Lewis Hamilton’s brilliant triumph in the Turkish Grand Prix “probably wasn’t” one of his finest, according to Formula 1 pundit Jolyon Palmer.
The first F1 race at Istanbul Park since 2011 is one that few competitors and fans will forget in a hurry, due to the treacherous conditions caused by a damp, newly-resurfaced track and a win by Hamilton that clinched a record-equalling seventh World Championship.
Considering that victory for the Briton – especially by the eventual margin of 31 seconds over Sergio Perez – in his Mercedes looked improbable in the first half of the race, there appears every reason to think it should go down as one of the best in Hamilton’s remarkable 14-year career so far.
But ex-Renault driver Palmer nevertheless thinks a race in which the 35-year-old made a set of intermediate tyres last for 50 laps is overshadowed by some of the other stellar performances Hamilton has produced.
“Was this race win one of Hamilton’s absolute finest? I’d stick my neck out and say it probably wasn’t,” Palmer told the BBC.
“There was no single moment of brilliance. It was a finely chiselled performance where he made fewer mistakes than anyone else, was quick when he needed to be and read the race perfectly.
“Actually, the only pass he made was on Perez for the race lead and with the DRS overtaking aid, it was one of the easiest of the grand prix.
“But when ranking Hamilton’s finest race wins, the bar is set so high. When we are talking about a driver who has won 94 grands prix – more than anyone else in history – there are going to be some crackers in there.”
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Palmer went on to describe four he would put above Turkey – namely Silverstone 2008, Bahrain 2014, China 2011 and Austin 2012.
He added that the Istanbul success “reminded me more of races such as Singapore 2017 or Hockenheim 2018”.
“These are drives that Hamilton should never have been in contention to win,” said Palmer. “I feel that were anybody else in his shoes, they wouldn’t even be in the picture, yet Hamilton finds a way and makes it look easy by the end.
“He always seems to and that’s the hallmark of a fantastic champion.
“He is to Formula 1 what Roger Federer has been to tennis in years gone by. Someone who can sometimes look down and out, but who then sees a glimmer of light – even from two sets down – and from there performs a stunning comeback, after which you wonder why you ever doubted it would happen.”