Lewis Hamilton becomes a seven-time world champion
Lewis Hamilton in seventh heaven as he equals Michael Schumacher’s record of world championship crowns after fighting his way through to take Turkish GP following epic race in the wet
- Lewis Hamilton makes history by becoming a seven-time world champion after winning the Turkish GP
- The Brit equals Michael Schumacher’s record of seven titles after battling from sixth to lead in Istanbul
- The 35-year-old battled the elements while maintaining his tyres to drive a superb race in the rain on Sunday
- Sergio Perez held on to finish second while Sebastian Vettel snatched the final podium place at the death
- Lewis’ seventh crown confirms him as THE GREATEST British sportsman of his era… and there’s no-one close
- Hamilton’s incredible record-breaking numbers in comparison to Schumacher’s as he wins seventh title
Lewis Hamilton is King of the Track for a record-equalling seventh time. Victory on the day, victory over the season, victory for the ages.
The British driver sealed the world championship by winning the Turkish Grand Prix – holding his nerve, nursing his tyres for 50 laps, on the slippery track at Istanbul Park to write a celebrated concluding chapter to the annexation of his sport in 2020.
The win by a monster 31 seconds, the 94th of his career, put him level with Michael Schumacher, who lies stricken at home after his terrible skiing accident seven years ago. When the great German took his own title No 7 in Belgium 16 years ago, in a race he finished second, it seemed probable the record would stand for an eternity.
Lewis Hamilton makes history by becoming a seven-time world champion after winning the Turkish Grand Prix
Hamilton holds aloft the Turkish Grand Prix trophy after coming from sixth to finish ahead of the pack in some style
The confetti falls on Sergio Perez (right), Hamilton (centre) and Vettel (back, in red) to celebrate Hamilton’s win in Turkey
The 35-year-old Brit pulls close to the pit wall to celebrate the chequered flag with his engineers after making history
Hamilton struggles to hold back the tears after equalling Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles
But over the course of the intervening season, Hamilton, by dint of his own skill and unrelenting focus, has turned the impossible target into a staging post. On next to his eighth wonder of the world.
He started the race only sixth on the grid but gradually gnawed his way into the frame as the afternoon wore on.
Hamilton took the lead with patience, sure-footedness and style on lap 37, planting his black car on the rear of Sergio Perez’s Racing Point. The champion steered right and, withstanding the rivulet of water he now occupied, zipped past the pink machine for the lead between Turns 11 and 12, and an imperishable moment in the storied history of British sport.
As so often, the best drivers prove themselves in the wet, and this was a case in point. Time and again, stretching back to the first exhibition of his amphibious qualities in the foothills of Mount Fuji 13 years ago, Hamilton has proved his specialness in the toughest of conditions.
Hamilton breaks down in tears inside his cockpit after winning the Turkish Grand Prix on a rainy Sunday afternoon in Istanbul
Ferrari driver and four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel congratulates Hamilton on championing the sport once again
Hamilton climbs on top of his Mercedes to salute his team and celebrate becoming a world champion for a seventh time
Hamilton is congratulated by Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas (left) after the race as the Finn concedes defeat
Here Hamilton and Mercedes kept their heads while all about them lost theirs. The Racing Points, for long and so fabulously in the lead, audibly fretted over the radio, such was their unfamiliarity with the rarefied air of race leadership. They ran out of steam and of options, and Hamilton was gunning for them, and as we have said, past one of them.
Now for the man who goes under the misnomer of Hamilton’s team-mate, Valtteri Bottas. He should be renamed his victim.
The Finn simply cannot live with the Stevenage-born peddler at close to the zenith of his capabilities.
The chasm in class was exhibited time and again here. If Bottas can count himself unlucky to have spun on the opening lap trying to avoid the two Renaults, he cannot excuse the many slips that followed. He finished 14th.
And to think he started the day as the only contender who could possibly – that is to say mathematically – prevent Hamilton winning the title with three races to spare. But, hey, he ended up lapped by the prey that twice drove out of his sight.
Mercedes team principle Toto Wolff (left) shares a word of congratulations with Hamilton following a fine race from the Brit
Hamilton is jubilant as he shares the moment with Wolff as the pair continue to dominate the sport of Formula One
Hamilton is swarmed by his race engineers after wrapping up yet another world championship for Mercedes
And all this against the backdrop of a dismal two previous days. Hamilton had moaned like mad about the track – how slippery it was in the wet or dry having only been resuraced in the last fortnight.
On Friday, he called it terrifying. What was he talking about? Of course, it was perilous, full of perdition at every turn, but suddenly putty in his gloved hands.
My mind turned back to the first of his great glories on that rain-splattered afternoon in Sao Paulo when rain fell and he passed Timo Glock for the first of his world titles. He was then but a boy, a 23-year-old with the world at his right foot.
