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Formula 1

Penalised Hamilton tops Turkish GP qualifying, Bottas on pole

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
4 min read

Valtteri Bottas has taken pole position for Formula 1’s Turkish Grand Prix, with his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton quickest in qualifying but forced to serve a penalty.

A 10-place grid drop for Hamilton was announced after he’d taken a fresh power unit for the Istanbul Park race, meaning the best he could hope to get from qualifying was an 11th-place start.

And that was exactly what he got, trailing Bottas by 0.002s after the first runs in Q3 but going for an early second run and moving two tenths clear.

Though Bottas improved with his second attempt, he was still 0.130s off Hamilton at the chequered flag.

Hamilton’s main title rival Max Verstappen placed third, three tenths down on Hamilton, but will share the front row with Bottas.

The second row will belong to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc – who nearly jeopardised his progression into the final segment with a spin in Q2 but then delivered late on in Q3 – and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly.

Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez, who looked to be towing the Dutchman in Q3, could only place seventh, and will share row three with Fernando Alonso (Alpine), who was two tenths quicker.

The Q3 order was completed by Lando Norris (McLaren), Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) and Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri), Tsunoda having shrugged off an early Turn 1 detour to secure the fourth Q3 appearance of his troubled rookie season.

Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel was the highest-placed driver eliminated in the second segment, struggling in the first sector in particular and dropping two tenths overall relative to team-mate Stroll even despite Stroll ruining his final Q2 attempt with an off at Turn 1.

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon was likewise out, well-beaten by Alonso, while Williams man George Russell ruined a potentially Q3-worthy lap by twitching wide at the final corner. While Vettel has benefitted from Hamilton’s penalty, both Ocon and Russell are due to line up right behind.

Mick Schumacher was slowest among those to attempt a lap in Q2, but had already impressed big-time by progressing into the second segment for the second time in his rookie campaign with Haas.

While the track was dry for the start of the first segment, the looming threat of immediate rain made the opening minutes of Q1 much more hectic than usual, as drivers jostled for position and tried desperately to get their tyres up to sufficient temperature to run a competitive pace.

But after several minutes of off-track moments and track limits laptime deletions, the rain only materialised as a smattering of sprinkles, and the list of those eliminated was ultimately fairly conventional – save for the driver in 16th place, Daniel Ricciardo.

Ricciardo, whose recent form had been improving, was caught out by a flurry of last-second improvements, with a lap from Carlos Sainz – destined to start from the back of the grid due to engine changes and having a spin at Turn 1, but then managing to do a big favour to his Ferrari team in hindering main rival McLaren – consigning Ricciardo to a Q1 exit.

Also out in Q1 were Williams driver Nicholas Latifi, the Alfa Romeo duo of Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen – with Giovinazzi outpacing Raikkonen by nine-tenths – and Haas rookie Nikita Mazepin.

Mazepin particularly struggled to navigate Turn 1 late on, spinning on one lap and dipping his tyres into the gravel in the run-off on another, and this left him a mammoth three seconds down on Schumacher.

Qualifying Results

Pos Name Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m24.585s 1m23.595s 1m22.868s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m25.047s 1m23.579s 1m22.998s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m24.592s 1m23.732s 1m23.196s
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m24.869s 1m24.015s 1m23.265s
5 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1m24.704s 1m23.817s 1m23.326s
6 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 1m25.174s 1m23.914s 1m23.477s
7 Sergio Pérez Red Bull-Honda 1m24.963s 1m23.961s 1m23.706s
8 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1m25.138s 1m24.642s 1m23.954s
9 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m25.511s 1m24.601s 1m24.305s
10 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda 1m25.409s 1m24.054s 1m24.368s
11 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m25.787s 1m24.795s
12 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1m25.422s 1m24.842s
13 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1m25.417s 1m25.007s
14 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 1m25.555s 1m25.2s
15 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1m25.177s
16 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 1m25.881s
17 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1m26.086s
18 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m26.43s
19 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m27.525s
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari 1m28.449s
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