- Round 14 of the 2020 Formula 1 season takes place in Istanbul, for the Turkish Grand Prix this weekend
- Lewis Hamilton can seal record-equalling seventh F1 title with win in Tuzla
- Briton can also secure championship if Valtteri Bottas does not outscore Hamilton by more than seven points
ISTANBUL, TURKEY – As Formula 1 makes its final European stop on the calendar, Lewis Hamilton can seal a seventh F1 title at the Turkish Grand Prix this weekend.
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Hamilton eyes history
As Formula 1 rolls into Istanbul this weekend, Lewis Hamilton once more stands on the brink of history, at the Turkish Grand Prix.
Picking up his third successive race win in a row and a ninth in 2020 a fortnight ago at Imola, the 35-year-old Stevenage driver can draw level with Michael Schumacher‘s tally of seven F1 titles, with victory on the Black Sea on Sunday.
Holding a mammoth 85-point lead over Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton will also secure his fourth-straight crown, with three races to spare, should Bottas not outscore the Briton by more than seven points.
With Bottas now win-less since Sochi a month ago, that is a more than plausible outcome.
‘Incredibly proud’ to match Schumacher
Ahead of a first trip to Turkey in nine years, all eyes are on the six-time champion.
However, with Hamilton poised to write the latest chapter in F1 history on former Byzantine empire this weekend, the Briton is more focussed on merely staying professional.
Hamilton won in Istanbul a decade ago back in 2010, but as he told BBC Sport, whilst matching an icon would be an amazing feat, ‘trying to do a good job’ will be his immediate thought come Sunday.
“Matching an icon like Michael; I’d be incredibly proud of that.
“But it’s more the message it sends to not just kids, but mostly kids, that you have to dream bigger than you think you can dream and don’t let anyone tell you you can’t go for that.”
“[I want to] just focus[ed] on trying to do a good job, just taking it one race at a time, trying to do the best we can as a team, not thinking about anything else.”
Fallout begins over 2021 season
With just three weeks until the season finale arrives in Abu Dhabi, thoughts have already turned to the 2021 season. Indeed, after the campaign was initially mapped out to controversy, the fallout has begun.
After Hanoi was set to host the first Vietnamese GP this year, Covid-19 forced plans to be shelved.
Now, the Street Circuit has been dropped completely from next year’s calendar, due to the arrest of a key official who paved the way for the race to be held.
In its stead, the inaugural Saudi Arabian GP will take place in Jeddah, – the first of a Middle Eastern double-header to close out next season – which has led to a wave of backlash.
The Dutch GP has, however, keeps its place on the schedule for a late summer stop in Zandvoort next September, after it too was forced to cancel a planned first race in the Netherlands since 1985 back in May, due to the pandemic.
Driver futures on line
With just four races remaining of the most unprecedented of seasons left to run, Turkey will be somewhat a crossroads for a number of drivers in the Paddock.
As it stands, six seats remain in the 10 teams that will line up next season, with Sergio Perez and Alex Albon‘s immediate futures in particular, up in the air.
Whilst Racing Point’s resident Mexican could yet be left in the cold, Albon appears most at risk from not having a drive in 2021, as Haas Racing look to seal a double swoop also, opting not to continue with Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.
Nico Hulkenberg appears as the fifth player in an increasingly muddled picture, whilst Mick Schumacher looks poised to step in his father’s footsteps come March next year.
That leaves Istanbul as perhaps the last chance to push any potential argument in their respective favour.
Come Sunday evening when the sun drops on Mamara bay, one or two may be sitting rather nervously, still without a contract for next term.
The 2020 Turkish Grand Prix takes place at the Intercity Istanbul Park in Tuzla, Istanbul, this weekend.
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