The big story of the 2021 Formula 1 Turkish Grand Prix in much of the media has been the debate whether or not Mercedes should have boxed Lewis Hamilton.
But it would be doing F1 an injustice to neglect the several, just as important, and topical points of interest arising from the race at Istanbul Park on Sunday.
To date, this season has already provided in excess of six months of ebbs and flows, and indeed it is turning into one of the more exciting championships in recent memory. Even though at face value, Sunday’s race might have appeared to have been a lull in that excitement, the reality was that it was far from it.
Some of the points of interest as a result of Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix include:
- Valtteri Bottas’ dominant win reminding us that he is still blindingly quick, and capable of winning races in the right circumstances.
- The post-race radio congratulations from Bottas’ engineer Ricciardo Musconi, and strategist James Vowles, but the curious omission of the usual message to Mercedes winners from Toto Wolff.
- Sergio Perez’s gradual coming to grips with the Red Bull chassis characteristics, confirming that he is indeed the right person to partner Verstappen beyond 2021, although an improvement in qualifying speed would help.
- The maturation of Yuki Tsunoda as evidenced by his brief but impressive time defending his position against Hamilton.
- Lando Norris coughing up to Hamilton, as he did once again at the Turkish Grand Prix just as in Austria, even though it was for position.
- Pierre Gasly’s Lap 1, Turn 1 penalty seemed harsh and inconsistent in comparison to most other first lap incidents this year.
- Fernando Alonso’s long-anticipated ‘political’ return to F1 with his comments implying that the sport is administered in accordance with a driver’s nationality.
- Whether or not Hamilton left sufficient racing room for Perez when he forced him behind the pit entry bollard at the end of Lap 34.
- George Russell conceding the title of Mr. Saturday for this Grand Prix to Mick Schumacher, who had no right whatsoever venturing into Q2 with that Haas!
- Monza winner Daniel Ricciardo not proceeding beyond Q1 in qualy, and then following up with a very average performance in the race.
- The performances of Bottas and Perez being a clear demonstration that the performance of the wingmen will most likely influence the result of both the Drivers and Constructors Championships.
- With a consistent terminal speed advantage in the traps in Turkey Mercedes definitely seem to have a performance advantage over Red Bull, who have not exceeded Mercedes performance since Zandvoort.
- Istanbul Park’s remarkable change in surface grip characteristics achieved through water blasting should be an example for other circuits to acknowledge.
- The technical directive aimed at slowing down pit stops affecting another team, this time in Turkey it was Ferrari.
- Whether or not the adoption of mandatory pit stops in wet races on the grounds of safety should be considered.
So, evidently, whilst many found the Turkish Grand Prix a boring affair, to others, including me, it was thoroughly entertaining.
It just depends on what sort of lens you are looking at it through.
Back on the top step again 🥇
👏 @ValtteriBottas #TurkishGP 🇹🇷 #F1 pic.twitter.com/YIMcBtoNW9
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 11, 2021