Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Istanbul Park, 2020

Hamilton “happy I did everything I could” after qualifying sixth

2020 Turkish Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton said there was little more he could have done after qualifying sixth for the Turkish Grand Prix.

Mercedes’ run of consecutive pole positions ended in a very slippery qualifying session at Istanbul Park. The W11s never looked in contention for pole position, and Hamilton ended the session 4.7 seconds away from shock pole-winner Lance Stroll.

“I’m not really sure what to say,” said Hamilton. “We tried out hardest and did the best we could, and that was the fastest we could go.”

Hamilton said the recently-resurfaced track “felt terrible” throughout qualifying. “It’s just like driving on ice.

“For whatever reason, some people can get the tyres switched on a little better than us. I think ultimately we’re all struggling out there but some are better than others.

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

He described the qualifying session as “definitely one of the least enjoyable – if not the least enjoyable” of his career.

“Mostly because this track, the layout is so great, but the grip is so poor that we can’t really generate the grip to go at the speed through the corners that we’d like. But otherwise it was a challenge and challenges always are good.”

The reigning world champion will clinch a record-equalling seventh world championship tomorrow if he and team mate Valtteri Bottas finish in their starting positions of sixth and eighth.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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34 comments on “Hamilton “happy I did everything I could” after qualifying sixth”

  1. I think the Merc drivers have had it so easy for so long that they’ve lost their competitive instincts.

    I think today proved that Verstappen teamed up with Bottas in a Merc would win 18-19 races in a 20 race season.

    1. the only thing verstappen did was find a way to lose a pole that was his for the taking.

      1. He’s 2.5 seconds ahead of his teammate and 4.5 seconds ahead of Hamilton.

        By his standards was poor on the wet, but still dominated his teammate and Hamilton.

        1. And ruined it allowing STROLL to be pp. That’s what is going to be remembered, sadly.

    2. The only thing today proved is that it’s all about tire temp, nothing else.

    3. Joke of the season. Nice one

    4. Ver never has anything at stake! Its easy to go balls out when you have nothing to lose. Lewis is about to make history and become the most successful driver of all time. Max has 2 PPs, 9 wins, zero WDCs and has long been out of this seasons WDC. That matters during this weekend in particular!

    5. In my humble opinion the reason why tthe mercs had a poor qualy by their standards could be because their car is set up not soo rain dominant. Maybe the red bulls and racing point set their cars up more for the wet weather? Thats why they could switch the tyres on and keep them in the window so much more faster and easier. And another thing Lewis has dominated many wet qualies and races. He is exceptional in the wet. Today may just not be his day. Lets see what happens tomorrow.

      1. That’s exactly what I believe. Merc setup their cars for lower downforce as shown by the speed traps during dry running on Friday. For fortune, RB and RP setup their cars for higher downforce.
        You can see that still, despite being a wet session this qualy, it was all down to the car between teams (not necessarily teammates) by having only 5 teams for the 10 spots in Q3.

  2. At this point in the season the Mercs have nothing to prove. Why take chances?
    They have the Constructors. Hamilton only has to finish ahead of Bottas to to confirm the championship.

    Why would they risk damage to their cars in these conditions on this track. A good part of sucess is playing the percentages. The Mercs aren’t going to push just for the entertainment value of pushing.

    On the other hand the mid table teams are still competing for their positions and the rewards which comes with that.

    1. They can push because only Hamilton or Bottas can win the drivers championship. Hamilton would have to DNF for the last four races for Bottas to have a chance of winning.

      In fact they have every incentive to take chances in order to win.

      1. Eh? You’ve just contradicted yourself

        Rightly you’ve pointed out that only the Merc drivers can win the championship – the constructors one has already gone to them

        So this makes it a disincentive. So what if Max goes off in the distance and say they end up 9th/10th – it just gives the politically astute Toto an opportunity to talk about how close the rivals really are as he’s been saying all the time

        1. It’s all the more reason to take risk since 2nd is not really any different to 20th.

          1. So what you’re saying is Hamilton has so many races in hand, he can afford to go out and total the car taking unnecessary risks. He can afford to beach the car and not get a qualifying time, because it doesn’t matter, he has more races to gain the championship. Yeah that’s a clear as day now. I wonder why Hamilton isn’t thinking like that?

          2. Well done Darren. That’s one of your greatest comments yet. Keep it up fella. 🥱

  3. Strange. You can be driving the fastest car and have six world titles under your belt, then the rain comes and five other cars do so much better.
    What’s that you say? The Car couldn’t switch on the tyres?
    I see. Thanks.

    1. You must be new to F1. Or maybe it is something else?

    2. How many wet races has Hamilton dominated since 2007??

      Prob more than Max has won combined.

      1. No probably about it!

      2. Only really Silverstone 2008. Lost control twice in Germany last year, lost control Hungary 2014, made error Monaco 2016 but maintained position by chopping Ricciardo (also needed team orders to get past Rosberg).

        1. New troll alert everyone!!

          Never mind about Japan 07′ or Monaco 08′ or Germany 08′ or Germany 18′. We only get an average of around one truly wet race a year (this year has been different due to the late season) to get all these shows that you are not quite understanding what’s you’re talking about

          1. Agree @babrorace Let’s also not forget Japan 2014. The race is rightly remembered for the death of Jules…. in racing terms it is also memorable because Hamilton overtook Rosberg around the outside of Turn 1 in shocking conditions to win.

            Or Brazil 2016, where Hamilton dominated completely, scampering away from the field 3 times as multiple race restarts due to crashes erased his advantage.

            Or Austria 2020, where Lewis did a sterling job in qualifying.

            You can have your own opinions, but the facts remain!

        2. Certainly a new troll

          According to objective multi year research peer reviewed and available online Hamilton is one of the if not the most dominant wet weather racer in F1 history recently overtaking Senna and Shumi in wins per races contested.

          The variables are around what is a true wet race vs part wet, start wet, end wet etc these factors distort but do not fundamentally change the above fact.

    3. Go back to driving school, maybe they offer free lessons for Black Friday or something

  4. Mercedes clearly couldn’t switch on either tyre, same as Red Bull couldn’t switch on the inters to the same extent as the Racing Point. I don’t think either Merc driver can be too disappointed with their positions.

    Still, it made for an exciting qualifying. Great to have a new pole-sitter.

    1. There’ll be more rubber on the track tomorrow and then we’ll see if the Mercs can make a race of it.

      1. Where from? No more track action, no more rubber

      2. Its all been washed away.

  5. Well it was definetely the most enjoyable qualifying from my career watching F1 races.

  6. Out of 10 teams, only 2 teams could switch the tyres on Racing Point and Red Bull. Great Job by them.

    1. RBR couldn’t really switch the inters on and only Max could switch on the wets not Albon.

      Verstappen was the difference in that RBR.

  7. The Merc have stopped developing the cars long time ago so expected. When you already have the goodies in the bag why risk the cars then.

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