M283498 2021 Turkish Grand Prix Friday Jiri Krenek
Valtteri Bottas will start from the pole of Sunday’s Formula 1 Turkish Grand Prix at Istanbul Park after Lewis Hamilton’s 10-spot grid penalty. (Jiri Krenek Photo)

Bottas Lands Turkish GP Pole After Hamilton Penalty

ISTANBUL, Turkey – Valtteri Bottas will start from the pole of Sunday’s Formula 1 Turkish Grand Prix at Istanbul Park after Lewis Hamilton’s 10-spot grid penalty.

Hamilton swept Saturday’s qualifying run at the 3.317-mile circuit and set a new track record in the session, but an engine change spoiled the pristine day.

Bottas’ lap of 1 minute, 22.998 seconds came just .130 seconds shy of Hamilton’s mark in wet conditions.

It would have been a front row sweep for Mercedes-AMG Petronas. For Bottas, it’s his 18th career pole position, tying him with fellow Finland native Kimi Räikkönen.

“Today was a good quali,” Bottas said. “Not easy conditions, especially in Q1, which was on the edge with the damp parts. And still in Q3 there were damp sections but I put together some good laps.

“On the final lap, I missed a little in the last sector with some understeer but other than that, the lap was really nice,” he added. “I enjoyed it and obviously as a team result, today was pretty ideal.”

Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing now joins Bottas on the front row. The driver just two points behind Hamilton in the championship race put down a lap of 1 minute, 23.196 seconds in the final session.

“Max is starting next to me and the Ferrari has looked strong this weekend, so it’ll be a tough race but we’ll give it our all,” Bottas said. “We have a good race car, I just need to keep the focus on my own race, avoid mistakes and stay ahead.

“Strategy will always play a part but I’m feeling confident and looking forward to the start and getting the job done,” he added.

Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasley will start from row two. Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez, Lando Norris, Lance Stroll, Yuki Tsunoda and Sebastion Vettel complete the top 10.

Hamilton, meanwhile, starts 11th.

“Tomorrow is going to be difficult, but I’ll give it everything,” Hamilton said. “Overtaking isn’t the easiest at the moment and we’re all on the same tyre so I imagine tomorrow is going to be difficult to move up.

“We’ve got the long straight down the back so we’ll see what we can do,” he addec. “Hopefully we can give the fans here a good race.”

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