Max Verstappen sixth in Turkish Grand Prix: 'Race to quickly forget'

Published on 15 November 2020 by Kees-Jan Koster

Max Verstappen finished sixth in the Turkish Grand Prix. The Dutchman had a chance for a good result starting from second on the grid, but had a bad start causing him to fall back into fifth position. Max fought back, but lost control while attempting to overtake Sergio Pérez (P2). Because of some flat spots Verstappen had to come in for a new set of tyres. Max continued the race from eighth position, which he finished after a difficult afternoon in sixth place. Lewis Hamilton won the race and with that winning his seventh world championship. The Brit now equals the record of Michael Schumacher, who also won seven titles. Sergio Pérez and Sebastian Vettel completed the podium.

“It was a very difficult race”, says a disappointed Max after the race. “I was close behind Sergio and suddenly lost all downforce. I went wide and because it was very slippery I spun. After that I had to pit for a new set of tyres and then tried to close the gap again, but we went through the tyres quickly. You are stuck behind other cars and because of the slipperiness it was impossible to overtake. It just did not work.”

Even though the track was drying nobody choose to change to slicks: “That was not possible”, says the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver. “The track was too slippery and it had too much rubber from the intermediates on it. Then you will not be able to drive on slicks. It was a race to quickly forget.”

Verstappen compliments Lewis Hamilton, who won the world title for the seventh time in his Formula 1 career: “It is very special that he took his seventh world title. He also drove a good race.”

The circumstances on the 5338-meter-long Istanbul Park were treacherous. Antonio Giovinazzi and George Russell suffered the consequences while driving to the grid: the Alfa Romeo driver lost control over his car and hits the barriers in turn three, while Russell goes straight on while entering the pitlane and damages his front wing. Both teams can fix the cars in time for the race.

When the lights go off Max has a poor start. The Dutchman is overtaken by cars on all sides and has fallen back into eight position when entering the first corner. Esteban Ocon is hit by Daniel Ricciardo and spins (and taking Valtteri Bottas with him), causing Verstappen to move up two places. He can also overtake Ricciardo for fifth position. Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton has a hard time in the rainy circumstances. The Brit, on his way to take his seventh world championship, goes off the track in turn nine, so Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon benefit and move up a position. Max is in fourth position after the first lap. Lance Stroll is in the lead, with Sergio Pérez and Sebastian Vettel in P2 and P3.

After a hectic opening phase Verstappen has the Ferrari driver in his crosshairs. On the drying track more and more drivers are changing to the intermediate tyres, including Vettel who comes in on lap nine. Max stays out in the hope to overtake the German in a so called ‘overcut’. Three laps later the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver comes in for a set of intermediates and comes out on track in fourth position, in front of Sebastian Vettel. Max is in third position after also his teammate Alexander Albon has made his pitstop.

In lap thirteen the Alfa Romea of Antonio Giovinazzi suddenly stops, and the stewards decide to use the Virtual Safety Car. After a short while the car is safely removed, and the drivers can resume the race. In lap eighteen Max readies himself for an attack, but in an overenthusiastic attempt in turn eleven the Dutchman goes wide and spins. Because his tyres have flat spots, Max goes in to change his tyres. He falls back into eight position.

Halfway the race Lance Stroll has a relatively comfortable lead of three and a half seconds. Behind the Canadian are Sergio Pérez, Alexander Albon, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo who form the top six. Meanwhile Max Verstappen is in eight position. Even though the track is getting dryer every lap, it is too early for slicks. Alexander Albon suffers the consequences, spinning in lap 34 and losing his third position to Lewis Hamilton. Because both Ferrari drivers and Albon come in for new tyres, Verstappen moves up to third position.

In lap 37 race leader Lance Stroll comes in for a new set of tyres. The Racing Point drivers comes back out on track behind Verstappen in fourth position. Lewis Hamilton takes the lead while Charles Leclerc is on the advance. The Monegasque is on newer tyres and goes past Verstappen in lap 44 for P3. Immediately Max goes back in for a new set of the green intermediates. He leaves the pitlane in seventh position behind Alexander Albon. With five laps to go Max can overtake his teammate for P6, the position in which he eventually finishes the race.

There still is an exciting battle going on for the last couple of podium places. Charles Leclerc attempts to overtake Sergio Pérez for P2 while braking for turn twelve, but he goes wide, so that his teammate Sebastian Vettel takes third position. Lewis Hamilton wins the race. The Brit secures his seventh world title and equals Michal Schumacher. Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz, Max Verstappen, Alexander Albon and Lando Norris complete the top eight. Lance Stroll, who started the race from pole position, finishes in nineth position and Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo in tenth.

Results Grand Prix Turkey:

1Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes581:42:19.31325
2Sergio PerezPERRacing Point BWT Mercedes58+31.633s18
3Sebastian VettelVETFerrari58+31.960s15
4Charles LeclercLECFerrari58+33.858s12
5Carlos SainzSAIMcLaren Renault58+34.363s10
6Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda58+44.873s8
7Alexander AlbonALBRed Bull Racing Honda58+46.484s6
8Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Renault58+61.259s5
9Lance StrollSTRRacing Point BWT Mercedes58+72.353s2
10Daniel RicciardoRICRenault58+95.460s1
11Esteban OconOCORenault57+1 lap0
12Daniil KvyatKVYAlphaTauri Honda57+1 lap0
13Pierre GaslyGASAlphaTauri Honda57+1 lap0
14Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes57+1 lap0
15Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari57+1 lap0
16George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes57+1 lap0
17Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari55DNF0
0Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari49DNF0
0Nicholas LatifiLATWilliams Mercedes39DNF0
0Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari11DNF0