Lewis Hamilton wins Turkish Grand Prix to clinch seventh Formula One title

15 November 2020, 12:01 | Updated: 15 November 2020, 14:52

Lewis Hamilton has won the Turkish Grand Prix to clinch his seventh Formula One title
Lewis Hamilton has won the Turkish Grand Prix to clinch his seventh Formula One title. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Lewis Hamilton has won the Turkish Grand Prix to clinch his seventh Formula One title and equal Michael Schumacher's record.

The British motoring legend has been crowned world champion for a record-equalling seventh time after he won a dramatic Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday.

Hamilton delivered one of his best displays of the season to take the podium for the 10th time this year and replicate German racing star Schumacher's all-time haul with three rounds to spare.

The Brit was running in fifth for much of the race but used all of his experience to ensure his intermediate tyres lasted for 50 of the 58 laps.

He eventually took the chequered flag a staggering 31.6 seconds clear of Sergio Perez, with Sebastian Vettel third and Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc fourth.

Boris Johnson later offered his congratulations to the driver, writing on Twitter: "An impressive victory - well done @LewisHamilton! You have made us all so proud."

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Valtteri Bottas, the only man who could have prevented Hamilton from wrapping up the title here, endured a miserable afternoon, spinning twice and finishing 14th. Indeed, Hamilton put a lap on his crestfallen team-mate with a dozen laps to go.

Hamilton's remarkable performance was befitting of a driver who can now claim to be the most decorated the sport has ever seen.

Schumacher won his seventh title at the Belgian Grand Prix in 2004. It was a record many thought would stand the test of time.

But 5,922 days later, Hamilton, the man who grew up on a Stevenage council estate, has now matched the great German with his sixth championship in seven stunning years. Hamilton also has more wins (94), more poles (97) and more podiums (163) than any driver who has gone before.

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Lewis Hamilton finished more than 31 seconds faster than any of his opponents
Lewis Hamilton finished more than 31 seconds faster than any of his opponents. Picture: PA

After defying the odds to take pole position here, Racing Point's Lance Stroll led from team-mate Sergio Perez for much of the race.

But the Canadian's afternoon began to unravel in the final third. Stroll's intermediate tyres were shot and after defying the pit wall's decision to stop for new rubber he eventually surrendered his lead on lap 37. He would finish ninth.

On the same lap as Stroll's stop, Hamilton - now promoted to third after Sebastian Vettel took on new tyres and Alexander Albon spun in his Red Bull - was suddenly in contention to win.

As he approached the 12th bend, Hamilton swooped round the outside of Perez to take the lead.

The British racing driver was visually emotional after clinching the chequered flag on Sunday
The British racing driver was visually emotional after clinching the chequered flag on Sunday. Picture: PA

From there, the 35-year-old was in a class of one. On older tyres, he lapped the 3.3 miles of recently relayed asphalt at the Istanbul Park circuit consistently faster than anybody else.

It was a mesmerising performance that drew parallels with one of his finest afternoons behind the wheel of a Formula One machine, at Silverstone in 2008, when he romped to victory in similarly testing conditions.

He would go on to win his maiden title that year in Brazil. In a dozen years, it is a feat he has managed to achieve on six additional occasions and must now be considered among the greatest British sportspersons of all time.

Max Verstappen is the obvious heir to Hamilton's throne, but where the Englishman rarely put a foot wrong on Sunday, the Red Bull man blew his chance of winning when he spun while battling Perez for second. He also had to stop for new tyres three times before crossing the line in sixth.