Lewis Hamilton has his first opportunity to mathematically seal the 2020 Formula 1 world championship this weekend at the Turkish Grand Prix. Here’s what he needs to secure the title.
Following his ninth F1 victory of the season last time out at Imola, Hamilton moved 85 points clear of nearest rival and Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas at the top of the drivers’ standings.
With four races to go this season, and a maximum of 104 points left to score, the odds are heavily stacked in Hamilton’s favour to claim a seventh F1 world drivers’ crown and duly draw level with Michael Schumacher at the head of the all-time most world titles list.
Whether he completes the feat at the Turkish GP or at one of the subsequent races, it will cap a stunning season for the British driver who surpassed Schumacher’s all-time F1 grand prix wins record at last month’s Portuguese GP.
What does Hamilton need to seal the 2020 F1 title at the Turkish GP?
Regardless of results at Istanbul Park, if Hamilton holds a 78-point lead or more by the end of the Turkish GP he will be crowned 2020 F1 world champion with three races to spare.
Even if the deficit is 78 points and Valtteri Bottas wins the final three races along with taking all three fastest lap bonus points – with Hamilton scoring zero points in the final three rounds – the British driver would still win the title on countback for most wins.
Put simply, Bottas must reduce the deficit to 77 points to maintain his title fight after the Turkish GP, meaning the Finn has to outscore his team-mate by eight points to take the title battle to the next round in Bahrain.
The F1 title permutations going into the Turkish GP
If Hamilton does not concede more than seven points to Bottas, or indeed finishes ahead of him in the race, he will secure his seventh world title in Turkey.
The only scenario for Bottas to keep his title hopes alive regardless of what Hamilton can produce is to win the race and pick up the bonus point for the fastest lap.
Here are the full title permutations ahead of the Turkish GP
|If Bottas finishes||Hamilton needs|
|1st with fastest lap||Cannot win the title in Turkey|
|1st without fastest lap||2nd with fastest lap or 2nd with neither Bottas or Hamilton taking fastest lap|
|2nd with fastest lap||4th|
|2nd without fastest lap||4th or 5th with fastest lap|
|3rd with fastest lap||5th|
|3rd without fastest lap||6th|
|4th with fastest lap||7th|
|4th without fastest lap||8th|
|5th with fastest lap||8th|
|5th without fastest lap||8th or 9th with fastest lap|
|6th with fastest lap||9th|
|6th without fastest lap||10th|
|7th with fastest lap (or lower)||Wins the title regardless of his results|
Who else can win the F1 title?
After Mercedes sealed a historic seventh consecutive F1 world constructors’ title last time out at the Emilia Romagna GP, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen mathematically dropped out of the drivers’ title race after he retired due to a puncture.
It means only one of the Mercedes drivers, Hamilton or Bottas, can win the 2020 drivers’ championship.
What are Hamilton’s previous F1 Turkish GP results?
Hamilton is one of the few drivers on the current grid to have previously contested a Turkish GP, when Istanbul Park enjoyed a six-year stint on the F1 calendar between 2005-11.
Coming into this weekend Hamilton has contested five Turkish GPs (2007-11) across his F1 career, winning once in 2010 for McLaren, in a race that was gifted to him after a collision between Red Bull team-mates Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber when the pair were battling for the victory.
Hamilton also appeared on the podium at the Turkish GP in 2008, taking second place behind Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, in the year Hamilton went on to seal his maiden F1 world title.
In the other three Turkish GPs Hamilton has contested, he has finished fourth (2011), fifth (2007) and 13th (2009).
How are Hamilton’s results at the unexpected 2020 F1 races?
Following the shake-up to the 2020 F1 calendar in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of races were added to the schedule which were not part of the original race calendar, including the Turkish GP.
So far, F1 has raced at Mugello, the Nurburgring, Portimao and Imola with Hamilton winning at each and every one of the new-for-2020 venues. Therefore, Hamilton can complete the set by winning in Turkey and in Bahrain when F1 uses the outer circuit layout for the first time.
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