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Stroll, Hamilton, Ferrari… The Turkish GP in questions

Was Lance Stroll trapped by his team’s strategy? Did Ferrari miss a great opportunity? Is Lewis Hamilton’s victory unexpected? Back to questions about the Turkish Grand Prix.

Did Lance Stroll pay dearly for a mistake by his team?

A WELCOME STRATEGIC DIVERGENCE. Author of a masterful pole position this Saturday, Lance Stroll had all the ingredients in hand to hope for his first victory in Formula 1. But an unwelcome decision on the part of his team reduced his hopes to nothing. After a perfect start despite difficult conditions, the Canadian kept the lead after the necessary first wave of tire changes around the 10th lap, when the intermediate tires proved to be the most suitable for the race conditions.

But, in the 35th lap, Racing Point decided not to put its eggs in the same basket by leaving Sergio Pérez on the track while bringing in Lance Stroll for a new set of intermediate compounds. However, struggling to keep the temperature in his envelopes, the Canadian suffered a phenomenon of “graining” (or linting) of his gums which lost all their effectiveness and, irremediably, he fell back in the hierarchy to finish at a very disappointing ninth position. When we see that Sergio Pérez finished eighth on tires that survived 48 laps, Racing Point made a mistake which undoubtedly cost a very good result, not necessarily victory, to its driver.

Lewis Hamilton’s victory is it miraculous?

IT IS RATHER UNEXPECTED. On the new and very slippery asphalt of Istanbul Park, the Mercedes never seemed in tune in free practice before a very difficult qualifying session, Lewis Hamilton finishing five seconds behind Lance Stroll while Valtteri Bottas had conceded nearly six seconds to the Canadian. Starting only sixth, the Briton took the same posture as at the start of the race in Portimão, he was patient and did everything to stay in the race without necessarily attacking. After switching to intermediate tires and as Valtteri Bottas plunged through the hierarchy due to a damaged car, the Briton maintained his course of action, taking advantage of the second wave of stops to pass Sebastian Vettel, Alexander Albon and Lance Stroll.

Slowly returning to Sergio Pérez, he left no chance for the Mexican thanks to the DRS that the race management ended up authorizing, probably wrongly given the circumstances of the race, on the 37th lap. Always concerned about his mechanics, often complaining about the brakes at the start of the race and then questioning the advisability of doing a stint of 50 laps on the same intermediate tires, the Briton led his boat perfectly to transform a sad Saturday into a happy Sunday, perhaps more than ever, with this victory which was clearly unexpected at the end of qualifying, the Mercedes team having asked its subscribers, four hours before the race, who would win in a day which, according to them, was not their.

Has the race for third place in the constructors’ standings settled?

RENAULT IS NOW OUT OF THE CASE, EXCEPT MIRACLE. Before this Turkish Grand Prix, Renault, Racing Point and McLaren were only separated by one point. But with this crazy Turkish Grand Prix, the situation has changed even if Racing Point may have missed the hold-up of the year. Indeed, during the first 35 laps, the “pink Mercedes” believed in a double and even in the first victory in their history, which would have dealt a fatal blow to its rivals. But, with Lance Stroll’s tactical failure and McLaren’s convincing overall result, that has changed.

Indeed, Carlos Sainz Jr finishing fifth with Lando Norris eighth and crowned with the fastest lap in the race, the Woking team are only five points behind Racing Point with three races from the end of the season when the disbursement could have been be much more important. But if there is one team that has won in this fight for accessits behind Mercedes and Red Bull Racing, it is Renault. Weighted down by the Hamilton-Ricciardo-Ocon collision of the first corner, which sent the French into the abyss of the standings, and with the Australian who could only save a meager point with 10th place, the diamond mark It is now 18 points behind Racing Point and it would be almost a miracle to see the team based in Enstone and Viry-Châtillon snatch the podium at the end of the season.

Was it possible to switch to slick tires at the end of the race?

NO. At the end of the race, Sebastian Vettel confided that he had considered opting for slick tires for the end of the race, finally ending the event on a second set of intermediate tires fitted on the 32nd lap. However, until the end of this Turkish Grand Prix, the Istanbul Park track never offered a fully dry trajectory, with in particular the first corner which had not even started to dry at the checkered flag and even turn 2, which was such a problem for Valtteri Bottas, which would have been a challenge for any driver behind the wheel of these cars.

Sign that it was not such a good idea, nobody in the second half of the classification did not attempt this poker move to try to snatch a point or to get the fastest lap in the race. It should also be added that the weather forecast for a long time predicted a downpour for the very last laps of the race, some radio communications even speaking of “heavy rain” … which never came, which could have cooled any enthusiasm. to be adventurous in this crazy race.

Vettel third, Leclerc fourth, did Ferrari miss his chance?

THE QUALIFICATIONS WERE FATAL. Very comfortable during free practice with Charles Leclerc who never left the Top 3 before qualifying, the rain which sprayed Istanbul Park at this crucial moment caused the Scuderia to fail. In difficulty with the rain tires, the two drivers of the Maranello team remained docked in Q2 and had to start in the pack. But, if Charles Leclerc missed his start, falling back to 14th place, Sebastian Vettel was able to sneak as rarely to seize third place very quickly before sailing to fourth position for a long time while his teammate, who aligned better lap in the race on best lap in the race, patiently fell behind then took advantage of the second wave of stops to settle in third position in front of his teammate.

A last chaotic turn allowed the German to sign his first podium since the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix and put some color in a dull season as the Monegasque failed to secure his third podium of the season. A comeback by the two Ferrari drivers, who started from 11th and 12th position on the starting grid respectively, which must give Scuderia some regrets regarding this qualifying session. Because a gain of one or two lines could have changed the situation and put the two pilots in a better position for the end of the race. However, this unexpected overall result in a season to be forgotten for the Italian team is welcome, even if the racing circumstances cloud the exact reading of this Turkish Grand Prix.