George Russell believes the treacherous conditions for the Turkish Grand Prix did not actually act as a leveller, saying: “The rich got richer, the poor got poorer.”
Istanbul Park hosted the most open race of the F1 season, with at least six drivers holding a realistic chance of winning on a drying track that had been newly-resurfaced and was likened to an ice rink.
But ultimately, as he made a set of intermediate tyres last 50 laps, Lewis Hamilton came home more than 30 seconds ahead of the field to record his 10th win in 14 races this year and clinch a record-equalling seventh World Championship title.
Williams driver Russell, who finished 16th, believes it was no coincidence that in the end, the season’s dominant car and racer were well on top even though Red Bull, Racing Point and even Ferrari would have fancied their chances during the course of the grand prix.
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“I think this is what’s difficult for somebody who isn’t an F1 driver to understand,” said Russell during the F1 Nation podcast. “When we go slower there is less grip, and that was the case this weekend.
“And that’s why the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. The fast cars, with the most downforce and the most mechanical amount of grip, could go quicker through the corners to start with, which then gave them more tyre temperature and even more grip.
“Then the slower cars come out of the pits a bit slower, you lose the grip and you’re on a downward spiral and they’re on an upward spiral and that’s why you saw so much lap time [difference] between us.
“It’s not that none of us were on the limit – we were all on the limit – but just to the limit we had, and unfortunately that was very different from some guys to others.”
Russell had said the race in Turkey made the drivers “look like idiots” and he reasserted his belief that the conditions were not conducive to reflecting the sport in the best possible way.
“It was the worst conditions I’ve ever driven in,” he said. “Not because of the wetness but purely because of the lack of grip. We want to push these Formula 1 cars to the limit and this whole weekend we just couldn’t do that.
“We’re normally working in tenths of seconds, not seconds themselves. You’ve only got to look at the split between cars – it was so tyre-dominated and I’ve never experienced a race weekend when it was this tyre-sensitive.
“That was a real shame because it was such a great track and we couldn’t really enjoy it.”