Andy Murray believes the time is right for seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton to be knighted.

Britain's two-time Wimbledon champion was given the honour at the height of his career, with the announcement made in December 2016.

And although Murray feels sport stars should perhaps not be at the front of the queue for such recognition, Murray sees Hamilton as an outstanding candidate based on his driving prowess.

The 35-year-old Mercedes superstar has just wrapped up another championship, matching Michael Schumacher's record haul of titles and overtaking the German great for the most race wins in F1.

Reports have claimed Hamilton will be made a knight in the New Year Honours, following in the footsteps of fellow British motorsport greats Jackie Stewart and the late Stirling Moss.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Murray said: "I'm not necessarily all for sportspeople being given knighthoods for what we do.

"But in terms of what he's achieved as an athlete, of course he deserves it. As a sportsperson, he's one of the most successful sportspeople in the history of the country.

"He's an amazing, amazing driver, he supports some great causes as well, away from the racing track.

"So yeah, I would say he definitely deserves it in terms of his achievements."

Speaking to presenter Piers Morgan on the ITV breakfast show, Murray was reminded that Hamilton is also a fan of Premier League football club Arsenal.

Murray and Morgan are also supporters of the Gunners, and the Scot joked that Hamilton's choice of team also justified royal recognition.

"That's a good reason to give him one as well," said Murray.

David Coulthard believes Michael Schumacher would be "staring in the eyes of his equal" in the form of Lewis Hamilton if they had driven in the same Formula One era.

Hamilton matched Schumacher's record of winning seven F1 world titles in style with a victory at the Turkish Grand Prix last weekend.

The Brit had already made history when he surpassed Schumacher's tally of 91 F1 victories in Portugal last month and has gone on to take his haul to 94 in another dominant season.

Mercedes driver Hamilton is also all-time leader for poles (97), podiums (163) and points (3,738).

Coulthard thinks the 35-year-old deserves to be talked of in the same breath as legendary German Schumacher.

He told Stats Perform News: "There is no question that if Michael was still racing today, at his prime, he would be staring in the eyes of his equal [Hamilton].

"Because I think Michael is exceptional and I think Lewis is exceptional. And I think the way that he won his championship in Istanbul was the perfect way to show how good he is.

"Coming from sixth on the grid, in very difficult conditions and to win by what was quite a big margin in the end.

"So there should be no doubt in anyone's mind that he is the real deal and not only is he one of the best drivers of his generation, arguably he is one of the best drivers in the history of the sport."

While Mercedes have been in a league of their own yet again in 2020, Ferrari have endured a miserable season, languishing sixth in the constructor standings, but Coulthard believes they will come good.

He added: "It is obviously very disappointing this year for Ferrari fans around the world, and of course very disappointing for Ferrari themselves.

"But they recognise that they have obviously had some issues, and the feedback they were getting from their development, the CFD [computational fluid dynamics], the wind tunnel, and what has actually happened out on the racetrack.

"There has also been a clarification on the engine which means that they haven't been able to extract the same performance. But in Charles Leclerc they have an exceptional young driver, they have got Carlos [Sainz] coming there. What I think is actually a bit confusing is the drop-off in performance of Sebastian Vettel, which you just wouldn't expect from a driver of that quality.

"But it is what it is, Ferrari will be back in the future, next year's regulations are small changes, but they could be significant in terms of what happens around the rear of the car, aerodynamically.

"I believe Ferrari have a new engine in development which should hopefully bring them forward. So in the same way that they were dominant for a period with Michael [Schumacher], and then Red Bull were dominant, now Mercedes are dominant - every cycle comes to an end, and Ferrari will be back."

Lewis Hamilton completed a history-making seventh Formula One title triumph with victory in Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix.

Like the greats Hamilton now counts himself among, the Briton demonstrated his mastery of wet conditions at Istanbul Park.

He is now level on seven world championships with Michael Schumacher, having won six in the past seven seasons as part of a run of ongoing dominance with Mercedes.

After the race, Hamilton said: "To all the kids out there, dream the impossible."

The Opta numbers collected below show the scale of the fantasy the 35-year-old continues to make a reality.

