It was an improvement! Hamilton defends qualifying showing on ‘terrible’ track

Stroll takes stunning pole in Turkey rain as Mercedes struggle

The Briton will start Sunday’s race in sixth, three places ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas who he needs to avoid being outscored by eight points to clinch a record-equalling seventh Formula One world title.

Lance Stroll instead took a shock pole as Mercedes saw an end to a qualifying dominance that had seen one of their drivers start from first place in each of the previous 13 races this season.

On Friday, Hamilton described the Istanbul Park track as like an “ice rink” during a tough day of practice and was content with his qualifying performance.

Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “Have you not been watching all weekend? I was 20th before this, so this is an improvement!

“There isn’t any grip at all. I don’t really know what to say. We did the best we could and that was the fastest we could go. The track feels terrible, it feels like driving on ice.

“For whatever reason, some people can get the tyres going a little better than us. Ultimately, we are all struggling out there, but some are better than others.

“I did the best I could, I didn’t spin and I didn’t really make any mistakes, so I’m generally happy. I did everything I could with what I had.”

The wet conditions in Turkey did little to aid the Mercedes cause, something Bottas alluded to after qualifying.

“Getting the tyres to work, and getting heat into the tyres has been the story of the weekend so far,” said Bottas. “And even worse in the wet today.

“We tried everything we could but in the end, when we went for the intermediates in Q3, we only had two laps left and that was never going to be enough to create enough tyre temperature.

“Other teams are doing a better job in that area.”

Stroll was called to speak with race stewards after qualifying, with all Q1 laps being reviewed due to the yellow flags which were out towards the end of the session, leaving open the possibility of changes to the result.

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