eighth in the standings with 65 points as his fellow, Lando Norris is only four points and one position above the Spaniard after getting no points in three of his last four performances.
Finally, Charles Leclerc’s magic could bring the Ferrari SF1000 back into the top 5 at the TurkishGP. On the other hand, not much is expected of his teammate Sebastian Vettel, who has only managed to score two points over the last seven races.
Images of TurkishGP: Mercedes.