There was an element of luck that time. Yesterday, there was no fortune. Nor complication of machinery – ask Bottas to verify that!
Hamilton somehow – and this is beyond explanation of the greatest boffin who ever studied physics, engineering or cosmology – rationed his intermediare tyres better than the rest, beyond compare. Perez finished second, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel third.
Bottas spun on the first corner to hand Hamilton the advantage to run away with the race, before he was lapped later on
IN NUMBERS: HOW LEWIS HAMILTON COMPARES TO MICHAEL SCHUMACHER
Lewis Hamilton has emulated Michael Schumacher by winning his seventh world championship.
Here is how two of the sport’s most successful drivers compare to one another.
Fastest laps: 77
Win ratio: 30 per cent
Fastest laps: 53
Win ratio: 35 per cent
Schumacher won seven championships, two with Benetton in 1994 and 1995 and then an unprecedented five on the spin for Ferrari at the turn of the century.
A controversial driver, he collided with Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve at the 1994 and 1997 championship deciders, before he was adjudged to have deliberately parked his Ferrari at Monaco in 2006 to prevent Fernando Alonso from setting a lap in qualifying.
Little is known of Schumacher’s current medical health following a skiing crash on holiday with his family in the French Alps in 2013.
Hamilton was the youngest world champion when he won his first title in 2008 – a record since broken by Sebastian Vettel – and 12 years later he is firmly among the elite.
His tally of victories, pole positions and podiums is the most ever and he is set to gun for a record-breaking eighth championship next season.
Someone in the press box asked me what lap Racing Point’s Lance Stroll pitted. It reminded me of the old story of the young journalist in the Old Trafford press box who, when George Best despatched a scorcher, asked a colleague what minute he had scored. The older hand told him: ‘Don’t worry about the minute, remember the date.’
The race had started, albeit no longer raining, on a track that in the shy sun gleamed like a silver operating table.
But the surgical precision was the sole preserve of Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton, who outshone the young pretender Max Verstappen of Red Bull, who was impetuous and brilliant in turns. Hamilton was just brilliant – well, as well as prudent.
And it ended here with tears on the radio, an exclamation that told of a lifetime’s endeavour.
We have worn out the superlatives this season until the thesaurus conceded defeat. All hail Hamilton, god of the grid.
Re-live Lewis Hamilton’s historic win by scrolling below to see Sportsmail’s lap-by-lap coverage of the Turkish Grand Prix
A tearful Hamilton can’t hold back his emotions as he makes history once again.
‘That’s for all the kids out there who dream about the impossible,’ he said.
Brilliant stuff, Lewis.
Lewis Hamilton has equalled Michael Schumacher’s total of seven world championships after a stellar drive in Turkey.
A fabulous drive from the Brit to make history once again.
1. Hamilton, 2. Perez, 3. Vettel, 4. Leclerc, 5. Sainz
LAP 57/58: Hamilton is on his penultimate lap and it looks to be the right call to overrule his team to pit.
LAP 56/58: You’ve got to feel for Lance Stroll. He’s getting no grip on those inters and has dropped to ninth from pole. Meanwhile, Hamilton has stayed out for another lap.
LAP 55/58: Rain forecast for the last lap or two but Perez is still in second while Leclerc is making up the podium places. Hamilton is now being brought in to change his tyres as a precaution.
LAP 54/58: FIVE LAPS TO GO! Hamilton is cruising to victory but there is a threat of rain in the final few laps which could pose a real problem for Mercedes.
LAP 51/58: Kimi has just spun off the track which was immediately followed by a Verstappen spin. Hasn’t been the Dutchman’s day. Hamilton looks to be staying out on his tyres – he’s effectively turned his inters into slicks.
LAP 48/58: We’ve got 10 laps to go and Hamilton has a pretty sizable gap but he’s on very old tyres. Ricciardo has spun under pressure from Lando Norris.
LAP 47/58: The threat of rain is still lingering but it looks as if teams are ready to make the gamble with slicks. Bit of a risk with the amount of standing water on the track currently.
LAP 46/58: And there it is. Hamilton has lapped Bottas – the only man that could deny him the title today. He was risking a penalty, too, by not letting Hamilton past. Verstappen has also been on the radio to say that the car is ready for slicks.
LAP 44/58: Hamilton has been on his current set of tyres for 39 laps now. He’s flying and doesn’t look to be coming in any time soon. Although he does have a 18-second gap to Perez so could be possible for a fresh set of wheels.
LAP 43/58: Latifi has become the second driver to retire today. Quite surprising it hasn’t been more considering how much everyone has struggled with the conditions this weekend.