MATCHING SCHUMACHER'S MARK

Schumacher won his seventh and final championship in 2004, a streak of five in a row at Ferrari that saw him surpass Juan Manuel Fangio's previous overall record of five career titles.

All but one of Hamilton's triumphs have come with Mercedes, following a dramatic initial 2008 success at McLaren.

That means he has now gone past Schumacher as the driver to have won the most F1 titles with the same team. The German's back-to-back 1994 and 1995 successes came at Benetton.

The only championship not claimed by Hamilton during his current run, 2016, was picked up by his then Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

He now has four in a row, meaning matching another Schumacher best for successive crowns comes into view next season.

WINNING RECORD

Hamilton can equal and surpass his best single-season return of 11 wins, which he recorded in each of 2014, 2018 and 2019.

Victory in Turkey was number 10 out of 14 in 2020, with three races remaining. His current win percentage of 71.43 this season is the third best of all time, behind Alberto Ascari's 75 per cent (six wins from eight races) in 1952 and Schumacher's 72.22 per cent (13 wins from 18 races) in 2004.

Sebastian Vettel matched his compatriot's 13 successes in 2013 and this is another celebrated number Hamilton could match when the dust settles in Abu Dhabi next month.

Hamilton is an all-time F1 leader in terms of career wins (94), poles (97), podiums (163) and points (3,738), having overtaken Schumacher to take top spot in all but the latter category.

DOMINANCE SPANNING DECADES

When he won his first championship in 2008, Hamilton was F1's youngest world title winner at 23 years, nine months and 26 days old. Vettel later surpassed that feat in 2010 at 23, four months and 11 days.

Title number seven has arrived with Hamilton 35, 10 months and eight days old.

The 12 seasons between his first and most recent titles is the longest span in F1 history, with Schumacher (1994-2004) and Niki Lauda (1975-1984) next on the list.

Lauda edged out Alain Prost in 1984 by half a point in the last of his wins, the only margin narrower than the single point Hamilton beat Felipe Massa by in 2008.

He does not deal in such slender differences nowadays. The 110-point advantage he has over Bottas at present stands as Hamilton's biggest personal margin over the driver in second place.

Vettel still holds the most processional title win, going back to 2013 when his Red Bull was 155 points better off than runner-up Fernando Alonso's Ferrari.

Sebastian Vettel said he was happy to witness Lewis Hamilton win an historic seventh Formula One title on Sunday.

Despite qualifying sixth for the Turkish Grand Prix, a commanding drive from Hamilton saw him take the chequered flag ahead of Sergio Perez and Vettel to draw level with Michael Schumacher at the top of the all-time standings in style.

Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas needed an eight-point swing to keep the drivers' championship battle alive for at least another round, but a costly spin on the first corner gave Hamilton an opportunity he never looked likely to pass up and the Finn could only finish 14th.

Vettel was once tipped to be the man to get closest to Schumacher's record, having won four consecutive championships from 2010 to 2013, but he was happy to congratulate his old rival on a momentous achievement.

"He drove fantastically well," Vettel told Sky Sports. "In all fairness, it's a good result for us but it's his day if you make history like that. The first thoughts go to him really.

"It's a massive achievement. I'm happy I can witness [it] first-hand."

Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who finished sixth to close the gap to second-placed Bottas in the driver standings to 27 points, said: "It was pretty obvious of course that he was going to win it, but it's incredible. Very strong driver, of course also today, and he's I guess now the greatest driver in Formula One in terms of stats.

"A great result for the whole team as well, they have been so dominant. They definitely deserve it."

Renault's Daniel Ricciardo added: "I saw him for the first few laps, and I was like, 'maybe we'll be okay today' – but then he nearly lapped me!

"To finish the season three races before the end with the title in a shortened season, it's domination. What can I say? Another one, seven times, so big congrats to Lewis."

Hamilton, who has 10 race wins to his name in 2020, needs just one more victory to equal his best return for a single season - which he chalked up in 2014, 2018 and 2019.

He could reach the all-time record of 13 in a season achieved by Schumacher in 2004 and Vettel in 2013.

The 35-year-old is just six away from 100 race wins, three short of a century of pole positions, and has recorded 163 podium finishes in his astonishing career.

