Turkish Grand Prix qualifying result: Lance Stroll takes pole in unexpected rain-delayed session

Canadian driver records one of the upsets of the season as Racing Point secure first and third in qualifying with Lewis Hamilton down in sixth as he bids to win the 2020 world championship

Philip Duncan
Saturday 14 November 2020 14:19
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Lance Stroll will start Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix from pole position following one of the biggest upsets in recent Formula One memory.

Stroll and his Racing Point team excelled in the wet conditions at the Istanbul Park circuit to see off Red Bull's Max Verstappen by two tenths. Sergio Perez finished third in the other Racing Point.

Lewis Hamilton will start his bid to become a seven-time world champion from sixth on the grid. Hamilton, so often the master of the slippery conditions, was an eye-watering 4.7 seconds slower than Stroll.

Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, the only driver still mathematically in the title race, finished ninth. If the order remains that way here on Sunday, Hamilton will match Michael Schumacher's championship haul.

"I cannot put it into words right now," said Stroll, 22, who missed the Eifel Grand Prix last month through illness and subsequently tested positive for coronavirus.

f1-turkish-grand-prix-lewis-hamilton-b1722662.html">Read more: Lewis Hamilton labels Turkish Grand Prix conditions ‘s***’

"I am shocked and I did not expect to be up here. We didn't look too competitive but I am so happy now.

"I put that lap together and I was under so much pressure. I had the confidence in the car and I just nailed every corner and it is such a nice way to bounce back after a few rough weeks. It is the highlight of my career. This is what we dream about."

Verstappen has impressed all weekend on F1's first visit to the Istanbul Park Circuit since 2011 and he looked set to claim his third career pole.

The Racing Point pair weren’t exempt from the testing conditions

But Racing Point pulled off a masterstroke by putting both of their drivers on the quicker intermediate tyre for the start of Q3. Verstappen changed from the extreme wets to the inter tyres but could not match Stroll's pace.

Stroll's shock pole here ends Mercedes' run of starting from pole at every round of this Covid-disturbed campaign.

Hamilton needs to finish ahead of Bottas to be sure of the title, and although he will be staggered to be so far off the pace, the six-time world champion, who went over to congratulate Stroll, will no history still beckons for him on Sunday.

Qualifying took the best part of two hours to complete after Q1, the opening 18-minute running, was suspended on two occasions.

Max Verstappen split the two Racing Points in second place

After just 10 minutes of action, race director Michael Masi deemed the conditions were too dangerous as rain continued to lash the venue 30 miles east of Istanbul.

A 45-minute delay ensued as Bernd Maylander pounded round the track in his safety car while a truck was also sent out in a bid to remove some of the standing water.

Masi gave the green light for qualifying to resume at just before 4pm local time, but the session was suspended only three-and-a-half minutes later when Romain Grosjean beached his Haas at the opening bend.

Lewis Hamilton struggled his way to sixth place

With Grosjean's Haas removed Q1 eventually finished, one hour and 10 minutes after it started.

Both Ferraris were dumped out of Q2 with Sebastian Vettel 12th and Charles Leclerc 14th.

Stroll then provided a major upset in Q3, becoming the first Canadian pole-sitter since Jacques Villeneuve 23 years ago.

Positions after qualifying

1 Lance Stroll (Can) Racing Point 1min 47.765secs

2 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1:48.055

3 Sergio Perez (Mex) Racing Point 1:49.321

4 Alexander Albon (Tha) Red Bull 1:50.448

5 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Renault 1:51.595

6 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1:52.560

7 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Renault 1:52.622

8 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:52.745

9 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes GP 1:53.258

10 Antonio Giovinazzi (Ita) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:57.226

11 Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren 1:54.945

12 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1:55.169

13 Carlos Sainz (Spa) McLaren 1:55.410

14 Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 1:56.696

15 Pierre Gasly (Fra) Scuderia AlphaTauri 1:58.556

16 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas F1 2:08.007

17 Daniil Kvyat (Rus) Scuderia AlphaTauri 2:09.070

18 George Russell (Gbr) Williams 2:10.017

19 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas F1 2:12.909

20 Nicholas Latifi (Can) Williams 2:21.611

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PA

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