Max Verstappen qualifies third for Turkish GP: 'The maximum'

Published on 09 October 2021 by Kees-Jan Koster

Max Verstappen qualified third for the Turkish Grand Prix. The Dutchman set a time of 1:23.196 in Q3, but both Mercedes went quicker. Because Lewis Hamilton – even though setting the quickest time of 1:22.868 – received a ten place grid penalty for an engine change, Max will start from second on the grid. Valtteri Bottas will start the race in Istanbul from first position.

“In the beginning the conditions were quite tricky, but compared to yesterday we managed to turn it around quite well”, says Verstappen after qualifying. “The laps overall were quite good, even though we lost a bit down the straight. We have to look into that, but of course there was not the lap time to fight for pole. So third was the maximum for today. Quite a decent recovery compared to yesterday, so overall I am pretty happy. Tomorrow lining up in second, we will see what the weather is going to do overnight.”

Looking ahead to the race, Max says: “The race should be a bit better, let’s see how competitive we are going to be in the race. Tyre wear seems quite high around this track. At least now the track is a lot of fun to drive. Especially the long left hander turn 8. I try to pick up as many points as we can tomorrow.”

With rain coming towards the circuit the lights go green at the end of the pitlane and it is busier than ever. Max Verstappen spins in his first timed lap when entering turn one, losing potentially valuable time. In a second attempt the Dutchman does a stellar job by setting a 1:26.692 and taking the lead. Verstappen improves his time to 1:26.049 one lap later before going back into the pits. That puts him in P3.

Even though some drops of rain start to fall, the track stays dry enough for slicks. Lewis Hamilton sets the fastest time on dry weather tyres only five minutes before the end of Q1. Max also comes out again. He dropped down into seventh position, but with a 1:25.033 he takes the lead again. The track seems to dry up in the final seconds of the session, and the lap times come down. Max drops down the order, but he finished the session after one last lap with a 1:24.592 in second position. Daniel Ricciardo, Nicholas Latifi, Antonio Giovinazzi, Kimi Räikkönen and Nikita Mazepin are the first to drop out.

At the start of the second part of qualifying most drivers come out on the yellow medium tyres. Max finishes his first timed lap in a 1:24.002, putting him in third position behind both Mercedes. With just under six minutes on the clock Verstappen comes out again. The Dutchman does not improve, but after a cool down lap he goes again. The result is a 1:23.732, which will take him through to Q3 in third position. Lewis Hamilton is quickest with a 1:23.082. Sebastian Vettel, Esteban Ocon, George Russell, Mick Schumacher and Carlos Sainz fall short and drop out.

Now the battle for the first ten places on the grid gets underway. Even though there was a threat of rain, the conditions improve every minute. The sun even comes out. Lewis Hamilton opens with a 1:23.093, but teammate Valtteri Bottas goes a little bit faster. Verstappen follows with a 1:23.298 in P3.

Hamilton comes out early for a second run. The seven time world champion improves his time to a 1:22.868 and takes over the lead from his teammate. Valtteri Bottas cannot improve, but the Finn will start tomorrow from pole because of Hamilton’s grid penalty. Max Verstappen finishes with a 1:23.196 in third position, but moves up to P2. Charles Leclerc, Pierre Gasly and Fernando Alonso complete the top six. Sergio Pérez disappoints again when finishing only in seventh position.

Contest GP Turkey: win a 1:4 scale model of Max' 2021 helmet!

Results qualifying Turkey:

1Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:24.5851:23.0821:22.868
2Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes1:25.0471:23.5791:22.998
3Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda1:24.5921:23.7321:23.196
4Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:24.8691:24.0151:23.265
5Pierre GaslyGASAlphaTauri Honda1:24.7041:23.8171:23.326
6Fernando AlonsoALOAlpine Renault1:25.1741:23.9141:23.477
7Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda1:24.9631:23.9611:23.706
8Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:25.1381:24.6421:23.954
9Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:25.5111:24.6011:24.305
10Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda1:25.4091:24.0541:24.368
11Sebastian VettelVETAston Martin Mercedes1:25.7871:24.795
12Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:25.4221:24.842
13George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes1:25.4171:25.007
14Mick SchumacherMSCHaas Ferrari1:25.5551:25.200
15Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:25.177DNS
16Daniel RicciardoRICMcLaren Mercedes1:25.881
17Nicholas LatifiLATWilliams Mercedes1:26.086
18Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:26.430
19Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:27.525
20Nikita MazepinMAZHaas Ferrari1:28.449