After a wet-to-dry qualifying session at Istanbul Park for the Turkish GP, it was Lewis Hamilton who took the pole position with the time of 1:22.868s, but it will be Bottas who will start from 1st place at tomorrows race, due to Hamilton’s 10-place penalty due to a change of his power unit. The rest that completed the top 10 were: Verstappen, Leclerc, Gasly, Alonso, Perez, Norris, Stroll, Tsunoda.
The track conditions improved a little since the morning FP3 session, that has seen the track with standing water after heavy rainfall during the night and early morning, but there is a 100% chance of rain during the session. That is greatly reminiscing of the 2020 Turkish GP, in which after difficult conditions Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Perez and Sebastian Vettel completed the podium on a Sunday. Will we have a replay of that race this as well?
Before the green light in the first instalment of the session at Istanbul Park, there has been a queue already lining up at the end of pit lane. Already at that point we’ve got info from a few race engineers that the rain is coming up shortly. Many drivers left the pits immediately, to try to get a clean run before the rain begins, and soon enough the entire grid has been out. Carlos Sainz in his Ferrari had an early spin, but was able to continue without an issue. Verstappen and Hamilton had their own issues as well. In the first part of Q1, we’ve got a lot of shuffling in the front, as every driver tried to get a good lap time and possibly another run immediately after. Ten minutes before the end of that part, it was Bottas with the fastest time of 1:25.913s. After that, we shortly had a yellow flag caused by Yuki Tsunoda, but soon the track was declared clear and driver was able to continue with his session. Some drivers reported that the rain was more noticeable at that point. Mazepin had a spin, but was able to continue. Q1 finished with Hamilton, Verstappen, Gasly, Leclerc and Perez in top 5.
Drivers eliminated after the first part of the qualifying were: (surprisingly) Ricciardo, Latifi, Giovinazzi, Raikkonen and Mazepin.
The second part of the qualifying began with the premise of improving track conditions, and almost all drivers once again took it out of the garage to get the best run possible. Very fast we’ve got a yellow flag, caused by a spin of Sergio Perez, but that soon was cleared out and the Mexican continued with his run. 7 minutes before the end of Q2, it was Hamilton with the best lap time of 1:23.595s. Once again we’ve had a yellow flag, this time caused by a spin of Charles Leclerc, but the driver was able to get back on track. Stroll also had some difficulties on track, but was able to continue was well. Q2 finished with Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen, Gasly and Alonso in top 5.
Drivers eliminated after the Q2 were: Vettel, Ocon, Russell (after a mistake in the last corner), Schumacher and Sainz.
Green light for Q3 and most of the drivers left the pit lane in a train, one after another. The qualifying session in Turkey is definitely one of those where timing and track position are key. Verstappen left the garage as the last driver, and joined everybody else that was already on track. At this point in the session the sun started to peak out through the dark, rainy clouds, and we’ve seen the drivers mostly on soft tyres, with some using the medium compound. Bottas was the first one to set the most competitive time, with the lap time of 1:23.071s. After the initial first runs everybody went back to the pits.
The final top ten of the qualifying at Istanbul Park were: Hamilton (who will receive a 10-place penalty for tomorrows race due to a change of his PU), Bottas, Verstappen, Leclerc, Gasly, Alonso, Perez, Norris, Stroll and Tsunoda.
Final classification after the session:
QUALIFYING CLASSIFICATION ⏱️@LewisHamilton quickest in qualifying 🚀— Formula 1 (@F1) October 9, 2021
But @ValtteriBottas will start from pole in Istanbul due to his teammate's grid penalty 🚦#TurkishGP 🇹🇷 #F1 pic.twitter.com/YaMFkU9Lhs