Turkish GP Predictions: Will Max Verstappen Reclaim Championship Lead or Lewis Hamilton Resume Control?

Published 10/04/2021, 7:20 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Murad Sezer


It’s race week! After a week-long break of recuperation from the dramatic Russian GP, it’s time to head to the Istanbul Intercity Park. A thrilling circuit in itself, the 2021 competition is only going to catalyze the on-track action. The Turkish GP has a lot on the line: the two-point gap between the race leaders, the Ferrari-McLaren rivalry, and even wet conditions. Will this surmount to another riveting race?

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

While it’s difficult to say who will dominate the tracks on Sunday, one can only assume. With the dynamic nature of the competition over the last few races, anything can happen. Collisions, bad pit stops, spinning off the tracks; these factors have played a core part in flipping a majority of the once-predictable sport.

As anything and everything is possible at the Turkish GP, let’s explore the various plausible scenarios.

Verstappen dominates the race in Istanbul

With a new power unit at Sochi, Verstappen will race in Istanbul with the engine that took him from P20 to a P2 podium. While its efficiency on the Sochi circuit is yet to be tested, the practice sessions will show how Verstappen’s Red Bull will truly perform on Sunday. Besides that, Verstappen shows great promise in clinching the victory in Istanbul.

Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – November 14, 2020 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is interviewed after qualifying in second position Pool via REUTERS/Clive Mason

In F1, we associate certain tracks with certain teams. In this case, Red Bull may have the stronger car over the weekend. However, the ground is pretty much even. The last time modern F1 cars hit the circuit, the slippery ‘ice rink’ caused more slipping than racing action; not giving us enough to analyze the teams on the track.

Additionally, Lewis won the year before and knows what victory feels like in Turkey. Nonetheless, the victor being a driver outside the two protagonists also remains as much of a believable scenario.

Charles Leclerc steals the show at Turkish GP

Ferrari, too, have had impressive success on the circuit. Despite a last-minute spin off the track that robbed Charles Leclerc of a P2 finish in 2020; the driver recovered for a fourth-place finish. Additionally, the Monegasque also returns to racing with a new power unit, a strategy that can work in Leclerc’s favor.

Ferrari’s rivals at McLaren don’t have a lot of straights to count on in this circuit; a feature that has been an added boost in the previous events. Nonetheless, with the newly improved form in both the drivers, it will be a tough competition between the two teams in front of the grid.

Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in action during qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Clive Mason

Further, if McLaren have a shot at a podium appearance, a dry track that could be hellish for Ferrari could work in McLaren’s favor. Tire degradation has been a problem for the Prancing Horses, and if a dry race were to ensue, the track is heavy on the front tires, which could be bad news for the team.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Russell and Norris repeat Saturday performances

The weekend, however, forecasts a slight chance of rain on Saturday at 60%. A wet track will also be another time to shine for George Russell and Lando Norris who have repeatedly proven to be masters of the slippery track. The two could find their way to the top of the starting grid on Sunday if they repeat their usual Saturday-rain-soaked performances.

Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – November 12, 2020 McLaren’s Lando Norris during a press conference ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix FIA/Handout via REUTERS

Once again, anything can happen in F1 during these last few rounds. From seeing a Williams out-qualify two Mercedes cars to a Haas defending a Red Bull for almost 10 laps, anything you imagine can be possible. With the notorious Turn 8 and the action-packed Turn 12 of the circuit, the Turkish GP looks to be another race you can’t miss.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Watch this story: From Jimmy Kimmel to Ellen: Lewis Hamilton on Talk Shows

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Shreya Sanjeev

475 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT