Although Red Bull’s Max Verstappen topped all three free practice sessions, it was Racing Point’s Lance Stroll to emerge fastest in what was a rather challenging qualifying session for tomorrow’s Turkish Grand Prix.
Despite its thrilling, undulating, flowing and fast layout, yesterday’s practice sessions at the Intercity Istanbul Park were a shocking experience for the drivers after they found out that the two-week-old asphalt hardly provided any grip, making the driving around the 5.3km long cirucit like dancing on frozen ice.
If the new tarmac was not enough of a challenge, torrential rainshowers made today’s on-track actions even more interesting that saw Racing Point’s Lance Stroll take his maiden Formula One pole positon to become the sport’s fifth youngest pole-sitter on the list that is still led by Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc.
FerrariSebastian Vettel, 12th, 1:55.169
"We were struggling just to generate heat in the tyres, and in a situation like this I think couple of degrees makes all the difference. Unfortunately we were not able to maximize our potential and I felt the Extreme Wet was our weakest compound. I’m quite sure the car was better than P12, but not in these conditions.
"Tomorrow it will be interesting even starting from the midfield, because the situation with this track surface is something we haven’t seen before, apart from maybe in Austin in 2012, when the asphalt was new. Yesterday, in the dry it was very tricky but was also fun. Of course the race won’t be easy but I think there’s definitely room to improve from our starting position."Charles Leclerc, 14th, 1:56.696
"The conditions were very difficult for us out there today and unfortunately, our performance was worse than expected, after a reasonably good weekend so far. This morning it was raining quite hard but I could feel the grip and I was confident with the car, but this afternoon it was a completely different picture. We just could not make the tyres work in quali, we were struggling in the rain and being so far off the pace is really not good. I’m hoping for a dry race tomorrow."
Racing PointLance Stroll, 1st, 1:47.765
“Today was incredible and one of the best moments of my Formula 1 career. When I was told over the radio that I had taken pole position, I was thinking: ‘pinch me, I’m dreaming!’. I’m still a little lost for words: I’ve dreamt of days like these and it’s a special moment. The conditions out there were incredibly slippery and it was very tricky to drive, but my confidence in the car was just building throughout qualifying and I was piecing it all together. Precision, concentration and finding the flow is absolutely key in the wet because it can always be unpredictable from corner to corner on the track.
„When the car is feeling this good and the tyres are switched on, it’s like a dance and I love driving in those situations. The session showed that it was so important to be on the right tyre at the right time and we definitely made the correct call by being on intermediate tyres at the end. It worked out perfectly. We knew it would come down to the final lap and we put it all together for pole. I’m going to let this sink in and enjoy it before thinking about tomorrow. We know it’s going to be tough with Max close by and the Mercedes will probably make progress, but we have both cars in great positions and we can aim to score important points for the team to make it a really special weekend. I’d never been to Istanbul before this weekend, but I definitely love it now!”
Sergio Perez, 3rd, 1:49.321
“It’s a great day for the team and I’m very pleased. In Q1, I had to abort my best lap under yellow flags and that almost cost me a place in Q2, especially as others didn’t abort their laps under double waved yellow. But we narrowly made it through. Once we were in Q3, we decided to go for the intermediate tyre because I was confident we could get the temperature into it and make it work. It paid off and lap by lap, we were improving and looking quick. I think I could have taken pole today, but on my final lap when my tyres were at their best, [Antonio] Giovinazzi was in front of me at Turn 5 and he went off and came back onto the track in front of me, and I had to back off. But still, I’m very happy with P3, especially because it means we will start on the better side of the grid than we would have in P2.
„We can be proud of how much we improved the car overnight and we were very strong in the wet conditions. We’ll have to see what is possible in the race tomorrow – anything could happen. We know the Mercedes are going to come through the field and Max will be strong, but hopefully we can have a good first lap and go from there. I expect it will be a tricky start to the race because it’s going to be difficult to get the tyres up to temperature quickly, but hopefully we can take advantage and bring home a special result for the team.”
