And welcome to our live coverage for qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix from the Intercity Istanbul Park track, just outside of Istanbul. The championship resumes with things about as finely poised as they can be, as Lewis Hamilton leads Max Verstappen by just two points after 15 rounds. Astonishingly close.
The big news this weekend is that Hamilton will take a 10-place grid penalty after changing the Internal Combustion Engine in his Mercedes. He had already used up his allocated three for the season, and this is his fourth, hence the penalty. It is only 10 places – unlike Verstappen in Russia who dropped to the back of the grid – because it is not a whole power unit change, just the ICE. Whether that turns out to be a good move or not – they may have to change more components or a whole PU later on – we will find out. But we can assume that they have a decent idea of what’s going on.
How do Hamilton’s chances look of starting 11th and then racing through the field? Pretty decent given Friday’s running where he dominated, topping both practice sessions comfortably. Red Bull looked a little off the pace although, given Hamilton’s penalty, they might have been focusing on long-run pace rather than one-lap pace.
What happened in this morning’s practice session? Here’s Phil Duncan from Istanbul Park with a quick recap.
Lewis Hamilton took a caution-first approach and completed just five laps at a rain-hit Istanbul Park, finishing 18th of the 20 drivers.
AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly topped the order after the one-hour session was red-flagged when George Russell beached his Williams.
The British driver lost control of his machine in the slippery conditions at Turn 2 and came unstuck in the gravel.
The action was suspended for five minutes as Russell’s stricken car was removed from danger and the Williams man played no further part.
A number of drivers were caught out by the inclement weather with Max Verstappen escaping any damage following a 360-degree spin.
Verstappen then completed his best lap in the closing moments to take second, 0.164 adrift of Gasly, with Sergio Perez third in the other Red Bull.
Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, who spun at Turn 9, finished fourth and fifth respectively for Ferrari.
Qualifying gets underway at 1pm BST. The weather had started to dry up so it (unfortunately or fortunately) may be slick conditions by the time it gets going. Though, maybe not. Fingers crossed for a bit of rain.