Grand Prix of Turkey – Qualifying

Maybe it’s because we’ve had a batch of great races or because the last one ended with heartbreak for NOR, but it feels like more than a two-week gap since the GP of Russia.

There’s just 2 points between HAM and VER with 6 races remaining … oh, wait – the FIA announced the much-rumoured addition of Qatar to this season’s calendar! The FIA’s “Everything you need to know about the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix” feature conveniently failed to mention the country’s human rights record; the BBC reported

Amnesty International said Qatar’s human rights record was “extremely troubling” and in a statement urged F1 to “insist that all contracts pertaining to this race contain stringent labour standards across all supply chains”. It added that “drivers and their teams should be prepared to speak out about human rights in Qatar in the lead-up to the race, doing their bit to break the spell of sportwashing and image-management”.

The addition of Qatar led to lots of fans mocking FIA’s “#WeRaceAsOne” initiative because their actions show their true priorities.

But on to Turkey.

  • First question: how did I not notice sooner that the GP of Turkey coincides with Thanksgiving weekend in Canada? 🙂
  • “Carlos Sainz is set to start this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix from the back of the grid, after receiving the new hybrid system that team mate Charles Leclerc tried out at the previous race in Sochi.” [FIA]
  • “FIA Formula 1 medical car crew to be replaced for Turkish GP after testing positive for Covid-19” [FIA]
    “The FIA say they will be replaced by Formula E’s Safety Car driver Bruno Correia and Medical Delegate Dr Bruno Franceschini.”
  • “Lewis Hamilton is set to receive a 10-place grid penalty for Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix as the championship leader has taken a new Mercedes engine at Istanbul Park.” [FIA]
    “His Mercedes W12 has been fitted with a new internal combustion engine (ICE) and exhaust – but the driver has only exceeded his allocation of new ICEs. Because he has exceeded his allocation of new engines, he’s set to receive a 10-place penalty”

Free Practice:

  1. FP1: HAM (1:24.178), VER, LEC, BOT, SAI, OCO, NOR, GAS, ALO, PER
    Apparently five drivers (HAM, SAI, VET, RIC, RUS) were permitted to use prototype FIA gloves this weekend that aim for better heat transmission protection
    Red Bull are running a special white livery in tribute to engine supplier Honda (This weekend was initially scheduled to be the Japanese GP)
    RAI ran wide in Turn 6 and had his lap time deleted… twice
    VER complained of a lack of front-end grip
  2. FP2: HAM (1:23.804), LEC, BOT, PER, VER, NOR, ALO, OCO, GAS, GIO
    BOT locked his front-left into Turn 1
    MAZ spun in Turn 8; LAT spun in T9
    STR was at the head of a walking-pace queue trying to create a gap before starting a quick lap
    GAS quipped that his arms are too short, which he later explained was a reference to the AlphaTauri’s balance issue – “I was not happy with the balance with a lot of understeer and it was just a way of explaining myself!”
  3. FP3: GAS (1:30.447), VER, PER, SAI, LEC, ALO, RAI, TSU, BOT, OCO (HAM was P18, completing only 5 laps)
    Rain before FP3 meant initial running was on full wet tyres
    As it dried, teams starting moving to inters; GAS and VER spun
    RUS spun in Turn 2, beaching his Williams and bringing out the red flags to suspend the session; at least the gravel trap kept him out of the wall
    Alfa Romeo released RAI into the path of SCH
    TSU was frustrated when he caught PER who was on a slow lap


15mins before Quali; the track is officially dry but the FIA weather forecast says 100% chance of rain during the next hour

