Lewis Hamilton tops qualifying but will start 11th, with Valtteri Bottas on pole to ensure best-case scenario result for Mercedes; Max Verstappen third in shootout but starts on front row, with Charles Leclerc third for Ferrari ahead of Pierre Gasly and Fernando Alonso
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 09/10/21 3:00pm
Lewis Hamilton topped qualifying for the Turkish GP but it is team-mate Valtteri Bottas who will start on pole due to the championship leader’s grid penalty, with Max Verstappen moved up to the front row.
In a best-case scenario result for Mercedes after Hamilton’s 10-place grid drop for a new engine, the Englishman dominated the shootout and will start Sunday’s race 11th, while Bottas beat his title rival Verstappen.
Hamilton was fastest in a wet-dry Q1 and Q2 before setting a new Istanbul Park track record in Q3 – but Bottas finished just a tenth of a second off that 1:22.868 to assume pole position.
He will start on the front row ahead of Verstappen, who finished third and showed signs of improvement in a slower-than-expected Red Bull but was still 0.3s off Hamilton, the man he trails by two points in the championship.
Charles Leclerc secured a brilliant fourth in qualifying and third on the grid for Ferrari, pipping the similarly in-form Pierre Gasly and Fernando Alonso on his final lap.
Alonso however is under investigation for an alleged yellow flag offence in Q1.
Sergio Perez was only seventh in the other Red Bull, ahead of Lando Norris as McLaren struggled to replicate their form from Monza and Sochi.
Daniel Ricciardo suffered a shock exit in Q1, which saw track conditions improve from wet to almost completely dry by the end of the segment. And that wasn’t the only surprise from qualifying.
Mick Schumacher made it through to Q2 for just the second time in his F1 career in the Haas, finishing 14th in the end as he was caught out by Lance Stroll’s spin on the final laps.
That error from Stroll also affected Esteban Ocon (12th). Ocon will start Sunday’s race ahead of George Russell, who looked likely to advance to the final shootout before making a mistake of his own at the last corner.
Turkish GP Qualifying Result, top 10
1) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes*
2) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
3) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
4) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
5) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
6) Fernando Alonso, Alpine
7) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
8) Lando Norris, McLaren
9) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin
10) Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri
*has 10-place grid penalty for new ICE
More to follow…