Lewis Hamilton will not lose any motivation after matching Michael Schumacher's record of seven Formula One titles, according to Mercedes chief Toto Wolff.

Despite qualifying sixth for the Turkish Grand Prix, Hamilton secured a phenomenal victory in tricky conditions to open up an unassailable 110-point lead over team-mate Valtteri Bottas – who spun five times and finished 14th – with three races remaining.

The 35-year-old stayed out on his first set of intermediate tyres while others pitted for a second set – including leader Lance Stroll, who ended up slipping to ninth – and was therefore better placed to deal with the drying conditions.

Hamilton is yet to sign a contract extension to remain at Mercedes next season but said after the race he hoped to continue his career with the Silver Arrows.

Wolff believes it is his relationship with the team that makes results like the one at Istanbul Park possible and he does not envision Hamilton resting on his laurels after his latest success.

"It shows how he's capable of coping with the situation that went against him at the beginning - and he was the only one who kept it on the road and that is the difference today," Wolff told Sky Sports.

"We have a really great relationship which has grown over all these years. The team is 100 per cent behind him and he's 100 per cent behind the team. This is why these days, where it was really difficult, he still managed to pull it off against all odds.

"He was as hungry as a lion, driving on a car with slicks at the end, with the risk of rain. I don't see any motivation stopping.

"This year has been very, very special, in difficult circumstances for everyone around the world. I hope that we've entertained and that's why coming on top after such a year in such a tough race, it's exceptional."

Bottas needed to score eight more points than Hamilton to keep the title race alive but he lost control on the opening corner, which proved to be one of five spins as his challenge ended with a whimper.

"He [Hamilton] deserves it fully. He was better overall. It is really good for him. I will try to beat him next year," said Bottas.

"That was a long race, such a long day. At the start everything went wrong. Someone in the first corner spinning and I had a contact.

"The car was not the same anymore. I struggled to stay on track. It was survival."

An emotional Lewis Hamilton sent out a warning to the Formula One grid after clinching a record-equalling seventh world title, saying: "I feel like I'm only getting started."

The Mercedes driver drew level with Michael Schumacher on seven F1 titles after winning a dramatic Turkish Grand Prix, in which he produced one of his greatest drives.

Hamilton only qualified sixth and navigated a tricky start in wet conditions before mastering Istanbul Park as it started to dry, pitting just once for intermediates and effectively turning them into slicks as those that took a fresh set of the tyres struggled.

It was Hamilton's 10th win of the season and sent him 110 points clear of team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who spun five times and finished 14th, with three races remaining.

The Briton has now topped the podium with Mercedes 73 times, breaking Ferrari great Schumacher's record for the most wins with a single team.

Hamilton is yet to sign a contract with the Silver Arrows for 2021 but is keen to reach an agreement and help the team achieve even more success.

"I feel like I'm only getting started. I feel physically in great shape. This year has been a challenge that I didn't know how to get through, but with the help of people around me I managed to just keep my head above water and stay focused," said Hamilton.

"I'm really hopeful for a better year next year and I would love to stay. I feel like we've got a lot of work to do here, we've only just started our work to make ourselves accountable. I want to help Formula One, I want to help Mercedes in that journey."

He added: "I know I often say it's beyond my wildest dreams... but I think my whole life I have secretly dreamt as high as this. It felt so far-fetched.

"I remember watching Michael winning the championships, and just to get one, or two, or three - it's so hard to get. Seven is just unimaginable. What a day. There's a lot to take in."

Hamilton got up to third at the start but was back down in sixth before the end of the first lap.

Pole-sitter Lance Stroll looked set to seal victory until being pitted from the lead for fresh intermediates, which he said immediately started graining as he slid down to ninth.

Mercedes wanted to pit Hamilton with three laps remaining due to a threat of rain, but he went against their orders having learned from prior experience.

"I thought the race was falling through my fingers but I just kept my head down and kept believing and thought I'd pick up pace at some stage - and that's what I did," he said.

"There was a point Seb [Sebastian Vettel] was pulling away from me and I couldn't figure out what it was at the time. I went through the real rough phase of the graining of the tyre and the grip started to come back as the track was drying. I was improving my driving lines the whole way through the race and I started to pick up pace.

