The 2021 Turkish Grand Prix weekend has seen Mercedes look dominant so far. However, given how the previous year's race went, as well as some of the circumstances surrounding today's event, one can’t write off a few surprises for the race. From a track surface that continues to be unpredictable to the points leader starting from mid-pack, there's enough to shake up the order in today's race.
Mercedes rivals Red Bull Racing might not have started out on a strong footing this weekend, but that won't keep them from giving their best both on the track and in the pits.
While two points separate Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, it will be interesting to see who emerges at the top of the drivers standings post the Turkish Grand Prix. With tricky tarmac and grip conditions, both practice and qualifying were testimony to the unpredictability factor at this circuit. With that in mind, we list five eventualities which can play out in the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix.
2021 Turkish Grand Prix predictions
#1 Red Bull Racing will be stronger in the race
With the odds at stake, it is highly unlikely that the Milton Keynes outfit will not capitalize on the golden opportunity of pushing for a potential victory at the Turkish Grand Prix.
With Hamilton starting in 11th, count on Verstappen making a serious run at beating Valtteri Bottas into the first corner today. The Dutchman will be at a disadvantage starting from the dirtier side of the grid. However, he's overcome that hindrance on more than one occasion in the past. Bottas, by comparison, is known to struggle to get off the line, and that could be all Verstappen needs to take control of the lead.
In terms of pace, from what is understood, there were balance issues with the car, mostly due to the combination of the tarmac conditions and softer compound tires. Red Bull Racing drivers might have looked slightly off pace in qualifying on the Soft tires, but they could very well be competitive during the race as they progress to the harder compounds. So, a Red Bull Racing victory around this circuit can’t be written off.
#2 Alonso's first podium since F1 return
Old pro Fernando Alonso is the ultimate opportunist. A hard-nosed scrapper who never spares an inch, he could be set for a first podium finish since his return to the sport this year. Given the unpredictability factor around this circuit, and his eagerness to shine for the Alpine F1 outfit, the Turkish Grand Prix might just be his race to shine.
In qualifying, the Spaniard exhibited his unique skills of optimizing the Soft tires in the right temperature window. Starting fifth on the grid, a clean start, efficient tire management, coupled with his usually brilliant racecraft, could see him not just match his season's best finish of fourth but perhaps even a podium.