Hamilton ‘learned his lesson’ from China 2007

Jamie Woodhouse


Lewis Hamilton has done it! The seemingly impossible record has been matched as Hamilton becomes a seven-time World Champion.

The Briton certainly didn’t have a simple battlefield to work with in Turkey to capture his seventh title – a newly-relaid Istanbul Park was offering the drivers little grip and Mercedes were one of those struggling the most to get their tyres switched on.

Add heavy rain into the mix on Saturday and it meant that Hamilton was forced to start the Turkish Grand Prix from P6.

The rain fell again before the start of the race, but as drivers literally crawled off the line Hamilton was able to find enough traction to make it up to P3, but Mercedes’ struggles for grip on the full wets soon returned as both Red Bulls along with Sebastian Vettel made their ways past the Briton.

But as the track very slowly dried and moved into intermediate territory Hamilton came into his own, pitting on Lap 9 he would wear his inters down to slicks, bulldozing his way into P1 by passing Racing Point’s Sergio Perez on Lap 37 to take a lead which he never relinquished, winning the race over the Mexican driver by 31.6 seconds.

With a drive reminiscent of his wet-weather masterclass at Silverstone in 2008, Hamilton has now tied Michael Schumacher’s record of seven World Championships.

Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas needed to outscore him by eight points to stay in the fight, but a woeful display from Bottas saw him finish outside the points in P14.

Speaking to Sky F1 after the Turkish Grand Prix, Hamilton said: “I’m definitely a little bit lost for words.

“Naturally I always have to start with saying such a huge thank you to all the guys that are here and all the guys back at both our factories and all our partners enabling us and giving us this opportunity.

“I wouldn’t be able to do this if I didn’t join this team, and the journey we’ve been on has been monumental. I’m so proud of them.

“I also want to say a big big thank you to Team LH for sticking with me for all these years, and to my family. We dreamed of this when I was young, when we were watching the grand prix and this is way way beyond our dreams.

“I think it’s so important for kids out there to hopefully see this and know don’t listen to anyone who tells you can’t achieve something, dream the impossible and speak it into existence.

“You’ve got to work for it, you’ve got to chase it and never give up, never doubt yourself.”

It’s safe to say that Hamilton’s 2020 Turkish Grand Prix was a drive that Schumacher himself would have been proud of.

“Today, we knew coming here was already such a difficult weekend, we weren’t really massively disappointed with our qualifying position, we knew that we were kind of on the back foot and we did the best we could,” he explained.

“But we learnt a lot, this is what we do as a team, there’s no blame game, we hash it out, we continue to try and improve our communication so that we can move forwards.

“We don’t always get everything perfect. I think we had that small moment at the beginning of the race with new tyres, I couldn’t get past Seb [Vettel] for a while, at that point I could see [Alex] Albon pulling away and I was thinking ‘this race is falling through my fingers’.

“But I just kept my head down, believing that I would eventually pick up pace at some stage and that’s what I did.”

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So, at which point did Hamilton realise that he could win the Turkish Grand Prix?

Towards the end he overruled Mercedes who wanted to pit him for new slicks, and Hamilton explained that he wasn’t about to repeat China 2007 where the title slipped away from him when he slid into the gravel as he tried to pit and ditch his worn tyres.

“There was a point when Seb was pulling away from me and I couldn’t figure out at the time what it was, so I was checking my temperatures, I didn’t know whether it was because my tyres were overheating or they were too cold,” he said.

“But it got to a drier patch, I think I went through the rough graining of the tyre and then the grip started to come back, the track was drying in areas and I was improving my driving lines the whole way through the race, so I started to pick up pace.

“Then Seb pitted and I knew that wasn’t the right choice personally so I decided to stay out and as the tyres got more and more slick that’s exactly what you needed, fortunately that intermediate tyre it holds temperature.

“If I went out on new slicks I wouldn’t have made it around. You remember I lost the World Championship in the pit lane? I learned my lesson from 2007 that’s for sure.

“I felt like I really had it under control and the grip was feeling good, I was going to deal with the rain if it dropped.”

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