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Air temperature 18°C; track 22°C; humidity 83%
There’s a queue of cars at the pit exit – they have a 2 minute wait for the lights to turn green
Radio for GAS, “Rain is coming”
Green light; cars roll out of the pits
SAI spins; goes to rejoin just as HAM comes through the corner
LAT 1:30.251
VER spins
HAM is fighting to keep his Mercedes pointing forwards
NOR 1:28.079
RUS 1:28.047
HAM 1:27.085
VER 1:26.692
HAM 1:26.520
BOT 1:25.913
Radio from ALO, “It’s raining”
TSU spins, off across the grass; creeps back onto the track
BOT 1:25.733
Radio from NOR, “It’s spitting more”
8mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are OCO, RAI, SCH, MAZ, SAI
LEC 1:25.727
Yellow flag – MAZ spins in Turn 1
GAS 1:25.486
Radio from HAM, wanting to put in another banker lap
Radio for VER telling him the rain is dissipating and they expect conditions to improve
5mins left; bottom 5 are GIO, STR, TSU, RAI, MAZ
HAM 1:25.050
3mins left; bottom 5 are GIO, STR, TSU, RAI, MAZ
VER 1:25.033
HAM 1:24.585
Everyone on track as it dries
MAZ spins again
Chequered flag; bottom 5 are SAI, SCH, VET, RAI, MAZ
RAI P19
VET P12, relegating GIO to P16
SCH P13, LAT P16
SAI P9, RIC P16
Back of the grid: RIC, LAT, GIO, RAI, MAZ (but remember HAM and SAI have penalties)

Qualifying session 2
Looks like the rain has stopped; cars leaving the pits on dry tyres
VER squirms as he leaves the pit lane
Everyone on track except SAI (who will start P20)
PER spins in Turn 1
HAM 1:29.687
BOT 1:24.142
A slow lap to let the tyres recover and battery recharge
VER 1:24.002
HAM 1:23.595
Radio from HAM complaining “It takes too long to get temp into these tyres, guys”
LEC spins in the final turn
5mins left of Q2; bottom 5 are VET, STR, SCH, RUS, SAI
RUS to P11
STR P7, pushing LEC to P11
HAM 1:23.082
STR runs wide in Turn 1
Chequered flag; bottom 5 are LEC, RUS, VET, SCH, SAI
RUS runs wide in the final turn
VET P10, OCO P11
LEC P7, VET P11
Middle of the grid: VET, OCO, RUS, SCH, SAI*
*Penalties to be applied

Qualifying session 3
Top 10 shootout is between HAM*, BOT, VER, GAS, ALO, PER, LEC, TSU, STR and NOR
*HAM has a 10-place penalty to be applied
Mercedes duo at the front of the queue at the pit exit
HAM 1:23.093
BOT 1:23.071
LEC P3
TSU P4
GAS P3
NOR P4
STR P8
ALO P5
VER P3
Order after first lap: BOT, HAM, VER, GAS, PER, ALO, NOR, LEC, TSU, STR
HAM heads out on his own; he’s on fresh softs
HAM 1:22.868
Chequered flag; order is HAM, BOT, VER, GAS, PER, ALO, NOR, LEC, TSU, STR
VER P3
NOR P7
ALO P5
BOT P2
STR P9
LEC P4
Radio from HAM, “Are we done?” 🙂
Front of the grid: HAM*, BOT, VER, LEC, GAS, ALO, PER, NOR, STR, TSU

Interviews:
VER: “The beginning was quite tricky with the conditions but compared to yesterday, we managed to turn it around quite well. Overall, quite a decent recovery compared to yesterday.”
BOT: “It was a good quali, was some good laps. Last lap I got some understeer but other than that, enjoyed it. I’ll focus on my own race tomorrow I think.”
HAM: “The track is completely different – the track is totally awesome with the grip levels it is giving us. Great job by the team s, impressed with the performance. Tomorrow will be difficult, but I’ll give it everything. Not the easiest overtaking, and we are all on the same tyres as well. Hopefully we can give the fans a good race.”

Provisional grid: HAM*, BOT, VER, LEC, GAS, ALO, PER, NOR, STR, TSU, VET, OCO, RUS, SCH, SAI*, RIC, LAT, GIO, RAI, MAZ
*HAM will start P11; SAI will be P20

[2021 calendar] [2021 line-up] [Points standings]

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