Red BullMax Verstappen, 2nd, 1:48.055
“To be honest it is very disappointing to finish second in qualifying today. It might seem strange to say that, as it is a good starting position, but when you are first in every session with such a big gap we expected more and it is a hard one to take. We just couldn’t make the intermediate work and get it up to temperature like the others for some reason, whereas on the extreme wet we were very comfortable and we didn’t have any issues. Clearly the laps behind Kimi didn’t help but also something did not work for us on that tyre which we need to understand. As people know, I always want the best and always try to do better so it is not a great feeling in this moment. But we can’t change it now. This is racing and you can’t always be happy unless you get the maximum out of the conditions. There are no points for today and we have good pace, so hopefully we will have a better time tomorrow and show what we can really do around here.”Alex Albon, 4th, 1:50.448
"Qualifying fourth is good but I think with how competitive we’ve been this weekend we are most probably a bit disappointed as we could have been higher. It’s a little bit frustrating because from FP1 the car has felt amazing and pace wise we have been very strong but today was all about switching the tyres on and we just struggled with the inters in Q3. The Racing Points came from nowhere in the last session and they just clicked on the inters but fourth is still a second row start so I’m looking forward to tomorrow as we are on for a good race. We’ve tried a few things on my side of the garage to get that confidence in and with conditions like this, confidence is what you need so it’s been a good weekend so far."
“I thought yesterday was unique but today was something else! It was by far the slipperiest conditions we’ve ever experienced in Formula 1. It was so unpredictable, and I would compare it to driving on a skid pan. There was no sign as to where the grip was in the corners, and I wasn’t getting much feedback from the track either. I didn’t go all guns blazing in Q1, and I kept chipping away at it throughout Q2 and Q3 and to end fifth at the chequered flag is a decent result. It’s so much more taxing mentally when conditions are like this. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t blinking during a lap. It’ll be an interesting race tomorrow regardless if it’s wet or dry.”Esteban Ocon, 7th, 1:52.622
“It was pretty tricky out there in very slippery conditions. It was maybe the most slippery conditions I’ve ever driven, but it’s the same for everyone and we tried to get the maximum out of the car. I felt we did well in Q1 and Q2, but not quite so good in Q3. We probably made the wrong decision to run Intermediates at the start instead of Wets as I felt we could have been in the top five. It was a good lap for seventh, but it was my only push lap on that set, so maybe with a few more laps, I could have been up there. There will be plenty of opportunities tomorrow. We don’t know about the weather yet, so let’s see.”
MercedesLewis Hamilton, 6th, 1:52.560
"It was so challenging out there today and we were all struggling, but for whatever reason some people could switch on the tyres better than us. We were limited on tyre temperatures and just couldn't find the grip we needed. We tried our hardest and did the best we could, but this was the fastest that we could drive today. It's going to be a challenge tomorrow and I think we'll find it hard to get the tyres to work, but I'll give it everything I've got."Valtteri Bottas, 9th, 1:53.258
"It's been very tricky out there all weekend, but today was particularly challenging. We have a great car, but in the end it's the tyres that connect the car to the ground - and if you can't get the tyres to work and you don't generate any grip, it doesn't matter how strong your car is. The teams that managed to get the tyres to work ended up at the top and we clearly didn't do a good enough job on that front today. I really struggled on the Inters in Q3 as I just couldn't get any temperature into them at all. It's not the grid position I wanted, but I'm looking forward to the race. I know I have nothing to lose."
Alfa RomeoKimi Raikkonen, 8th, 1:52.745
“We brought home a good qualifying result as a team and we can be happy with it. These were some of the most awful conditions I’ve faced in my career but there wasn’t much we could do about it, we just had to go out and face them. We struggled a lot in the morning, but I think the laps we did in FP3 helped us later in the day. Even when the rain stopped, the track remained very slippery and it was hard to stay on track, but in the end I think the conditions benefitted us. What really matters is tomorrow, we have to do our best and see where we end up. We have a good chance to convert our grid places into a good result.”Antonio Giovinazzi, 10th, 1:57.226
“It’s really nice to be in Q3 for the first time this year, especially to do so with both cars: it’s a nice way to celebrate the team’s 500th race, but there’s still plenty to do to get the job done. The conditions out there weren’t easy, probably the most difficult in my career, but we put together the laps when it mattered and we achieved our best result of the season so far. We tried to switch to inters for Q3 but in the end I couldn’t get them to work as well as I wanted: still, we can be very happy with what we achieved as a team. From these positions we have a chance to do really well, especially if conditions remain like these. It won’t be easy to make up as many places as we usually do at the start, but I will definitely try!”
