Round five of the 2022 Supercars championship is done and dusted, with an exciting return to regional Victoria and the historic Winton Motor Raceway…
It was a wet and rainy race which provided difficult tests for all drivers. There were many changes throughout the race and things swung heavily.
From an early battle between Racing Point and Red Bull all the way to Ferrari making a late charge it was extremely eventful.
But when it was all said and done, Lewis Hamilton won his 94th race and secured his seventh world championship which ties the record with Michael Schumacher.
There were plenty of high stakes in this race especially in the midfield with Ferrari who is sitting at sixth now joining the pack. We’ll break down the top six teams in Formula One and here are the major takeaways from the Turkish Grand Prix.
Valtteri Bottas had a horror weekend firstly by qualifying ninth and having no impact in the race. On the opening lap, he had spun out which compromised his race early on. He pitted multiple times but just could not get any traction and grip onto his tyres.
He had spun out multiple times throughout the race and was a lost cause as he couldn’t catch a break. He ended up finishing 14th and this will be a race he will look to forget.
Meanwhile, Hamilton continues to showcase his greatness. Even when conditions weren’t in his favour, he managed to come alive in the second half of the race to win once again.
He persevered with one pit stop as his intermediate tyres became slick towards the end. There really isn’t much needed to say for Hamilton as he continues to make history in Formula One.
Max Verstappen and Alex Albon had the best performing car all weekend long. During the practice sessions, in qualifying as well as the race itself, Red Bull seemed to have the car that suited the wet track conditions the most.
Early on, with Verstappen and Albon starting second and fourth respectively, they had quite the battle in usurping Lance Stroll from the lead while Sergio Perez was bringing up his rear. Verstappen had a poor start which didn’t help but managed to settle and chase from P3.
The massive turning point came when Verstappen attempted to lunge and overtake Perez before spinning out amidst the slippery conditions and dirty air from the Racing Point car. Verstappen certainly should’ve remained patient and it compromised him for the remainder of the race.
On the other hand, Alex Albon had one of his best performances in his career in the first half of this race. He was looking really fast which reinforced the quality of Red Bull’s car in the wet. Unfortunately, he was also a victim of spinning out and never recovered from there.
Red Bull would have to be disappointed to claim a P6 and P7 finish. They looked to be the best car all weekend but with unlucky events during the race, they missed out on a lot more points.
Perez and Stroll were fairly average during the practice sessions, but they clicked during their qualifying session. They seemed to be the only other car other than Red Bull who could get their tyres warm to produce fast laps. As a result, Stroll had his career highlight grabbing his first pole position in his career while Perez qualified third.
It was a tale of two halves for Lance Stroll. He had an amazing start consolidating his pole position in the race. He was poised and composed having a high-quality drive and Racing Point looked comfortable. However, Stroll would pit with 20 laps to go and his fairytale race went downhill from there.
He never could recover being stuck in traffic and his composure turned into disarray eventually finishing P9.
Sergio Perez demonstrated his class and proved he was the best driver in Racing Point. He never panicked and continues to outperform Stroll during the races. He had to battle both Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel on the final corners to finish P2 in a thrilling finish.
He has now moved to fourth in the driver’s championship and has 41 more points than his teammate Stroll. This race should make Perez a highly touted free agent.
Perez’s podium is massive for Racing Point’s quest to finish third in the constructor’s championship. With three races to go, it seems like only McLaren will be their main competitor barring any catastrophic results which would potentially allow Renault and Ferrari to catch up.
McLaren are staying within distance of Racing Point for P3 in the constructor standings. They haven’t been spectacular especially with new upgrades but have managed to remain competitive. They haven’t had a podium since the Italian Grand Prix and it has allowed teams to catch up and overtake McLaren after a fast start to 2020.
Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris did well to collect points after they both qualified outside the Top 10.
It’s been noticeable recently that Sainz has quietly outperformed his teammate Norris. With his P5 finish, Sainz has now overtaken Norris by one point on the driver’s championship.
In the last five races, Sainz has finished anywhere between P5 and P7 with one retirement. In contrast, Norris has been inconsistent and has only scored nine points in the last five races.
McLaren will be hoping that Sainz can put in an even better performance in Bahrain with Norris being able to support him. They have been handicapped with their recent qualifying results and if they can improve their starting position, it will increase their chances to accumulate more points.
Daniel Ricciardo has carried Renault on his shoulders during the past couple of races, but the slippery conditions did the Renault cars no favours.
If there is one thing that we learnt in Istanbul, it’s that Renault is not a wet track car. Despite the progress made through their upgrades during 2020, they had no chance of anything significant during the race.
While they had decent qualifying results with Ricciardo starting fifth and Esteban Ocon starting seventh, they squandered their opportunities as both teammates collided early on. While Ricciardo didn’t spin out early, he could never gain ground and ultimately dropped to P10.
Renault started the race in P3 and after securing just one point, things are looking dire for them. Ocon has been extremely quiet and needs to start supporting his teammate to collect some points. Ocon has only scored ten points in the last six races and Renault will be hoping he can turn it around for the final three races.
Ferrari had their best weekend of the season with Vettel grabbing his first podium of the season while Leclerc followed behind finishing P4.
Although they failed to enter Q3 during qualifying, Ferrari seemed to have the second-best car outside of Red Bull that was suited to the wet conditions throughout the weekend.
Both Ferrari drivers made the most of the opportunities provided to them during the race. After some early bumps and spin outs, Vettel saw himself trailing only the Racing Points acquiring great track position.
He then battled with Lewis Hamilton for multiple laps but what was really telling was his experience showing during difficult conditions.
Interestingly, Vettel had finally gelled with the Ferrari car in what was his best performance of 2020. His race was capped off during the final lap where he managed to take advantage of Leclerc’s battle with Perez.
Leclerc has shown us on various occasions that he will be one of the top drivers for the next decade. He was the first driver to put on intermediate tyres and it immediately paid off. He looked extremely quick and unfortunate not to have a podium.
Overall, Ferrari will be ecstatic with the results in Istanbul and they are now on the doorstep of Renault trailing by only six points for P5 in the constructor championship.