Turkish GP Qualifying: Stroll takes maiden pole

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Turkish Grand Prix Qualifying Lance Stroll Racing Point Pole
Image: Racing Point F1 (Author: FIA Pool)

Racing Point driver, Lance Stroll, took the first pole position of his career on the wet tarmac of the Istanbul Park circuit. It was a bumper Turkish GP qualifying session for Racing Point, with Sergio Perez finishing the session in P3 after being well in contention for the top spot throughout the top ten shoot-out.

Max Verstappen splits the pink panthers in second place. Although it’s a front-row start for Max, the 23-year-old Dutchman was visibly disappointed to have missed out on P1 after being the fastest man in every one of the preceding five sessions.

Although out of championship contention, Max is still in prime position for the race. Mercedes endured their worst qualifying of the year. The world champions could only muster P6 and P9 with Hamilton leading the two silver arrows despite his limited running throughout the practice sessions.

The inclement conditions the plagued Formula One over Friday got worse on Saturday with two red flag delays threatening to cancel qualifying. The race start tomorrow is nearly two hours earlier than the scheduled qualifying session. This late start for the Turkish GP’s first qualifying outing meant that any delays throughout any of the three sessions could’ve triggered a rare Sunday qualifying session thanks to the low light from the dark grey clouds overhead together with a rapidly approaching sunset.

That threat of a delay may go some way into explaining why cars will let onto the circuit in Q2 while a recovery vehicle was still on track recovering Nicholas Latifi’s Williams after he spun out in Q1. However, it doesn’t excuse Michael Masi and his team’s decision to have marshalls work with heavy machinery under only double waves yellows. Especially with the conditions somewhat reminiscent of Japan 2015.

Elsewhere, it was Daniil Kvyat’s turn to suffer the indignity me of being eliminated from Q1 with the Haas pair and 2 Williams’. Russell, of course, maintained his impressive record for out-qualifying his teammate at every event. However, the Brit will start from the back thanks to exceeding power unit components this season.

Both McLarens will also start further back than they qualified thanks to penalties related to ignoring yellow flags. These relegations capped an already disappointing Saturday for the Woking outfit where both drivers were eliminated in Q2. Pierre Gasly did escape Q1 and into the second session, but will start from the back thanks to AlphaTauri opening his AT01s power unit during parc ferme. The remaining Q2 eliminations were both the Ferraris, with Vettel 1.5s ahead of Leclerc in what will be a net 11th place thanks to Lando Norris’ grid drop.

One overlooked achievement, thanks to the attention the Racing Point team rightfully deserve, was that Alfa Romeo had both of their drivers into Q3. The entire top 10 isn’t quite Noah’s Ark formation, but it is five teams making up the top 10 places. With the battle for third place in the constructors as tight as could be, Renault and Pacing Point have the jump on McLaren ahead what is shaping up to be a terrific race.

Turkish Grand Prix 2020 Qualifying Damp Track
Image: Racing Poing (Author: Mark Sutton)

2020 Turkish Grand Prix Starting Grid

  1. Stroll (Racing Point)
  2. Verstappen (Red Bull)
  3. Perez (Racing Point)
  4. Albon (Red Bull)
  5. Ricciardo (Renault)
  6. Hamilton (Mercedes)
  7. Ocon (Renault)
  8. Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)
  9. Bottas (Mercedes)
  10. Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo)
  11. Vettel (Ferrari)
  12. Leclerc (Ferrari)
  13. Magnussen (Haas)
  14. Norris (McLaren)
  15. Sainz (McLaren)
  16. Kvyat (AlphaTauri)
  17. Grosjean (Haas)
  18. Latifi (Williams)
  19. Gasly (AlphaTauri)
  20. Russell (Williams)


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