Teams' reactions after the challenging qualifying day in Istanbul

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Mercedes has been looking impressively quick since the first practice session for the Turkish Grand Prix, and the team continued to dictate the rhythm around the Intercity Istanbul Park circuit despite the changeable and challenging conditions which awaited drivers on Saturday.

The Brackley-based outfit locked out the front row of the gird, but an engine change for Lewis Hamilton means that the Briton will start the race from P11 while his team mate Valtteri Bottas will be promoted from second to first on the grid tomorrow.

On the other hand, Red Bull were well off the pace of the Silver Arrows yesterday. The team which has performed brilliantly so far this year, showed signs of recovery today with Max Verstappen delivering a better performance today. The Dutchman was, however, unable to endanger Mercedes’ dominance and secured P3 in qualifying which will be a second starting position on the grid thanks to his championship rival’s penalty.


Lewis Hamilton, 1st, 1:22.868

"It's so good to be back in Turkey, last year was an unbelievable visit here for myself and the team! Coming back, the track is completely different - the grip level we've got now is absolutely awesome. The session today was really tricky because there were still some damp patches and getting temperature into the tyres for the first lap wasn't easy.

„But it was a really, really great job by the Team, they got us out at the right time and put in a great performance. Tomorrow is going to be difficult, but I'll give it everything! 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. Hopefully we can give the fans here a good race!"

Valtteri Bottas, 2nd, 1:22.998

"Today was a good quali - 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. I enjoyed it and obviously as a team result, today was pretty ideal.

"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. 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."

Red Bull

Max Verstappen, 3rd, 1:23.196

“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 get away 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.”

Sergio Perez, 7th, 1:23.706

“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.”


Charles Leclerc, 4th, 1:23.265

"I am happy with my qualifying. P4 is a good result for the team, finishing just behind the championship leaders who, at the moment, are still tough for us to beat. We definitely maximised our car’s potential today. Q1 and Q2 were tricky for me, as I opted for a lower downforce set up this weekend which is the right choice for the race and hopefully should pay off tomorrow.

„But in today’s wet conditions, I slid around quite a bit and had to fight for it. It was great to see Carlos being there and giving me the slipstream on the final straight in Q2. It was good teamwork and helped us make it to Q3. I am happy with my final lap in the last session and look forward to the race. If the conditions are dry, I am confident that we have good potential."

Carlos Sainz, 15th, No time set in Q2

"It was a pity we were not trying for a fastest time, especially seeing the performance of the car in dry conditions. It is difficult to take, but looking at the big picture it is better to take the penalty now and have a better engine for the remainder of the season. Our plan was executed perfectly today. In Q1 we took calculated risks to make it comfortably into Q2, bumping one car out which turned out to be a McLaren.

„Then in Q2 I stayed in the garage and went out on a perfectly timed strategy to help Charles with a bit of a slipstream on his Mediums. For tomorrow, it all depends on how the car feels in traffic and how we can go through the field without damaging the tyres too much. The pace has been encouraging all weekend so we are ready to fight our way up the order as much as possible. Bring it on!"


Pierre Gasly, 5th, 1:23.326

“I’m very happy to have qualified fifth today, and then to be starting P4 tomorrow after Lewis’ penalty. The team have made such a big improvement to the car since yesterday, as I was really struggling with understeer. It wasn’t the easiest to see if these changes had worked this morning, as FP3 was wet, but as soon as we got to qualifying, I was competitive and that was really positive. I’m confident heading into tomorrow’s race after the big step-up we’ve made with the car today and I’m hopeful we can score big points in the race.”

Yuki Tsunoda, 10th, 1:24.368

“I have to say I’m still slightly disappointed with my performance today, I really believe that the pace of the car was there, and I could’ve been starting tomorrow further up the grid. The team did a fantastic job but unfortunately, I just couldn’t put it all together in Q3.

„I’ll be starting tomorrow’s race on the softs, which is a different strategy to most of the other cars around me, so I’ll have to prepare tonight and take every opportunity I can tomorrow. It’s still positive to qualify in the top 10, the main goal for me this weekend is to finish in the points, and I hope that tomorrow I can do that from a strong starting position.”


Esteban Ocon, 12th, 1:24.842

“It’s disappointing not to be in the top 10 today as we probably had the pace to be there. Unfortunately, I had to abort my Q2 lap due to traffic and I wasn’t able to complete the lap. It would have been close to reaching Q3, but it happens like that sometimes. We’re fighting some inconsistencies with the car at the moment, which we’re working hard to fix. We’ll keep working as a team to progress and get on top of it. Our focus is immediately on what we can do tomorrow, and the aim is to try and work our way back to the points.”