"Seb pitted and I knew that wasn't the right choice for me personally, so I decided to stay out and as the tyres got more and more slick that's what you needed. And fortunately the intermediate holds temperature. If I went out on new slicks I wouldn't have made it round. It was the best decision.

"I lost a world championship in the pitlane, I learned my lesson from 2007, that's for sure. I felt like I really had it under control and the grip was feeling good. I was going to deal with the rain if it dropped."

Lewis Hamilton clinched a record-equalling seventh Formula One drivers' title by winning an enthralling Turkish Grand Prix in wet conditions on Sunday.

Mercedes driver Hamilton started sixth needed to avoid surrendering eight points to Valtteri Bottas in order to wrap up the title after lapping the Finn, who spun on the first corner and could only finish 14th.

Hamilton now sits level with Michael Schumacher for the most championship successes and surpassed the Ferrari great's record for most wins with a single team by topping the podium with Mercedes for a 73rd time.

Racing Point's decision to pit pole-sitter Lance Stroll for fresh intermediate tyres on a drying track proved costly and they had to settle for a podium via Sergio Perez, who was second ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

Lance Stroll took a sensational pole position for the Turkish Grand Prix, a race which could see Lewis Hamilton crowned world champion for the seventh time.

Mercedes driver Hamilton leads Valtteri Bottas by 85 points with four rounds left and will equal Michael Schumacher's record of drivers' titles unless his team-mate scores at least eight points more than him on Sunday.

A thrilling wet qualifying session on Saturday has set the stage for an unpredictable race, where cold conditions and a resurfaced track could continue to trouble the drivers, while further showers are possible.

Istanbul Park is hosting its first grand prix since 2011 and on the evidence of the race weekend so far, the long wait has been worth it.

WHAT HAPPENED IN QUALIFYING

After establishing himself as the man to beat on Friday, Max Verstappen looked superb again on Saturday, topping FP3, Q1 and Q2 despite extreme wet conditions and two red flags at the start of qualifying.

But Racing Point made the inspired early call to switch to intermediate tyres in Q3 and saw Sergio Perez move into provisional pole, prompting most of the top 10 to frantically change from the full wets.

Stroll then produced an even better time than his team-mate and, while a scrambling Verstappen nudged himself back above Perez, he was 0.290 seconds behind the Canadian, who claimed his country's first pole since Jacques Villeneuve 23 years ago.

Mercedes struggled and saw their hopes of claiming pole at every race this season ended. Hamilton was sixth, 4.795s off the pace, but in a positive for his title hopes Bottas was even further behind (5.493s) in ninth.

THE STARTING GRID 

1. Lance Stroll (Racing Point), 2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
3. Sergio Perez (Racing Point), 4. Alex Albon (Red Bull)
5. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault), 6. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
7. Esteban Ocon (Renault), 8. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)
9. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), 10. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) 
11. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), 12. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
13. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), 14. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
15. Lando Norris (McLaren), 16. Carlos Sainz (McLaren)
17. Daniil Kvyat (AlphaTauri),18. Romain Grosjean (Haas)
19. Nicholas Latifi (Williams), 20. George Russell (Williams)

ISTANBUL TALKING POINTS

Hamilton has cut a frustrated figure with his Mercedes struggling in icy Friday conditions and again in the wet Saturday sessions, but he looks to be in a strong position to get the title wrapped up this weekend.

Racing Point will be dreaming big after getting two drivers in the top three and will hope for further showers allow them to remain near the front. 

Pole gave Stroll – who was relieved to keep the position after a nervous trip to the stewards – a remarkable boost after not scoring a point for five races, one of which he missed having contracted coronavirus.

But Verstappen has been the man to beat all weekend and, while initially frustrated after qualifying, he will realise he is in prime position to land a second win of the season that would give him big momentum going into 2021.

Under-pressure Albon has an opportunity to collect just his second podium, while in-form Ricciardo is eyeing his third top-three finish in the space of four grands prix.

A decade to the day of his first world title win in 2010, Vettel missed Q3 for the 10th straight occasion. Ferrari were disappointed in qualifying after looking particularly strong on Friday, but grid penalties for the two McLaren cars mean the German starts 11th with Leclerc in 12th, providing a chance for meaningful points.

