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Thread: 2021 Turkish Grand Prix: Post Race Analysis

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    2021 Turkish Grand Prix: Post Race Analysis

    2 years in a row the Turkish GP gets hit with rain, but last year was a race for the ages, so rain is quite welcome. I was glad to see the drivers get some dry running in qualifying as it was the last chance to see this era of car fly around this track in full quali trim. The race unfortunately didn't provide very much on track action, but it was still very exciting as the tires changed so much during the race and went through difference phases, plus the huge element of unknown with the weather and track conditions.

    Mercedes had an incredibly fast car. If it was a typical dry race and Lewis didn't carry an engine penalty, it would have been an easy 1-2 qual, and easy 1-2 race finish, which makes good reason for Mercedes choosing this race to put a new ICE in Lewis' car. However, it didn't go as well as it perhaps could have. To be completely honest, Hamilton's race could have been a lot more difficult. His biggest challenge coming through the field was by rookie Yuki Tsunoda, who looked like a seasoned pro holding up the seven time champ for several laps. Once Lewis inevitably got by, he was given no challenges by Mercedes powered Lance Stroll, and even less challenge from Mercedes powered Lando Norris. The decision to pit or stay out was partially forced by Hamilton as decided to stay out, but the team eventually called him in late in the race which put the tires right in the wrong window. A situation that could have been better, but could have been worse. As for Bottas, he completely controlled the race and had plenty in reserve. His fastest laps at the end of the race give a glimpse of how much pace the Mercedes had. A very deserving victory for Bottas.

    Red Bull has be extremely pleased with the double podium. Verstappen struggled all weekend for pace, and seemed to have a few distractions with his car during the race, but he claims gave no performance disadvantage. Because the Red Bull had no challenge for Mercedes, but had enough to manage a fight from Leclerc, he had somewhat boring tire managing race. Perez on the other hand had to work for that podium. The wheel to wheel battle against Hamilton was some of the best racing all season. Very happy to see Perez put in a result the team desperately needed from him.

    Ferrari were not perfect, but they have to be happy as well. Charles drove brilliantly for most of the grand prix, until he was given the lead and started to make some pretty big mistakes. The team made a similar strategy mistake as Mercedes, where they left him out too long as the new tires went through the low grip stage that allowed Perez to get by. With a perfect strategy call and no mistakes, Leclerc probably would have finished on the podium. Sainz was majestic coming through the field, making up at least one position per lap while the track was fully wet. His progress came to a halt once a drier line developed, and unfortunately the team dropped the ball in the pits that cost him around 6 seconds. Still, very good points on a day their rival, McLaren struggled.

    Alpha Tauri and Gasly in P6, who would have predicted that? Gasly drove good and had a small sniff at putting pressure on Hamilton at the end. The first lap tangle with Alonso I thought was a racing incident and did not deserve a penalty. Turn 1 of the first lap of a race always deserves some leeway. It was frightening how easily he got passed by Hamilton as the Mercedes had top speed that resembled the DRS being open, and the Mercedes supposedly had a higher downforce setup. Tsunoda, as mentioned did great ahead of Hamilton but eventually threw it away being spinning out and couldn't recover. A shame as it could have been a great result for the Japanese driver on a day Red Bull celebrated their partnership with Honda.

    McLaren did not look very good at Turkey, despite having very impressive races as of late. Ricciardo never came to grips with the car, and even Lando looked somewhat ordinary. Will the car be back to form in Austin?

    Aston Martin on the other hand looked better than usual. Lance Stroll is actually very good in these types of conditions. Remember he got pole last year in wet conditions and was having a very good race until some tire problems at the end of the race. It isn't surprising to see him get some points. Vettel had a very strange call to put on slick tires when I don't think anyone thought the track was dry enough. Plus the track never appeared to be properly drying out, so it seemed unlikely the slicks would be the right tire soon after that pitstop.

    Alpine perhaps missed an opportunity. Alonso was taken out in the first corner which was very unfortunate given his 5th place grid position. Some will agree Gasly deserved the penalty for the contact, but Alonso's move on Schumacher was much worse and very silly. Fully deserved his penalty, and shocked not to see him make any progress through the race. Ocon didn't appear to have any hope of points as his time on TV was of him going backwards. But the team kept him on the worn out intermediates and he somehow managed the last point.

    Alfa Romeo, so close. Giovinazzi was around 4 seconds faster than Ocon at the end, and just missed out on the last points. Typically one would expect Kimi to shine in the wet conditions, but the car wasn't working for him, even in qualifying when he had a very poor performance.

    Williams looked pretty awful. The ruling on Russell is starting to come into question. His one lap dry pace is extremely impressive, but he doesn't often turn that into a stunning race. Throughout Formula 1 history, the really great drivers always seem to stand out in the wet weather, but today he was just a few seconds ahead of his teammate Latifi, who most would put him in the bottom 3 of current F1 drivers. Expected a lot more from Russell to say the least.

    Haas was a little bit interesting to follow during the race. Mick Schumacher was one of the stars of qualifying and it was a kick in the gut to see his race ruined so early when Alonso took him out. But he battled back, got by Mazepin and showed once again that he is by far the better driver of the duo. I was waiting for a Haas collision, but it didn't happen.

    Driver of the Day: Carlos Sainz. Back of the grid, passing anyone and everyone ahead, most through some unbelievable braking. No DRS to help. In the best conditions his car is good for probably 6th place, yet finishes 8th from the back in tricky conditions, despite a horrible pitstop by his teammate.

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    Here we can see all lap times & the drop in performance with fresh tires :
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Referring to your comment on Carlos getting through the field through his braking, it occurred to me that racing with no DRS was far more appealing than with it and showed the drivers' talents far more clearly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilles View Post
    Here we can see all lap times & the drop in performance with fresh tires :
    Very cool data. Sainz had very impressive and consistent pace at the end of the race.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wisepie View Post
    Referring to your comment on Carlos getting through the field through his braking, it occurred to me that racing with no DRS was far more appealing than with it and showed the drivers' talents far more clearly.
    I agree. A pass without DRS is a lot more impressive and satisfying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SS454 View Post
    Very cool data. Sainz had very impressive and consistent pace at the end of the race.
    Yes, agree, very impressive drive too. He had the right set-up for these track conditions, unlike Charles who, with less load, must have had a grueling race. They say they don't really know why they were so fast. The car may have been ahead of Red Bull, which may be a first since 2019. We shouldn't expect to continue to dominate Red Bull, but it's clear McLaren can be worried. My bet is that with the speed of our 2 pilots, a PU which finally allows to overtake, the end of the season will wake up the fans of the Scuderia a little. Who was waiting for the sf1000B at this level?

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