Lewis Hamilton wrote his name into the history books at the Turkish Grand Prix as he equalled the great Michael Schumacher’s haul of seven world championships.
The incredible feat capped off a brilliant day for the Mercedes star, who had to battle the elements – and his tyres – to fight from sixth to finish first in what were difficult conditions for the whole grid.
Nostalgia was high on the agenda in Istanbul after fans finally got to see Sebastian Vettel back on the podium again after he won a final-corner shootout with Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc – who was left cursing himself in a furious outrage at the chequered flag.
Here are seven things we learned from a dramatic Turkish Grand Prix.
All eyes were on Lewis Hamilton as he wrapped up his seventh world title with victory in Turkey
Hamilton is right – it’s not just a ‘car thing’
When it comes to the ‘greatest driver of all time’ debate in Formula One, Hamilton is often overlooked because of the superiority of his Mercedes car.
It’s an argument that was used by Sir Jackie Stewart earlier this season, who claimed that Hamilton couldn’t measure up to the likes of Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark or Ayrton Senna because of how dominant the Mercedes is compared to the rest of the field.
As a result, it has left Hamilton to do his talking on the track – and he did it in style at Istanbul Park.
While he initially struggled with the track and weather conditions during the practice and qualifying sessions, Hamilton roared back to win yet another race all while battling the elements and superbly managing his tyres which were completely worn out by the end of the race.
The 35-year-old’s masterclass drive in the wet proved that his success isn’t just down to the car
Hamilton superbly managed his intermediate tyres which were completely worn out at the end
The newly-relaid track left drivers desperate for grip while the treacherous conditions didn’t help matters. But to Hamilton, he wants more of the same in the future to prove his worth.
‘I want more of these weekends,’ said Hamilton. ‘More tricky conditions like this.
‘The more opportunities like this, the more I’m able to show what I’m able to do. And today hopefully you can see… I think I deserve my respect. I think I have that with my peers, they will know how hard today is, particularly that it is not a car thing.
‘I couldn’t have done this without that amazing group of people behind me. But there is another great driver who is alongside me, who has the same car who obviously didn’t finish where I finished.’
Perez proves his Point once again
Not for the first time this season but Sergio Perez has proved that he deserves a seat for next season following his brilliant second-place finish on Sunday.
The Mexican’s future in Formula One is in doubt after Racing Point announced that he will not continue with the team next season, instead sticking with Lance Stroll – the son of billionaire owner Lawrence Stroll.
That in itself was no surprise to race fans but with seats quickly filling for 2021, it is not yet clear where – or even if – there is a landing spot for the 30-year-old.
Hamilton’s record-breaking title achievements rightly overshadowed what was a superb race for Perez, who held his own and fought off challenges from Max Verstappen and Leclerc to get himself a podium finish.
Sergio Perez’s second-place finish proves that he deserves a seat for next season
His drive showed exactly what he is capable of but as it stands, Perez claims his future in the sport isn’t in his hands.
He said: ‘I think as always you have to be delivering weekend after weekend and you are only as good as your last race, so it’s important to finish on a high. The rest is not in my hands.’
Sportsmail reiterates this point made after the Russian Grand Prix: Losing Perez for 2021 would be a travesty for racing.
Leclerc shows he has a winner’s mentality
As the old saying goes, ‘fortune favours the brave’ but it didn’t quite work out that way for Charles Leclerc.
In a bid to claim second from Perez in the last few corners, Leclerc made an audacious move on the Mexican which ultimately cost him any spot on the podium as Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel snuck up and overtook him in the final corner.
The dramatic sequence left the Monegasque driver furious with himself, which saw him go on an expletive-laden rant about his own performance.
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc showed he has a winner’s mentality after his furious outburst
Leclerc missed out on the podium on the last corner, which left him swearing on the radio
‘I did a s*** job. I did a s*** job. I did s*** job. I did a s*** job,’ Leclerc shouted on team radio, ‘that is it’.
‘I am f****** stupid, as much as in Baku. I am so p***ed off with myself.’
After he had cooled down and composed himself, he congratulated Vettel by saying that he ‘deserved it after it has not been a good year for him.’
His passionate reaction shows he will settle for nothing but the best from himself – a good trait to have if you are to go far in this sport. Especially when it comes to representing a team of Ferrari’s stature.
Bottas left in a spin
In the build up to the race, Valtteri Bottas was the only man capable of delaying Hamilton his seventh world title.
A series of scenarios were bandied about on what the Finn needed to do in order to keep his Mercedes team-mate at bay, with Bottas needing to finish first to take the title to Bahrain.
That all went out of the window on the very first lap when Bottas spun out on the first corner, putting him closer to the end of the pack than the front.
It was a weekend to forget for Valtteri Bottas, who spun out on the first corner on the first lap
With a lack of grip and low on confidence, Bottas went on to spin a further six times during the race and well out of the points, leaving Hamilton in seventh heaven no matter where he finished.
‘The first lap, everything went wrong,’ said Bottas. ‘I was avoiding a spin in the first corner and I spun as well and then I had a contact in turn nine and the car was not the same any more.
‘I struggled to stay on track. There was a piece missing from the front wing, and it was survival. Not good.’
Ferrari FINALLY get their race strategy spot on
It’s fair to say that Ferrari has been extremely woeful this season.
The car hasn’t been performing, Vettel is a shell of his former self and their race strategy always leaves fans scratching their head.
For the Turkish Grand Prix, the Scuderia announced that team principal Mattia Binotto would be absent from the weekend’s action but would instead be managing the team remotely from their base in Maranello.
And lo and behold, Ferrari finally got their act together as Vettel and Leclerc ended up scrapping for a podium finish on the last corner – a rare occurrence this season.
Ferrari got their strategy spot on as Sebastian Vettel and Leclerc finished high in the standings
While a lot of that can be put down to the drivers’ skill and ability, Ferrari must be applauded for their gameplan after they made several gambles on their tyre strategy that left the rest of the field to follow suit.
The experiment appeared to workout so well for Binotto that he’s decided to stay at home for the Bahrain Grand Prix as well.
Who’d have thought working from home would make its way into Formula One?
Hamilton learns from past mistakes
Having worn down his intermediate tyres to what were practically slicks with just a few laps to go, Hamilton was ordered into the pits by his team as they looked to get him on a fresh set of wheels with the rain approaching.
Williams’ George Russell had already shown prior to the race just how slippy the pit lane was after he crashed into the wall moments before he was due to line up on the grid.
This appeared to stick in Hamilton’s mind as he defied team orders and decided to stay out on his worn out inters for the remaining few laps and pick up yet another win.
Hamilton decided against pitting in the final few laps as a result of a very slippery pit lane
The Brit revealed that his pit lane disaster at the 2007 Chinese Grand Prix was on his mind
When asked about it after the race, Hamilton revealed that his pit lane disaster at the 2007 Chinese Grand Prix was a mistake he learned from and helped him decide to disobey team orders.
That incident 17 years ago – which saw him beach his McLaren in the gravel and lose the world championship as a result – has paid dividends, with Hamilton now having a much wiser head on his shoulders.
Fight for final podium place in the constructors heats up
While both constructors and drivers’ championships are wrapped up for another campaign, the question still remains how the rest of the table will finish with three races to go.
Mercedes have once again dominated this year while Red Bull were their nearest competitors but still a long way off.
However, there are still just 24 points separating Racing Point in third and Ferrari in sixth.
While a gambling man would put their money on Racing Point to claim the bronze medal, stranger things have happened and this battle for the final podium place could give fans that extra dimension as we head to Bahrain, Sakhir and then finally, Abi Dhabi.