Formula 1 World Championship leader Lewis Hamilton has promised “maximum attack” at today’s Turkish Grand Prix and would not rule out winning from 11th place on the grid.
The Mercedes driver was the fastest in qualifying at Istanbul Park, but a 10-place penalty for exceeding his season’s engine allowance, a strategic move, left the Briton with plenty of overtaking to do in the race.
Hamilton won in Turkey last year in wet and slippery conditions after starting sixth. He also stood out in his pre-F1 days when he returned from 19th to second place in a dry GP2 race in 2006.
This time around he risks losing his championship lead unless he finishes ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who is two points behind with seven races to go and lines up on the front row with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in pole.
“I was already third in the first corner last year which made a little difference,” said Hamilton, chasing a record eighth title. “It’s a very different weekend, very different grip on the track, so we face different circumstances this weekend.
“My eyes are still only on winning the race. It’s going to be very tough, starting from 11th place, but not impossible… so stay on my guard and make sure we deliver maximum attack tomorrow, ”he added.
Hamilton has three other Red Bull drivers ahead of him on the grid, with Verstappen’s Mexican teammate Sergio Perez on the third row while Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda of sister team Red Bull AlphaTauri are fourth and ninth.
McLaren’s Lando Norris, who ranks seventh, said he expected to stay ahead of Hamilton for just a few laps.
“I’m not going to say I’m going to beat him because I’m not,” said the 21-year-old, who started on pole in Russia and almost won.
Hamilton said he would only do one step at a time and needed to get through the first lap safely from his midfield position first.
“If I can be higher from the start, so much the better. Of course I have to stay out of trouble, and that will probably be my priority at the start, and then see if it’s possible to take them out one by one, ”added Norris. (Report by Alan Baldwin)