LAP 42/58: Blue flags are waving and they’re being shown to Bottas. Hamilton is about to lap his Mercedes team-mate – what a parallel between the two drivers.
LAP 41/58: Guess who’s had another spin? Bottas. That’s his fourth of the day and it’s happened again at turn one. If he’s not careful, Hamilton will lap his team-mate.
LAP 40/58: Lance Stroll has lost his place to both Ferraris who are running fourth and fifth. Alex Albon is now looking to try his luck on the Canadian. Rain also looks to be back on its way.
LAP 39/58: Hamilton and Perez have only stopped once as it stands but the Brit has created a five-second gap already to the Mexican. Hamilton has really come alive in the last 10 laps.
LAP 37/58: Lewis Hamilton has taken the lead of the Turkish Grand Prix after using DRS to overtake the Racing Point of Sergio Perez. And he did it with ease.
LAP 36/58: Kevin Magnussen has left the pit-lane but immediately stopped and is now being wheeled back in. He’s under investigation for that mis-hap. Lance Stroll has been called in for a fresh set of tyres.
LAP 35/58: That spin from Albon has allowed Hamilton to move into the podium places and he’s now wanting to stay out on those inters. He’s only three seconds behind Sergio perez in second.
LAP 34/58: All of Albon’s hard work has just come undone after he’s just spun out. He was complaining about his front tyres and it now looks to have proved a costly error to keep him out.
LAP 33/58: Carlos Sainz has capitalised on a mistake from Ricciardo and he’s now been called into the pits. The Australian has been struggling up until that point so seems like a sensible call from McLaren.
LAP 31/58: Leclerc, who made the gamble to go onto the inters at the start, has gambled again and stayed with a new set of inters. No slicks for the Ferrari man so could that set the precedent for others?
LAP 30/58: After 30 laps, DRS has finally been enabled, so expect a few more overtakes from here on out. Also looks like there will be no more rain for the afternoon.
LAP 29/58: Uh oh. Albon is claiming his front tyres are ‘completely gone’. There’s calls for the drivers to go onto slicks but it still looks way too greasy out there.
LAP 27/58: Hamilton, who is in fifth, has managed to catch the likes of Vettel and Albon who are still chasing the Racing Points. It could be a five-way battle for the podium places currently. Race control have also confirmed that Verstappen’s incident will be investigated after the race.
LAP 26/58: Albon has dropped off in his pursuit of Perez in an attempt to cool his tyres. Verstappen still under investigation.
LAP 24/58: Albon is looking like he could win this race at his current pace. He still has both the Racing Points in front of him but Stroll is struggling with understeer while Perez isn’t matching the Red Bull’s pace.
LAP 23/58: Verstappen is wrestling with the car after going off the track again. Hamilton has been on the radio to complain why he hasn’t been pitted again seeing as he can’t get past Ferrari.
LAP 21/58: Charles Leclerc is absolutely flying and has registered another fastest lap. Him and Albon are flying. Meanwhile, Bottas has had his third spin of the race while Verstappen is under investigation for crossing the pit lane line too quickly.
LAP 20/58: As it stands, there could be a new race winner on the podium if it stays like this. Lance Stroll leads, while Sergio Perez and Alex Albon follow behind. We’re not even halfway into the race yet so hold off on the champagne if you’re a fan of these three men.
LAP 19/58: Wasn’t the smartest of moves by Verstappen there who immediately pitted after flat-spotting his tyres.
LAP 18/58: Verstappen is pestering Perez in the fight for second but the Mexican has a point to prove, especially when he hasn’t got a seat for next season. He’s keeping the Dutchman at bay while Stroll keeps his lead. And in chasing Perez, Verstappen has spun out onto the mud, losing his place to Vettel and Hamilton!
LAP 16/58: Albon has capitalised fully on that battle between Hamilton and Vettel and now finds himself in fourth. Hamilton still complaining about his breaks.
LAP 15/58: Racing has resumed and Hamilton is right on Vettel’s tail. Alex Albon is looking to capitalise on that battle for fourth. And in trying the move, Hamilton has lost his place to Albon after running wide.
LAP 13/58: And here’s our first retirement. Antonio Giovinazzi has trudged off the track and parked his car for the marshalls to collect, which has prompted the virtual safety car to be deployed.
LAP 12/58: What drama! Red Bull called Verstappen in to change his tyres but tries removing some tape from his break pad, leaving him to come out just in front of Vettel and Hamilton. That was touch and go.
LAP 11/58: Sergio Perez is dealt a minor blow in his pitstop after his mechanic struggled to get his front right on properly, leaving him with time to make up.
LAP 9/58: Hamilton also pits and finds himself in eighth. Lets see what the Brit can rustle up with the track drying up. The Racing Points have also followed suit and have changed up their tyre strategy.
