Sunday Territorian

Grid penalty pulls Hamilton back after practice


WORLD champion Lewis Hamilton was fastest in both practice sessions for the Turkish Grand Prix but has to take a 10-place grid penalty for Sunday night’s race having had the engine replaced on his Mercedes.

Championsh­ip leader Hamilton was quickest in the second practice with a time of 1min 23.804sec from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

Valtteri Bottas in the other Mercedes was third, followed by Red Bull pair Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen. Verstappen, who trails by just two points in the title race, was more than half a second behind Hamilton.

On Sunday, on the track where Hamilton wrapped up the 2020 title, he will start in 11th place at best.

If another part is changed before the race, he will be penalised ised more heavily.

“The track felt so different to last year,’’ Hamilton said. “In 2020, oil was rising from the new surface and the grip was so difficult to find.

“We’re fairly close to maximum we can extract the package but we always find something overnight, so we’ll be working hard to take our pace into tomorrow. Hopefully, it isn’t raining! “I have a lot of work to do on Sunday and I need to just focus on getting the best out of tomorrow, obviously for pole to limit the loss of penalty.”

Aussie Daniel Ricciardo was well back, only managing the 14th fastest time. “I think it’s still a little track-dependent for us as a team. I don’t think we’re universall­y strong across the board, at every track layout we go to,” Ricciardo said.

“The ones that we’re strong on, we seem to be able to really take it to the top two teams.”

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 ?? ?? Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton at Istanbul Park.
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton at Istanbul Park.

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