(DPA). Lewis Hamilton is protesting his transfer to Turkey. An illegal engine swap threw the World Cup leader back ten positions on the Formula 1 starting grid on Sunday (2pm / SKY) in Istanbul. However, on the first day of training, Hamilton made a strong impression, not being impressed by the hostage.
The 36-year-old achieved the weekend’s first best time of 1:24.178 minutes in front of his World Cup rival Max Verstappen (+0.425 seconds) on Friday and reduced it in the second session as well. Hamilton finished second behind Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc (+0.166 seconds) in 1:23.804 minutes. At Red Bull, Verstappen had to settle for fifth place (+0.635 s).
Sebastian Vettel did not move beyond 16th place at Aston Martin on Friday, with Haas newcomer Mick Schumacher finishing 19th and once again outpacing his stable rival Nikita Massepin.
Drive roulette has been around for a long time in motorsport’s premier class – and it hit Hamilton on the Bosphorus. Two weeks ago in Russia, a complete engine change also threw Verstappen to the very end of the field.
Thanks to an insane race to catch up, the Dutchman didn’t lose much ground in a world championship duel in Hamilton’s 100th Grand Prix victory. Verstappen is only two points short of the seven-time world champion of Great Britain. A new combustion engine has now been installed in Hamilton’s company car. It is the fourth this season only three have been allowed without a penalty.
“We play through all the races until the end of the season,” Mercedes chief race engineer Andrew Shawlin explained to English broadcaster Sky Sports. There is also a focus on minimizing the risk of lack of credibility. “You definitely want to avoid failing during a race and still accept the penalty.”
Hamilton has fond memories of Turkey. Despite rain and chaos last year, they won the World Cup here early. “That was an incredible moment, for sure, and what a tough race,” said Hamilton.
Intercity Istanbul Park returned to Formula 1 in 2020 after a nine-year break amid the coronavirus pandemic. Some pilots faced difficulties on the new paved route. At the time, Hamilton was only sixth in qualifying as he could not get the tires up to operating temperature. However, this time there should be more grip on the track.
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