Depending on how you look at it, the two points that separate Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen at the top of the table after the 15 disputed calendar stops confirm that this season can be considered the tightest ever. While it is true Michael Schumacher was only taking one point from Damon Hill at this point in 1994, the score at that time gave the winner ten points, less than half that of today (25). Mercedes and Red Bull have been planted in front of the board since the first appointment of the course; now one attacks and now the other defends, waiting for a mistake from the rival to make it possible to open a gap that ends up unbalancing the balance. In depending on which scenarios, events even cause both teams to switch roles during the same event. That is exactly what is happening this weekend in Turkey, a very favorable scenario for Hamilton – in 2020 he took the race and was crowned seven-time world champion – and where, however, everything seems ready for Verstappen to win despite having exhibited manifestly slower than the British.
Mercedes opted to uncork the fourth combustion chamber of the Stevenage rider’s car, a change that implies a penalty of ten positions on the starting grid. This decision would condemn the options of anyone except those of Hamilton, the fastest without discussion throughout the rehearsal sessions, a sensation confirmed in qualifying, in which he certified his fourth pole position of the course and 102 of your service sheet. The World Cup leader will start eleventh once the penalty has been applied, while his direct rival will start second, just behind Valtteri Bottas, his teammate’s junior and who, on paper, should focus on building a wall in front of the Dutchman and stop him until the arrival of his leader. Mercedes prepares a fight to be aware of the superiority of its flagship in Istanbul Park and that is something that even Verstappen himself predicts: “I am sure Lewis will come to be behind me.”
On the sidelines of the fight for the crown, the sixth position of Fernando Alonso stands out in the third sieve of the timed (Q3) that will take him to the fifth, his best starting position since the Asturian from Alpine decided to return to Formula 1 Carlos Sainz, for his part, will be forced to start from the catacombs of the grid once Ferrari replaced the entire power unit of his prototype, a circumstance that will allow the Madrilenian to have the most up-to-date version of the engine.
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