Hamilton would have finished P8 at the Turkish Grand Prix


Lewis Hamilton had a Turkish GP to forget this season. He was the fastest driver all weekend, but when it came to race day, a miscommunication with his team ensured he finished below an ideal result.

Hamilton crossed the line in fifth place, and surrendered the championship lead to title rival Max Verstappen. The Mercedes driver was left to rue his mistake, and it was a case of what might have been had he nailed that pit stop decision.

However, had he not come in and stuck to his decision, he could very well have finished P8.

FP1: Lewis Hamilton quickest in Turkey, but faces a 10-place grid penalty
Source: planetf1.com

The pit stop that took Lewis’ top spot in F1 Turkish Grand Prix

The race was a damp one, and as such, tyre management and strategy were of paramount importance. Slicks were out of the question until the track dried up, and it wasn’t the time for full wets. Therefore, intermediates were the tyres of choice.

Most drivers were looking to run a one-stop race, including Hamilton himself. As such, the team called him in to pit after he charged up from 11th place to within touching distance of a podium.

With all his rivals pitting, Mercedes and race engineer Peter ‘Bono’ Bonnington asked him to come into the pits to change tyres.

In a bizarre series of events, Hamilton refused to come in, and said that he could manage the tyres until the end of the race. He was in P3 at the time, and was poised to overtake Charles Leclerc ahead of him in the Ferrari.

When Bono told him to pit, Hamilton responded saying, “Why? It feels like we should stay out. I am going to stay out.”

Pretty soon, it became apparent that his gamble had failed, with Hamilton dropping off in pace compared to the drivers on warmer tyres. By then, there were only a few laps to go, but the team ordered him to come in.

Having rejoined in fifth place, the Mercedes driver couldn’t get past Leclerc. An irate Hamilton then took to the team radio and raged at Mercedes for calling him in too late.

“We shouldn’t have come in,” he groaned. “Massive graining man. I told you.”

Turkish GP: Lewis Hamilton ahead of Charles Leclerc in Practice Two as Max  Verstappen struggles | F1 News
Source: skysports.com

But that wasn’t the end of Hamilton’s anger, as he was informed by Bono that his slow pace meant Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris were suddenly right behind him. An angry Hamilton barked at Bono, “Leave it alone man!”

Hamilton ended up finishing P5 at the end of it, as mentioned earlier. It could have been so much more. Instead, he will be beside himself with the result at hand.

Perhaps that is unfair, given how he could have finished as low as P8 had he stayed out the entire race.

What place could Lewis reach if it wasn’t for the pit stop mistake?

The worst part about the pit stop blunder was that it cost him a potential P4 or even a podium. Had Hamilton complied with his team’s initial call to come in, he would have had fresher tyres for longer.

This would have allowed him to chase after Leclerc’s Ferrari, which was slower than the Mercedes despite carrying a new engine. A podium was also a possibility, given Hamilton had caught up to and almost passed Sergio Perez and his Red Bull.

Had he come in earlier, he would have also minimised the damage taking a new engine dealt to his WDC standings. A charge from 11th to 3rd/4th would have been hugely impressive, and on the same level of Verstappen’s damage control at the Russian GP.

There, Verstappen started at the back of the grid after his penalty and reached P7. However, Lady Luck smiled on him and threw some rain his way. As those in front of him faltered and Hamilton took a dominant win, Verstappen snuck his way into second place and pull off one of the greatest damage limitations in F1 history.

Given what happened at Sochi and what happened with him at Istanbul, Hamilton is at a minor disadvantage. However, the last thing you want to be doing is counting him out. His superior pace will be an advantage Red Bull will try their best to contain, and their best efforts may not be enough.

Formula 1's Turkish GP - Bottas wins and full championship standings | Marca
Source: marca.com

What Lewis thinks about the Turkish Grand Prix

The 2021 Turkish GP may not have been Hamilton’s finest hour, but as an event, he will not be carrying any bad feelings for it. He has always been exceptional in Turkey, and on another day, he might have been on the podium in 2021.

Moreover, the last time the Turkish GP was held, it was a wild and absolutely chaotic race. Hamilton started from a poor position, and at one point in the race was an entire pit stop down on the driver in front. What followed from Lewis was pure GOAT material, and Crofty summed it up best.

“The world championship record is equalled. Lewis Hamilton wins the Turkish GP, and is a seven-time CHAMPION OF THE WORLD!”

His recovery drive that day at Istanbul Park in tricky wet conditions has been hailed as one of the all-time greatest comebacks in F1. It cemented his place as the greatest if it hadn’t been done already, and gave him his most recent title.

Therefore, it is probably safe to say that even though 2021’s edition did not go well for him, he will not harbour any resentment or dislike towards the race as a whole.

F1 Turkish GP: Hamilton claims seventh world title with wet win over Perez
Source: autosport.com

Lewis preparing for the US Grand Prix

Hamilton will now set his sights on the US GP. This race will be crucial in his bid to become an eight-time champion, and he will need to win to bounce back and retake the championship lead.

With Verstappen and Red Bull breathing down his neck, he will be keen to beat them and make a statement.

Read more: Lewis Hamilton’s bigger rear wing on the car upgrade

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