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2020 Formula One Turkish Grand Prix preview

The Turkish Grand Prix hasn’t been on the Formula One calendar since 2011, but it’s back this weekend as round 14 of the reshuffled 2020 season.

The first Turkish Grand Prix was held in 2005 and the race has always been held at Istanbul Park Circuit, a Hermann Tilke-designed circuit that stretches 3.31 miles and runs anti-clockwise.

It features 14 corners, some of them among the most interesting on the calendar. They include the first turn, a steep downhill left-hander immediately after the start-finish straight. It’s been nicknamed the Turkish Corkscrew, because of its similarity to the famous turn at Laguna Seca. The best known corner however is the dreaded Turn 8, a very fast four apex left-hander similar to parts of the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

Istanbul Park Circuit, home of the Formula One Turkish Grand Prix

Istanbul Park Circuit, home of the Formula One Turkish Grand Prix

The variety of high-speed corners takes a lot out of the tires. For instance, in 2011’s race, the winner, Sebastian Vettel driving for Red Bull Racing at the time, had to make four pit stops. As a result, Pirelli has nominated its hardest compounds, the C1, C2 and C3. The wets may also need to come out this weekend as rain is forecast for both Saturday’s qualifying and Sunday’s race.

Following Friday’s practice session, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was the fastest, followed by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and then the Mercedes-AMG duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton will only need to finish the Turkish race with more points than Bottas to secure the 2020 championship and equal Michael Schumacher’s record tally of seven titles. Hamilton has already broken Schumacher’s long-held record of 91 wins, with Hamilton’s tally currently at 93.

Going into the weekend, Hamilton leads the 2020 Drivers’ Championship with 282 points, versus the 197 of Bottas and 162 of Verstappen. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes has already taken out this year’s title and currently sits on 479 points, versus the 226 of Red Bull and 135 of Renault.


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