2021 Turkey Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: Six races left. Three in the Americas. Three in the Middle East. Two at brand new tracks. Engine grid penalties could still play a factor. Mercedes may have gained some power. Honda isn't going to let that slide. Two hard headed aggressive drivers. Bring it on!
EVENT: That might have been the biggest crowd Turkey has had. We'll give them that.
TRACK: From a no grip track last year to a super grip track this year, even in the wet. But the track never dries.
QUALIFYING: The rain stayed away. The sun even came out. But the wet track caught out Ricciardo in Q1, Russell and Vettel in Q2, and helped Mick Schumacher to get to Q2. Meanwhile, Hamilton dominates but will have to start 11th, giving Bottas the pole and Verstappen, who finally found speed, gets to the front row.
RACE: Normally, we would all be salivating over a wet race. But this one didn't play out like a wet race. Frankly nothing happened (outside of an epic duel between Perez and Hamilton). Not even the strategy was all that compelling except for a bit of dice rolling. Heck, there wasn't even a single DNF. Definitely did not play out like a wet race.
START: Surprisingly very professional under these conditions. Except for Alonso who got tagged into a spin by Gasly and then Fernando did the tagging, spinning Schumacher. Bottas remains calm in front, Hamilton makes up two spots on the first lap, and Perez makes a huge jump.
BOTTAS: Give Valtteri credit, a solid race (especially after last year's turkey in Turkey) controlling the whole affair from the start without a single slip up.
VERSTAPPEN: No speed (well, compared to Mercedes), so got what he could, second place and back in the championship lead.
PEREZ: An epic fight to keep Hamilton behind. That's why Red Bull hired Sergio.
HAMILTON: To pit or not to pit. They guessed right in Russia. They (may have) guessed wrong in Turkey. That's the nature of those decisions.
MERCEDES: Have they found speed in their engine that has put them back in command?
RED BULL: That was a snazzy livery to pay homage to Honda on the weekend they were supposed to be in Japan. But a new paint job is not what Red Bull is looking for right now.
LECLERC: Fourth probably was the best Charles could get.
SAINZ: It was a great drive for Carlos.
FERRARI: They are just that little bit behind on power. If only they could find it, at least for next year, to make this a three-way battle.
GASLY: Much better than last race.
NORRIS: Though Lance handily beat out his teammate, the McLaren's were behind the whole weekend.
RICCIARDO: Back in the doldrums.
ALONSO: A fantastic qualifying effort wasted.
VETTEL: In hindsight, an absolutely ridiculous decision to go to slicks.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: No-stop.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 8 -- The largest points lead in the drivers' championship since the British GP.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Looks like that might have been the last Turkish GP (again), at least for a while (again). The race has been run nine times, 2005-2011 and the past two years. Felipe Massa has the most wins (3, all consecutive) followed by Lewis Hamilton (2). Kimi Raikkonen won the first race and of course Valtteri Bottas this year; thus, for now, making it Finnish bookends.
TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: The tweet showing Esteban Ocon's tires -- looking shredded -- after he went the entire distance with them. Hamilton might not have been as lucky if he stayed out. Not to mention, he would have been very slow.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Sebastian Vettel, after going to slicks, told his team what was obvious to everyone, "It's not working!"
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Max Verstappen when asked what was the toughest part of his race, "Staying awake!"
SCHEDULE: Before the circus heads off to the Americas, we'll find out the final (until they change it) 2022 schedule.
Copyright © 2021 by Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.