WHAT THE DRIVERS SAID

Lance Stroll (pole): "It was such a crazy session – it's been a crazy day since this morning. I haven't scored a point since my podium in Monza, it's been a rough run just with incidents, COVID and so much going on. But to bounce back like this and put it on pole position is very special for me. I heard there was a chance of rain at the start of the race, so we'll see what happens. That could mix things up."

Max Verstappen (2nd): "This is the first time this year I sit here upset. I think that says it all. It was all going quite well on the wet tyres and in Q3 I was not very sure to go on inters because I felt really comfortable on the extreme [wet] tyres. The whole weekend we were first, it looked very comfortable, and then you lose out in Q3. So at the end of the day I don't care where the Mercedes is."

Sergio Perez (3rd): "I was unlucky with my final lap [and could have got pole] but it is a great result for the team and hopefully we can make it into a lot of points for us. I definitely prefer P3 [on the racing line] than P2 - at the start that will be a good difference."

Lewis Hamilton (6th): "We tried our hardest and did the best we could – that was the fastest we could go. The track feels terrible, it's just like driving on ice. I've got no idea what car I've got underneath me for Sunday. We made some set up changes [after Friday practice] and then it's been wet. If it's dry I have no idea how it's going to feel and if it's wet then I know it could feel as bad as Saturday."

Kimi Raikkonen (8th): "In the morning we struggled like crazy but we tried to make some changes and decided to do some laps in FP3 even if it was awful conditions and I think it helped a bit in the qualifying. In dry conditions we definitely wouldn't have been this high up [eighth and 10th]."

Charles Leclerc (12th): "I have no explanations, absolutely no explanations. With heavy rain in FP3 this morning, we were competitive – probably one of the fastest cars out on track. [In qualifying] we are not speaking a few tenths, we are six seconds off which is absolutely huge. I have no explanations for that. We need to understand what we are doing wrong in the rain. I hope it is going to be dry on Sunday."

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 282
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 197
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 162
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) – 95
5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 85

Constructors

1. Mercedes – 479
2. Red Bull – 226
3. Renault – 135
4. McLaren – 134
5. Racing Point – 134 (after 15-point deduction)

Lance Stroll was in disbelief after earning a stunning pole position for the Turkish Grand Prix, achieving a career dream.

With Sergio Perez third, Racing Point had a driver either side of Max Verstappen in the top three after a wet and thrilling qualifying session as Formula One returned to Istanbul Park for the first time since 2011.

Lewis Hamilton was sixth with Valtteri Bottas ninth as Mercedes' run of 14 straight poles – and their hopes of being the first team to claim every available pole in an F1 season – came to an abrupt end.

Stroll did not see Racing Point's success coming when he finished more than eight seconds behind Verstappen in FP3 earlier on Saturday.

The Canadian's success came after a run of five grands prix where he has not scored a point, including the Eifel Grand Prix where he had to withdraw after testing positive for coronavirus.  

"I can't really put it into words right now - I'm shocked," said Stroll.

"I didn't expect to be up here after FP3. There were a lot of things we weren't sure about coming into qualifying and we didn't look that competitive in FP3. 

"I'm so happy right now, I put that lap together at the end and I was under a lot of pressure.

"I only had one lap to do there at the end because we started on the wet tyre and then boxed for inters. Valtteri spun in front of me - so I had one lap at the end and I had the confidence in the car. 

"I nailed pretty much every corner and pieced it together. Such a great way to bounce back. Since Mugello, it has been a pretty rough ride for me so it feels good. Feels really good right now.

"I knew [Perez] was up there at the front. Listening to my engineer, he was giving me feedback about where we were. Once I got on the inters, I knew we were in good shape.

"The car was pretty hooked up for these conditions. To put it on pole is a special moment for me - one of the highlights of my career. We dream about these moments growing up."

After his interview, Stroll was called to speak with race stewards, with all Q1 laps being reviewed due to the times recorded under yellow flags which were out towards the end of the session, opening the possibility of changes to the result.

Verstappen had topped all three practice sessions as well as Q1 and Q2, only to be denied at the end as the Racing Points thrived on intermediate tyres as track conditions began to improve.