LAP 8/58: Bottas telling his team he wants to try something different and wants to come in. He’s now gone on to the intermediates and it’s working for Leclerc, who setting purple times in the first and middle sectors.
LAP 7/58: Leclerc comes in for a pitstop and he’s gone on to the intermediates. Bit of a gamble from the Ferrari man, who finds himself at the back of the pack.
LAP 6/58: The Racing Points are exchanging the fastest laps between them, with Perez and Stroll well out in front. Hamilton has come on the radio complaining that his front breaks aren’t working well. Not what you want on a wet slippery track.
LAP 4/58: Lance Stroll is driving at the front like he does this every race – what a calm and composed start from the Canadian. He also believes the track is drying up which will be music to the ears of the constructors.
LAP 2/58: Sebastian Vettel is running in the top three for the first time this season and is keeping Max Verstappen at bay. How we had no collisions during these opening two laps is a mystery.
LAP 1/58: Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Ocon have spun out on the first corner but the green flags have waved the racing to continue. Lewis Hamilton got off to a good start but has had a lock-up in turn nine while it’s a Racing Point one-two at the moment.
The track is wet and greasy, which promises to be an exciting race for F1 fans.
Can Lewis Hamilton wrap up the title today? Will Lance Stroll stay ahead of the pack come the end of the race?
Let’s find out…
We’re just 10 minutes until lights out.
All drivers except the Williams are on the grid as the fighter jets fly over the track.
This is going to be a crazy race. Dry, the newly relaid track is an ice rink. Wet, it us even worse. It is wet for the start, so watch out.
Giovinazzi has slipped off on the way to the grid. George Russell, too, entering the pit lane – like Hamilton in Shanghai in 2007. They can’t even get to the start.
This is good for the sport. Enough mollycoddling of the world’s best drivers. Get on with it!
And now Russell has damaged his front wing after colliding with the wall after entering the pit lane.
He’s come on his radio saying he’s crashed at walking pace. There’s just no grip out there.
Both Williams will start from the pit lane with Latifi also experiencing problems.
Oh dear, oh dear. What a terrible start for the Italian.
He’s put his Alfa Romero into the gravel while driving round on the formation lap after he skidded off the track and put it into the wall in Verstappen-esk fashion.
He’s managed to rescue his car and is back on the grid, with his team now fixing that front wing ahead of the race.
How many more times will we see this today?
QUALIFYING RECAP: Missed all the chaos yesterday? Read JONATHAN McEVOY’S report as Lance Stroll sealed a career-first pole position in wet conditions
Lewis Hamilton was given a reminder on Saturday of the booby traps he must sidestep if he is to finish Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix as a seven-time world champion.
For a rain-soaked, two-hour qualifying session threw up one of the most surprising pole men in recent memory, Racing Point’s 22-year-old Canadian Lance Stroll, with Hamilton unusually back in sixth place.
Further wet weather is forecast for Sunday, but even if that fails to materialise there remains an obstacle in the form of a recently resurfaced Istanbul Park track more suited to Torvill and Dean than Lewis and Mercedes.
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A big dark cloud has made its way to Istanbul Park and the rain has started to pour.
It looks like we’re in for another chaotic day of racing in Turkey while fans can expect repeat scenes of qualifying.
Looks like teams will be starting on the full-wets for this one.
And welcome to Sportsmail’s coverage of the Turkish Grand Prix!
Today promises to be a historic day should the results fall in Lewis Hamilton’s favour, which would see him become a seven-time world champion – equalling Michael Schumacher’s record.
However, if Friday and Saturday are to go by, he could face a real fight in making that happen.
The Brit struggled to nail down any sort of rhythm during the three practice sessions before only managing a sixth-place start for today’s race due to a wet and newly resurfaced circuit.
While the treacherous conditions hindered the majority, the two Racing Points enjoyed the conditions, with Lance Stroll starting on pole – a first in the Canadian’s career.
Stroll’s team-mate Sergio Perez also took advantage of the conditions and will start third while Max Verstappen completes the front low.
Lewis Hamilton has it all to do if he is win an record-equalling seventh world title in Istanbul after the Brit endured a torrid time during qualifying on Saturday.
Hamilton only needs to finish in front of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas to land the championship with three races left but is prepared for a very tough race after he struggled on the wet and newly resurfaced circuit over the weekend.
The chaotic qualifying session did throw up a career’s-first pole position for Racing Point’s Lance Stroll, who got to grips with the treacherous conditions to go fastest on Saturday.
Max Verstappen starts alongside the Canadian for the race while Stroll’s team-mate Sergio Perez also enjoyed a quick qualifying session and starts third on the grid.
Sportsmail’s Sam McEvoy will provide all the live coverage from Istanbul Park.
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