We just witnessed history during last weekend's Turkish Grand Prix. Not only did Formula 1 return to Instanbul Park, but Lewis Hamilton also clinched his seventh World Driver's Championship title. That puts him on par with Michael Schumacher, which took his seventh way back in 2006.
While it looked like a forgone conclusion early in the season, the Turkish Grand Prix was a tough one for Hamilton and the rest of the field. It was a rainy weekend on a track that hasn't seen action in a long time. It forced many to take it gingerly around the course, and it seemed that Hamilton would have to wait another race weekend to clinch the title.
He started the race in sixth but rose to third after a perfectly-timed launch. Hamilton looked poised to grab the lead from the two Racing Point cars of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll, but a costly error saw him slide back to ninth. It was a rare slip-up by Hamilton, but he quickly recovered to drive back to the front.
Fate was in favor of the British driver. He kept his head down during the race while the team elected a bold one-stop strategy. Hamilton displayed his skill in tire management and took the lead from Sergio Perez late in the race. From there, he never looked back and pulled away from the rest of the pack.
Hamilton made the win look easy, but he was hard at work preserving the life in his intermediate Pirellis. What makes this win impressive is that he placed an insurmountable lead on everyone with worn-down tires. And to emphasize how tough the race was, teammate Valtteri Bottas spun out six times in the treacherous conditions. If there are any doubts about Hamilton's skill, the race is essentially a showcase of his talent. Not only did he displayed a brilliant drive in the wet, but he also showed proper tire management, and pacing.
But perhaps the most touching moment in the race was during the cool-down lap. An emotional Hamilton burst into tears as he stamped an indelible mark in the sport's record books. And Formula 1 fans had a lot to say about Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who was the first to congratulate Hamilton on the feat. Plus, it was nice to see Vettel stand on the podium after a disappointing 2020 campaign.
With 94 wins, 97 pole positions, 163 podiums, and 3,738 career points (and counting), Hamilton is Formula 1's most successful driver in terms of statistics. He smashed the wins, poles, podium, and points record after 13 years in the sport. The only one that's left to beat is the championship tally. With the way Mercedes-AMG runs the team, combined with Hamilton's talent, we might see the eighth title by next year.