Lewis Hamilton has an opportunity to become a seven-time world champion this weekend, but he will equal Formula 1’s most important record in style by taking the chequered flag at the Turkish Grand Prix?
Hamilton endured a nightmarish start to the season as he finished down in fourth place at the Austrian Grand Prix, but since that day he has been borderline flawless to open up a commanding lead at the top of the Drivers’ Championship standings. The six-time champion has won nine of the last 12 races to smash the record for most career race wins (93), and as a result he is now 85 points clear at the top of the with a maximum of 104 points still to play for.
That means Hamilton will be crowned world champion for a seventh time if he wins the Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday, while he will also leave Istanbul with the crown if team-mate Valtteri Bottas outpoints him by seven points or less. If Bottas takes the chequered flag and also claims the bonus point for However, if Bottas wins but fails to set the fastest lap in the race, then Hamilton will be confirmed as the champion as long as he finishes second.
There are load more potential scenarios based around Bottas’ finishing position, but you get the picture by now and one look at Hamilton’s track record suggests it is incredibly likely that he walks away with the crown. The British star has won nine of the 13 races so far, finishing in the top two 10 times, he has set the fastest lap on seven occasions and in each of the last two races, and he has once again been a dominant force on Saturdays, claiming pole position no less than nine times, with only Bottas able to upstage him. It feels like only a technical problem could delay his coronation this weekend.
But how will Hamilton secure his seventh world title? The Turkish Grand Prix has not appeared on the F1 calendar since 2011 and despite winning this race a year prior to its scrapping, Hamilton has not fared brilliantly at this circuit with just two podium finishes coming in five outings at Istanbul Park. None of that bodes well for him here, but the simple fact is that Hamilton is the best driver in the sport right now and he is driving the best car. Going against him seems foolish given everything he has accomplished over the past few seasons so I am backing Hamilton to cross the finish line first and celebrate another championship success in style.
However, he is going to have to overtake Bottas for that to happen because I am backing the Finn to set the standard on Saturday. Bottas has taken pole position in two of the last three races and is the only man who has managed to outperform his team-mate when forming the grid for a Sunday. So when you add that to the fact that Hamilton may be a little more cautious than usual, knowing that he just needs to make sure he starts from a decent position, there is plenty of temptation to back Bottas to shine on Saturday and come up short on Sunday.