F1 makes its grand return to Turkey this weekend, as the country hosts its first Grand Prix since 2011. It was Sebastian Vettel who took victory nine years ago, but it would certainly be a shock if he was to repeat the feat in 2020.
Designed by Hermann Tilke, Intercity Istanbul Park is an anticlockwise circuit and promotes plenty of exciting racing. Turn eight is widely regarded as one of best corners created, a multi-apex thrill ride that is a severe test of a driver’s commitment.
Turkish Grand Prix predictions, betting tips and analysis
Mercedes wrapped up the Constructors Championship at Imola last time and Lewis Hamilton will be hoping to take the Drivers Championship one week on. He’s been imperious all season and just needs to out-finish Valterri Bottas to wrap up the title. Although his Imola victory was a shade fortune, Hamilton drove impeccably to make his strategy work before a fortunate safety car. Bottas will rightly feel aggrieved, as he was in control all weekend prior to picking up debris early in the race. He needs to bring the same gusto to Turkey, as he needs to outscore Hamilton by eight points to keep the fight rolling on.
It’s very much a case of “what could have been” for Max Verstappen, who was comfortably in second prior to a tyre failure in Imola. The Red Bull is still a fair way behind the Mercedes in both race and qualifying trim, but the Dutchman continues to out-gun his machinery. Signs in practice were positive, however, and the Red Bull should really suit Istanbul Park. Verstappen will once again be Mercedes’ biggest problem throughout the weekend. That, however, cannot be said for Alex Albon. His torrid season continued at Imola, spinning from fifth after being overtaken by Daniil Kvyat. Regardless of his performance here, it looks as though his Red Bull career is over.
Midfield fight heats up
The midfield fight is going to be incredible to watch in the last four rounds. Just one point separates Renault, Racing Point and McLaren, so expect their drivers to be particularly racy as they try to secure their respective teams crucial points. The form horse is Renault, with Daniel Ricciardo finishing third in two of the last three rounds. He’s likely to be in that podium fight again, though Racing Point’s well balanced RP20 may be the biggest danger to the top teams.
Sergio Perez, remarkably, remains in doubt for a 2020 seat, but another big performance here could easily sway the driver’s market. He’s taken command of the inter-team battle with Lance Stroll and if this race turns into a strategic battle, he’ll be right in the hunt for a podium. Out of the three teams vying for third, McLaren are the ones in trouble. Their recent pace has been far from impressive in that battle, but Carlos Sainz is in a good run of form, which will be a boost to their chances.
Charles Leclerc has been the shinning light for Ferrari this season and will be right in the thick of things once again for a top six finish, even if his machinery shouldn’t allow it.
They continue to be underestimated, but watch out for Alpha Tauri, as Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat were both blindingly quick in Imola. The Frenchman retired early due to car problems, but he’s been in the top six at two of the last three rounds, so a strong case could be made for him to do so again.
Both Cars Points Finish – Alpha Tauri
The surprise package of the season, Alpha Tauri‘s recent form has been remarkable. They could easily of had a 3-4 finish in Imola, had Pierre Gasly not retired with mechanical issues early in the race. With Daniil Kvyat starting to hit his top stride, they could easily find themselves beating out Ferrari in the constructors, with some luck.
Turkey is another track that should suit their car and with both drivers in top form, a double points finish looks more than likely.
To Win The Grand Prix – Max Verstappen
It’ll likely take a slice of luck, but practice signs were very positive for Red Bull. This track is very similar to Silverstone in a number of ways, which is where Max Verstappen took his only victory of the season. Such is the level of the Dutchman at present, that he’s a shorter price than Valterri Bottas to win the race.
Verstappen, barring mechanical issues, is always in the hunt and the Red Bull looks to have the pace this weekend. He deserves another day in the sun, and it may well come on Sunday.