Fernando Alonso, 6th, 1:23.477

“It felt good today and I am happy with the result. The car felt fast, and I think we made the correct choice on which tyres to use in all of the sessions. We were also fast enough to qualify on the medium tyres in Q2, which was a nice luxury to have! We seem competitive so I think we have a good chance to score points tomorrow. Let’s see if we can keep the pace with those around us. I think strategy will be key, as we saw tyre graining was quite high in dry conditions. We’ll be looking at the weather forecast and take it step by step.”


Daniel Ricciardo, 16th, 1:25.881

“Obviously not where we want to be. The track was steadily drying and everyone just kept improving a chunk on that last lap. We didn’t make as big a step on that second set of Softs, and we’ve found it tricky with the Soft most of the weekend so it’s just unfortunate to be so far down the grid. We’ll find a way to come back tomorrow and try to understand the Soft tyre a bit better. It was probably also a bit of timing, we got quite a few yellow flags in Turn One which put us out of sync early. But I’ve already moved on from it, so now we’ll put our head down for the race tomorrow.”

Lando Norris, 8th, 1:23.954

“A tough day with tricky conditions. We were just lacking pace today, so it was very tough to achieve a lot more than what we did. There was a slim possibility we could’ve got P7 but even [Sergio] Pérez was quite a bit quicker than us. Not the result we wanted, but I think it was the best result we could really achieve, so we’ll try again tomorrow and see if we can do better."

Aston Martin

Sebastian Vettel, 11th, 1:24.795

“The conditions today were always improving and, although the track was mostly dry, there were still some damp areas where I struggled. It was not easy to find a rhythm. I lost most of my lap time in those damp areas, especially in Turn 1. After that, it was difficult to make up the deficit on the remainder of the lap. I think we had more pace in the car today so I am not happy to qualify 11th, but starting from 10th means we have a good opportunity to fight for points tomorrow.”

Lance Stroll, 9th, 1:24.305

“After practice yesterday, we made some helpful changes to the car overnight and I think that showed in our performance today. Overall, I am satisfied and it was a good effort. I had a small off during my final run in Q2, but my previous lap was strong enough to make it into Q3. Tomorrow, we will be starting the race from eighth on the medium tyre, which should put us in a good position for the opening stint. There are a few quick cars out of position on the grid – because of the conditions and various grid penalties – so we will have to capitalise on that, fight until the end, and push every lap to see where we end up.”


George Russell, 13th, 1:25.007

"There were too many mistakes on my side today. At the end of Q2, I was on a really strong lap which would have easily been good enough to get us through to Q3. I unfortunately lost all the time in the last corner which is a big shame as the lap up to that point was incredible. I’m really trying to push the boundaries at the moment, but I went over it today and it’s not good enough from my side. The conditions weren’t easy but it’s the same for everybody and I expect more from myself.

"It’s going to be an interesting race tomorrow as the green track means that nobody knows for sure what the right strategy is going to be and how the tyres are going to perform. Unfortunately, it’s now going to be much harder for us starting from 13th rather than inside in the top 10, so it’s frustrating."

Nicholas Latifi, 17th, 1:26.086

"The car was feeling decent and the track conditions were quite changeable, with the rain starting and stopping, so it was about being on the track at the right moment and setting a lap when it mattered. Every time I was doing a lap, it was consistently putting me in the top 15. But on the last two laps, when the track was at its driest, we didn’t execute it. It’s very frustrating as the performance has been good enough to progress into Q2 in the last few races."


Mick Schumacher, 14th, 1:25.200

“Those tricky conditions were fun to drive, I enjoyed it and I think we as a team took the right decisions at the right time. We analysed it properly, we went through all the steps we usually do and found the right set up for the right conditions. It’s gone well from FP1, it’s been a nice feeling on track in the car so I’m happy. We got to drive, show our performance and I think maybe we even had a tenth or two in there. Tomorrow, hopefully we’re able to keep the position or even be a bit further forward.”

Nikita Mazepin, 20th, 1:28.449

“I went out there and obviously the grip was good enough on most of the track for the slick tyres but Turn 1 caught me out so we boxed from that set and then I wasn’t really sure where to push, how to push. In these conditions I was caught out as we expected the rain to come so I had two laps to do, but obviously the rain didn’t come. I needed to do a lap and I did a lap, but it wasn’t good enough today.”

Alfa Romeo

Kimi Raikkonen, 19th, 1:27.525

“We were pretty good in the rain this morning, so it’s a shame not to make it past Q1 today. We tried our best but we couldn’t really put the laps together. When we finally got the right grip at the end of the session, we were stuck behind another car and that was it. A lot of small things went wrong today, so let’s focus on tomorrow. Hopefully we will have some changeable conditions and a bit of chaos to help us make up places.”

Antonio Giovinazzi, 18th, 1:26.430

“We looked okay coming into qualifying, but we didn’t put everything together when we had to. The conditions were difficult, some parts of the track were drying but others rather wet: in the end, it is what it is and we need to work to make it better for the race. It’s only Saturday, we race tomorrow and we will give our best. Our race pace was not too bad: if we have a good first lap, we can have our say.”