Who has most wins at F1's Turkish Grand Prix?

Jake Nichol October 5, 2021
Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

It’s the Turkish Grand Prix this weekend, but which drivers are among the winners at Istanbul Park? Who is the most successful driver and who won the world championship on Turkish soil?

Five F1 drivers Turkish Grand Prix winners

The Turkish Grand Prix first appeared on the Formula One calendar in 2005 at the purpose-built Istanbul Park circuit.

It held a continuous slot on the calendar until falling off after the 2011 race.

As many races were cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, Turkey re-appeared for the first time in nine years.

This weekend, the Turkish GP fills the slot on the calendar left vacant by the cancellation of the Singapore GP.

To date, there have been eight Turkish Grands Prix, with five different drivers on the winners list – three of whom will race this weekend.

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Massa tops Turkey win list

Between 2005-2008, the four runnings of the Turkish GP were all won from pole position.

Kimi Raikkonen took the inaugural win for McLaren-Mercedes in 2005.

The Finn was trying to play catch-up in the standings to title rival Fernando Alonso.

However, Alonso finished second behind Raikkonen – meaning he only lost two points.

Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images

For the next three years – Felipe Massa would dominate the Turkish Grand Prix.

The affable Brazilian took a maiden pole position in 2006, as teammate Michael Schumacher and Renault’s Alonso fought for the world title.

On Lap 13, the safety car was deployed and as Massa led Schumacher and Alonso into the pits.

Schumacher had to wait behind Massa whilst he was serviced allowing Alonso to ‘jump’ the German.

Ferrari had hoped to move Massa out of the way later during the race to aid Schumacher’s title push – but now could not do so.

After another round of stops, Schumacher came back at Alonso – trying to find a way past.

He failed by 0.081s as Alonso extended his championship lead by two points.

Massa became the first, and to-date, only, driver to win successive Turkish GPs as he collected further wins in 2007 and 2008.

Photo by Paul-Henri Cahier/Getty Images

Vettel loses two Turkish GP wins

In 2009, Sebastian Vettel plonked his Red Bull on pole position – and given pole had won every Turkish GP to this point, he was in a good place.

Until he reached Turn 10 on the opening lap.

A minor slip meant he ran wide, and allowed Jenson Button through for the win.

It was Button’s sixth from seven races to start the season as the Briton claimed his sole world title at season’s end for Brawn GP.

A year later, Vettel would be involved in a famous collision with teammate Mark Webber.

Vettel got a run on Webber exiting Turn 10 and through the Turn 11 kink.

He moved to the outside of Webber, which would become the inside of Turn 12 at the braking zone.

However, Vettel drifted across the track and clipped Webber – spinning both Red Bulls off the track.

The German was forced to retire as Webber pitted for repairs and would finish third.

Red Bull driver boss Helmut Marko would suggest that Webber had been at fault for the collision – something the Australian was not too amused about.

As the Red Bulls took each other off, McLaren benefited.

Drivers Button and Lewis Hamilton put on a great example of how to race wheel-to-wheel with your teammate.

Hamilton got the advantage and would take his first win of the season, and McLaren’s third.

In 2011, Vettel would dominate the final Turkish GP in its original run.

Despite a heavy Friday practice crash, he bounced back to take pole.

He only failed to lead one lap during the race, as he cruised to a third win of 11 in the campaign.

Turkish Grand Prix winners

  • 2005 – Kimi Raikkonen
  • 2006 – Felipe Massa
  • 2007 – Felipe Massa
  • 2008 – Felipe Massa
  • 2009 – Jenson Button
  • 2010 – Lewis Hamilton
  • 2011 – Sebastian Vettel
  • 2020 – Lewis Hamilton

Bottas needs Turkey miracle

A couple of weeks before the Turkish GP returned to the calendar in 2020, the track was resurfaced.

Given such a short turnaround before the grand prix, the new asphalt did not have time to set, leaving grip at a premium.

There was also rain throughout qualifying and the race.

Hamilton had dominated the season up until this point.

He just needed to out-score teammate Valtteri Bottas by six points to claim his seventh world title.

Photo by Ben Stansall/Pool via Getty Images

In qualifying Hamilton could only manage sixth as the Mercedes struggled to get heat into its tyres.

One of Hamilton’s finest drives in Turkey

At the start, Hamilton made a good getaway to run third behind Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez.

Bottas would spin twice on the first lap, all but ending his faint hopes of overhauling Hamilton.

Hamilton pitted for intermediate tyres on lap eight, the track having dried enough to get rid of the full wets.

Photo by Salih Zeki Fazlioglu/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

He would then expertly nurse the tyres the remaining 50 laps as a dry line appeared.

The Briton overtook Perez for the lead on Lap 37 and was not seen again thereafter.

He pulled out a gap of 31.633s over Perez as he won for the 94th time in F1 and equalled Schumacher’s tally of seven titles.

Bottas would spin six times in total and come home a lapped 14th.

It is one of the finest grand prix drives of Hamilton’s career.

Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

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Jake can usually be found writing about or watching anything to do with motorsport – from Formula 1 to NASCAR to British Truck Racing. His work as a motorsport journalist has been published by the likes of Autosport, Motorsport.com and Motorsport News – all highly respected names. Away from racing he is a keen amateur astronomer, podcast listener and enjoys long walks in the park with his three dogs.