Hamilton expecting 'difficult' progress in Turkey

Fastest in qualifying Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 in parc ferme. 09.10.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 16, Turkish Grand Prix, Istanbul
© XPB 

Despite coming top in qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix by a convincing margin and a new circuit record, Lewis Hamilton acknowledges that tomorrow's race is certain to be a problematic challenge.

Hamilton will incur a ten place grid drop before the start of Sunday's race after opting for a new internal combustion engine exceeding his allowed quota for the season.

He will be trying to work his way forward when the lights go out to catch his main championship rival Max Verstappen who has picked up a front row starting spot as a result of Hamilton's penalty.

"It's not the easiest overtake at the moment, and we're all on the same tyre as well, so I imagine tomorrow's going to be difficult to move up," he told he media in parc ferme after the end of today's qualifying session.

"Tomorrow is gonna be difficult, but I'll give it everything," he promised. "You saw at the last race what happened with Max, for example, once he got behind sixth place."

Hamilton was recalling the events of Russia two weeks ago when Verstappen had a similar penalty that left him starting from the back row.

The weather in Sochi helped Verstappen secure second place, and Hamilton will be hoping for similar damage limitation of his own in Turkey.

"We've got the long straight down the back," he said. "We'll see what we can do. Hopefully, we can give the fans a good race.

However more rain is unlikely to come to his aid, despite both final practice and qualifying being affected by the conditions today.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates being fastest in qualifying in parc ferme. 09.10.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 16, Turkish Grand Prix, Istanbul

"That was really tricky in general," he said of the session. "There's still some damp patches, and getting the temperature into the tyres for the first lap wasn't easy."

Hamilton praised "a really great job" by the team but Mercedes principal Toto Wolff agreed that locking out the front row in qualifying had proved something of a bitter sweet achievement.

“You need to look at the positives - that the car is very quick and Valtteri can start from pole,” he told Sky Sports F1 “On the negative side it’s a weekend where we could have had a front-row lockout and we haven’t,”>

"Progress will be a tough one," he predicted. "It’s not going to be easy with all the cars running medium in front of him, apart from [AlphaTauri's Yuki] Tsunoda [starting from ninth on the grid].

"Yesterday in the long run at a certain stage we were behind a Haas and also a Williams, and it was very difficult to come close," he warned. "Strategy is going to be the one that helps.

"The Red Bulls haven’t been so competitive this week, and on the long runs it was worse than on a single lap."

As for the question of team orders, Wolff suggested that the best thing Bottas could do for the squad and for Hamilton's title challenge was to win the race outright.

"We have to look after ourselves - Valtteri wants to win the race and this is the best opportunity," he said. “And it’s helping Lewis.

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