If prior to Sunday you weren’t willing to say Lewis Hamilton is the greatest Formula 1 driver of the modern era, it’s likely nothing would change your mind. But what he did on Sunday in Turkey has to come close.
In a career full of remarkable drives, this one has to rank amongst the very best. 31 seconds ahead of the field despite not leading until lap 37, having taken a set of used intermediates and over the course of 50 laps essentially turned them into slicks… oh, and the other guy in his machinery couldn’t even keep it on the road and finished 14th.
As Sebastian Vettel said afterwards: “it wasn’t his race to win and he still won it”. Sure, we can argue about how much Hamilton owes to Mercedes for his seven titles until the cows come home (although knowing F1 fans, the cows will be safely tucked into bed before they stop), but his individual brilliance is undeniable. He wins when he’s supposed to, but also not when he’s supposed to, and does it in equally dominant fashion – what more could you ask for in a driver?
And the scary thing is – as he said himself on Sunday – he’s not done yet. He might be turning 36 in January, but he’s clearly driving as good as ever, and it really does seem like he has no intention of stopping any time soon. If this is the sort of performance he keeps in his locker, how many more titles could he have when it’s all said and done? Eight seems like the bare minimum.
Fantastic to see Sebastian Vettel back on the podium after what has been a season to forget. Does it completely negate the double-digit string of dismal races before it? No, but his performance this weekend (including outqualifying Charles Leclerc) suggest there’s still some fight left in him.
As easy as it would be for me to do so, I’m not gonna dump on Lance Stroll for what was ultimately a massive disappointment. He did very well to establish and then hold his lead through the first half of the race, and I’m sure what happened after his second pit stop is something he can learn from.
On the flip side, if Sergio Perez doesn’t sign with a F1 team for next year, it is borderline criminal. He might be the fifth-best driver on the grid right now.
Driver of the Day: Lewis Hamilton
Like it could be anyone else. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we are lucky to be watching him.
Worst of the Day: Max Verstappen
While the obvious candidate here is Valtteri Bottas, I feel like Max’s two spins behind Perez and Albon were more egregious. Had he kept it together, he would’ve been a shoo-in for the podium, if not a contender for the race win himself.
Quote of the Day:
“I think it’s quite bad… I think we scored probably the most points this year for us and Mattia wasn’t here! Yeah, if the next race we don’t score as many points we try again to leave him at home!” – Sebastian Vettel, who might’ve found the solution to his problems…