Sky F1 favourite David Croft chatted exclusively to us ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix for our weekly In The Pit Lane feature, assessing the big storylines leading up to the race.
Crofty discusses the return to a terrific track, Max Verstappen’s form in the 2020 campaign, and the bubbling midfield battle with just one point separating three teams.
Check out what the Sky Sports F1 man has to say below.
Super Max Verstappen
DC: Look at his record this season. Every time he has finished, he has finished on the podium. Every time he hasn’t finished, there’s been a problem with the car. His consistency, in terms of racing ability, is there for all to see in the statistics.
He quite often splits the Mercedes in the races and the Mercedes is an all-dominant car that’s won the championship for the seventh consecutive year. Verstappen is once again up there competing.
Now, it’s very hard to judge him against Lewis Hamilton when they’re not in the same car, or Valtteri Bottas, but he has done nothing wrong in terms of his driving and lots of good this season. He’s taking the fight almost single-handedly to Mercedes.
I would say Verstappen is getting better year after year, and yes, he is prone to the odd outburst that he does apologise for, he has a temperament that sometimes he can come over a little too stroppy, but the red mist that we used to see from Max is slowly fading and we’re seeing, on track, a driver of huge talent but not able to consistently win races because his car is not quite as good as the one that is. The sad thing is that you want to see him winning championships.
The Midfield Melee
DC: This is a serious battle for third, it’s not about bragging rights, it’s about millions of dollars for coming third. My money, if you wanted me to put a bet, would be on Renault because they seem to be most consistent of the three teams.
Racing Point had the 15-point deduction earlier in the season and lost points last week because Perez should have been on the podium but they may the wrong call to pit him.
McLaren’s car seems to be good some days and bad some days.
Renault seem to have more consistency and it’s not a horse race, it’s a horse power race, they’re the thoroughbred charging through the field as we enter the final furlong. If you were betting in-play you would put your money on Renault.
One bad race could rule them out completely. It could come down to a fastest lap at the end of the season, which is great to watch and a bit squeaky backside time at the garages, but Renault through their hard work, consistency and Daniel Ricciardo’s amazing ability are the favourites. But like I said, all it takes is one accident and you’re suddenly 20 points behind.
Twists and Turns in Turkey
DC: I love this track. I think it was a real shame that Formula 1 stopped coming here to be honest. It’s a brilliant track, it’s one of the finest circuits.
We talk about Turn 8 and the challenges on the drivers and the G-force on the drivers. It’s going to be extreme, but the undulation, some of the tight corners that are beautifully cambered, the end to the lap where you can stay in touch with the car in front, if you haven’t got that overtake done into Turn 12 then you can pass possibly into Turn 1.
It promotes good racing and I think we’re going to see a good race on Sunday, I’m so looking forward to the return to Istanbul.
And to throw into the mix, the track has just been resurfaced. The teams have no historical data that is particularly relevant. Drivers are going to have to rely on their wits.
How to watch the Turkish Grand Prix
The race starts at 10:10am on Sunday 15th November live on Sky Sports F1.
For full TV details as well as timings of practice, qualifying and the race itself, check out our comprehensive guide to the Turkish Grand Prix.
For the full breakdown of F1 races coming up check out our F1 2020 calendar guide.
If you’re looking for something else to watch check out our TV guide.