Racing Point’s Lance Stroll stunned the field to snatch his maiden pole position ahead of the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix following a wet Qualifying thriller in Istanbul.
Max Verstappen had dominated FP3 plus chaotic Q1 and Q2 sessions but a stunningly late tyre gamble in Q3 saw Stroll produce a shock 1m 47.765 to claim pole ahead of the Dutchman who sandwiched Stroll and Sergio Perez in a 1-3 finish for Racing Point.
Rain however dominated the action so here is a full roundup of Saturday’s FP3 and Qualifying sessions as drivers continued to struggle with a slippery track which provided a proper test for all teams.
Following a heavy rain shower overnight and just 45 minutes before the session, Romain Grosjean was straight out on intermediate tyres ahead of the Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel.
Racing Point’s Sergio Perez soon found himself as the first driver to come unstuck after losing the rear on exit of Turn Seven and spinning towards the inside barrier.
Rain however returned soon afterwards as Leclerc accidentally spun Esteban Ocon round at Turn 12 when trying an inside move on the Frenchman into the corner.
Norris soon proceeded to spin at Turn Seven in a similar manner to Perez’s spin as Verstappen went top with a ultimate session best time of 1m 48.485, of which only Leclerc and Albon got close with 1.574 splitting the trio ahead of Ocon and Norris who were nearly four seconds behind Albon’s best effort.
Vettel, Perez, Valtteri Bottas, Kevin Magnussen and Stroll rounded out the top ten as just 17 drivers set a time before conditions deteriorated, leaving reigning champion – Lewis Hamilton plus the Williams pair of George Russell and Nicholas Latifi as only drivers to not set a time.
Carlos Sainz, Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi all suffered spins at Turn Two whilst trying to collect valuable data on the wet tyres in case conditions persisted into qualifying or race, although Sainz had another spin at Turn Seven like Perez and Norris did whilst Giovinazzi also spun at Turn 12 in the closing moments.
As rain rapidly descended towards the circuit, everyone was straight out on track as both Red Bull and McLaren drivers opted for intermediates, which saw Verstappen suffer a slide at Turn Nine on cold tyres whilst everyone else opted for the full wet tyres.
With everyone fuelled for the entire 18 minute session, Ocon found himself fastest when the rain arrived at a ferocious rate, forcing a 43 minute red flag due to track conditions whilst the shower passed through and track began to dry up with no further rain falling across remainder of session.
Once the session resumed with Leclerc amongst those in the elimination zone, Raikkonen and Leclerc both suffered sudden slides at Turns Two and One respectively just before Grosjean beached his Haas in the gravel at the first corner after sliding out of Qualifying to trigger another red flag.
Luckily, the Frenchman’s car was quickly removed but Kvyat suffered a spin at that very corner when starting his final lap, only for Latifi to also spin later that flag and trigger yellow flags under which several drivers improved their times and were made to see the Stewards post-session.
Norris ultimately was the only driver hit with a five place grid drop post-session for ignoring yellow flags.
Latifi consequently qualified as the slowest car and was eliminated alongside Grosjean, Russell, Kvyat and Magnussen, although Russell will start at the back of the grid due to power unit penalties.
Verstappen meanwhile topped Q1 with a 1m 57.485 as the Dutchman continued to set the pace around this track.
In a bizarre move, Stewards begun Q2 whilst marshals were still removing Latifi’s stricken car albeit with no incidents as McLaren’s intermediate tyre gamble backfired with both Norris and Sainz struggling for grip, despite Norris seeing his first timed lap of a 2m 00.633 deleted after marginally exceeding track limits at Turn Six.
Verstappen meanwhile blitzed this session with an eventual 1m 50.293 whilst both Ferrari drivers struggled throughout and found themselves just ahead of both McLarens in the bottom five as Pierre Gasly sandwiched Norris and Sainz, although eventually it would be Norris who missed out in 11th ahead of Vettel, Sainz, Leclerc and Gasly.
Both Alfa Romeo cars meanwhile reached Q3 for the first time this season underlining their potential in wet conditions, which could be key if the race is ran in similar if not worse conditions.
Post-session, Sainz was hit with a three place grid penalty for impeding Perez towards the end of the session.
Like Q1 and Q2, remaining drivers were fuelled throughout entirety of Q3 as a majority opted for full wet tyres with Verstappen going quickest on a 1m 52.326 ahead of Albon but Perez opted for Intermediate tyres and produced a 1m 52.037 to take provisional pole, triggering a mass dash to the pit lane for several drivers as all but Ricciardo and Raikkonen who finished fifth and eighth respectively.
Verstappen found himself stuck behind Raikkonen after his stop and struggling for grip but managed to go second and split the two Racing Points until Stroll produced a late lap to claim his first pole position in F1 with a 1m 47.765, as Verstappen fell 0.290s short to deny Racing Point an one-two finish.
Stroll also become the first Canadian to claim pole position since Jacques Villeneuve at the 1997 Canadian Grand Prix.
Albon finished fourth ahead of Ricciardo, Hamilton, Ocon , Raikkonen, Bottas and Giovinazzi who rounded out the top ten on the grid for tomorrow’s race.
Speaking post-Qualifying on his shock pole position, Stroll admitted that he was “happy” after a tricky FP3 session, saying; “There were a lot of things we weren’t sure about coming into qualifying. We didn’t look that competitive in Q3. I’m so happy right now, I put that lap together at the end and I was under a lot of pressure.”
Stroll however survived a post-session investigation into failing to slow for caution flags during Q3 and will therefore begin the Turkish Grand Prix from pole in predicted wet conditions.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1m 48.485|
|2||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 0.945|
|3||Alex Albon||Red Bull||+ 1.574|
|4||Esteban Ocon||Renault||+ 5.412|
|5||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 5.510|
|6||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+ 6.005|
|7||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||+ 7.092|
|8||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 7.181|
|9||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 7.393|
|10||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+ 8.339|
|11||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||+ 9.990|
|12||Carlos Sainz||McLaren||+ 11.063|
|13||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 13.840|
|14||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 13.988|
|15||Romain Grosjean||Haas||+ 16.263|
|16||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+ 17.866|
|17||Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri||+ 20.883|
|18||George Russell||Williams||No Time Set|
|19||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||No Time Set|
|20||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||No Time Set|
|1||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||1m 47.765|
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.290|
|3||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||+ 1.556|
|4||Alex Albon||Red Bull||+ 2.683|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||+ 3.830|
|6||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 4.795|
|7||Esteban Ocon||Renault||+ 4.857|
|8||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+ 4.980|
|9||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 5.493|
|10||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 9.461|
|11||Lando Norris||McLaren||1m 54.945|
|12||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+ 0.224|
|13||Carlos Sainz||McLaren||+ 0.465|
|14||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 1.751|
|15||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 3.611|
|16||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||2m 08.007|
|17||Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri||+ 1.063|
|18||George Russell||Williams||+ 2.010|
|19||Romain Grosjean||Haas||+ 4.902|
|20||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 13.604|