By Robert Haile
After the will they won’t they Formula One returned to Turkey drama was already guaranteed as teams took another engine.
Championship leader Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas lead the pack with the defending champion taking pole position.
However Mercedes had made the decision to take another engine for Hamilton and the ten place penalty that came with it.
Hamilton said “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.”
His rival for the Championship, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen finished third as Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc came in fourth.
AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly was fifth ahead of former champion Fernando Alonso for Alpine.
Sergio Perez’s struggles continued at Red Bull as he qualified in sixth ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris.
Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel were split by AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda in the top ten.
Going out in the second session were Vettel, Esteban Ocon for Alpine in twelfth, Williams George Russell in thirteenth, Mick Schumacher put in a great performance for Haas to qualify in fourteenth with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz in fifteenth but will start from the back for taking a new engine.
Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren was a surprise elimination in the the first session as Williams Nicholas Latifi, Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen with Nikita Mazepin for Haas all joined the Monza winner.