Max Verstappen will start the Turkish Grand Prix from second place, after championship rival Lewis Hamilton gets demoted from pole to eleventh with an engine penalty. Red Bull Racing team-mate Sergio Pérez lines up sixth at the Intercity Istanbul Park Circuit.
Verstappen did well in qualifying to recover from what has been a tricky weekend for the Dutchman. Qualifying didn’t get off to the greatest start either with Verstappen spinning during Qualifying One, with the track being slippery due to morning rain.
Nevertheless Verstappen regained his composure and had a strong remainder of qualifying, with the reward for his hard work being a front row start for Sunday, where he will be looking to regain the championship lead. Verstappen may even be hoping for rain, after being quick during the wet Free Practice Three.
“I am of course happy with third and starting on the front row tomorrow. We improved a little bit from yesterday and the balance is a bit better but overall this weekend has been a bit more difficult.
“I hope for a clean getaway tomorrow but starting on the inside will be tricky, as there is very low grip in both dry and wet conditions compared to the outside, so we are expecting to lose out there slightly. We also need to consider the gap behind us, it’s much tighter than usual. We’ll aim to make the best of it and try everything we can tomorrow to keep the Mercedes behind but it’s not going to be easy, they’ve had great pace all weekend.”
“We are up for the challenge” – Sergio Pérez
Sergio Pérez has a lot of work to do on Sunday if he wants to challenge for the podium, the Mexican starts the race from sixth with the likes of Charles Leclerc, Pierre Gasly and Fernando Alonso all qualifying ahead of the Red Bull driver.
Despite his disappointing starting position, Pérez has actually shown good pace throughout the weekend, at times even faster than Verstappen. The Mexican has his eyes set on a podium finish and believes he can achieve this with a good strategy.
“We are showing good progress and I think we should be able to continue that into race day. With the mixed conditions in Q1 we lost a set of new softs, meaning we only had one set for Q3. We did a banker lap on the used softs which was a decent time and then we didn’t manage to improve as much as we wanted to on the second run, which meant we didn’t get the lap time we were looking for.
“I am feeling positive and I am looking forward to trying to get through the grid and score some good points for the Team. It is a pretty long race around here, overtaking is possible and the tyre degradation will be pretty high out there, so there is everything to play for. I believe if we can get a good clean run into turn one then we will be looking good for the rest of the race and a podium could be possible. We are up for the challenge; we have good strategy and pace.”