Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Istanbul Park, 2021

Hamilton still targeting ‘pole’ despite 10-place penalty

2021 Turkish Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says he’s making no concessions to his grid penalty in his approach to qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver will start 10 places lower than he qualifies for this weekend’s race as his penalty for exceeding his maximum allocation of engines.

After heading both of Friday’s practice sessions, Hamilton said he will approach qualifying as usual in order to start as close to the front as he can after his penalty.

“I need to be on pole to limit the loss,” he said. “And then of course I need to understand the car to be able to do the best in terms of long run.

“So I’m just trying to find the right balance. It’s no real difference, I would say, to any other weekend.”

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc lapped within two-tenths of a second of Hamilton’s best time in the afternoon session. Hamilton suspects they will put up a tough fight on Sunday as he tries to move through the field.

“They’re going to be hard to pass,” he said. “As are Renault and McLaren. They seem to be improving more and more through the year.

“I don’t know where that’s coming from, whether they’re bringing upgrades, I don’t know, it’s not really my focus. But it’s good to see them getting stronger and I hope that they’re strong next year.”

Hamilton broke the 16-year-old track record in the first practice session at Istanbul Park. The track surface is “much, much different” compared to last year and giving drivers grip more like they had at its previous race in 2011, Hamilton said.

“Last year it was a brand new surface and I think the oil came up from the bitumen or whatever it is. They cleaned it off, supposedly, before so I didn’t really know what to expect when we went out there today.

“But geez, there’s so much more grip than we’ve ever had before. It’s intense how much grip there is out there, which is awesome. So it’s made it much, much more enjoyable to drive, much more like it was before.”

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2021 Turkish Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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17 comments on “Hamilton still targeting ‘pole’ despite 10-place penalty”

  1. You know he’s still going to win :)

    1. Only if he can avoid Max crashing into him once he catches Max.

      1. Max still needs to practice a lot the skill of wrecking the other guy’s car while his stays in one piece for the win, Merc honed this skill to perfection long ago

    2. That’s nothing to smile about that F1 is so uncompetetive that it doesn’t matter what position you start from as long as you drive a Mercedes.

      1. Hmm…I must be watching different series this year then.

      2. Valtteri Bottas has left the chat.

  2. I mean, of course he is. There’d be no point in just taking the ICE for a 10-place drop if he was going to start at the back anyway, you might as well just replace the whole engine.

    1. These state the obvious articles really confuse me. What’s the point in the headlines… obviously he’s still going for pole.

      How about “Hamilton plans race on Sunday” As a headline tomorrow?

      1. Please try to understand how journalism works before criticising. Hamilton was asked a question. His response was that he was still targeting pole position. Unless you expect Keith to fabricate a new quote to give a headline that you want, I’m not really sure what you were expecting.

        As for whether Hamilton plans to race on Sunday, last year we had an article saying that Steiner expected to race that year. Was that also stating the obvious?

        1. @minnis I fully understand how real journalism works. My issue is with the countless non articles. I mean be realistic, what did you learn from this one?

          Keith fabricates enough. What I’d prefer to read is actual news, not repetitive obvious articles which tell no story or provide no incite into the event. Honestly, a racing driver with the most pole positions ever going for another one really isn’t breaking news is it. If he wasn’t going to try for pole then he’d have taken more parts and started last, so it’s completely clear what his objective is.

          I can’t really comment on the Steiner article without reading it, but if it was Steiner thoughts on when F1 would start again during Covid then yes, I would consider that news worthy.

          1. Montréalais (@)
            9th October 2021, 6:41


      2. It’s always going to be mostly ‘Hamilton said’ and ‘Sainz said’ -stories here. Better get used to it. It’s a fans site site after all.

  3. It wouldn’t be a pole position after all in statistics

  4. It looks like rbr is not necessarily going to lock out the front row and run away on Sunday. If Hamilton can get a decent start, undercut his way to third or so, he could be looking for a battle with rbr for the win.

    1. Bottas will be on the front row. Next to who is the question.

  5. Of course, as his starting position would be P11, the highest possible with a ten-place penalty. Otherwise, Merc might as well exceed allocation for all PU elements (bar EX). P11, 12, 13, whatever, I expect him to recover well anyway.

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