Follow live updates from Turkish Grand Prix qualifying as the battle for the F1 world championship nears its climax. With only six races remaining after Sunday’s race at Istanbul, Lewis Hamilton leads Max Verstappen by two points in the drivers’ championship, every point is crucial from now until the end of the season.
Yesterday drivers hailed the Istanbul Park circuit’s grippier surface on Friday, saying the Turkish Grand Prix track was fun to drive again and very different to last year’s wet and slippery “ice rink”. Turkey returned to the F1 calendar in 2020 after nearly a decade away with a resurfaced track that lacked grip in wet conditions.
The drivers were unimpressed and organisers reacted to the criticism ahead of this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix by water-blasting the asphalt to make it more abrasive. Mercedes’ world championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who last year called the track “terrifying” and joined other drivers in comparing the surface to ice, said after lapping fastest in Friday practice that the track was “much, much different”.
Follow qualifying live, below.
Hamilton looks imperious
By the end of that session Lewis Hamilton was over half a second quicker than anybody else and looks in sterling form on track this afternoon.
The track conditions are changing constantly though and nothing is certain in this final session.
Dan Austin9 October 2021 13:47
Sainz sent out to help Leclerc
In a sneaky move, Carlos Sainz was sent out late in that session by Ferrari. The Spaniard didn’t set a time himself, though, and was deployed to give Charles Leclerc a tow around the track instead.
It worked, and Leclerc is safely into the top ten shootout.
Dan Austin9 October 2021 13:45
Russell error costs him Q3 spot
It’s agonising for George Russell as the Williams driver makes an error into the final corner of his fast lap.
He puts his foot down but just doesn’t have the tractions and slides over the kerb and into the run-off area, costing him precious seconds.
Dan Austin9 October 2021 13:44
Vettel and Ocon knocked out
Sebastian Vettel and Esteban Ocon are two drivers who will be very disappointed to be knocked out.
The drivers who won’t be continuing to Q3 are:
Dan Austin9 October 2021 13:43
Alonso goes third fastest as Stroll spins
Fernando Alonso is safely through after a superb laps puts him ahead of both Red Bulls and into third.
Lance Stroll spins meanwhile into turn one on his last flying lap and could well be at risk of being knocked out.
Dan Austin9 October 2021 13:41
Sainz not setting a time
We won’t see Carlos Sainz in this session.
The Ferrari driver will start last due to an engine change and the Italian squad have chosen to concentrate their efforts on Leclerc.
That means four drivers will drop out alongside the Spaniard.
Dan Austin9 October 2021 13:39
Leclerc spins over kerbs
Charles Leclerc is the latest spinner out on track as he ruins a fast lap by losing it at the very final turn and slips over the kerbs onto the run-off area.
“I’m struggling with those mediums,” he reports over the radio. The Monégasque is currently in tenth.
Dan Austin9 October 2021 13:36
Alonso dealing with conditions very well
Fernando Alonso is putting in another strong qualifying performance here and is currently fourth in the standings, over eight tenths ahead of team Esteban Ocon in ninth.
The Alpines look faster than the Aston Martins right now, with those two teams often battling each other for spots in Q3.
Dan Austin9 October 2021 13:35
Verstappen and Hamilton trading blows
As the track improves Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen are trading blows and knocking each off the top of the timesheets with each lap.
The Mercedes man is currently quickest by over four tenths of a second.
With eight minutes to go, Vettel, Stroll, Schumacher, Russell and Sainz are in the drop zone.
Dan Austin9 October 2021 13:33
Most cars on the mediums as Perez spins
Sergio Perez has ruined a pair of medium tyres after spinning into turn one following a sharp snap of oversteer.
Every driver is using the mediums at the moment except for Yuki Tsunoda in the Alpha Tauri, who is on softs.
Dan Austin9 October 2021 13:31