The Red Bull driver said: "In Q1 we tried to go out on the inters but we had no grip. 

"The track was a lot better in Q3, but for us the inters were horrible and the extreme [wet] tyres were good for us, very comfortable. 

"Overall, not good. At the moment I'm just a bit disappointed but of course there's still a race on Sunday and we can do well.

"When you are first all the time and come out second it's not what you want to do. I just hope we have a good race."

Perez was on provisional pole before being surpassed by Stroll and Verstappen, but seemed happy with third place which will see him start on the racing line.

"I definitely prefer P3 than P2 - I think at the start there will be a good difference," he said.

"A good result for the team, something we were not really expecting. Very pleased. It was a good call [to go on the inters in Q3] and we are in a great position now."

Lewis Hamilton insists his qualifying position of sixth for the Turkish Grand Prix is an improvement and stated "this track feels terrible" after another difficult session for Mercedes.

The Briton will start Sunday's race in sixth, three places ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas who he needs to avoid being outscored by eight points to clinch a record-equalling seventh Formula One world title.

Lance Stroll instead took a shock pole as Mercedes saw an end to a qualifying dominance that had seen one of their drivers start from first place in each of the previous 13 races this season.

On Friday, Hamilton described the Istanbul Park track as like an "ice rink" during a tough day of practice and was content with his qualifying performance.

Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: "Have you not been watching all weekend? I was 20th before this, so this is an improvement!

"There isn't any grip at all. I don't really know what to say. We did the best we could and that was the fastest we could go. The track feels terrible, it feels like driving on ice.

"For whatever reason, some people can get the tyres going a little better than us. Ultimately, we are all struggling out there, but some are better than others.

"I did the best I could, I didn't spin and I didn't really make any mistakes, so I'm generally happy. I did everything I could with what I had."

The wet conditions in Turkey did little to aid the Mercedes cause, something Bottas alluded to after qualifying.

"Getting the tyres to work, and getting heat into the tyres has been the story of the weekend so far," said Bottas. "And even worse in the wet today.

"We tried everything we could but in the end, when we went for the intermediates in Q3 we only had two laps left and that was never going to be enough to create enough tyre temperature.

"Other teams are doing a better job in that area."

Stroll was called to speak with race stewards after qualifying, with all Q1 laps being reviewed due to the yellow flags which were out towards the end of the session, leaving the possibility of changes to the result.

Lance Stroll claimed the first pole position of his Formula One career in a stunning upset in wet conditions at the Turkish Grand Prix, ending Mercedes' dominance in qualifying this year. 

Racing Point driver Stroll edged out Max Verstappen by 0.290 seconds after the Red Bull man had been fastest all weekend, topping every practice session as well as Q1 and Q2. 

Sergio Perez was third after holding provisional pole until the final seconds of a thrilling Q3, while Alex Albon and Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top five. 

Mercedes had taken pole in all 13 races in 2020 - and 14 in a row dating back to last season - but Lewis Hamilton had to settle for sixth on the weekend he could win the world championship, with Valtteri Bottas coming ninth. 

Lewis Hamilton labelled Friday practice at the Turkish Grand Prix as "a disaster" and like driving on an ice rink after Max Verstappen emerged from both sessions in first place amid testing conditions.

Cold temperatures and a recently resurfaced track combined to produce multiple spins in FP1 to begin the first grand prix weekend at Istanbul Park since 2011.

Verstappen topped the opening session ahead of team-mate Alex Albon as the Red Bull appeared to adapt best, with Charles Leclerc in third.

FP2 saw the track improve as drivers recorded significantly quicker times, with leading laps more than seven seconds faster, though once again it was Verstappen who came out on top.

The Dutchman was 0.401 seconds clear of the pack as Leclerc took an impressive second for Ferrari, with Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton and Albon rounding out the top five.

Hamilton was 0.850s slower than Verstappen and knows he has work to do ahead of a weekend where he has the chance to win a record-equalling seventh drivers' championship.

"It was a bit of a disaster, to be honest," said Hamilton. 

"It's like an ice rink out there so you don't get quite the enjoyment of the lap you would normally get from Istanbul. I don't see that changing.

