Formula One world championship leader Lewis Hamilton was fastest in qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix on Saturday but will start 11th due to a grid penalty with Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas on pole position.
Hamilton’s title rival Max Verstappen qualified third for Red Bull and will join Bottas on the front row at Istanbul Park on Sunday.
Follow qualifying live, below.
Join us live for the race tomorrow
That’s all for The Independent’s live coverage of qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix, but make sure to join us tomorrow afternoon for the main event as Lewis Hamilton looks to slice his way through the field to battle Max Verstappen.
For now, you can read Philip Duncan’s qualifying report from Turkey below.
The seven-time Formula One world champion delivered the quickest lap ever seen at the Istanbul Park.
Hamilton going “maximum attack” in Turkey
Hamilton, meanwhile, has only one thing on his mind ahead of lights out tomorrow.
“My eyes are still solely set on winning the race,” the seven-time world champion said. “It’s going to be hard from P11 but I’m staying on my toes and going maximum attack from the start.
“I’m just going to take it one step at a time tomorrow. It’s a long race, I have to stay out of trouble. That will be my priority initially, and then try to pick them off one by one.”
Bottas confident of keeping Verstappen behind
Valtteri Bottas on the other hand believes he has the pace to keep Max Verstappen comfortably behind at the start.
“Of course the start is always a risk, but honestly I think we have a pretty good race car,” the Finn affirmed. “As long as I don’t do a mistake I should be able to keep [Verstappen] behind.”
“Today we got try it in both conditions and with the transition of the weather. There were no surprises in the wet so the confidence is there.”
Verstappen not convinced about beating Hamilton
Max Verstappen has been giving his interview in the pen and isn’t too optimistic about beating Hamilton, never mind overtaking Bottas.
“The main problem I have is I’m starting second which is the inside and it’s low grip there,” the Dutchman explained.. We’re also lacking pace against them so it will be hard to fight [Mercedes].
“It will be hard to keep Lewis behind. We need to be realistic and see how easy overtaking is. With the track being quite green again that will be a bit of an unknown for everyone tomorrow.”
Leclerc positive about new Ferrari engine developments
Charles Leclerc has been running a new version of the Ferrari engine in the past couple of races and has been telling Sky Sports about how it has helped him in Turkey today.
“In Q3 once the track got a step better we managed to put the lap together and P3 is good,” the Monégasque driver explained. “[The new engine] is a good step in the right direction. It’s not a game -changer, it’s not going to make us win races. it’s good to see the development.
“We are very competitive this weekend on this track, and it’s good to see that, but I don’t think it will be like that at all the other races.”
Norris pessimistic about holding Hamilton back
Lando Norris qualified eighth this afternoon but will start seventh thanks to Lewis Hamilton’s penalty, but the McLaren man isn’t optimistic about holding him off for long.
“The car was not easy. We made some changes overnight but it seems like the others had more to unlock. P8 doesn’t sound very good or feel very good but I have to be happy with that.
“So yeah, start P7 but probably not for long. [Lewis] will pass me within a couple of laps. I’m just realistic, I’m not a dreamer.
Horner talks Mercedes pace and engine problems
Horner believes that Hamilton and Mercedes are looking especially strong around Istanbul Park.
“Lewis has looked the quickest he’s looked all year here,” he declared. “The Mercedes is hooked up on this circuit so he’s going to be coming through pretty quickly. We’ll see how we pan out.”
On possible engine penalties for Verstappen or Perez in future, Horner was non-committal.
“There’s a still a third of the championship left to go. We took the penalty last race and it’s great for Honda to have four cars in the top ten.”
Horner talks Red Bull strategy to beat Mercedes
Red Bull boss Christian Horner is next up and firstly talks about Sergio Perez’s lowly seventh-place finish in qualifying.
“Checo is very disappointed,” he said. His last run on the softs didn’t come together. We need to understand that but the strategy we’ve picked for him tomorrow should help him move up.
The best route to beat Mercedes is to finish above them so we’re concentrating on our race and trying to maximise the points for both drivers. Hopefully we’ll be closer to them in the race than over one lap.”
Wolff explains Hamilton engine change and talks fun of Red Bull fight
Wolff has also been explaining the engine change for Hamilton this weekend, saying: “We are not looking at stock-piling good engines and taking penalties for that. We have seen some gremlins over the course of the season so we would rather a good new engine. Probabilities always matter in life.”
The Mercedes chief is also relishing the fight with Red Bull.
“It’s been seven years that we have been able to set the benchmark. This year it’s much tougher. We enjoy the fight. That is advantageous in that situation. We have two strong drivers and I’m looking forward to the next seven races. I’m looking forward to it. It’s sport, we’re not talking about politics. We have nothing at all to prove. We have set our records, we want to add to them because we’re ambitious.”
Wolff refuses to talk up Hamilton’s overtaking challenges
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has been talking to Sky Sports about Lewis Hamilton’s chances in tomorrow’s race.
“Progress will be a tough one,” the Austrian said. “Yesterday in the long run but yesterday in a long run we were behind a Haas and a Williams and we couldn’t get close. Strategy could be the key.”
“Valtteri wants to win the race and the Red Bulls haven’t been so competitive this weekend.”
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