Turkish Grand Prix qualifying results in full: Stroll beats Verstappen to seal shock pole
Lance Stroll sealed a first ever career pole position – becoming the first Canadian since Jacques Villeneuve in 1997 to front the grid – in an extraordinary and incident-filled Turkish Grand Prix qualifying, which lasted almost two hours. Stroll shocked Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after the Dutchman had looked in control throughout Q1, which was twice red-flagged, and Q2. Stroll’s team-mate Sergio Perez also starts third.
Rainy conditions made it difficult for the drivers and constructors’ champions Mercedes, who had clinched pole in every race before the trip to Turkey, will only start sixth and ninth.
Lewis Hamilton, who can seal his seventh drivers’ title this weekend, was nearly five seconds slower than pole-sitter Stroll.
He needs to leave Istanbul 78 points ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the standings to seal the title in Sunday’s race. The Brit is currently 85 points ahead of the Finn.
But the story of qualifying was Stroll, 22, who ended two-tenths ahead of Verstappen to seal first.
Verstappen switched from wet tyres to intermediates but struggled to match the performance of his rivals and suffered as a result.
The Dutchman explained: “Already in Q1 when we tried to go out on the inters we had no grip. The track was a lot better in Q3 but for us the inters were horrible.
“The extreme tyres were good and was very comfortable. Not good.
“I hope tomorrow we’ll have a good race.”
A buzzing Stroll meanwhile reacted: “I’m shocked, I didn’t expect to be up here after P3, there were a lot of things we weren’t sure of coming into qualifying.
“I’m so happy right now, I really put that lap together at the end. We started on the wet and then moved to inters.
“I had one lap at the end to do it and had the confidence in the car and I just nailed pretty much every corner and pieced it together nicely.
“It’s such a nice way to bounce back after a few tough weeks. It feels really good right now. It’s a special moment for me, one of the biggest of my career.”
Mercedes meanwhile said on Twitter in classy style: “You won’t hear any excuses or clever quotes from us today. We were absolutely nowhere near pole.
“Today belongs to @RacingPointF1 and @lance_stroll. We’ll be down with a bottle of champagne later. You guys deserve it!”
Sunday’s race gets underway at 10.10am but you can recap how Express Sport covered Saturday’s hectic qualifying below.
Turkish Grand Prix qualifying results RECAP
16) Kevin Magnussen 17) Daniil Kvyat 18) George Russell 19) Romain Grosjean 20) Nicholas Latifi
Slips, slides and yellow flags galore with a rainy track – just recently laid – making it tricky as Verstappen, the pace-setter in all three practice sessions, spins a couple of times on the intermediate tyres early on.
As the rain gets more intense, drivers switch from inters to full wets but still drivers are battling to keep their cars on track as they threaten to aquaplane. Hamilton declares that the rain is getting “crazy”.
Then, with 6:56 left of the first session, the red flag is out to prevent any serious incidents.
After a lengthy delay, with the rain having died down Bernd Maylander gives the thumbs up for the cars to get back out on track and the drivers have just enough time to set three lap times.
Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen goes sideways at the start of his exploratory lap but manages to keep his car in one piece thanks to a fortunate spin.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc suffers a first turn spin but manages to rejoins the track from the gravel but Romain Grosjean is not so lucky in the Haas.
With 3:30 remaining of the session, he’s beached and we have a second red flag of the session. That leaves it touch and go for some drivers to set a good lap time, including Verstappen.
He’s the first back out and he’s drifting all over the place on his out lap and his hot lap but improves his time superbly with three purple sectors to top the time-sheet, albeit temporarily, by eight seconds.
His Red Bull team-mate Albon goes second quickest while Vatteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton can only go ninth and 14th fastest (yes, 14th), with the Brit only narrowing managing a shock Q1 elimination.
Raikkonen is third with the Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc in fourth and fifth, while Latifi – who finished 20th – span out on his last lap and his Williams car has to be collected by the stewards.
11) Lando Norris 12) Sebastian Vettel 13) Carlos Sainz 14) Charles Leclerc 15) Pierre Gasly
At the start of the session, the McLaren duo of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz are the only two drivers on inters with the rest of the grid staying on the wet tyres.
Norris’ onboard camera shows him really battling the elements and though he sets a two-minute lap time, it gets deleted for going over track limits at turn six.
Verstappen becomes the first to break the two-minute barrier with a 1:57.125 and his Red Bull is by far the quickest car of the lot at the moment.
As the track continually improves, Verstappen posts up a lap of 1:50.293 and he ends Q2 having gone almost two seconds quicker than second-placed team-mate Albon.
Mercedes pair Hamilton and Bottas slowly improve their times but despite Hamilton ending third, he’s well off of pace-setter Verstappen – two-and-a-half seconds off.
The McLarens switch to wet tyres after their inters gamble but cannot make it through to Q3, neither can the Ferrari duo of Vettel and Leclerc.
Meanwhile, Alfa Romeo get both Antonio Giovinazzi and Raikkonen into the top 10 shootout. Amazing stuff.
10) Antonio Giovinazzi 9)Valtteri Bottas 8) Kimi Raikkonen 7) Esteban Ocon 6) Lewis Hamilton 5) Daniel Ricciardo 4) Alex Albon 3) Sergio Perez 2) Max Verstappen 1) Lance Stroll
Red Bull have not had a pole position since the Brazilian Grand Prix last year but what a chance they have here with Verstappen flying.
Staying on the wets, he sets purples in sectors one, two and three for a 1:52.326. Team-mate Albon, by contrast, then goes over four seconds slower. Bottas and Hamilton, too, are four seconds behind Verstappen.
Racing Point’s Perez then displaces Verstappen and that prompts the Red Bull racer to pit and throw on some intermediates. The Mexican did go for a little slide on the next lap, though.
Verstappen complains of a lack of grip and Perez then goes purple in sector one and three and sets a stunning time of 1:49.321.
His team-mate Stroll joins him on the front row, temporarily, before Verstappen overtakes the Canadian.
Stroll then crosses the line to edge Perez down again with a 1:47.765 and Verstappen can’t beat it, so it’s a first EVER pole position for Stroll. Wow.
Verstappen will start behind the Racing Point while the Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Bottas are only sixth and ninth. Incredible scenes.