"The track is worse than Portimao was when we had the new surface there, so for us at least, the tyres aren't working, and you see it.

"It is terrifying the whole way around, it is almost like there are wet patches all over, so you are on your slicks and accelerating and then [like a snap] it goes so fast, and that is because you are way, way below the temperature window of these tyres.

"If the tyres aren't working, you don't know what the balance issues are. It's literally just tyres, but other people are starting to get them to work.

"Obviously the Red Bulls are doing really well with it and we've definitely got some work to do to figure out what we can change. We just have to try and do the best job we can."

Mercedes have claimed pole at every race this season, though, and Verstappen expects them to bounce back in qualifying.

"For sure, Mercedes will get it together on Saturday," Verstappen said.

"But overall for us it was quite a positive day, the car was working quite well, so pretty happy with that.

"Very positive [result]. It means the prep we did to get here was not bad, and also reacting to the conditions, we have done that well already in FP1, so I just hope that we can have a competitive qualifying.

"Even in FP2, it's still very low grip. We are still miles off [normal levels of grip], it's still like driving on ice."

Hamilton has won three straight races and leads team-mate Bottas by 85 points with four events left and a maximum of 104 points up for grabs, a figure which will be 78 after the race on Sunday.

Max Verstappen topped both Friday practice sessions amid testing conditions at the return of the Turkish Grand Prix.

Cold temperatures and a recently resurfaced track combined to make Verstappen compare the experience to "driving on ice" on team radio.

The slippery surface caused multiple spins for the likes of Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas and Pierre Gasly in the opening session of the first grand prix weekend at Istanbul Park since 2011.

Verstappen finished on top ahead of team-mate Alex Albon as the Red Bull appeared to adapt best, with Charles Leclerc in third.

FP2 saw the track improve as drivers recorded significantly quicker times, with leading laps more than seven seconds faster, though once again it was Verstappen who came out on top.

The Dutchman was 0.401 seconds clear of the pack as Leclerc took an impressive second for Ferrari, with Bottas, Lewis Hamilton and Albon rounding out the top five.

Hamilton, who was 0.850s slower than Verstappen, has the chance to win a record-equalling seventh drivers' championship this weekend.

The Briton has won three straight races and leads Mercedes team-mate Bottas by 85 points with four events left and a maximum of 104 points up for grabs, a figure which will be 78 after the race on Sunday.

As Red Bull, Ferrari and AlphaTauri impressed, it was a difficult day Renault, Racing Point and McLaren, who saw Carlos Sainz suffer an electrical issue.

Lewis Hamilton is "much prouder" of his work to fight for equality than he is of the prospect of winning a seventh Formula One drivers' championship.

The Mercedes driver will match Michael Schumacher as the only man to win seven titles if he avoids being outscored by eight points by team-mate Valtteri Bottas at this weekend's Turkish Grand Prix.

Hamilton has already surpassed Schumacher's record of 91 race wins in 2020 and victory in Istanbul will also take him beyond the German when it comes to wins for a single team, with Schumacher having claimed 72 for Ferrari.

While this has been a memorable year for Hamilton, the Briton is more proud of his efforts away from the track, which have seen him become a focal point for anti-racism and diversity campaigns and a strong voice in the fight against the climate crisis.

"Winning a world championship is very much a personal thing," he said on Thursday. "Naturally, you're fighting with a group of people for a championship but the drivers' one is individual and that doesn't necessarily impact people's lives.

"I think it's a much bigger and something I'm much prouder of doing the work outside, trying to improve conditions for people around the world.

"Everyone has the right to equality and quality education, equal human rights. That's the most important thing to me.

"What's important is that journey this year has been combined with the fight for equality and a real growing process this year of learning what's happening around the world and being a little bit more aware of surroundings and starting to see progress with that."

Hamilton admits he could not have envisaged matching Schumacher's haul of seven titles, particularly when he was "trundling along" with McLaren after winning his first in 2008.

In the end, a "leap of faith" in joining Mercedes in 2013 set him up for a career that, he hopes, will show people they can "dream bigger than you think you can dream".

"It was far beyond my wildest dreams thinking that anyone would get to seven," he said. "I dreamt of trying to do something that Ayrton [Senna] had done.

