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Hamilton completes Turkish GP damage limitation exercise as penalty now bites

Hamilton completes Turkish GP damage limitation exercise as penalty now bites

F1 News

Hamilton completes Turkish GP damage limitation exercise as penalty now bites

Hamilton completes Turkish GP damage limitation exercise as penalty now bites

Lewis Hamilton did what he needed to do by finishing fastest in qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix.

Knowing he would be serving a 10-place penalty for taking a new engine, Hamilton had remarked after Friday practice that he needed to be on pole in order to limit the loss to F1 title rival Max Verstappen.

The seven-time F1 champion had been quickest in Q1 on a damp track on the soft tyres, comfortably fastest in Q2 on the medium compound.

Back on the softs in Q3, Hamilton surprisingly found himself 0.022secs behind Bottas after the first run but then went out early for a second lap and completed the mission by finishing quickest with a lap of one minute 22.868secs.

Hamilton now drops to 11th for the race at Istanbul Park, with Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas now starting from pole ahead of Verstappen.

Mercedes will be hoping Bottas can play his part in keeping Verstappen behind at the start while Hamilton then makes his way through the field in a bid to close in on the Dutch driver by the chequered flag.

Behind Bottas and Verstappen on the second row will be Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly, the Frenchman again producing a stellar job over one lap.

Alpine's Fernando Alonso also delivered a superb performance and he will start fifth ahead of the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez, followed by McLaren's Lando Norris, the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll and Yuki Tsunoda in his AlphaTauri.

Following a wet final practice session, the circuit had dried enough come the start of qualifying for the drivers to fit slicks, although there were numerous damp patches.

With the threat of rain in the air, and predicted to fall in the early stages, it forced all 20 to take to the track immediately in order to get in a banker lap.

Struggling to get heat into the tyres given the conditions, though, Verstappen spun through 360 degrees, Carlos Sainz slid backwards off the track and Hamilton ran wide at one point.

The upshot was that other than a few spots of rain, it failed to materialise as forecast, allowing drivers to continue on their opening sets of tyres, and when those began to fade, to make a switch late in the session.

The major casualty was McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo, who misjudged his final flying lap and was sent tumbling down the order as a number of those behind put in faster laps.

The Australian, first and fourth in the last two races in Italy and Russia respectively, now faces a fight to score heavily after quaifying 16th ahead of four of the usual suspects to drop out of Q1.

Williams' Nicholas Latifi was 17th ahead of Alfa Romeo duo Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen, while Nikita Mazepin starts last after the Russian endured three off-track moments during the session.

That quintet, however, will all shuffle up a place as Ferrari's Sainz, who only made it into Q2 with his last lap after time had expired, opted not to take part in the second run.

Ferrari has fitted the Spanish driver's SF21 with a new power unit this weekend, and so drops to the back of the grid.

It left 14 drivers, rather than the usual 15, fighting to get into the top 10, although with Mick Schumacher taking part in a Q2 for the first time this season in his Haas, there were effectively 13 fighting for a place in Q3.

Schumacher duly only managed 14th. Ahead of him were Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel in 11th, followed by Esteban Ocon in his Alpine and Williams' George Russell.

The Mercedes-bound Briton was left to rue a mistake in the final corner when poised to make it through.

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