Many of us will remember the Turkish Grand Prix for its lack of grip; daring overtakes; last corner podium for Sebastian Vettel and a 7th Drivers’ F1 Championship for Lewis Hamilton. Having already been voted by motorsport fans as their favourite Grand Prix of 2020, Lewis Hamilton has now revealed that he believes the Turkish Grand Prix was his standout Grand Prix of the 2020 season.
Speaking in an exclusive video to the official website of the record breaking Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, Lewis Hamilton shared his thoughts on his most difficult season in F1 both on and off the track and reflected on his stand-out performance.
"Turkey, naturally is the closest one to memory, because it was not that long ago," Hamilton said.
"I think that was [the best] for me, in the circumstances we were faced with as drivers, and with it being so pressured, the championship could be won in that moment.
"I would say that for me was my stand-out performance."
The official website of Formula One had previously asked fans to vote for their favourite Grand Prix of the condensed 2020 F1 season. With 33% of the vote, the Turkish Grand Prix came out on top with Pierre Gasly’s victorious Italian Grand Prix in second place with 25% of the vote.
It is easy to see why the Turkish Grand Prix stood out for so many, as summarised by f1.com:
“A maiden pole position for Lance Stroll. Treacherous track conditions that saw a number of crashes before the race had even started. Sebastian Vettel back on a podium for the first time in over a year, along with Sergio Perez. And all capped off by a Lewis Hamilton masterclass.”
The Turkish Grand Prix was indeed a Lewis Hamilton masterclass.
Due to the low grip conditions as a result of the Istanbul Park having been recently resurfaced coupled with rain-hit qualifying, Lewis Hamilton could only qualify an uncharacteristic sixth on the grid. However, as everyone knows, there are no points given out on qualifying Saturday – just ask pole-sitter Lance Stroll.
The 7-time F1 Drivers’ Champion comes alive on race day and so it was to be in Turkey when a courageous one-stop strategy gave Lewis Hamilton the platform to go about his business and eventually cross the line victoriously with a lead of over 30 seconds.
The Turkish Grand Prix brought a seventh F1 Drivers’ Championship to Lewis Hamilton which put him level with the seven championships achieved by Michael Schumacher. However, the mentality of the Briton remains unchanged when approaching a race season, even one as unprecedented as the COVID-19 hit 2020 season:
"I always take it one race at a time, it doesn't change the approach at all," Lewis Hamilton said.
"It's just the season started much later, which meant that the normal build up, the normal race prep that I would have in building up to the first grand prix and arriving ready to peak shortly after - and then there was no races for a period of time.
"It was just trying to discover the best way to train and prepare yourself for the opportunity if it comes along that the season is going to start.
"It was weird to start mid-year, and all be in Europe and have back the triple-headers. But I think we showed strength and real depth this year as a team."
Lewis Hamilton is quick to remind the world praising him that it is a team achievement.
Despite having ‘Still I rise’ tattooed in large font across his shoulder blades, when speaking to the media or on team radio, Hamilton will always state ‘Still we rise’. Therefore, as an unforgettable year draws to a close, this sentiment is echoed by the Briton once again and shows what commitment is needed to reach the very top:
“It’s incredible that we have gone leaps and bounds and continued to raise the bar. I am truly grateful to everyone who put so much work in to create an opportunity for me to go out and play my role in helping the team succeed”