"Getting one world championship was great and then it was very tough obviously to get the second. And I spent years trying to help the team win another world championship. And then I had to make a big decision about whether I stay put and keep trundling along or go and do something more adventurous.

"Obviously, I took that leap of faith and then we've gone one after the other here. I really just after each one try and count my blessings because you have to be grateful for what you have, not what you might have, so that's what I generally do.

"Naturally I knew I made a very good decision, when I made the decision, I knew it was the right thing for me. But, jeez, did I know we would win six world titles? No.

"I think what it says is that in life we've got to definitely make sure we take that leap of faith. Do what you think is right for you and not what people tell you to do. Do the homework so you have the pros and cons and then go with it, and go with it all in, whether it's good or bad.

"Naturally, matching an icon like Michael, I'd be incredibly proud of that. But I think it's more the message that it sends hopefully to people – not just kids but hopefully mostly kids because they're the future – that you have to dream bigger than you think you can dream and don't let anyone tell you you can't go for that."

Lewis Hamilton is on the brink of more Formula One history as the sport prepares to return to Turkey for the first time since 2011.

The Mercedes driver will win title number seven – a feat only Michael Schumacher has achieved previously – if team-mate Valtteri Bottas does not gain eight points more than him in Istanbul.

Hamilton's only previous win at this circuit came 10 years ago but few would bet against him doubling that tally after he responded to a tricky start to take the chequered flag at Imola last time out.

Bottas still has hope of prolonging the title battle, though, while there is plenty to play for further down the field in Sunday's race, which starts at 13:10 local time (10:10 GMT).


LAST TIME OUT

Hamilton surpassed Schumacher's record for race wins in Portugal and landed victory number 93 at Imola two weeks ago.

The Briton was beaten to pole by Bottas and slipped to third behind Max Verstappen after a sloppy start, but a strong drive on medium tyres and the benefit of a timely virtual safety car saw him claim a lead he was never likely to relinquish.

Bottas held onto second despite damage to the floor of his Mercedes, but the Finnish driver has now taken just five victories from 15 pole positions and sits 85 points adrift of Hamilton in the drivers' standings.

Verstappen spun off with a puncture, allowing Renault's Daniel Ricciardo to complete the podium, although he is 67 points behind Verstappen for the season.


WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN ISTANBUL

Bottas needs an eight-point swing over Hamilton to prolong the title battle until at least Bahrain on November 29.

The Turkish Grand Prix has not been held since 2011, when Sebastian Vettel won, but it remains a popular one among the drivers. The Istanbul Park circuit combines long straights and fast cornering but, unlike Imola, offers plenty of room for overtaking.

Verstappen's customary bold approach could well pay dividends as he looks to close the gap to the top two, while just 32 points separate Ricciardo in fourth and AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly in 10th.

Mercedes might have strolled to another constructors' title, with Red Bull comfortably second, but the race for a top-three finish is heating up.

Renault are third, one point above McLaren and Racing Point, with Ferrari just 31 points further back. Williams remain the only scoreless team this season.

TOP FIVE OPTA STATS

Fast and furious – Bottas knows a win and a bonus point for the fastest lap would be enough to deny Hamilton a seventh world title... at least for now.

Pole vault – Few drivers have managed to reel in the pole-sitter in Istanbul. Only Jenson Button (2009) and Hamilton (2010) have won there without taking pole.

Renault on the right track – Ricciardo has a podium in two of the past three races but will hope to lead Renault to back-to-back top-three finishes for the first time since Australia and Malaysia in 2011 (Vitaly Petrov and Nick Heidfeld).

Clean sweep – Mercedes have taken pole at every grand prix since Abu Dhabi in 2019 (14 in a row and all 13 this season). No team have ever taken 100 per cent of pole positions in a single season.

Loyalty bonus – Hamilton is one away from surpassing Schumacher for the most race wins for a single F1 team. The German's record stands at 72 for Ferrari.
 

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 282
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 197
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 162
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) – 95
5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 85

Constructors
1. Mercedes – 479
2. Red Bull – 226
3. Renault – 135
4. McLaren – 134
5. Racing Point – 134

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