Lewis Hamilton Tops Qualifying as Valtteri Bottas Claims Pole Position For 2021 Turkish Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton topped Qualifying for 2021 Turkish Grand Prix but Valtteri Bottas inherits pole position after the Brit takes a ten-place grid penalty. 

Following a damp FP3 which saw a mixture of practice programmes play out with Pierre Gasly finishing quickest, rain lingered throughout Qualifying in the form of drizzles.

Hamilton consequently blitzed a dry Qualifying session to limit the impact of a ten-place grid penalty for an Internal Combustion Engine change as he will start the race from 11th, whilst his Mercedes teammate – Bottas inherits pole after qualifying second on the grid.

Max Verstappen meanwhile qualified third which will become a front-row start for the race due to Hamilton’s penalty as Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly round out the front two rows.

Now here is a full roundup of Saturday’s action across FP3 and Qualifying in Istanbul.

 

FP3

(Image credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Wet conditions greeted the paddock at the start of FP3 which meant a short eight minute wait before AlphaTauri sent Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda out on full wet tyres, with others soon following them onto the track.

Lando Norris initially set the pace on full wets with 1m 38.395 but Carlos Sainz soon found time to displace the Brit with 1m 37.608, as drivers soon began changing across to intermediate tyres.

Sainz further lowered his benchmark to 1m 36.299 in the 20th minute just three minutes before George Russell beached his Williams at Turn Two, having aquaplaned upon entry to the corner after lifting the throttle just too soon to cause a brief red flag.

Haas’ Nikita Mazepin meanwhile spun at Turn 11 at the very same time as Russell had his own spin into Turn Two, highlighting how tricky the track surface still is despite being water-blasted in recent weeks to prevent super-slippery conditions.

Once the session resumed with the rain having cleared, Hamilton quickly went top with 1m 33.636 but Verstappen went quicker by 1.172 seconds with 1m 32.464.

Bottas briefly displaced Verstappen in the 36th minute with 1m 31.996 but Verstappen responded by going 0.953s quicker, as numerous drivers decided to do long-run qualifying simulations on intermediates consisting of a quick lap followed by cooldown lap before another flier and so on.

Hamilton meanwhile chose to curtail his session with 20 minutes left with weather conditions for Qualifying expected to improve considerably on the morning’s session.

In the end, Gasly emerged fastest with 1m 30.447 ahead of Verstappen and Sergio Perez as Carlos Sainz finished fourth ahead of Leclerc and Fernando Alonso, who both had wide moments at Turns Nine and One respectively during the session.

Position Driver Team Time 
1 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 1m 30.447
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull + 0.164
3 Sergio Perez Red Bull + 0.237
4 Carlos Sainz Ferrari + 0.815
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari + 1.096
6 Fernando Alonso Alpine + 1.098
7 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo + 1.125
8 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri + 1.534
9 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes + 1.549
10 Esteban Ocon Alpine + 1.642
11 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo + 1.650
12 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin + 1.664
13 Mick Schumacher Haas + 1.781
14 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren + 1.823
15 Lando Norris McLaren + 1.867
16 Lance Stroll Aston Martin + 2.901
17 Nikita Mazepin Haas + 2.978
18 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes + 3.189
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams + 5.234
20 George Russell Williams No Time Set

 

Qualifying

Q1

A frantic dash for the pit exit ensured at the start of Q1 as FIA announced a 100% probability of rain which caused mayhem during the opening laps, as Sainz and Verstappen suffered spins at Turn One whilst Bottas set the initial pace on 1m 27.173 as the rain failed to materialise other than minor drizzles.

All drivers though were fuelled for the entirety of Q1, which meant that times continued to tumble with Hamilton ultimately emerging fastest with 1m 24.585, as the bottom five at halfway point compromised of; Esteban Ocon, Kimi Raikkonen, Mick Schumacher, Nikita Mazepin and Sainz.

Eventually, Raikkonen and Mazepin failed to escape the elimination zone as the checkered flag fell – finishing as the two slowest drivers behind Daniel Ricciardo, Nicholas Latifi and Antonio Giovinazzi amongst the Q1 exits.

 

Q2

Hamilton and Bottas led the field out with the majority opting for the medium tyres- except for Yuki Tsunoda who opted for the soft tyres.

Bottas went for an immediate flier unlike some other frontrunners who chose two warmup laps and set the initial benchmark of 1m 24.142 ahead of Alonso and Gasly.

Hamilton though found himself top at the halfway point after posting a 1m 23.595 as the elimination zone compromised of; Sebastian Vettel, Lance Stroll, Schumacher, Russell and Sainz.

Come the checkered flag, only Stroll survived despite running wide at Turn One on his final lap as Vettel qualified 11th ahead of Ocon, as Russell missed out on Q3 after running wide out of the final corner on his final flier with Schumacher and Sainz rounding out the Q2 eliminations.

Sainz though will start from the back of the grid after taking a fourth power unit this weekend, as Leclerc recovered from a mid-session spin to reach Q3.

 

Q3

Hamilton is first out on track as everyone switch back to fresh soft tyres except for Perez who is on a old set of the soft tyres, having taken another fresh set of the compound in Q1.

Bottas though benefitted from the slipstream of Hamilton as he posted 1m 23.071 to go top by 0.022s as Verstappen found himself third ahead of Gasly and Perez to round out the provisional top five in front of Alonso, Norris, Leclerc, Tsunoda and Stroll.

Hamilton however decided to head out for his final run alone consisting of two fliers with four minutes left and moved onto provisional pole with 1m 22.868 on his first effort.

Nobody else though could better his lap time as Bottas settled for second which becomes pole once Hamilton’s ten-place penalty is applied, with Verstappen joining Bottas on the front row ahead of Leclerc, Gasly, Alonso. Perez, Norris, Stroll and Tsunoda.

Position Driver Team Time 
1* Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m 22.868
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes + 0.130
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull + 0.328
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari + 0.397
5 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri + 0.458
6 Fernando Alonso Alpine + 0.609
7 Sergio Perez Red Bull + 0.838
8 Lando Norris McLaren + 1.086
9 Lance Stroll Aston Martin + 1.437
10 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri + 1.500
11 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1m 24.795
12 Esteban Ocon Alpine + 0.047
13 George Russell Williams + 0.212
14 Mick Schumacher Haas + 0.405
15** Carlos Sainz Ferrari No Time Set
16 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1m 25.881
17 Nicholas Latifi Williams + 0.205
18 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo + 0.549
19 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo + 1.644
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas + 2.568

* Lewis Hamilton will start from 11th on grid after taking a ten-place grid penalty for changing his Internal Combustion Engine.

** Carlos Sainz will start from 20th on the grid after taking a fourth power unit this weekend.

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