McLarenCarlos Sainz, 13th, 1:55.410
“Very disappointed with today. We expected a tough quali because we've struggled to warm up the tyres all weekend. However, I think we compromised the session with the intermediate at the start of Q2 which obviously didn’t work as expected, and by the time we were managing to get the Wets to warm up properly, the session was over and I could only do two timed laps before the chequered flag. It wasn't enough. For the race the conditions look to be drier again, so we’ll do our best to recover from today.”Lando Norris, 11th, 1:54.945
“A difficult quali. I don’t think we managed to extract enough out of the car to do better today, we just struggled throughout. Maybe we didn't choose the right tyres for the start of Q2, so we were a couple of laps behind the others. At that point I don’t think we managed to get the wet tyres in the right window to improve enough and make it to Q3. We’ll have to try to fight our way forward tomorrow and take any opportunities that come our way.”
AlphaTauriPierre Gasly, 15th, 1:58.556
“It was a very disappointing day for us. The conditions were quite unusual. We’re usually pretty fast in the wet but today we couldn’t get the tyres to work. I was just sliding everywhere and wasn’t able to switch them on. There are a lot of things to review and understand for the race if we have similar conditions like we had today. We’ll have to work hard tomorrow to do better and recover positions to try and score some points.”Daniil Kvyat, 17th, 2:09.070
“It wasn’t a good day for us today and I’m disappointed with myself. I made a mistake on my last lap and spun in the wrong moment, which ruined my qualifying. It was always difficult to stay on track, I kept pushing anyway and the rear couldn’t handle it. Getting the tyres to work hasn’t been our strength today, but on the other hand, it’s not normal to drive in conditions like these, they’re very extreme and unusual, and the grip feels insanely low. However, it’s the same for everyone and I didn’t drive as well as I wanted to. I don’t know what to expect tomorrow, the conditions are tricky in both the wet and the dry, so anything can happen in the race. We’ll keep pushing.”
HaasRomain Grosjean, 19th, 2:12.909
“Generally, I think I just didn’t drive well. On my first run I wasn’t doing a good job. I think the earlier red flag was definitely the right call. There was no way we could carry on. The out-lap of that last run was much better for me. I got into the rhythm and pushed the throttle on the straight – which was the biggest challenge of the day. I was quite confident we could improve, but I got to Turn 1 and I locked up. That was it – game over.”Kevin Magnussen, 16th, 2:08.007
“There was a yellow flag all of that last lap and everybody improved their times. I backed off for those yellow flags, but everybody else seemed to be improving as the track was improving. I was in P7 and I got knocked out at the chequered. I respected the rules. We must abort the lap, not just simply lift off, if there’s a double yellow flag – which there was. I’m pretty annoyed with that. Everyone else pushed, improved their laps, but I’m knocked out of Q1.”
"Today, qualifying wasn’t as important for us as we already knew that we will be starting at the back of the grid due to the penalty. I was very keen to try and set some laps to see how the car was feeling though but unfortunately that was the limit today. I had very little grip as it was incredibly difficult getting the tyres working. Hopefully it will be an interesting race. We know that a lot can be gained on the opening laps so we will be trying to make a good start."Nicholas Latifi, 20th, 2:21.611
"It was probably the lowest grip conditions that you will ever get to drive in Formula 1. It was tricky for everybody to keep it on the track; I literally couldn’t do a lap and the only lap that I did was before the first red flag as there was too much water on the track. It is what is, anything can happen in the race tomorrow as the conditions are going to be quite unknown. I think it will be a bit of a mess and hopefully we can take advantage of that."