WATCH: Seven is the magic number for F1 protagonists
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Johannesburg - Seven.
There are seven races left in the Formula 1 season, including this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix at Istanbul Park, and with that limited number of races comes huge expectation and immense pressure.
Most of that will fall upon Mercedes and Red Bull, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, but in the midfield there are also battles that need to be pitched and won. The main focus, however, will be on the championship contenders.
It is expected that Hamilton will be forced to install a new engine this weekend, which will drop him to the back of the grid, and hand his rival the advantage. But, as was seen in Russia, nothing is certain – there the Dutchman also took a grid penalty for a power-unit change, started from the back, and managed to fight his way to a brilliant second-place finish.
Whether Hamilton takes the penalty this weekend remains to be seen, but take it he must, if the Silver Arrows are to keep pace with Red Bull.
He has already used all the allocated engines for the season, and with so many events left, he will have no other option. The question then is when and not if it will happen – Turkey might be the best course of action to limit the immediate damage to the title chase.
Elsewhere, McLaren and Ferrari will renew their battle as best of the rest. McLaren have the upperhand at the moment, but Charles Leclerc comes into this GP with a new engine, while Carlos Sainz will want to build on his third-place finish in Russia.
We will also see how much confidence has been knocked out of Lando Norris after the young Brit made the wrong call in the closing stages in Sochi and missed out on a sure victory.
Seven … seven races remain and there is still all to race for.