Bottas equals Arnoux as the non-champion with the most poles, Hamilton is set to start eleventh and Alonso records his best grid position in over seven years. Here are the facts and statistics from qualifying at the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix!
HAMILTON FASTEST, BOTTAS ON POLE
Lewis Hamilton was fastest in qualifying for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, making Istanbul Park the 31st different circuit at which he has set the fastest lap time in qualifying. However, Hamilton’s wait for a maiden Turkish Grand Prix pole goes on due to his ten-place grid penalty.
Instead, Valtteri Bottas will start the Turkish Grand Prix from pole position. The Finn makes Mercedes the fifth different team to take pole at the venue. He’s the sixth different driver to take pole at the track.
This is Bottas’ eighteenth pole, which sees him overtake Jackie Stewart for eighteenth on the list of Formula 1’s most prolific polesitters. Significantly, Bottas’ latest pole sees him equal Rene Arnoux as the non-champion with the most poles in F1 history.
THE TOP 10
Charles Lelcerc’s fourth place in qualifying – and Hamilton’s ten-place grid penalty – means that he will line up in the top three on the grid for the third time this year. His other top three grid positions in 2021 were both pole positions, recorded at the Azerbaijan and Monaco Grands Prix – though he didn’t actually start the latter race.
For the second time this year, five different teams will fill the top five grid slots. This feat also happened at the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix. You could also say it happened in Monaco, if you disregard Charles Leclerc’s empty grid slot.
Fernando Alonso qualified in sixth place for a second consecutive race. Hamilton’s penalty means that Alonso moves up to fifth on the final grid. It’s his best starting position since starting fifth at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. That race, and the preceding Singapore Grand Prix, are the last consecutive races at which Alonso qualified inside the top six.
Both Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda reached Q3 at the Turkish Grand Prix, making this the first time that the Red Bull junior team has qualified in the top ten at the event. While Pierre Gasly recorded his sixth top five qualification of the season, Tsunoda reached the final part of qualifying for the first time since the Austrian Grand Prix.
With Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris both reaching Q3, this was the first time that a Ferrari driver and a McLaren driver have qualified in the top ten at the Turkish Grand Prix since 2011. Neither team reached Q3 here last year.
OUT IN Q2
Sebastian Vettel qualified in eleventh place, becoming the third driver to record as many as three Q2 eliminations at the Turkish Grand Prix. Rubens Barrichello, who was out in Q2 five times, and Adrian Sutil, who was eliminated in Q2 three times, are the only other drivers with that many Q2 exits at Istanbul Park.
Esteban Ocon qualified in twelfth place, recording the Enstone team’s first Q2 elimination in Turkey. The team has had two previous Q1 exits at the circuit under their Renault guise in 2008 and 2009 – but Ocon is their first driver to be out in Q2.
For the second time in his career, Mick Schumacher reached Q2. This was the first time he was actually able to compete in the second qualifying session, as he crashed after setting his lap time in Q1 at the French Grand Prix. Fourteenth place is the Haas driver’s best-ever qualifying result, and the Haas team’s best qualifying result since Romain Grosjean qualified fourteenth at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.
Heading into the race with an engine penalty, Carlos Sainz failed to set a lap time in Q2, meaning he qualified in fifteenth place. He’ll start the race from the back of the grid. The last time he did so was at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix, where he went on to record his maiden podium finish.
OUT IN Q1
Three of the five drivers who were eliminated in Q1 at the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix – Daniel Ricciardo, Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen – all reached Q3 at Istanbul Park in 2020.
Daniel Ricciardo recorded his, and McLaren’s, second Q1 exit of the 2021 season. He equalled his worst qualifying result of the year with sixteenth place – which is also where he qualified for the Portuguese Grand Prix.
This was only the second time that a McLaren driver has been eliminated in Q1 at the Turkish Grand Prix. The only other time it has happened was in 2009, when Lewis Hamilton also qualified sixteenth with the team.
Alfa Romeo reached Q3 with both cars at the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix, but both drivers were out in Q1. Last year’s Turkish Grand Prix remains the last time both Alfa Romeo drivers qualified in the top ten at a single event. This was the team’s fourth double Q1 elimination of the year.
Kimi Raikkonen qualified only nineteenth for the Turkish Grand Prix, equalling his worst qualifying result of the 2021 season to date. He also qualified nineteenth at the Belgian Grand Prix. This was the first time that Raikkonen has not qualified in the top eight at the event.
Before today, the former Sauber team had recorded only one Q1 exit in Turkey. That was for Kamui Kobayashi, who failed to set a lap time in qualifying for the 2011 Turkish Grand Prix. Despite starting 24th that year, the Japanese driver fought back to tenth place in the race.
While team-mate Mick Schumacher reached Q2, Nikita Mazepin was slowest of all 20 drivers in Q1. His best lap time was 2.894 seconds slower than Schumacher’s best.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. The blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics.
Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.