Australia

Daniel Ricciardo starts down the grid after horror qualifying in Turkey

Daniel Ricciardo will have it all to do at Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix after an early exit in qualifying.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton qualified fastest on Saturday but a 10-place grid penalty for a new internal combustion engine promoted his teammate Valtteri Bottas to pole. 

Ricciardo, who is coming off his two best races this season, struggled in the cold and damp conditions at Istanbul Park.

He was one of the last drivers to finish during the first qualifying session on Saturday, but as the track continued to improve, the lap times quickened.

The Australian could do nothing as a procession of drivers put in faster times which pushed him down to 16th, eliminating him from the next session. 

Ricciardo said he did not feel comfortable with the soft tyre compound which he was using during qualifying. 

“I think honestly we just struggled on the soft [tyre] as the track got a little bit better,” he said.

“As everyone was improving, I couldn’t really get that much more out of the soft.”

It was the first time the McLaren driver has been knocked out after the first qualifying session since round three in Portugal

Ricciardo will start the race from 15th after an engine penalty forced Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz to the back of the grid. 

Bottas and Verstappen on front row after Hamilton penalty

Lewis Hamilton was the fastest in Turkey during qualifying on Saturday. (

Pool via Getty Images: Umit Bektas

)

Lewis Hamilton went into the qualifying session knowing he would have a 10-place grid penalty. 

The new combustion engine in his car meant his best starting position would be 11th, and the seven-time champion ensured he would not start lower. 

The Mercedes driver was a cut above the rest at Istanbul Park, one tenth of a second in front of his teammate and three tenths ahead of championship rival Max Verstappen who was third.

With just two points separating Hamilton and Verstappen in the driver’s championship, the Briton produced the perfect lap to give himself the best chance to chase down his rival on Sunday. 

“Really great job by the team. So happy with the performance,” he said. 

“Tomorrow is going to be difficult but I’ll give it everything.”

Verstappen was in a worse position last time out when he started from last. 

But the Dutchman was able to climb his way to second, behind Hamilton, in what was a massive result in his quest to become champion.  

The Red Bull driver said he believed it would be a struggle to contend with the Mercedes of Bottas and expected Hamilton to catch him.

“Lewis will have a bit of a harder job coming to the front, but I think it will still be quite difficult to keep him behind with the pace they showed in qualifying,” he said.  

“We’ll try everything we can of course but we also need to stay realistic.”


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